Archive for the ‘Islamist terrorists’ category

Illogically Choosing Friends & Allies in This War

September 25, 2017

Illogically Choosing Friends & Allies in This War, Understanding the Threat, September 25, 2017

If the Bonnano crime family (mafia) initiated a turf war against the Gambino family in New York, does that mean the Gambino crime family is a friend to the New York Police Department?

If the Islamic State publicly condemns the Muslim Brotherhood, does that mean the Muslim Brotherhood is a “friend” of the United States?

In today’s illogical world, the answer seems to be yes to both these questions when you ask senior U.S. government officials.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s objective from its inception until today is to wage jihad to establish an Islamic State (caliphate) encompassing the entire world.  This is the same objective as Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and all other jihadi groups across the globe.

Last spring the Islamic State called the Muslim Brotherhood out for being apostates.

Why would the Islamic State, many of whose members are Muslim Brothers, do such a thing?

Remember, this is much more a counterintelligence and espionage war than it is merely “terrorism,” and our enemy is primarily engaging us in the information battlespace – propaganda and the like.

Deception is key to how they fight and how they win this war.  And they plan on winning.

When Islamic leaders and groups come against each other, it is over matters of sharia or power.

When the Islamic State calls out the Muslim Brotherhood as “apostates,” the antenna of savvy UTT followers should go up.

At the same time President Trump was moving to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), the Islamic State declares the MB “apostates.”  The MB then turns around and uses this to prove they are “moderate” to draw American politicians closer to them.

This “contrast” between the barbarity of the Islamic State and the suit-wearing jihadis of the Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Hamas doing business as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Students Association (MSA), Muslim Advocates, and all the others, is exactly what the Islamic Movement is after.

Our enemies use this contrast to appear more “moderate” to give the impression we can work with them. The problem is, our leaders in government, law enforcement, intelligence, and religious communities are falling for it.

Never forget, they all want the same objective and – per Islamic Law (sharia) – are obliged to lie in pursuit of this objective.

I discuss Pres. Trump’s address on U.S. strategy against ISIS | AIFD

August 23, 2017

I discuss Pres. Trump’s address on U.S. strategy against ISIS | AIFD via YouTube, August 22, 2017

(But according to McMaster, Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. Please see also, In Egypt, Clashes Between The Institution Of The Presidency And The Institution Of Al-Azhar. — DM)

France: Macron, President of the Elites and Islamists

May 26, 2017

France: Macron, President of the Elites and Islamists, Gatestone InstituteGuy Millière, May 26, 2017

“Today, Muslims of France are poorly treated … Tomorrow, a new structure will make it possible to relaunch the work sites of the Muslim religion in France: the construction and the improvement of worthy places of worship will take place where their presence is necessary, and the training of imams of France will be organized.”

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French President Emmanuel Macron can only be described as close to the business world if one understands how things work in France. The French economy is a mixed system where it is almost impossible to succeed financially without having close relations with political leaders who can grant favors and subsidies, and either authorize, prohibit or facilitate contracts or hinder them. Macron is not supposed to bring any new impetus to business, but to ensure and consolidate the power of those who placed him where he is.

A deliberate side-effect of Macron’s policies will be population change. Macron wants Islam to have more room in France. Like many European leaders, Emmanuel Macron seems convinced that the remedy for the demographic deficit and the aging of ethnic European populations is more immigration.

The French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood published an official communiqué, saying: “Muslims think that the new President of the Republic will allow the reconciliation of France with itself and will allow us to go farther, together.”

Emmanuel Macron — whose victory in the French presidential election on May 7, 2017 was declared decisive — was presented as a centrist, a newcomer in politics with strong ties to the business world, and a man who could bring a new impetus to a stagnant country.

The reality, however, is quite different.

His victory was actually not “decisive”. Although he received a high percentage of the votes cast (66%), the number of voters who cast a blank ballot or decided to abstain was the highest ever in a French presidential election.

Although his opponent, Marine Le Pen, tried to dissociate herself from the anti-Semitism of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, she was treated as a walking horror by almost all politicians and journalists during the entire campaign. That she nevertheless drew 34% of the votes was a sign of the depth of the anger and frustration that has been engulfing the French people. More than half of those who chose Macron were apparently voting against Marine Le Pen, rather than for Macron.

Macron, who won by default, suffers from a deep lack of legitimacy. He was elected because he was the last man standing, and because the moderate right’s candidate, François Fillon, was sabotaged by a demolition operation carried out by the media and by a political use of justice. Significantly, the legal prosecution of Fillon stopped immediately after he was defeated.

