London Parliament attack was straight out of the ISIS playbook

A man is treated by British officials following the attack outside the House of Parliament in London. Getty Images

New York Post, by  Paul Sperry, March 26, 2017:

Using vehicles to mow down pedestrians, as horrified Londoners witnessed Wednesday, is a terrorist tactic right out of the ISIS playbook. Instead of driving heavy trucks, the terror group’s followers are now using smaller vehicles with similar devastating effect — making it even harder to detect and foil such brutal attacks.

The terror group, which took credit for the London attack, has specifically called on followers to weaponize vehicles and kill “infidels” gathered in outdoor spaces throughout the West.

In November, it instructed such terrorists to drive at “a high speed into a large congregation of kufar (infidel), smashing their bodies with the vehicle’s strong outer frame, while advancing forward – crushing their heads, torsos and limbs under the vehicle’s wheels and chassis – and leaving behind a trail of carnage.”

Sickeningly, the order, which added gruesome detail to a similar 2013 exhortation, encouraged drivers to use “a gun or a knife” to increase “the kill count.”

Allegedly following such orders, ISIS-claimed “soldier” Khalid Masood rented a small Hyundai SUV and ran down tourists walking along London’s Westminster Bridge, killing four and hospitalizing 29, before storming Parliament and stabbing a police officer to death.

Such vehicle-mounted terrorist attacks are effective — and increasingly popular — because they defeat Western security systems, which are designed to screen for bombs and guns. Unlike conventional weapons, motor vehicles are cheap and easy to obtain, and require little training to use.

And there’s no shortage of vulnerable targets. ISIS advises hitting “large outdoor conventions and celebrations, pedestrian-congested streets, outdoor markets, festivals, parades (and) political rallies.” Times Square, the Coney Island boardwalk and the Thanksgiving Day Parade all fall within that target list. (So, for that matter, do candlelight vigils to mourn the victims of such attacks.)

Al-Qaeda has also urged jihadists to plow vehicles into large crowds of innocent bystanders, going so far as to suggest wielding steel blades on bumpers to “achieve maximum carnage,” according to a 2010 article in its propaganda rag.

It’s plain from recent attacks that vehicles have become the jihadists’ weapon of choice. The London assault, which was followed the next day by a copycat strike in Brussels foiled by police, was the third deadly car attack in Europe in less than a year. They follow a pattern of similar incidents:

  • January: An ISIS-inspired Palestinian terrorist driving a large truck jumped a curb and killed four Israeli soldiers; and earlier that month, German police arrested an ISIS-tied Syrian immigrant for plotting to use police cars to ram into New Year’s Eve crowds.
  • December 2016: A Tunisian immigrant hijacked a truck and killed 12 shoppers in a Berlin Christmas market.
  • July 2016: An Islamic terrorist in Nice, France, rented a 19-ton cargo truck and plowed into a Bastille Day crowd, killing 86 and injuring 484.
  • 2014: A driver shouting “Allah Akbar!” crashed his car into pedestrians in Nantes, France, killing one and wounding nine.
  • 2014: An ISIS follower in Quebec struck two Canadian soldiers with a car, killing one and injuring the other.
  • 2014: A Palestinian terrorist swerved off the road and slammed into a crowd in Jerusalem, killing an American baby girl and another tourist.

Could it happen here? It already has. In fact, an Iranian-American student may have started the trend in 2006, when he rammed a rented Jeep into a crowd at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, injuring nine. Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar said he was taking revenge for “the deaths of Muslims worldwide.”

Last November, another Muslim student at Ohio State University rammed a car into a crowd and stabbed several people. ISIS called Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who said on Facebook he was protesting “the killing of the Muslims in Burma,” a “soldier.”

What can be done to foil such attacks? Adding barriers between streets and walkways with heavy foot traffic — as they have done in Times Square — for starters. Masood was able to mount the payment along the Westminster Bridge because there are no bollards between the street and sidewalk; and he was able to build speeds in excess of 70 mph because there are no obstacles, such as concrete flower pots, on the sidewalk itself. The large pots, reinforced with steel bars, are commonly used as security barricades.

“Blocker trucks” can also be deployed. After Berlin, NYPD used hundreds of dump trucks to protect pedestrians celebrating New Year’s Eve at Times Square and the Coney boardwalk. Sanitation trucks were also stationed along last year’s Thanksgiving parade.

During last month’s Mardi Gras, New Orleans police deployed portable steel walls that were raised electronically at night to protect Bourbon Street crowds from car attacks.

London authorities, in contrast, reportedly opted for a “lower-key” approach to protecting the tourist area around Parliament in reaction to Nice and Berlin.

Since many of the vehicles used in recent attacks have been rentals, NYPD and other police have been checking with auto rental agencies, especially large truck rental locations, for suspicious renters. Red flags include: SUV or truck rentals, no previous history of rentals, and customers with Arabic surnames, religious head coverings or beards and behaving nervously at the counter.

Reporting to authorities signs of surveillance, casing and targeting by suspicious individuals can also help thwart car attacks. ISIS advises would-be terrorists to survey the route of attack they’ve mapped out — including on the day of attack — for “obstacles, such as posts, signs, barriers, humps, bus stops, dumpsters, etc., which is important for sidewalk-mounted attacks.”

Sperry, former Hoover Institution media fellow, is author of several books on terrorism including the bestseller “Infiltration.”

Theresa May Calls London Terror Attack “Perversion of a Great Faith”

Answering Muslims, by David Wood, March 24, 2017:

On March 22, 2017, Muslim convert Khalid Masood launched a terrorist attack that began on Westminster Bridge and ended in Parliament Square. The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack. In response, British Prime Minister Theresa May insisted that the London terror attack was a “perversion of a great faith.”

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Gad Saad: Ideas that are grotesque, evil and diabolical should not be granted cover because they are found in a “holy book”

Also see:

UTT Throwback Thursday: Britsh Leaders’ Inability to Speak Truth About Islam

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, March  23, 2017:

See UTT’s new video entitled “British Appeasement to Islam” HERE.

Where is Winston Churchill when you need him?

Since 9/11/01, Britain’s leaders have been unable to see the reality of the Islamic threat which is overwhelming them, and, in the face of their own destruction, have been incapable of letting the light of truth in to see the problem they face lies with Islam and it’s destructive and barbaric sharia.

In October 2001, British Prime Minister Tony Blair held a press conference where he stated:  “This is not a war with Islam. It angers me as it angers the vast majority of Muslims to hear bin Laden and his associates described as Islamic terrorists. They are terrorists pure and simple. Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion, and the acts of these people are wholly contrary to the teachings of the Koran.”

After British Army soldier Lee Rigby was run over and beheaded on the streets of Woolwich, England in May 2013 by two Muslims, British Prime Minister David Cameron stated:  “This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life, it was also a betrayal of Islam and on the Muslim communities who give so much to our country.  There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act.”

After British aid worker David Haines was beheaded by Muslims in ISIS on video in September 2014, British Prime Minister David Cameron stated:  “They claim to do this in the name of Islam.  That is nonsense.  Islam is a religion of peace.  They are not Muslims.  They are monsters.”

What will Prime Minister Theresa May say about Islam after the jihadi attack in Westminster?

Is she aware “Fight and slay the unbeliever wherever you find them” (Koran 9:5) is a permanent command from Allah for Muslims until the world is under sharia (Islamic Law)?  Is she aware this is taught in Islamic schools all over Britain?

What will London’s jihadi mayor say?

Here is what Sir Winston Churchill said:

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men…Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it.  No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.  Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”
[Winston Churchill, The River War (Volume II, 1st edition), pages 248-250]

A leftist State Department official is publicly attacking President Trump on social media

Kambiz Hosseini | Wikimedia Commons

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, March 20, 2017:

Alan Eyre, a high-ranking State Department official known for his pro-Tehran, anti-Israel biases — and a key component of the Iran nuclear deal’s negotiating team— has been using his verified Twitter account to repost articles attacking President Trump, the man who he ultimately answers to.

The postings, shared below, are only a small snapshot of what Eyre has tweeted out over the past month and shared with his 100,000-plus followers. Some mock the president and question his intelligence and integrity (again, Eyre’s boss). Another post calls President Trump’s decisions “senseless” and “heartless.”

Eyre now works at the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, within its Middle East/Asia department, according to his bio.

Under the Obama administration, Alan Eyre served as the State Department’s Persian language spokesperson. According to reports, he played a critical role in advancing the Iran nuclear deal, which resulted in a cash windfall for the terrorist regime in Tehran.

This is not the first time Eyre has been noticed engaging in controversial social media activities. In 2015, the Washington Free Beacon exposed that he had been promoting anti-Israel conspiracy theories.

From his personal Facebook page, Eyre published stories by anti-Semitic authors and fringe websites that “demonize American Jewish groups and Israel,” the report said. But that was at least from his personal page. His current stream of anti-Trump postings are being distributed from his verified public Twitter account.

As an Obama official, Eyre twice keynoted the annual conference of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a group that many Iranian dissidents and freedom fighters consider to be a front for the regime in Tehran. NIAC is led by Trita Parsi, an Iranian-Swedish national who reportedly acts as a the point of contact for top officials in Iran.