Macron is not a centrist: he was discreetly supported throughout the campaign by most of the Socialist Party’s leaders and by the outgoing Socialist President, François Hollande. The day after the election, during a V-E Day ceremony, Hollande could not hide his joy. A few days later, on May 14, when he handed the office of the president over to Macron, Hollande said that what was happening was not an “alternative” but a “continuity”. All Macron’s team-members were socialists or leftists. Macron’s leading political strategist, Ismael Emelien, had worked for the campaign that led to the election of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

Macron’s entire program is socialist. Proposals for additional public expenditures abound. “Climate change” is defined as “the key issue for the future of the world”. The proposed changes to the Labor Code and the tax system are largely cosmetic and seem intended more to give an illusion of change than to bring about real change. While Macron does not reject a market economy, he thinks that it must be placed at the service of “social justice”, and that the government’s role is to “guide”, to “protect”, “to help” — not to guarantee freedom to choose. Significantly, the economists who participated in the elaboration of Macron’s program are those who had drawn up Hollande’s economic program in 2012.

Even if he is young, Macron is not a newcomer to politics and does not embody renewal. He not only worked with Hollande for five years, but those who shaped his political ascent have long careers behind them: Jacques Attali was President François Mitterand’s adviser in the 1980s ; Alain Minc worked with all French Presidents since Valery Giscard d’Estaing was elected in 1974, and Jean-Pierre Jouyet was the cabinet director for Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in the late 1990s. Just after the election, three documentaries were broadcast on French television explaining in detail how Macron’s campaign was organized. Macron is the pure product of what analysts described as the “French nomenklatura” — an arrogant élite, composed of senior officials, political power-holders and the businessmen working in close collaboration with them.

Macron can only be described as close to the business world if one understands how things work in France. The French economy is a mixed system where it is almost impossible to succeed financially without having close relations with political leaders who can grant favors and subsidies, and either authorize, prohibit or facilitate contracts or hinder them.

During the years he spent at Hollande’s side, Macron helped various French businessmen. They thanked him by massively contributing to his campaign. It would be surprising if they do not expect a “return on investment”. The operation that allowed Macron’s election could be described in business language as a takeover. Almost all French private media outlets belong to those who supported Macron and were part of the takeover.

Macron is not supposed to bring any new impetus to business, but to ensure and consolidate the power of those who placed him where he is. Their goal is to create a large, single, center-left, technocratic political party that will crush the old political parties and that will be installed in a position of hegemony. The party’s slogan, “En Marche!” (“On the Move!”), was established to go forward in that direction; the old political parties have been almost destroyed. The official Socialist Party is dying. The main center-right party, The Republicans, is in disarray. One of its leaders, Edouard Philippe, was appointed Macron’s Prime Minister. Another, Bruno Le Maire, is now Finance and Economy minister: he will have to apply quite a different policy from those defined by his original party. The rightist National Front and the radical left will be treated as receptacles of anger: everything will be done so that they stay marginalized.

Another goal is to entrust ever more power to the technocratic unaccountable, untransparent and undemocratic institutions of the European Union: it is a goal Emmanuel Macron never stopped emphasizing. On May 7, as soon as the election result was known, the leaders of the European Union showed their enthusiasm. The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, spoke of “a signal of hope for Europe”. On May 15, immediately after the inauguration, Macron went to Berlin, met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and said that he hoped for a rapid “strengthening of the Union”. Macron says he wants the creation of an EU Ministry of Finance, whose decisions would have binding force for all member states.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel chat in Berlin on May 15, 2017. (Photo by Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)

A deliberate side-effect of Macron’s policies will be population change. Like many European leaders, Emmanuel Macron seems convinced that the remedy for the demographic deficit and the aging of ethnic European populations is more immigration. On September 6, 2015, he stated that “immigration is an opportunity for all of us”. On February 12, 2017, he said, “I will propose to the Algerian government the creation of a Franco-Algerian Bureau of Youth, to encourage mobility between the two shores of the Mediterranean”. A few weeks later, he declared that “the duty of Europe is to offer asylum to all those who seek its protection” and that “France must take its fair share of refugees”.

Almost all refugees arriving in France are Muslims. France already has the greatest percentage of Muslims in Europe. Macron wants Islam to have more room in France. His position concerning other religions is not known. His position on Islam is clear:

“Today, Muslims of France are poorly treated … Tomorrow, a new structure will make it possible to relaunch the work sites of the Muslim religion in France: the construction and the improvement of worthy places of worship will take place where their presence is necessary, and the training of imams of France will be organized.”