NIAC became very cozy with the Obama administration (Parsi visited the White House 33 times), and coordinated with it to sell Iran deal lies to the American people. In its hell-bent quest to push the deal, NIAC painted opponents of the agreement as “warmongers” and challenged the loyalties of American Jews to the country and president.

Eyre is not the only State Department official who has pushed for policies that directly contradict President Trump’s platform.

Chris Backemeyer currently serves as deputy assistant secretary for Iranian affairs under Secretary Rex Tillerson. He was intimately involved in pushing for the Iran deal and misled the American people about where billions of dollars for the Tehran regime had gone.

Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, an essential advocate for Obama’s Iran deal, is currently in charge of Iran and the Persian Gulf on Secretary Tillerson’s policy planning staff.

And Michael Ratney, who oversaw a group that campaigned to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was one of John Kerry’s closest confidants. He’s now in charge of the Israeli-Palestinian portfolio at the Department of State.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for CR. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel. 

U.S. Raid in Yemen Led to Laptop Ban on Flights, Officials Say

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY THE DAILY BEAST

Intel sources fear Al Qaeda can make bombs as small as computer batteries, provoking the ban on carry-on electronics at sensitive foreign airports.

Daily Beast, by JANA WINTER and CLIVE IRVING, March 21, 2017:

Three intelligence sources told The Daily Beast that the ban on carry-on electronics aboard U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East was the result of information seized during a U.S. raid on Al Qaeda in Yemen in January. The United Kingdom joined the U.S. ban Tuesday.

Information from the raid shows al Qaeda’s successful development of compact, battery bombs that fit inside laptops or other devices believed to be strong enough to bring down an aircraft, the sources said. The battery bombs would need to be manually triggered, a source explained, which is why the electronics ban is only for the aircraft cabin not checked luggage.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security publicly cited two attacks on flights in the last two years, the downing of a Russian jet over the Egyptian Sinai in October 2015 and an attempt that nearly succeeded in bringing down a jet that had taken off from Mogadishu, Somalia last year and made an emergency landing after an explosion ripped open its cabin. The insurgent group Al-Shababb claimed credit for getting a laptop onboard the flight that had been rigged as a bomb.

“Since they weren’t high enough, the explosion wasn’t catastrophic to the plane and they were able to land,” one source told The Daily Beast. “The bomber got sucked out of the hole, but it was proof of concept.”

The chief bomb maker for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Ibrahim al-Asiri, has been working on packing even smaller devices, the source added.

“You might recall they brought down UPS Flight 6 in 2010 with a bomb hidden inside a copier cartridge,” the source said.

The problem with this theory is that it implies that the security screening of electronic devices at the 10 airports is no better than at the airport in a failed state like Somalia. The pilot of the Airbus A320 involved in that incident said of that airport: “the security is zero.” Airport employees had conspired with the bomber to get the laptop through security.

One source said the foreign countries included in the ban were selected because of their exposure to al Qaeda groups and members who might try to bring a battery bomb on a plane heading for the U.S.

Egyptian intelligence officials were briefed over the weekend, according to one source, and have long been concerned about another plane departing from Cairo being brought down like the Metrojet plane in Oct. 2015. And there is another disaster, EgyptAir Flight 804, from Paris Charles De Gaulle airport to Cairo in May that crashed into the eastern Mediterranean and killed 66 people.

The crash has subsequently been shrouded in mystery. In December the Egyptian authorities announced that a criminal investigation had been opened. They had had six months in which to analyze data from the airplane’s two flight recorders recovered from the wreck. But there was a dispute between the Egyptian and French about the cause. The French air crash investigators said that it was not possible at that stage to draw conclusions about the origin of the accident.

It is known from data transmitted from the Airbus A320 as it spiraled down from its cruise height of 37,000 feet that it suffered a rapid cascade of failures, beginning with an electrical problem in the cockpit. This escalated into a fire in the electronics bay below the cockpit that effectively fried the computers controlling the flight.

There were indications that the disastrous sequence started with some kind of explosion in the passenger toilet immediately above the electronics bay and behind the cockpit. Video taken of the wreck showed heat damage beneath the cockpit.

Before leaving Paris the airplane had flown from Asmara in Eritrea, to Cairo and then onward to Tunis and Paris. That means that investigators would be looking at the possibility of an explosive device being placed on the airplane at any of those airports.

In early March, a Russian passenger on a Turkish Airways flight from Alexandria to Istanbul was arrested after an improvised explosive was found in his luggage, according to a DHS alert in early March citing Egyptian media.

The gravity of the move had been underscored by the political response to it. Representative Adam Schiff, Californian Democrat and ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement:

“Over the weekend I received an additional briefing by the Department of Homeland Security and I fully support the new security precautions. These steps are both necessary and proportional to the threat.”

The most consequential impact of the new measures will be on the three airlines operating out of the Persian Gulf states: Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways. In the last decade there has been a major transformation of the connections between inter-continental airline routes. Led by Emirates from their hub in Dubai this has put the three airlines in a dominant position to connect flights from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe and, significantly, to directly fly passengers from those regions to the United States.

Moreover, these airlines have set new standards of service, particularly for business class passengers. Anyone flying business class with these carriers finds the cabins glowing with the glare from many laptops as workaholic executives and managers use their flight time to catch up on work.

The three major U.S. international carriers, Delta, American and United, have found themselves left with fleets of older airplanes that can’t match the quality of cabin amenities of the Gulf airlines, who use latest generation jets like the Airbus A380 super jumbo and the Airbus A350. Over the last few years those airlines have pushed into major U.S. business centers like New York, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle – scooping up, for example, major players in the energy and tech industries.

Craig Jenks, President of a New York base consultancy, Airline/Aircraft projects, pointed out that the ban’s effects reach far beyond the named airports.

In particular, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways all have a high volume of passengers originating in Indian cities. Among these are many in high tech industries flying on from hubs in the Gulf directly to U.S. tech business centers like San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and New York.

“Now, all of a sudden, you arrive at a Gulf airport headed for San Francisco with your light carry-on and you discover, no laptop on board nor even while in transit at the hub. Intentionally or not, this is a negative for the Gulf carriers,” Jenkins said.

Now that the ban has been joined by the UK, which has said that passengers on 14 airlines would not be able to carry laptops into the cabin of direct flights to London from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, the disruption to business travelers has become even more widespread.

Air travel remains a priority target for terrorists. And, once more, the mere threat of terror attacks has proved itself as costly, at least in economic impact, as the act of terror.

For example, one recent casualty has been Turkish Airlines. In 2015 it was following the Gulf airlines’ model to exploit the strategic location of Istanbul as a hub for the Middle East and Africa. In that year it made a profit of $872 million. Last year that became a loss of $463 million. Two events, a terror attack on Istanbul airport and the failed coup in July, as well as fear of new terror attacks, have put the airline into a financial crisis. Istanbul is on both the U.S. and U.K. list of airports covered by the new ban.

Electronic Devices to be Banned in Cabin on Certain U.S.-Bound Flights

A Qatari passenger walks to the check-in area inside Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, on May 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, March 21, 2017:

Two affected airlines leaked the news Monday that the United States will announce a ban on electronic devices other than a cell phone in cabins of U.S.-bound flights from several Middle Eastern and African countries.

Royal Jordanian tweeted that all such devices, including laptops, handheld video games, cameras and tablets, would have to be put in checked baggage starting today. The airline then deleted the message, subsequently tweeting, “Further updates will be announced soon regarding #electronicsban.” Saudi Airlines also posted an announcement with the new guidelines, adding Kindles to the banned list, and the kingdom’s official news agency reported on it as well.

Citing an unnamed U.S. official, the Associated Press reported that the indefinite ban will apply to nonstop flights from international airports in Cairo, Amman, Kuwait City, Casablanca, Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The rules won’t apply to U.S. airlines coming from the Middle East, but only foreign carriers coming from affected countries.

The Transportation Security Administration reportedly was in charge of disseminating the new rules. There was reportedly early confusion about whether flight crews are affected under the ban as well.

A federal official, who said the ban was in response to an unspecified threat assessment, told NBC News that Royal Jordanian leaked the news too early, and may not have relayed the details correctly.

The Department of Homeland Security had not issued any release on the guidelines; a spokesman told the Guardian that “we have no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide any update as appropriate.” An official announcement is now expected today, the same day the rules go into effect.

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN on Monday evening that his panel had not been briefed on the ban or reason behind it, but “the Department of Homeland Security is looking at this issue.”

“We do all know from other news reports of not just about this, that there has been some concern for some time about electronic items being used to hide explosive devices and their threats to airline traffic,” Turner said.

The congressman added, “When you look at, you know, how, you know, those who seek to do us home have progressed, everything from the shoe bomber forward, you know, this is all about getting the intelligence we need, applying it to, you know, the type of protections and interventions that we can do, and then trying to lessen that threat and this certainly sounds like it can be part of that.”

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U.S. Bans Laptops, Tablets from Cabins on Flights from Middle East – Breitbart

Washington (AFP) – The United States warned Tuesday that extremists plan to target passenger jets with bombs hidden in electronic devices, and banned carrying them onto flights from 10 Middle East airports.

Senior US officials told reporters that nine airlines from eight countries had been given 96 hours, beginning at 3:00 am (0700 GMT), to ban devices bigger than a cellphone or smartphone from the cabin.

Laptops, tablets and portable game consoles are affected by the ban — which applies to direct flights to the United States — but they may still be stowed in the hold in checked baggage.