The French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood congratulated Macron on on his victory. It published an official communiqué saying: “Muslims think that the new President of the Republic will allow the reconciliation of France with itself and will allow us to go farther, together.”

Macron’s prime minister, Edouard Philippe, has close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and favored their installation in the city of which he is the mayor, Le Havre. Richard Ferrand — a Socialist MP, the secretary-general of En Marche! since its inception, and now Minister for the Cohesion of Territories — has been financially contributing to the anti-Israel BDS movement and to “pro-Palestinian” organizations for years. Gerard Collomb, the Socialist Mayor of Lyon, and now Interior Minister, financed the French Institute of Muslim Civilization that will open its doors in December 2017.

In a recent article, Yves Mamou noted that Macron is not “an open promoter of Islamism in France” and could be defined as a “useful idiot.”

In another recent article, Bruce Bawer wondered how the French could have chosen Emmanuel Macron. His answer was that “the mainstream media have played a role”. Evidently, also, “some people do not want to know the truth,” even when the truth is in front of their eyes.

“Some people are accustomed to the idea that there are people above them in the hierarchy whose job is to think about, and take care of the big things while they, the citizens, the mice, take care of their own little lives”.

A majority of the French did not choose Macron but apparently accept that there are people above them. Those who do not accept this fact so easily are many, but in minority, and they are likely to become a smaller minority. Macron is counting on their resignation. It is not certain, however, that the millions of people who voted for Marine Le Pen, despite her extremely problematic closeness to Russia and the harsh campaign against her, or those who voted for the leftist candidates, will so easily give up. It is also not certain — thanks to willful blindness and appeasement — that Islamists will mellow, or that jihadist attacks will stop.

Macron said he was “dismayed” over Manchester Arena terror attack. He added that he was “filled with dread”. He did not express the necessity of confronting the danger. The French have every reason to be nervous.

Links Between Islamism and Executions

May 10, 2017

Links Between Islamism and Executions, Gatestone InstituteMajid Rafizadeh, May 10, 2017

(The notion that Islamist countries and Islamist NGOs, such as the Islamic State, do not adhere to western norms of due process must be shocking to anyone who has been living in a cave with no contact with the rest of the world for many years. But what about those in Europe and elsewhere who insist on unlimited immigration from Islamist countries to honor their gods named “Diversity” and “Multiculturalism”?   — DM)

People have, it seems, often been arrested or detained on the basis of a rumor; then convicted without trial, counsel or often even the chance to mount a defense.

As Amnesty International points out, “In many countries where people were sentenced to death or executed, the proceedings did not meet international fair trial standards. In some cases, this included the extraction of ‘confessions’ through torture or other ill-treatment”.

The laws under which these people are sentenced to death are often not only vague and open to interpretation. Charges that warrant the death penalty, for instance, include being “corrupt on earth”, “enemies of Allah on Earth”, or alleged “crimes against chastity”. What exactly does “corrupt on earth” or “enemies of Allah on Earth” mean?

Just how strict and brutal it is to enforce Islamic law, sharia, has now been revealed by Amnesty International.

Amnesty’s study, which details the number of reported executions around the world, clearly maps out the most at-risk populations. Lands ruled predominantly by sharia are apparently the most vulnerable to multitudes of executions without fair trials. At the top of the list, with the most executions, are those nations that enforce Islamic sharia law. Despite many human rights violations, these nations, apparently undeterred, continue to execute their citizens.

Sharia makes those in authority infallible and untouchable. Therefore, whatever the government or those in power deem to be “just” can be carried out without question or consequence. Under sharia law and the Islamic penal code, executions can be carried out in sickening forms. Those convicted may be beheaded, hanged, stoned, or shot to death.

As disturbing as the numbers in the report may be, they do not represent the reality that the citizens in these nations across the world face every day. There is, evidently, a connection between radical Islamist governments and extremist groups. The report does not include the gruesome executions that are carried out on a regular basis by extremist Islamist groups and non-state fundamentalists, such as members of the Islamic State (ISIS) and their affiliated groups.

These executions include, as we have seen, slitting throats, burning alive, drowning alive and crucifixion.

If these acts were included in the Amnesty International report, the total number of executions committed under the authority of Islamist law would be far higher. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, for example, pointed out that the Islamic State executed 33 people in the first week of April alone.

The report also did not include the number of Westerners being shot, executed and terrorized by Islamist groups. Many of these, such as ISIS, Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH), the Badr Organization, Or Kata’ib al-Imam Ali (the Imam Ali Battalions), are funded and trained by Islamist governments and oil-rich, unaccountable leaders.

Mass executions are evidently also being carried out by both extremist Islamist governments and Islamist groups. A culture of executions, often extra-judicial, as in Pakistan, seems to run rampant within the borders of these countries. Without any consequences for this horrifying disregard for human life, the numbers will only increase.

In Pakistan, Asia Bibi (pictured with two of her five children), a Christian, sits on death row for “blasphemy.” Asia’s “crime” was to use the same water glass as her Muslim co-workers. “You defiled our water,” the Muslim women told her.

Both Islamist governments and Islamist groups justify their brutal acts by referring to the “religious” Islamist legitimacy of their murders. Members of fundamentalist Islamist governments, to legitimize these types of atrocities, also exploit the right of “sovereignty”: they point out that they belong independent state with a fully operating and “legal” judiciary.

In the Amnesty International report, the Iran ranked number one, per capita, in executing people. It also accounted for 66% of all officially recorded executions in the region. Again, this amount only represents those executions that were officially registered.

It is also critical to point out that the statistics Amnesty International provides were given by the very governments that carried out the executions. This method means that those in power were the ones to calculate and decide what number should officially represent their country. The unofficial number is thought to be even higher. There is nothing to stop governments from simply keeping the true number to themselves.

Executions carried out under the strict governmental laws of sharia and Islamist judicial systems can have even more grotesque characteristics. The high number of executions included children, some convicted before the age of 18. Death sentences may frequently have lacked due process and what many would consider acceptable standards of proof. People have, it seems, often been arrested or detained on the basis of a rumor; then convicted without trial, counsel or often even the chance to mount a defense. As Amnesty International points out, “In many countries where people were sentenced to death or executed, the proceedings did not meet international fair trial standards. In some cases, this included the extraction of ‘confessions’ through torture or other ill-treatment”.

Prisoners’ vulnerabilities also had no bearing on their executions. Even those seriously ill were executed. Mass executions or stoning could be ordered and then carried out within a very short time, sometimes within days, giving those convicted no time to mount any form of appeal.

The laws under which these people are sentenced to death are often not only vague and open to interpretation. Charges that warrant the death penalty, for instance, include being “corrupt on earth”, “enemies of Allah on Earth”, or alleged “crimes against chastity”. What exactly does “corrupt on earth” or “enemies of Allah on Earth” mean? There are no guidelines to establish guilt or innocence. Those in power are therefore able to decide who has violated what laws on what can only be a capricious basis. Islamist sheikhs, imams, or judges can subjectively interpret charges any way they like. A charge of being “corrupt on earth” can apply to having fun at a party or writing poetry that government decides is critical of it. A charge of being “corrupt on earth” can apply to someone who is homosexual, someone who is claimed to have committed adultery, or who has simply declined to accepted an unwanted advance. It can mean anyone who has done anything that the ruling leaders dislike.

These Islamist laws, moreover, also serve as a perfect tool for exploitation. A woman finding herself accused of breaking a law may be assured that if she agrees to sleep with a judge, for instance, he will interpret the law in a lenient way and protect her from the death penalty. After a woman submits to this, she can be executed nevertheless. Sometimes girls are forced into sighah — the Shiite Islamist law of temporary marriage — with a cleric, or a governmental official; after “consummating” it, they can also be put to death.

What does a charge such as “crimes against chastity” mean under sharia? This accusation can apply to a girl who has been raped. Instead of the law providing protection for the victim and consequences for the rapist, the victim is accused of the crime of “adultery”, convicted without a fair trial, and swiftly executed.

When Islamist laws enter a land, it seems the number of stonings, beheadings, and executions goes up.

Leaders of these nations can use this flexibility to terrorize and control entire societies, expand their power, export their ideology, and ensure that there is no opportunity to resist. More disturbing is that those numbers are just a portion of the truth.

Trump Takes on Terrorism in His First Hundred Days

April 24, 2017

Trump Takes on Terrorism in His First Hundred Days, BreitbartKristina Wong, April 24, 2017

President Trump made defeating radical Islamic terrorists a key part of his presidential campaign. So far in his first 100 days, experts say he is making good on that promise.

“Right now, I give him an A honestly,” Retired Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, director of the Center for National Defense at the Heritage Foundation, told Breitbart News.