Passengers on approximately 50 flights per day from some of the busiest hubs in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa will be obliged to follow the new emergency ruling.

“The restrictions are in place due to evaluated intelligence and we think it’s the right thing to do and the right places to do it to secure the safety of the traveling public,” one US official said.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, refused to discuss the “intelligence information” that led the Transportation Security Administration to issue the order.

But one said that concerns had been “heightened by several successful events and attacks on passenger lanes and airports over the last years.”

– No end date –

The official would not go into detail about which attacks had raised fears, but did cite an incident from February of last year in which suspected Somali Islamists blew a hole in the side of Daallo Airlines passenger jet with a small device. Only the bomber was killed and the plane landed safely.

CNN quoted a US official as saying the ban was believed to be related to a threat posed by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, known as AQAP.

“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items,” an official said.

The airports touched by the ban are Queen Alia International in Amman, Jordan; Cairo International in Egypt; Ataturk in Istanbul, Turkey; King Abdulaziz International in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; King Khalid International in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Kuwait International; Mohammed V International in Casablanca, Morocco; Hamad International in Doha, Qatar; and the Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports in the United Arab Emirates.

No US carriers make direct flights from these airports, so they are unaffected by the ban, which will hit Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.

The airlines and their host governments have already been informed of the order by US officials, and some of them have begun informing passengers about the restriction.

Airlines will be responsible for policing the cabin ban, and if they fail to do so could lose their rights to operate US routes.

No end date has been put on the order, and officials would not say whether the restriction might spread to other airports.

Families of 9/11 victims file suit against Saudi Arabia

Getty Images

New York Post, by Emily Saul, March 21, 2017:

Families of 9/11 victims filed suit in Manhattan against Saudi Arabia Monday, claiming the Arab country knowingly facilitated the devastating terror attacks.

The consolidated action was filed in federal court on behalf of 2,500 spouses, children, parents and siblings of those who died when 19 al Qaeda insurgents hijacked four airplanes and flew them into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field after passengers tried to retake control from the hijackers.

In total 2,977 innocent victims were killed.

“It’s become much clearer for the American public that the Saudi government and Saudi officials exhibited a pattern of support for al Qaeda, and that 9/11 would not have been possible without their support,” said attorney Andrew Maloney, whose firm is one of the five behind the suit.

The papers claim Saudi Arabia raised and laundered money to support al Qaeda activities, funded terrorist training camps “where al Qaeda taught their hijackers the skills they used to carry out the Sept. 11 attacks,” and actively supported al Qaeda in its final preparations.

The suit give several examples of how the country — a longtime ally of the US — is linked to al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden, who was killed in 2011 during a raid on his compound in Pakistan.

Specifically, the plaintiffs allege:

  • Since 1986, Saudi Arabia used nine state-run charities to fund terrorism by collaborating with Osama bin Laden to establish al Qaeda. A “top ranking Saudi Arabia official,” along with close bin Laden pals, also joined in on this effort. One of those charities, al Haramain Islamic Foundation, provided funds to support al Qaeda, according to the US Department of Treasury.
  • The kingdom adopted Wahhabism, an “extremist version of Islam,” as the state religion and used the faith to “justify [al Qaeda’s] campaign of anti-American violence.”
  • Since at least the early 1990s, Saudi Arabia knew that “al Qaeda had begun to pursue and carry out terrorist attacks against the United States.”
  • The kingdom also knew that between 1988 and 1990, bin Laden made speeches at his family’s mosque in Jeddah and other Saudi locations where he “declared that the United States was the primary target of al Qaeda.” In 1990, he allegedly stated, “The Americans won’t stop their support of Jews in Palestine until we give them a lot of blows. They won’t stop until we do jihad against them.”
  • For years prior to Sept. 11, Saudi Arabia and its embassies, Ministry of Islamic Affairs and its Ministry of the Interior had a “relationship and communication with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s operatives, associates and activities throughout the world.”
  • Saudi Arabia had knowledge of al Qaeda’s previous terror attempts on the US, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed six people.
  • The Sept. 11 attacks were avoidable because since 1996, the US “urgently told Saudi Arabia that it needed background and financial information and other assistance regarding al Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden in order to disrupt or interdict the threat of al Qaeda terrorist attacks against the United States and its nationals.”

The suit follows a congressional override of then-President Barack Obama’s veto in September, which enacted a law allowing an exception to the legal principle of sovereign immunity in cases of terrorism on US soil.

While the first suits against Saudi Arabia were filed a month later, this is the first consolidated action filed against the Middle Eastern kingdom.

“We are grateful to our members of Congress for not only passing [the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism ACT], but also overriding the veto of former President Obama,” Maloney said.

“We would hope to continue to enjoy the support of President Trump, and we hope he meant what he said,” the attorney added, referencing Trump’s September 2016 statement that Obama’s veto was “one of the low points” of his presidency.

Neither the Saudi Arabian embassies in New York or in Washington, DC returned messages. ​

Also see:

The radical ties of the Imam behind the Trump immigration lawsuit

Isrmail Elshikh | YouTube

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, March 10, 2017:

The plaintiff listed in Hawaii’s lawsuit against President Trump’s executive order on immigration is a member of an organization that has several current and former leaders tied to terrorist activity.

Dr. Ismail Elshikh — the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii — is suing Trump in reaction to the second version of his immigration moratorium, which was signed on Monday. The order imposed a 90-day hold on foreign nationals from six terror-tied countries from entering the United States.

According to the Muslim Association of Hawaii website, Imam Elshikh is a member of the North American Imam Federation (NAIF), a fringe Islamic organization that has a board and current leadership stacked with radical Islamic connections.

Kyle Shideler, a terrorism expert and director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy, tells CR that it’s concerning that Imam Elshikh is a part of NAIF.

“Given NAIF’s history it should come as no surprise that the end goal of this lawsuit is, ultimately, weakening American counter-terrorism or immigration security efforts,” Shideler said.

He added: “That a member of an organization whose leaders have included a convicted war criminal, an individual who defended donating money to a Hamas linked charity, and an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism bombing wants to tell the American people who they can admit for immigration should say a lot about why such an executive order is needed in the first place.”

Steven Emerson, the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, also voiced his concerns about Elshikh’s associations. He tells CR:

“NAIF is an extremely radical Islamist group whose leaders and members have defended some of the most violent terrorist groups in the world. Some members have been found to be actually linked to acts of Islamist terrorism. This is a group, some prosecutors have argued, whose incitement for violence could qualify their categorization as a providing material support for terrorism.”

Current NAIF board members include the former leader of an al-Qaeda-connected mosque and a radical preacher. Former leaders include a man convicted of leading an international death squad, and a prominent Islamist preacher who has praised Osama bin Laden.

Current NAIF leadership

Omar Shahin, a current board member of NAIF, is the former president of the Islamic Center of Tucson, a mosque that was once utilized as the “de-facto al-Qaeda headquarters in the United States,” according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. As imam of the mosque, Shahin raised funds for the Holy Land Foundation, which was later shut down for funneling money to the terrorist group Hamas. He also held fundraisers for the Global Relief Foundation, which was later deemed by the U.S. Treasury Department to be connected to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

El Shikh received his PhD from the Graduate Theological Foundation Islamic Studies Department, which is headed by Shahin. The program was created in collaboration with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization that was started as a Muslim Brotherhood front group.

Dr. Waleed Meneese, another NAIF board member, has explicitly called for fellow Muslims to kill Jews. “When the Children of Israel returned to cause corruption in the time of our Prophet Muhammad,” Meneese said in a recent sermon. “And they disbelieved him, God destroyed him at his hand. In any case, God Almighty has promised them destruction whenever they cause corruption,” he said of the Jewish people.

Meneese has also called for the killing of apostates from Islam, and for the treating of non-Muslims as second-class citizens.

Former NAIF leadership

Ashrafuzzaman Khan is the former president of NAIF and a current leader at the Muslim Brotherhood-connected Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). In 2013, he was tried in a Bangladesh court as he was accused of drafting a kill list of intellectuals inside the country. He was charged with 11 counts of war crimes as the alleged leader of the Al-Badr death squad. In 2013, he and an accomplice were sentenced in absentia for the abduction and murder of 18 people, including nine university professors, six journalists, and three physicians.

Egyptian cleric Wagdi Ghoneim was the chairman of NAIF at the turn of the century. In 2005, he agreed to deportation to Qatar after U.S. authorities were concerned about his potential connections to terrorist organizations. Ghoneim has called Osama bin Laden a “martyred heroic mujahid” and is now closely tied to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. He has been banned from entering several countries due to his radicalism.

Another former NAIF board member is Siraj Wahhaj, who was infamously listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. Wahhaj testified in defense of the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman, who served a life sentence for being the mastermind behind terrorist plots in the United States.

What else?

The North American Imam Federation is perhaps best known as the group that allegedly planned and staged the “flying imams” incident. After a 2006 NAIF conference, several imams connected to the group were booted from a domestic flight after exhibiting bizarre, threatening behavior, terrifying fellow passengers. NAIF and the Hamas-tied Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) showcased the incident as a prime example of America’s supposed problem with “Islamophobia.”