 Underscoring that progress was the U.S. military’s announcement Friday that it had killed a close associate of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a ground raid in Syria.

The associate, Abdurakhmon Uzbeki, had planned the deadly New Year’s Eve attack at a nightclub in Istanbul, which killed 39 civilians.

In Trump’s first three months in office, there’s been a significant uptick in the number of airstrikes targeting terrorists in the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan.

U.S. military officials say Trump has not given the military any “new” authorities – in terms of long-standing rules and standards governing the use of force.

But what Trump has done is expand commanders’ targeting authorities in some locations, roll back restrictions put into place by the Obama administration, and encourage military commanders to exercise the authority they already have.

“We’re actually using the authorities that weren’t used before for political reasons,” a senior White House official told Breitbart News. “Theater commanders have been unshackled. Everyone’s been unshackled to do their job.”

Specifically, Trump has rolled back in some areas a 2013 requirement put into place by former President Obama requiring all counterterrorism airstrikes outside of a conventional war zone like Afghanistan be vetted by the White House and other agencies.

Under Obama, such counterterrorism strikes would undergo “high-level, interagency vetting” to ensure that the targets posed a threat to Americans, and that there was a “near-certainty” that no civilians would be killed, according to the New York Times.

About a week after his inauguration, Trump approved a Pentagon proposal to roll back those requirements in Yemen, to allow the military to step up the counterterrorism fight in Yemen against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) — considered the most dangerous al-Qaeda affiliate for its repeated attempts to attack the U.S. homeland.

The plan included the designation of three provinces in Yemen as “areas of active hostilities,” which allows commanders to strike when there is a “reasonable certainty” that no civilians will be killed, versus a “near certainty,” as reported by ABC News.

As a result, the number of strikes against AQAP has almost doubled under Trump, from 40 confirmed strikes in 2016, to at least 76 so far.

Similarly, President Trump in March designated parts of Somalia as areas of active hostilities, which granted U.S. Africom Commander Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser the authority to conduct offensive counterterrorism strikes and raids, versus striking only when Americans were under threat, and when there’s a “near-certainty” no civilians will be killed.

There have been no confirmed U.S. airstrikes in Somalia yet since the designation, but Africom is stepping up their advising mission. The command confirmed last Monday it were sending a “few dozen” U.S. soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division to Somalia to train Somali National Army and African Union peacekeepers – a doubling of American special operations forces there, according to CNN. Officials said the deployment was planned before Trump took office.

In the fight against ISIS, Trump during his first week on the job ordered Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to come up with a plan within 30 days on how to defeat the terrorist group.

Mattis submitted a plan, to be then fleshed out by the Central Command commander. The plan is in its final stages of planning, the senior White House official said.

In the meantime, the number of strikes in Iraq and Syria reached a record high in March since the U.S.-led air war began in 2014 — 3,878, according to statistics released periodically by U.S. Central Command.

Officials say the increase in airstrikes against ISIS has to do with the current phase of the campaign — simultaneous offensives in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria — rather than any changes under Trump. They also say Centcom commander Army Gen. Joe Votel in December allowed for the delegating of strike authority from a three-star general to a one-star general to speed up the approval process for airstrikes.

But U.S. strikes against al-Qaeda in Syria — which is separate from the ISIS fight — have also seen a “relative increase” since Trump took office, a defense official said.

The U.S. military in late February also killed al-Qaeda’s second in command in Syria, and in March conducted a strike against al Qaeda in Jinah, which U.S. officials said killed a “few dozen” militants.

And more is expected to come in the ISIS fight, as the administration finalizes its new plan. A U.S. military official recently told Breitbart News that the strategy of U.S. troops supporting local forces on the ground – versus taking a direct combat role – will be “enduring.”

More U.S. forces are expected to deploy to Syria, however, where they would likely support local forces in what is expected to be a hard fight for ISIS’s de facto capital.

The Trump administration is also reviewing whether to get rid of limits set by the Obama administration on the numbers of U.S. troops who are authorized to deploy to Iraq and Syria.

The Obama administration had placed strict caps on the number of U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Syria, in an effort to keep troop numbers as low as possible. Currently, 5,262 are authorized for Iraq, and 503 troops for Syria. But in reality, there were hundreds more deployed on a “temporary” basis that weren’t counted, making those numbers misleading.

“In the previous administration, the secretary had to check very often with the White House, and the president, to deploy forces, especially if they were bumping up the cap,” Spoehr said.

Commanders also complained that the troop caps led to the deployment of only parts of a unit, forcing them to rely on contractors abroad for logistical support and waste taxpayer dollars.

In Afghanistan, there has been a 270-percent increase in airstrikes under Trump – from 54 in January to 200 in February – the largest increase in at least six years.

Recently, Army Gen. John “Mick” Nicholson, U.S. commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, ordered the dropping of the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S.’s arsenal – nicknamed the “Mother of All Bombs,” or MOAB – to root out a complex of tunnels and caves in Afghanistan used by the ISIS’s affiliate in Afghanistan, ISIS-Khorasan.

U.S. military officials said no new authorities were granted for the bombing, which fell within Nicholson’s existing authorities to order strikes against ISIS since January 2016. Current and former defense officials recently told The New York Times that he would probably have checked with his superiors under Obama.

The senior White House official gone are the days of the last administration when tactical decisions — from positioning ships to whether an A-10 attack fighter jet could strike or not — were being made by National Security Council staffers.

Former Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta and Robert Gates both lambasted the micromanagement military commanders faced from the NSC under Obama. In his memoir Duty, Gates famously wrote about discovering a direct phone line from a White House staffer to a special operations command center in Afghanistan, and immediately ordering it to be ripped out.

“It’s the micromanagement that disappeared… the informal political things that were laid on top,” the senior White House official said.

Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, praised the new approach.

“I think we long-expected this president to be a delegator, that essentially being a businessman, his approach was that he was going to find excellent people, and give them their portfolios, especially given that the president himself didn’t have vast knowledge in the area of defense and foreign policy,” he said.

“That was never, I think, his forte, so the idea that he would delegate to experts seems to be a very wise decision.”

He also praised Nicholson’s decision to drop the MOAB on ISIS, which he said sent a message to all of the U.S.’s other adversaries.

“I think it’s important that [Trump] trusts them in their ability to deliver these sorts of strategic messages,” he said.

And Spoehr, who served as deputy commanding general of U.S. forces in Iraq in 2011, said allowing commanders to do their jobs has been a huge morale boost for the military.

“I think, in nearly every dimension, you can see a noticeable difference, that things have ratcheted-up… a little bit more spring in people’s step, little bit of a fire in people’s eyes,” he said.

The senior White House official agreed: “Morale is so much higher.”

Islamist Attacks on Holidays

April 20, 2017

Islamist Attacks on Holidays, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Noah Beck, April 20, 2017

Nearly 50 people were murdered on Palm Sunday when Islamic State terrorists bombed two Coptic churches in an Easter celebration-nightmare. The next day, on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, the Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate launched rockets at Israel.

Just before Christmas, a terrorist claimed by the Islamic State rammed a truck into Berlin’s crowded Christmas market, killing 12 people. And in Australia, a group of self-radicalized Islamists planned to attack St Paul’s Cathedral. In 2011, Nigerian Islamists murdered nearly 40 Catholic worshipers in a Christmas Day attack.

Terrorists attack where and when they can. But they seem keenly aware that turning holidays into horror can carry greater shock and terror. In 2002, 30 Israeli civilians were massacred and 140 injured by a Hamas suicide bomber who blew himself up as they sat for the seder, the traditional Passover meal, at the Park Hotel in Netanya.

It isn’t just terrorists who see advantages in striking during holidays. The 1973 Yom Kippur War may be the most famous example, when the armies of two Muslim-majority states, Egypt and Syria, attacked Israel on the most sacred day of the Jewish calendar. That war produced an estimated 20,000 deaths.

Christians and Jews aren’t the only religious groups that have been targeted by Islamists during non-Muslim holy days. The Hindu festival of Diwali has also been attacked. In 2005, a series of bombs killed over 60 people and injured hundreds in Delhi; a Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist group, the Islamic Revolutionary Front, claimed responsibility. Last October, Indian police arrested an Islamist cell inspired by the Islamic State for planning an attack during Diwali.

Muslims are also victimized by Islamist attacks in increasing volume. A 2015 mosque bombing in Yemen killed 29 people during prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid. Last July, also during Eid, three people were killed at a Bangladesh checkpoint when gunmen carrying bombs tried to attack the country’s largest Eid gathering, which attracted an estimated 300,000 worshippers.

Last May, as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approached, a spokesman for the Islamic State urged jihadists to “make it, with God’s permission, a month of pain for infidels everywhere.” Days later, as Ramadan celebrations stretched past midnight in central Baghdad, a minivan packed with explosives blew up and killed at least 143 people.