President Trump’s immigration moratorium, blocking non-citizens from coming into the U.S. from the six terror havens of Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Libya, will go into effect next week, barring a successful legal challenge by Elshikh and Hawaii or other actors.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for CR. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel

Also see:

The ISIS Endgame

A convoy of U.S. armored vehicles near the northern Syrian city of Manbij / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, by Matthew Continetti, March 10, 2017:

The Islamic Caliphate announced in 2014 by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS, is approaching the end of its short and terrible life. Iraqi forces, supported by Americans, have reclaimed the eastern half of Mosul and are retaking the western one. Kurdish militias in Syria, also backed by the United States, are homing in on the ISIS capital of Raqqa. Word came this week that a contingent of Marines has been deployed in Syria to position heavy artillery for the fight ahead. “We expect that within a few weeks there will be a siege of the city,” a militia spokesman tells Reuters.

ISIS doesn’t have a chance. American air and ground forces, working with local proxies, are about to terminate its existence as a state. “Crushed,” to paraphrase President Trump. A just—and popular—cause.

But that won’t be the end. Recent events suggest that the military defeat of ISIS is just the beginning of a renewed American involvement in Iraq and Syria. And whether the American public and president are prepared for or willing to accept the probable costs of such involvement is unknown. That is reason for concern.

To glimpse the future, look at the city of Manbij in northeast Syria. Humvees and Strykers flying the American flag have appeared there in recent days. The mission? Not to defeat ISIS. Our proxies kicked them out last year. What we are doing in Manbij is something altogether different from a military assault: a “deterrence and reassurance” operation meant to dissuade rival factions from massacring one another. If you can’t remember when President Obama or President Trump called for such an operation, that’s because they never did.

And there’s a twist. One of the factions we are trying to intimidate is none other than the army of Turkey, a NATO member and purported ally. Turkey moved in on Manbij not because of ISIS but because of the Kurds. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish autocrat, opposes one of our Kurdish proxies. He says the YPG is the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, which has conducted an insurgency against his government for decades. Yet the YPG is also the most effective indigenous anti-ISIS force on the ground. We need it to take Raqqa.

Things get even more complicated. Also in Manbij are the Russians, who are helping units of the Syrian army police a group of villages. The Kurds invited them, too, presumably as a separate hedge against Turkey. To keep score: The Americans, the Russians, the Turks, the Kurds, and the Syrians are all converging on an impoverished city in the middle of nowhere that has no strategic importance to the United States.

One needn’t have read The Guns of August to fret about the risks of miscalculation and misinterpretation. Which is why, on Tuesday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Joseph Dunford, met with his Russian and Turkish counterparts. “One American official described the situation around Manbij as a potential tinderbox,” reports the New York Times. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about.

U.S. intervention in Syria is following a pattern that has ended in regret. Having entered the conflict to pursue the narrow aim of destroying ISIS, we are likely to assume much more abstract and open-ended responsibilities once our immediate goal has been achieved. Similar vague and unspecific policies led to Americans being killed in Lebanon in 1983 and in Somalia a decade later. Where peacekeeping has been successful, as in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the mission was clear from the beginning, authorized by all parties by treaty, and adequately resourced—tens of thousands of troops, most of them American. None of these conditions apply today.

It is one thing to maintain a presence in Iraq, a country whose fate seems to be entangled with our own. It is another to expand our involvement in Syria with little public rationale or debate. At the very least Congress deserves an opportunity to take up the issue. But don’t get your hopes up. The GOP Congress resisted taking ownership of the war in Syria when the president was a Democrat. There is little reason to think it will do so now when the president is a Republican.

What happens the day after Raqqa falls? Should American troops remain in Syria once ISIS has been defeated, and if so for what purpose? Will there be clear lines of authority between CENTCOM and SOCOM? Just what is America’s position on the Kurds—are we for an independent Kurdistan, and if so are we prepared to resist Turkish and Iraqi attempts to quash it? Who is making key military and diplomatic decisions: the president, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, or the combatant commanders?

The president is charged with answering such questions. And he must be ready to defend his answers. To do otherwise risks complacency and drift. This is an unstable and murky situation. And it could end, as so often happens, in lost lives, reduced credibility, and an even wider conflict.

A contributor to The Weekly Standard likes to tell the following story: Covering the Lebanese civil war in 1983, he visited an outpost of U.S. Marines. They came under sniper fire from one militia. Then another militia started shooting. Then the Syrians joined in. At which point a lance corporal turned to him and said, “Sir, never get involved in a five-sided argument.”

Report: Homegrown Terrorism is Top Threat to UK

Gatestone Institute, by Soeren Kern, March 7, 2017:

  • “The threat to the UK remains from homegrown terrorism, and is heavily youth- and male-oriented with British nationals prevalent among offenders.” — Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offenses and Attacks in the UK (1998–2015).
  • “The increased prevalence of smaller cells and individualistic offending, suggests a rise in terrorism cases that feature shorter lead times to offending and fewer opportunities for identification.” — Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offenses and Attacks in the UK (1998–2015).
  • “While analysis of pre-offense behaviors shows that there is no one profile for engagement with Islamism-inspired terrorism, some trends can be identified. Offenders commonly consumed extremist and/or instructional material prior to, or as part of, their offending. Much of the pro-jihadist material accessed promotes ‘them and us’ thinking, dehumanization of the enemy, and attitudes that justify offending.” — Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offenses and Attacks in the UK (1998–2015).
  • “Analysis of common sites of inspiration and facilitation appears to corroborate current counter-radicalization policy priorities such as restricting terrorist and violent extremist material on the internet, supporting at-risk sectors and empowering families to safeguard against extremism.” — Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offenses and Attacks in the UK (1998–2015).

Homegrown terrorism inspired by the Islamic State poses the dominant threat to the national security of the United Kingdom, according to a comprehensive new report on violent Islamism in Britain.

The 1,000-page report — “Islamist Terrorism: Analysis of Offenses and Attacks in the UK (1998–2015)” — was published on March 5 by the Henry Jackson Society, a foreign policy think tank based in London.

The report, authored by terrorism researcher Hanna Stuart, identifies, profiles and analyzes all 269 Islamism-inspired terrorism convictions and suicide attacks in the United Kingdom between 1998 and 2015.

The report also compares data between 1998 and 2010, a period when al-Qaeda reached its zenith, and 2011 and 2015, the period following the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the uprisings known as the Arab Spring, and the rise of the Islamic State in 2014.

The report shows that young British males were the most prevalent offenders, but that involvement by British females nearly tripled in recent years.

The report found little to no correlation between involvement in Islamic terrorism and educational achievement and employment status. In addition, most of the offenders were based in London and Birmingham, and a majority were living at their family homes with parents, siblings, spouses and/or children. “These findings challenge common stereotypes of terrorists as well-educated and middle-class or as isolated loners,” according to the report.

While most offenders were raised as Muslim, one in six was a convert. Three-quarters of offenders were previously known to the authorities; one-quarter had a previous criminal conviction. One in five offenders received terrorist training abroad or engaged in combat prior to arrest.

The report cites the internet as a major source for the inspiration of offenders. At the same time, most offenders belonged to wider networks, formed in person and online, with friends and families. Only one in ten offenses was carried out by someone who acted entirely alone and had no extremist connections.

“The increased prevalence of smaller cells and individualistic offending, suggests a rise in terrorism cases that feature shorter lead times to offending and fewer opportunities for identification,” the report warns.

The report’s main findings include:

  • The overwhelming majority (93%) of Islamism-related offenses (IROs) were committed by males. Females accounted for 4% of IROs between 1998 and 2010 and 11% of IROs between 2011 and 2015 — an increase of 175%.
  • IROs were carried out by individuals between the ages of 14 and 52 years. Forty-six percent of 2011–2015 offenses were committed by individuals aged under 25, a small increase from 42% for 1998–2010 offenses. The most common age ranges overall, and across both time periods, were 21–24 and 25–29.
  • Seventy-two percent of IROs were committed by British nationals or individuals holding dual British nationality. There was almost no difference between the earlier and later time periods (72% and 71% respectively).
  • More than half (52%) of IROs were committed by individuals of South Asian ancestry, i.e., British-Pakistanis (25%) and British-Bangladeshis (8%). Other offenders had family ties to countries in Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean.
  • Forty-seven percent of IROs were committed by individuals who were born in the UK. More than a third (38%) of those born outside of the UK or of unspecified birthplace were raised (at some point before the age of 18) in the UK. As a result, 67% of IROs were committed by individuals who were either born or raised in the UK.
  • London was the place of residence of 43% of IROs, followed by West Midlands, with 18%. Of the latter, 80% (14% overall) were in Birmingham. The third most common region was North West England, with 10% of IROs. Together these three regions contained the residences in almost three-quarters (72%) of cases. No other region contained 10% of residences.
  • Across both time periods, East London was home to half (50%) of London-based offenders, while the three most common boroughs — Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forest — contained the offenders’ residence in 38% of all Londoner IROs (and 16% overall).
  • Just over a quarter (26%) of individuals who committed IROs had some form of higher education. More than a third (36%) had studied for or achieved secondary level, further education or vocational qualifications, while in 38% of cases, attainment is unspecified.
  • Thirty-five percent of IROs were committed by individuals in employment; a further 12% were full-time students. Therefore, almost half (47%) of IROs were committed by those in either employment or education.
  • Thirty-eight percent of IROs were committed by individuals who were unemployed. Of these, almost one-quarter (24%, 9% overall) were in or had recently been released from detention or had recently left full-time education or returned from months-long foreign travel.
  • Sixteen percent of IROs were committed by individuals known to have converted to Islam. This is more than four times higher than the estimated proportion of converts among the Muslim population at the national level.
  • More than half (55%) of IROs were committed by individuals either living with family, such as with a partner and/or children (28%), or living at their family home, such as with parents and siblings (27%).
  • One in five IROs (21%) was committed by an individual whose living arrangements and family circumstances were additionally linked to terrorism or a terrorism investigation. In 55% of these cases, individuals were convicted alongside relatives and/or a partner or they were part of the same cell.
  • Female offenders were more than twice as likely as male offenders to be living with a partner, relative or individual who is also involved in terrorism (50% and 19% respectively).
  • Seventy-six percent of IROs were committed by individuals who were previously known to the authorities; 38% were committed by individuals with previous criminal convictions. More than a third (36%, 9% overall) of previous convictions were for extremism- or terrorism-related activities; almost half (46%, 12% overall) of individuals with prior convictions had previously received a prison sentence.
  • A total of 386 charges were successfully prosecuted in 264 convictions between 1998 and 2015. The most common offenses were preparation for acts of terrorism (27%) and possession/collection of information useful for terrorism (14%), followed by fundraising offenses (8%), dissemination of terrorist publications and conspiracy to murder (both 6%) as well as conspiracy to cause explosions and assisting offenders (both 5%).
  • More than two-thirds (69%) of IROs were secured under terrorism legislation; just over half (54%) of defendants pled guilty. 2011–2015 defendants pled guilty (64%) more often than 1998–2010 defendants (47%).
  • The most common sentence was between one year and four years (35%), followed by sentences of between four years and ten years (27%), between ten years and 20 years (15%), and life sentences (13%).
  • Of the 33 individuals with a life sentence, 30 attempted or planned to kill others, either in indiscriminate bomb attacks or targeted knife attacks, and received minimum terms ranging from 14 years to life.
  • Individuals who committed, attempted or were planning attacks were responsible for 37% of IROs. Among these offenses, bombing was the most commonly featured type of attack (74%). Proportionally, offenses involving beheadings or stabbings increased eleven-fold across the two time periods, from 4% between 1998 and 2010, to 44% between 2011 and 2015.
  • Individuals involved in facilitating acts of terrorism, either by fundraising or recruiting or by providing material goods or documentation, or ideologues who encouraged terrorist acts through incitement or by disseminating terrorist publications, were responsible for one-third (33%) of IROs.
  • Individuals who demonstrated an interest in terrorism, but whose plans were not advanced enough to pose an imminent threat were responsible for 18% of IROs.
  • Individuals whose offenses related to travel (attempted or planned) for terrorist purposes, namely to receive terrorist training or to engage in fighting overseas, were responsible for 12% of IROs. Travel-related IROs increased four-fold across the two time periods (from 5% to 21%).
  • Civilian targets were a feature in one-third (33%) of offenses. Infrastructure sectors and institutions, mostly transportation, were a feature in just under one-third (32%) of offenses.
  • Urban soft targets (areas into which large numbers of citizens regularly gather for usual activities or special events) were among the intended targets for attack in 31% of offenses. Military targets both overseas (including British or coalition forces) and at home (military bases and processions as well as soldiers) were a feature in almost a quarter (24%) of offenses.
  • A total of 117 IROs were committed by individuals directly linked to one or more proscribed terrorist organizations. Of these, 56% were directly linked to the UK-based group al-Muhajiroun (25% overall), 24% were linked to al-Qaeda (10% overall) and 11% were linked to Islamic State (5% overall).
  • One fifth (22%) of IROs were committed by individuals who were known or suspected to have attended training camps for terrorist purposes; the majority (78%) were not. Of those with training, most (78%) had trained at camps abroad, 19% had trained at UK-based camps, and in two cases (3%) the location was unspecified.

The report concludes:

“The threat to the UK remains from homegrown terrorism, and is heavily youth- and male-oriented with British nationals prevalent among offenders….

“While analysis of pre-offense behaviors shows that there is no one profile for engagement with Islamism-inspired terrorism, some trends can be identified. Offenders commonly consumed extremist and/or instructional material prior to, or as part of, their offending. Much of the pro-jihadist material accessed promotes ‘them and us’ thinking, dehumanization of the enemy, and attitudes that justify offending….

“Analysis of common sites of inspiration and facilitation appears to corroborate current counter-radicalization policy priorities such as restricting terrorist and violent extremist material on the internet, supporting at-risk sectors and empowering families to safeguard against extremism.”

On May 22, 2013, British soldier Lee Rigby (right, holding his son) was murdered outside London’s Woolwich Barracks by Islamists Michael Adebolajo (left) and Michael Adebowale, who are converts to Islam. Speaking into a camera just after the murder, Adebolajo said: “we swear by the almighty Allah, that we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone… You people will never be safe.”

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. Follow him onFacebook and on Twitter.

Finnish ISIS Convert Takes Aim at ‘Foolish’ Muslims Who Have Adapted to West

A mosque in Roihuvuori, Helsinki, seen on May 15, 2015. (The Visual Explorer/Shutterstock.com)

PJ MEDIA, BY BRIDGET JOHNSON, MARCH 7, 2017:

The new issue of ISIS’ Rumiyah magazine concentrates once again on Finnish recruits as a convert to Islam directs Muslims to fight against Muslims in their community who embrace democracy, run for public office or fight in the military.

A woman writing under the name Umm Khalid al-Finlandiyyah said in an issue of ISIS’ Dabiq magazine last year that she was drawn to Islam by living in “a ‘Christian’ nation where people do not strongly adhere to their corrupted religion.”

The Rumiyah issue, released today in English and several other languages, features another writer purportedly from Finland going by the name Umm Musa al-Finlandiyyah. “Umm” means “mother of,” indicating the writer is female.

She said that after converting in her home country she was aghast at “the lack of religious adherence by so-called ‘Muslims’ – those whom I had thought to be Muslims – who didn’t pray, possibly fasted during Ramadan, and whose extent of following the Shari’ah was restricted to the avoidance of eating pork.”

She added that “what is most dangerous” in Finland’s Muslim community “is that most of them don’t even know that there are actions that take people out of Islam, so many people think they are still Muslims, while in reality they have fallen into kufr [disbelief] and riddah [apostasy].”

“Many people think Islam is like a citizenship – once you get it, it remains with you until the end of your life. But Islam doesn’t work with the same principle. It has conditions by which one enters it and nullifiers by which can leave it – even without knowing it.”

The writer said “participating in government elections and voting in them, as well as military service, working as a lawyer, and criticizing the Shari’ah of Allah, are only a few of the many things which can nullify one’s Islam, and all of them are easy to perpetrate” living in non-Muslim countries.

The convert accused other Muslims of being “foolish” by criticizing ISIS when media began “spreading the news about the mass executions conducted by the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham.”

“The ignorant ‘Muslims’ are blaming the Islamic State for spreading fitnah [unrest] and ‘spoiling the jihad,’ though the only true jihad for Allah’s cause is what the Islamic State is actually conducting – for all of its enemies do nothing to support the establishment of Allah’s rule on earth,” she wrote.

She vowed that ISIS’ “fight against kufr and its supporters will continue on the true frontline,” without explicitly mentioning the terror group’s increasing loss of territory in Iraq and Syria.

“Anyone who denies that a so-called ‘Muslim’ Member of Parliament is a murtadd [apostate] kafir – as he has committed shirk with Allah in legislation – is himself a murtadd. And anyone who denies that a so-called ‘Muslim’ in the military service of the kuffar is a murtadd kafir – as he has supported the cause of taghut – is himself a murtadd,” she wrote. “And anyone who refuses to make takfir [excommunication] of those who consider the Shari’ah of Allah to be unsuitable for this era, or refuses to make takfir of those who are fighting to establish democracy, is himself a murtadd.”

In its 2015 year-end report, the Finnish Security Intelligence Service said “at least 70 adults and dozens of children” had traveled to the Islamic State. “This jihadist travel concerns even a much larger group of people in Finland, if the sphere of influence of those having remained in the conflict zone for a long time is taken into account,” the report added.

“The conflict will continue to affect Finland’s security for a long time. A new generation of Jihadists, among them also Finnish nationals, is growing up on the areas controlled by terrorist organisations in Syria and Iraq. Due to terrorist fighters originating from Finland, also foreign radical Islamists know Finland better than before.”

A November study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that “Finland has the largest number of ISIS foreign fighters relative to the size of its Muslim population, followed by Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, and Austria,” and “inequality and poverty are unlikely to be root causes of recruits joining ISIS” as Finland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

***

Jihadology: Click the following link for a safe PDF copy: Rome Magazine #7

HOLTON: Why Is Louisiana’s Media Attacking Efforts To Aid Law Enforcement In Keeping Us Safe Against Terrorism?

The Hayride, by Christopher Holton, March 6, 2017:

In case you haven’t noticed, the global jihadist insurgency has entered a new, more dangerous phase in the past two years.

The number of jihadis and the number of attacks that they have carried out–as well as the number of casualties they have inflicted and the number of countries they operate in–has grown drastically.

The excellent, private IntelCenter organization estimates that the Islamic State has killed 18,000 people in 28 countries since they declared their Caliphate on 29 June 2014.

This includes individual acts of jihad carried out in this country in places like Orlando, Chattanooga, Boston, Garland, San Bernardino, Queens and Philadelphia.

There is no reason to believe that this trend won’t continue. The effort to take down the caliphate was half-hearted at best because it simply wasn’t something President Obama was interested in. He apparently felt that the killing of Osama Bin Laden should have been enough. Never mind that the world has become awash in jihad since then.

Because of the complete lack of leadership on this vital issue, our federal bureaucratized counterterrorism apparatus has not even allowed to study Islamic threat doctrine–the very doctrine that the Islamic State cites repeatedly.

Time and time again we find that the warning signs of the jihadi attackers were missed. We were warned about the Tsarnaev brothers (the Boston bombers) repeatedly by the Russians and the FBI knew that their mosque was founded by a convicted Al Qaeda member, yet they were still able to carry out their attack.

There were warning signs about the San Bernardino jihadis as well. The female, Tafsheen Malik, used a fake address to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. She also gained entry into the U.S. under the horribly flawed federal “Visa Express” program that allowed applicants to bypass the interview in the screening process.

Moreover, DHS whistleblower Phillip Haney has testified before Congress and written in his new book, See Something, Say Nothing, that he had been ordered to cease investigations into Tablighi Jamaat, the notorious Islamist organization that had ties to the San Bernardino mosque.

Then there is the case of Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, who was twice interviewed by the FBI because he was on the contact list for an American Islamikaze bomber in Syria and because he made “incendiary” remarks to co-workers about jihad. Oh, and his Dad posted pro-Taliban online videos too. He was given the “all-clear,” only to end up massacring 49 innocent Americans.

What all this points to is the vital need for state and local law enforcement to take the lead against jihad inside this country. I promise you, the NYPD does not wait for the FBI to vet suspected terrorists. Other state and local agencies around the country need to take the same approach, albeit with resources that can’t match the NYPD, which is probably the most effective counterterrorism law enforcement organization anywhere in the world.

The fact is, the Feds are unaccountable. They can’t follow up all the leads they have now and very often have a lack of knowledge as to what or who they are dealing with. I have a hunch that the FBI agents who interviewed Omar Mateen probably thought he was creepy at best, but they had nothing to charge him with and they had to go about their business. Complicating matters even more is the fact that both the FBI and DHS have been forbidden from tying Islam to terrorism. That restriction right there makes them ineffective at conducting counterintelligence operations.

State and local cops are not unaccountable. They have deep roots in their communities. If an Omar Mateen is in someone’s precinct and they know he is a known associate of an Islamikaze bomber and made threatening statements about terrorism, they will keep an eye on him way past the initial interview. There won’t be much more important in that precinct once an Omar Mateen comes to the local cops’ attention.

Furthermore, state and local police are not under any restriction to refrain from studying the enemy threat doctrine. If the local sheriff or police chief is bold enough, he will mandate that his intelligence and investigative people get educated about the threat in an objective, unbiased manner–allowing the subject matter to take them where it leads them, rather than starting from the position that there is no connection between Islam and terrorism.

State and local police are now at the tip of the spear in this war. 15 years ago America sent soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines overseas to protect us all from jihad. Today, local law enforcement is being tasked with protecting soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines from Jihad inside our own country. This is a profound shift in this war that has been lost on the overwhelming majority of the American people.

In Garland, Texas, it was a 62-year old motorcycle cop who gunned down the two jihadi attackers who were wielding AK47s.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, it was the local police who gunned down Mohammad Abdulazeez.

In Boston, it was Boston PD who ran down the Tsarnaev brothers.

In Queens, New York, it was rookie patrolmen who were targeted by and gunned down Zale Thompson.

The San Bernardino shooters were killed by members of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department.

In Philadelphia, it was a police officer sitting in his patrol car that was targeted by Edward Archer in the name of ISIS.

And, of course, we know that it was the Orlando Police Department who responded to Omar Mateen’s massacre.

By the time DHS and FBI show up, they have to ask permission to cross the crime scene tape. In Marine Corps parlance, by the time the Feds get involved, it’s “right of bang.”

State and local police need to prepare to operate against jihadis “left of bang,” and that means taking their own initiative and not depending solely on our bureaucratized, federal counterterrorism apparatus for training or intelligence about potential bad guys in their jurisdictions.

Fortunately, increasingly, local sheriffs departments around the country have recognized the threat from jihad and have taken the initiative in training their personnel in the strategy and tactics needed to prepare, including studying the enemy threat doctrine as our jihadist enemies themselves teach it.

One such curriculum of training is from an organization called Understanding the Threat (UTT). The leader of this organization is former FBI agent and Force Recon Marine officer John Guandolo. There is no one in America more qualified to conduct training on the threat from jihad than this organization. Mr. Guandolo was decorated by the FBI for establishing the original training program for the Bureau on the Global Islamic Movement, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. Guandolo’s colleague, Chris Gaubatz, is the only known operative to have conducted counterintelligence of HAMAS, when he interned for the Council on American Islamic Relations. That operation is detailed in Paul Sperry’s book, Muslim Mafia.

Recently, UTT has conducted training for several departments and agencies in Louisiana. Their program has come under fire from two out of state organizations with questionable ties and a record of nefarious activity. Louisiana’s media, including the Times-Picayune’s J.R. Ball at the link just above, have repeated the attacks of those organizations.

The first organization is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC). At one time the SPLC may have served a useful purpose, but those times have long since passed. Today, the SPLC uses the term “hate” to silence and intimidate those with whom it disagrees politically.  The SPLC’s abuses of the term “hate” became so bad that in 2014, during the Obama administration, the FBI quit using the SPLC as a hate crimes resource.

The SPLC’s fast and loose use of the term and its blacklisting of those whom it disagrees with has even contributed indirectly to violence when Floyd Lee Corkins attacked the Family Research Council’s headquarters after viewing the SPLC’s irresponsible list of “hate groups.” Corkins shot and wounded a security guard during his attack.

The fact that the media regurgitates SPLC statements and data without question demonstrates the degree to which our free press has become corrupted by ideologues who no longer act as responsible journalists to report the news, but work as advocates for certain viewpoints.

The other organization that has raised objections to UTT’s training program in Louisiana is the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a wing of the notorious Muslim Brotherhood here in the United States.

Michael Kunzelman of the Associated Press actually referred to CAIR as a “civil rights group,” again demonstrating the degree to which the media have been infected with corruption.

CAIR’s statement on the training actually included chilling code language used internationally by Islamist organizations to silence free speech. CAIR referred to John Guanadolo as an “Islamophobe.”

The term Islamophobe was made up by the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), a Muslim Brotherhood organizationwhose founding board included Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual guide for the Muslim Brotherhood for decades.  Qaradawi is also infamous for having been banned from travel to the US, the UK and France for his ties to terror. Moreover, he is particularly notorious for having, as a renowned Shariah scholar, instructed Muslim men on how they are to properly beat their wives and endorsed the barbaric, Shariah practice of female circumcision (known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

IIIT coined the term Islamophobe with the express purpose of silencing critics of the Global Islamic Movement and to label enemies.

For CAIR to label someone as an Islamophobe is not to be dismissed or taken likely, especially given CAIR’s nefarious activities and those of its members, employees and directors:

  • The FBI suspended all formal contacts with CAIR due to evidence demonstrating a relationship between CAIR and HAMAS, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.
  • In the U.S. v the Holy Land Foundation, the largest successful terrorism financing prosecution in U.S. history, CAIR was identified as a Muslim Brotherhood front group and was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial.
  • CAIR opened its first office in Washington, D.C. with the help of a grant from the Holy Land Foundation., a charitable organization that was shut down by the US Treasury Department for funding Jihadist terrorist organizations.
  • In 2014, US ally the United Arab Emirates officially designated CAIR as a terrorist organization.
  • In March 2011, Muthanna al-Hanooti, one of CAIR’s directors, was sentenced to a year in federal prison for violating U.S. sanctions against Saddam’s Iraq.
  • In 2006, the co-founder of CAIR’s parent organization, IAP (Islamic Association for Palestine), Sami Al-Arian, was sentenced to 57 months in prison on terrorism charges for financing Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a designated terrorist organization according to the US State Department.
  • In 2004, CAIR-Northern Virginia director Abdurahman Alamoudi pled guilty to terrorism-related financial and conspiracy charges, which resulted in a 23-year federal prison sentence. Alamoudi was a major financier for Al Qaeda. It’s was John Guandolo’s team that took down Alamoudi.
  • In 2009, Ghassan Elashi, who served as a founding board member for CAIR’s regional chapter in Texas, was sentenced to a total of 65 years in prison after being convicted of 10 counts of conspiracy to provide, and the provision of, material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization; 11 counts of conspiracy to provide, and the provision of, funds, goods and services to a Specially Designated Terrorist; 10 counts of conspiracy to commit, and the commission of, money laundering; one count of conspiracy to impede and impair the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); and two counts of filing a false tax return.
  • Randall Todd (Ismail) Royer, who served as a communications specialist and civil rights coordinator for CAIR, trained with and set up an internet-based newsletter for Lashkar-I-Taiba, an al Qaeda-tied Kashmir organization that is listed on the State Department’s international terror list and was also indicted on charges of conspiring to help al Qaeda and the Taliban battle American troops in Afghanistan and was sentenced to twenty years in prison on April 9, 2004.
  • In September 2003, CAIR’s former Community Affairs Director, Bassem Khafagi, pled guilty to three federal counts of bank and visa fraud and agreed to be deported to Egypt after he had funneled money to activities supporting terrorism and had published material advocating suicide attacks against the United States, illegal activities which took place while he was employed by CAIR.
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan CAIR fundraiser Rabih Haddad was arrested on terrorism-related charges and was deported from the United States due to his work as Executive Director of the Global Relief Foundation, which in October 2002 was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department for financing al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

For most citizens of Louisiana, we can be thankful that Understanding the Threat is training our law enforcement heroes about this threat.