Terrorists also target secular holidays. Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian resident of France, killed 85 people and injured hundreds more in a truck-ramming terrorist attack as people gathered for a Bastille Day celebration. In New York last fall, dump trumps were deployed to protect the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, after the Islamic State called it an “excellent target.”

Holidays are often chosen because they are “optimal attack days,” in terms of gathering large crowds into soft targets like houses of worship, religious markets, ceremonial gatherings, and parades. Last November, U.S. officials warned that the coming holiday season could mean “opportunities for violent extremists” to attack.

A terrorist attack on a holiday is also more likely to attract media attention. And because holidays draw tourists, well-timed attacks can amplify the economic damage that would be wrought by terror even on a non-holiday. After a spate of attacks toward the end of 2015, “about 10% of American travelers have canceled a trip … eliminating a potential $8.2 billion in travel spending,” reported MarketWatch.

But ISIS, al-Qaida and other Islamist terrorist groups believe they are waging a holy war above all else. Attacking infidels, be they Christians, Jews or Muslims of other sects, motivates jihadis more than anything else. “Those who targeted churches on holiday celebrations tend to be professional terrorist groups,” Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, told the IPT. By contrast, “mob attacks happen either on a Friday, after an especially potent sermon, or whenever infidels need to be put in their place (e.g., a Christian accused of blasphemy, then the church in his village gets torched).”

In 2015, Islamic State warnings of future attacks against Christians noted that Christians were their “favorite prey” and no longer protected as “dhimmis,” a reference to non-Muslims in Islam who may, in exchange for paying the jizya tax, receive some state protection.

Thus, within the larger context of a holy war, attacks on non-Muslim holy days can be viewed as part of the more general Islamist strategy of humiliation, forced submission to Islam, and the denial of any competing religion. Attacking on Diwali or Christmas or Yom Kippur is essentially declaring that such “infidel” holy days ought to be desecrated rather than respected. The symbolic message is akin to the one communicated by the two Islamists who entered a French cathedral and beheaded an octogenarian priest, Jacques Hamel, during mass services last July.

Attacking places of worship on holy days – when they are most used by and relevant to their congregations – is also a good way to undermine these religious institutions and their supporters. If Islamist terror makes churches the most vulnerable on the days when they are most crowded, how will those houses of worship attract enough followers to sustain themselves? And how will their congregants practice their faith? The Coptic Pope curbed some Easter celebrations in Egypt after the recent Palm Sunday blasts.

Such questions may help to explain why Christians, who have lived in the Middle East – the birthplace of Christianity – for millennia now constitute only about 3 percent of the region’s population, down from 20 percent a century ago.

Indeed, the only non-Muslim country in the entire Middle East is also the safest place for non-Muslims in the region, including Christians, Druze, and Bahai. “Christians and other minorities in Israel prosper and grow,” says Shadi Khalloul, founder of the Israeli Aramaic Movement. “[W]hile in other countries in the Middle East, as well as in the Palestinian Authority, they suffer heavily from the Islamic movement and persecution – until forced to disappear.”

London Terrorist Followed the Jihadist’s Twisted Path From Prison to Terrorist

March 27, 2017

London Terrorist Followed the Jihadist’s Twisted Path From Prison to Terrorist, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Patrick Dunleavy, March 27, 2017

Counter terrorism authorities have an opportunity now to act decisively against this group of potential terrorist recruits before the next attack occurs. Prison is a controlled environment. Radical literature must be removed. Clergy must be better vetted. And inmate associations and communications must be better monitored. Prison officials do not need a FISA warrant to listen to an inmate’s telephone call or read his mail.

Monitoring terrorists who are about to be released from prison must be enhanced to include a registry, much like that required for sex offenders, that gives authorities the ability to know where the subject is living and working. Information regarding radicalized inmates must be shared between correctional, law enforcement and intelligence agencies seamlessly. The present system of cooperation is sporadic and often subject to turf wars.

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Before he drove violently into the crowd on Westminster Bridge, before plunging the knives into the police officer’s body, Khalid Masood‘s twisted path into terrorism followed an all too familiar pattern from petty crimes to prison radicalization, to violent jihadist.

Radical Islamist terrorism once again struck innocent victims in Europe, this time killing four people in London and injuring at least 50 more.

Radical Islamist terrorist organizations like ISIS recommend the instruments of cruelty used in this attack, a motor vehicle and a knife. They have been used in the past to kill non-believers in Berlin, Nice, Woolwich, Jerusalem, Quebec, Oklahoma City and beyond.