Vets say they were duped into helping Saudi Arabia dodge payouts to 9/11 victims

Former US Marine Sgt. Timothy Cord Kim Raff

Former US Marine Sgt. Timothy Cord Kim Raff

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, March 5, 2017:

Agents of the Saudi Arabian government are using US veterans as pawns in a scheme to gut a new law clearing a path for 9/11 families to sue the kingdom for its alleged role in the attacks, several vets complained in interviews with The Post.

“I joined the Marine Corps as a direct result of 9/11, so to be wined and dined by the very people I joined to fight against, that was sickening,” said Timothy Cord, who served as a Marine sergeant in Iraq.

Vets say the Saudi scam involves soliciting them to go on all-expenses-paid trips to Washington — including lodging at the posh new Trump hotel near the White House — to help pressure lawmakers into amending the recently passed bill, Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

Trip organizers Qorvis MSLGROUP, however, are allegedly failing to disclose to participants that the Saudi government is funding the trips through some 75 paid foreign agents it’s hired across the US to oppose the law, which passed unanimously in September.

Vets complain they’re not only being misled but openly lied to. During one recent trip, an organizer denied any “Saudi involvement” in sponsoring the trip, even though federal filings show the organizer has a $100,000 contract with the Saudis and is a registered foreign agent for the kingdom.

In their recruiting pitch to vets, the Saudi lobbyists, who pose as veteran advocates, claim that JASTA exposes them as well as “150,000 [US] military personnel stationed in over 150 countries” to “retaliatory lawsuits” in foreign courts — even though international law experts note that JASTA deals only with the immunity of foreign states, and poses little if any risk to individuals.

Vets felt shock and anger when they found out they were duped into doing “the Saudis’ dirty work,” as one put it.

Thomas J. Hermesman, who was deployed in Afghanistan as a Marine sergeant, joined the Jan. 23-26 trip to Washington flown out of Durango, Colo.,with nearly 50 other vets. “The organizers were definitely keeping stuff from us,” Hermesman said. “We didn’t get the full story. It was pretty shady.”

He said organizers told the vets if they ever traveled again in Iraq or Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, they could be stopped at a checkpoint and taken into custody as a terrorist thanks to JASTA.

A briefing paper for the DC meetings drew some suspicion. In tiny print at the bottom of the second page, it reads: “This is distributed by Qorvis MSLGROUP on behalf of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.”

Former Sgt. Cord said the trip leader, Jason E. Johns, shot down any concerns about Mideast sponsorship as soon as the vets arrived in DC. “He stood up the first night to announce that ‘there are rumors going around about Saudi involvement, and they absolutely aren’t [involved].’ ”

Johns’ bio describes him as president of No Man Left Behind Veterans Advocacy Group. But federal records also list him as a registered Saudi agent making $100,000 to mobilize vets to lobby against JASTA. The primary registrant on his disclosure form is Qorvis MSLGROUP, the Saudi government’s top PR firm in Washington.

“It really pisses me off that vets are being lied to by other vets that are in the Saudis’ pocketbook,” said Cord, who says he wants to alert others in the veteran community that they’re being targeted and set up by the Saudi government. Johns did not respond to requests for comment.

Cord calls the trips to Washington a form of bribery. All travel expenses were covered for his group’s four-day trip — including airfare and taxis, as well as meals and rooms at the $560-a-night Trump International Hotel, where the vets were welcomed with a “reception in The Patton Room.” Even “complimentary drinks will be provided,” the itinerary states.

In exchange, it says, vets were expected to storm Congress and “make members fully aware that veterans have serious concerns regarding JASTA and convince them that JASTA needs to be amended.”

Marine Sgt. David Casler, who was flown in from Sacramento, says a prime target was the House Armed Services Committee. Casler says he and the other vets were warmly received by lawmakers and their staff, some of whom expressed an interest in “fixing” JASTA. “Who is going to turn down a vet?”

President Trump, who strongly supported JASTA during his campaign, would have to sign any amendments into the law.

The head of Qorvis denies he or his Arab client are trying to hide anything from vets they’re recruiting. “My understanding is everything is fully above board and everyone is fully informed of the issues,” Qorvis Managing Director Michael Petruzzello said.

JASTA has cleared a path for two large lawsuits against the Saudi government that could end up in millions of dollars in Saudi assets being seized in a court settlement. The suits will be aided by the recent release of the classified “28 pages” documenting Saudi government officials’ funding and other support for the Saudi hijackers. Saudi Embassy spokesman Nail Al-Jubeir did not return calls seeking comment.

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

The future of counterterrorism: Addressing the evolving threat to domestic security

joscelynLONG WAR JOURNAL, BY THOMAS JOSCELYN | February 28, 2017 | tjoscelyn@gmail.com | @thomasjoscelyn

Editor’s note: Below is Thomas Joscelyn’s testimony to the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee Counterterrorism and Intelligence, on the future of counterterrorism and addressing the evolving threat to domestic security.

Chairman King, Ranking Member Rice, and other members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today. The terrorist threat has evolved greatly since the September 11, 2001 hijackings. The U.S. arguably faces a more diverse set of threats today than ever. In my written and oral testimony, I intend to highlight both the scope of these threats, as well as some of what I think are the underappreciated risks.

My key points are as follows:

– The U.S. military and intelligence services have waged a prolific counterterrorism campaign to suppress threats to America. It is often argued that because no large-scale plot has been successful in the U.S. since 9/11 that the risk of such an attack is overblown. This argument ignores the fact that numerous plots, in various stages of development, have been thwarted since 2001. Meanwhile, Europe has been hit with larger-scale operations. In addition, the U.S. and its allies frequently target jihadists who are suspected of plotting against the West. America’s counterterrorism strategy is mainly intended to disrupt potentially significant operations that are in the pipeline.

-Over the past several years, the U.S. military and intelligence agencies claim to have struck numerous Islamic State (or ISIS) and al Qaeda “external operatives” in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere. These so-called “external operatives” are involved in anti-Western plotting. Had they not been targeted, it is likely that at least some of their plans would have come to fruition. Importantly, it is likely that many “external operatives” remain in the game, and are still laying the groundwork for attacks in the U.S. and the West.

-In addition, the Islamic State and al Qaeda continue to adapt new messages in an attempt to inspire attacks abroad. U.S. law enforcement has been forced to spend significant resources to stop “inspired” plots. As we all know, some of them have not been thwarted. The Islamic State’s caliphate declaration in 2014 heightened the threat of inspired attacks, as would-be jihadists were lured to the false promises of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s cause.

-The Islamic State also developed a system for “remote-controlling” attacks in the West and elsewhere. This system relies on digital operatives who connect with aspiring jihadis via social media applications. The Islamic State has had more success with these types of small-scale operations in Europe. But as I explain in my written testimony, the FBI has uncovered a string of plots inside the U.S. involving these same virtual planners.

-The refugee crisis is predominately a humanitarian concern. The Islamic State has used migrant and refugee flows to infiltrate terrorists into Europe. Both the Islamic State and al Qaeda could seek to do the same with respect to the U.S., however, they have other means for sneaking jihadists into the country as well. While some terrorists have slipped into the West alongside refugees, the U.S. should remain focused on identifying specific threats.

-More than 15 years after 9/11, al Qaeda remains poorly understood. Most of al Qaeda’s resources are devoted to waging insurgencies in several countries. But as al Qaeda’s insurgency footprint has spread, so has the organization’s capacity for plotting against the West. On 9/11, al Qaeda’s anti-Western plotting was primarily confined to Afghanistan, with logistical support networks in Pakistan, Iran, and other countries. Testifying before the Senate in February 2016, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper warned that the al Qaeda threat to the West now emanates from multiple countries. Clapper testified that al Qaeda “nodes in Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey” are “dedicating resources to planning attacks.” To this list we can add Yemen. And jihadists from Africa have been involved in anti-Western plotting as well. Incredibly, al Qaeda is still plotting against the U.S. from Afghanistan.

Both the Islamic State and al Qaeda continue to seek ways to inspire terrorism inside the U.S. and they are using both new and old messages in pursuit of this goal.

The jihadists have long sought to inspire individuals or small groups of people to commit acts of terrorism for their cause. Individual terrorists are often described as “lone wolves,” but that term is misleading. If a person is acting in the name of a global, ideological cause, then he or she cannot be considered a “lone wolf,” even if the individual in question has zero contact with others. In fact, single attackers often express their support for the jihadists’ cause in ways that show the clear influence of propaganda.