The emerging profile of the terrorist, Khalid Masood, also paints an all too familiar image of a jihadist bent on killing as many people as possible on the path to paradise.

Masood, a 52-year-old UK native, was born on Christmas day in Kent as Adrian Elms and was raised as a Christian. He was known as an intelligent student and an excelling athlete during his time in Huntley School for Boys. He spiraled downward from there, starting with a 1983 arrest for property damage. He spent at least two periods in three different HMPS correctional facilities, including for assault.

It was there in prison where he was believed to have been radicalized. The susceptibility of an inmate in British prisons to Islamist radicalization is well documented. Extremist literature, like ISIS’s Inspire magazine, is present, as well as convicted terrorists who exert undue influence on the general prison population.

The vast majority of imprisoned terrorists refuse to attend any de-radicalization programs, leading former Scotland Yard Counter Terrorism Commander Richard Walton to tell Sky News that “very few” inmates convicted for ISIS-related crimes had reformed. Other critics go even further, noting “that many “deradicalization” programs established by Western governments have been fraught with repeated and embarrassing failures.”

Hanif Qadir, a former jihadist, believes that prison chaplains are unable to address the problem. Many of them may sympathize with a form of Islam that is both Wahhabi and Salafist in nature. This problem, unvetted Islamic clergy, was also found to exist in the U.S. prison system, according to a report done by the inspector general for the Department of Justice in 2004.

Government records show that thousands of articles by Islamist ideologues like Hasan al Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Syed Qutb, and Anwar al-Awlaki have been available in U.S. prison libraries.

My book, The Fertile Soil of Jihad, documented how ex-cons have often followed up their prison radicalization with travel to Islamist hotspots in the Middle East for further indoctrination. Masood went down that road as well.

He traveled to Saudi Arabia and worked there for several years after his release, settling upon his return into Luton, a city well known for radical Islamist elements, including the radical Islamic cleric Anjem Choudary, now serving time in prison for terrorism-related crimes. It was sometime after returning to the UK that Masood became a person of interest in an ongoing terrorism investigation, although MI-5 never connected him directly to any specific terror plot. He simply fell off the radar until Wednesday’s attack in London.

An alarming number of terror plots and attacks involve people who started out as criminals, were radicalized in prison, and then re-entered society bent on killing in the name of Allah. The 2010 New York State Police Vigilance Report found that almost 50 percent of people charted with terrorist-related crimes had prior contact with the criminal justice system. The Paris and Brussels attacks were in part carried out by former inmates. The Berlin, Copenhagen, and Toulouse attacks were similarly committed by individuals radicalized in prison.

Islamist radicalization in the prison system is a global problem that must be recognized and addressed effectively. Yet some groups, like the Anti Defamation League, choose to focus more on the threat posed by white supremacist prison gangs and appear to overlook the threat posed by radicalized Islamist ex-cons, some of whom have specifically targeted the Jewish population for attacks.

Examples include the Newburgh Four plot to bomb a New York synagogue, Mohammed Merah’s shooting attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, and Amedy Coulibaly’s massacre inside a Paris kosher grocery store.

As to which is the greater threat, prison gangs or Islamist radicalization, Kevin Smith, the former Assistant U.S. Attorney who successfully prosecuted a group of inmates who formed a terrorism cell within the California Department of Corrections known as Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh (JIS), articulated it most succinctly when he testified before the House Committee for Homeland Security looking into the threat posed by Islamist radicalization in the prison system. Smith said, “It is my professional opinion that this particular group of radicalized inmates presents an exponentially greater danger to innocent individuals and civilians out on the outside.”

Members of most prison gangs do not blow up themselves (and others) to gain 70 virgins.

Counter terrorism authorities have an opportunity now to act decisively against this group of potential terrorist recruits before the next attack occurs. Prison is a controlled environment. Radical literature must be removed. Clergy must be better vetted. And inmate associations and communications must be better monitored. Prison officials do not need a FISA warrant to listen to an inmate’s telephone call or read his mail.

Monitoring terrorists who are about to be released from prison must be enhanced to include a registry, much like that required for sex offenders, that gives authorities the ability to know where the subject is living and working. Information regarding radicalized inmates must be shared between correctional, law enforcement and intelligence agencies seamlessly. The present system of cooperation is sporadic and often subject to turf wars.

Without these tools, we again will be forced to watch the familiar story of the common criminal turned violent terrorist unfold.