Indeed, al Qaeda and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) first began to aggressively market the idea of “individual” or “lone” operations years ago. AQAP’s Inspire magazine is intended to provide would-be jihadists with everything they could need to commit an attack without professional training or contact. Anwar al Awlaki, an AQAP ideologue who was fluent in English, was an especially effective advocate for these types of plots. Despite the fact that Awlaki was killed in a U.S. airstrike in September 2011, his teachings remain widely available on the internet.

The Islamic State capitalized on the groundwork laid by Awlaki and AQAP. In fact, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s operation took these ideas and aggressively marketed them with an added incentive. Al Qaeda has told its followers that it wants to eventually resurrect an Islamic caliphate. Beginning in mid-2014, the Islamic State began to tell its followers that it had already done so in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. Baghdadi’s so-called caliphate has also instructed followers that it would be better for them to strike inside their home countries in the West, rather than migrate abroad for jihad. The Islamic State has consistently marketed this message.

In May 2016, for instance, Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al Adnani told followers that if foreign governments “have shut the door of hijrah [migration] in your faces,” then they should “open the door of jihad in theirs,” meaning in the West. “Make your deed a source of their regret,” Adnani continued. “Truly, the smallest act you do in their lands is more beloved to us than the biggest act done here; it is more effective for us and more harmful to them.”

“If one of you wishes and strives to reach the lands of the Islamic State,” Adnani told his audience, “then each of us wishes to be in your place to make examples of the crusaders, day and night, scaring them and terrorizing them, until every neighbor fears his neighbor.” Adnani told jihadists that they should “not make light of throwing a stone at a crusader in his land,” nor should they “underestimate any deed, as its consequences are great for the mujahidin and its effect is noxious to the disbelievers.”

The Islamic State continued to push this message after Adnani’s death in August 2016.

In at least several cases, we have seen individual jihadists who were first influenced by Awlaki and AQAP gravitate to the Islamic State’s cause. Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife were responsible for the December 2, 2015 San Bernardino massacre. They pledged allegiance to Baghdadi on social media, but Farook had drawn inspiration from Awlaki and AQAP’s Inspire years earlier.

Omar Mateen swore allegiance to Baghdadi repeatedly on the night of his assault on a LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida. However, a Muslim who knew Mateen previously reported to the FBI that Mateen was going down the extremist path. He told the FBI in 2014 that Mateen was watching Awlaki’s videos. It was not until approximately two years later, in early June 2016, that Mateen killed 49 people and wounded dozens more in the name of the supposed caliphate.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, the man who allegedly planted bombs throughout New York and New Jersey in September 2016, left behind a notebook. In it, Rahami mentioned Osama bin Laden, “guidance” from Awlaki, an also referenced Islamic State spokesman Adnani. Federal prosecutors wrote in the complaint that Rahami specifically wrote about “the instructions of terrorist leaders that, if travel is infeasible, to attack nonbelievers where they live.” This was Adnani’s key message, and remains a theme in Islamic State propaganda.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has alleged that other individuals who sought to support the Islamic State were first exposed to Awlaki’s teachings as well.

These cases demonstrate that the jihadis have developed a well of ideas from which individual adherents can draw, but it may take years for them to act on these beliefs, if they ever act on them at all. There is no question that the Islamic State has had greater success of late in influencing people to act in its name. But al Qaeda continues to produce recruiting materials and to experiment with new concepts for individual attacks as well.

Al Qaeda and its branches have recently called for revenge for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who died in a U.S. prison earlier this month. Rahman was convicted by a U.S. court for his involvement in plots against New York City landmarks in the mid-1990s. Since then, al Qaeda has used Rahman’s “will” to prophesize his death and to proactively blame the U.S. for it. Approximately 20 years after al Qaeda first started pushing this theme, Rahman finally died. Al Qaeda’s continued use of Rahman’s prediction, which is really just jihadist propaganda, demonstrates how these groups can use the same concepts for years, whether or not the facts are consistent with their messaging. Al Qaeda also recently published a kidnapping guide based on old lectures by Saif al Adel, a senior figure in the group. Al Adel may or may not be currently in Syria. Al Qaeda is using his lectures on kidnappings and hostage operations as a way to potentially teach others how to carry them out. The guide was published in both Arabic and English, meaning that al Qaeda seeks an audience in the West for al Adel’s designs.

Both the Islamic State and AQAP also continue to produce English-language magazines for online audiences. The 15th issue of Inspire, which was released last year, provided instructions for carrying out “professional assassinations.” AQAP has been creating lists of high-profile targets in the U.S. and elsewhere that they hope supporters will use in selecting potential victims. AQAP’s idea is to maximize the impact of “lone” attacks by focusing on wealthy businessmen or other well-known individuals. AQAP has advocated for, and praised, indiscriminate attacks as well. But the group has critiqued some attacks (such as the Orlando massacre at a LGBT nightclub) for supposedly muddying the jihadists’ message. AQAP is trying to lay the groundwork for more targeted operations. For example, the January 2015 assault on Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris was set in motion by al Qaeda and AQAP. Inspire even specifically identified the intended victims beforehand. Al Qaeda would like individual actors, with no foreign ties, to emulate such precise hits.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State has lowered the bar for what is considered a successful attack, pushing people to use cars, knives, or whatever weapons they can get in their hands. The Islamic State claimed that both the September 2016 mall stabbings in Minnesota and the vehicular assault at Ohio State University in November 2016 were the work of its “soldiers.” It may be the case that there were no digital ties between these attackers and the Islamic State. However, there is often more to the story of how the Islamic State guides such small-scale operations.

The Islamic State has sought to carry out attacks inside the U.S. via “remote-controlled” terrorists.

A series of attacks in Europe and elsewhere around the globe have been carried out by jihadists who were in contact, via social media applications, with Islamic State handlers in Syria and Iraq. The so-called caliphate’s members have been able to remotely guide willing recruits through small-scale plots that did not require much sophistication. These plots targeted victims in France, Germany, Russia, and other countries. In some cases, terrorists have received virtual support right up until the moment of their attack. The Islamic State has had more success orchestrating “remote-controlled” plots in Europe, but the jihadist group has also tried to carry out similar plots inside the U.S.

Read more

***

Homeland Security Committee:

Multiple terrorist networks actively plot attacks against the United States, and American interests, or encourage adherents to conduct inspired attacks inside the U.S Homeland without specific direction. Though significant progress has been made in improving American counterterrorism efforts since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, challenges persist. Over the last several years, the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence (CT&I) has continually worked to identify and address these weaknesses and improve U.S. domestic security. This hearing provides an opportunity to examine the continued evolution of the terrorist threat and review recommendations for improvement from national security experts.

OPENING STATEMENTS

Rep. Pete King (R-NY), Subcommittee Chairman
Opening Statement

WITNESSES

Mr. Edward F. Davis
Chief Executive Officer
Edward Davis, LLC
Witness Testimony

Mr. Thomas Joscelyn
Senior Fellow
The Foundation for the Defense of Democracy
Witness Testimony

Mr. Robin Simcox
Margaret Thatcher Fellow
Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom
Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy
The Heritage Foundation
Witness Testimony

Mr. Peter Bergen
Vice President, Director
International Security and Fellows Programs
New American
Witness Testimony

Arrogant filmmaker snags Oscar, rips America from inside brutal Iranian theocracy

Flickr

Flickr

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, Feb. 27, 2017:

Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director of “The Salesman,” ripped into America after receiving the Oscar for best foreign language film Sunday night. In effect, he provided propaganda for — and covered up the atrocities committed by — the regime controlling his country.

Farhadi decided to boycott the 89th Academy Awards in protest of President Donald Trump’s recent travel ban on seven terror-tied countries. Instead of attending, he had female Iranian-American Anousheh Ansari — who would have been forced to wear a head covering while delivering the speech in Iran (or jailed and/or beaten for disobeying Iran’s Islamic penal code for women) — read his anti-American screed.

“I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those from other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.,” Farhadi’s statement said. “Dividing the world into ‘the us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war.”

A curious statement to make, since Asghar Farhadi’s homeland happens to be the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism. The theocratic regime ruling his country aids and arms several international terrorist organizations, and has helped attempt the overthrow of sovereign countries. And speaking of “dividing the world,” hardliners in Farhadi’s Iran have declared the United States “the Great Satan.” Moreover, Iranian officials lead weekly “Death to America” chants after Friday prayers.

Despite the director’s outrage over President Trump, noticeably absent in his statement was a critique or recognition of his own government’s continuous violations of basic human rights. “These wars prevent democracy in human rights in countries which have themselves been the victims of aggression,” Farhadi said in his lecture to America.

With respect to “preventing democracy,” Iran has provided critical support in propping up the brutal Assad regime in Syria, which has been responsible for the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of deaths in the Syrian civil war. The Iranian regime also provides support for the Houthi Shiite jihadists in Yemen, who have been responsible for untold deaths.

“Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever,” the Oscar statement concludes.

Actually, in Iran, filmmakers cannot simply “turn their cameras” wherever they want. There is zero free media in the country and all outlets are subject to government censorship.

The Iranian filmmaker put his arrogance and hypocrisy on display for the world to see Sunday night. In doing so, he indirectly propped up a truly evil regime that has the fundamental goal of exporting Islamic totalitarianism worldwide.

If Asghar Farhadi really wants to see real change and prevent human atrocity, he should look inward at the gross and endless atrocities committed by the Iranian regime that he lives under.