Posted tagged ‘Countering violent extremism’

Robert Spencer: Democrat Leaders Protest Trump’s Determination to Fight Jihad

February 7, 2017

Robert Spencer: Democrat Leaders Protest Trump’s Determination to Fight Jihad, Jihad Watch

Spurious moral equivalence employed in order to divert attention from the real threat. My latest at The Geller Report:

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It was reported Friday that “a trio of House Democrats say President Trump is making a mistake pushing for counter-extremism efforts to focus only on radical Islam….Friday’s letter was signed Democratic Reps. Bennie Thompson (Md.), Eliot Engel (N.Y.) and John Conyers (Mich.).”

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

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

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

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

Critics of President Trump’s plan have complained: “The program, ‘Countering Violent Extremism,’ or CVE, would be changed to ‘Countering Islamic Extremism’ or ‘Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,’ the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.”

Indeed, but the white supremacist threat has been wildly exaggerated by Soros-funded groups (which exaggerations have been pushed by Soros-funded media) that downplay and deny the jihad threat. Reuters’ equivalence here also ignores the fact that the jihad is an international movement set on destroying the U.S. and found on every continent; white supremacism is not.

What Trump is really doing here is reversing Obama’s bow to Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups in scrubbing counter-terror training materials of all mention of Islam and jihad. On October 19, 2011, Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates delivered a letter to John Brennan, who was then the assistant to the president on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism. The letter was signed by the leaders of virtually all significant Islamic groups in the United States: 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Relief USA, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

The letter denounced what it characterized as U.S. government agencies’ “use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam.” Khera complained specifically about me, noting that my books could be found in “the FBI’s library at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia”; that a reading list accompanying a slide presentation by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Communications Unit recommended my book The Truth About Muhammad; that in July 2010 I “presented a two-hour seminar on ‘the belief system of Islamic jihadists’ to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Tidewater, Virginia”; and that I also “presented a similar lecture to the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, which is co-hosted by the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office.”

These were supposed to be terrible materials because I was supposedly bigoted and hateful. However, many of the examples Khera adduced of “bigoted and distorted materials” involved statements that were simply accurate. The only distortion was Khera’s representation of them.

For instance, Khera stated:

A 2006 FBI intelligence report stating that individuals who convert to Islam are on the path to becoming “Homegrown Islamic Extremists,” if they exhibit any of the following behavior:

“Wearing traditional Muslim attire”

“Growing facial hair”

“Frequent attendance at a mosque or a prayer group”

“Travel to a Muslim country”

“Increased activity in a pro-Muslim social group or political cause”

The FBI intelligence report Khera purported to be describing didn’t actually say that. Rather, it included these behaviors among a list of fourteen indicators that could “identify an individual going through the radicalization process.” Other indicators included:

“Travel without obvious source of funds”

“Suspicious purchases of bomb making paraphernalia or weapons”

“Large transfer of funds, from or to overseas”

“Formation of operational cells”

Khera had selectively quoted the list to give the impression that the FBI was teaching that devout observance of Islam led inevitably and in every case to “extremism.”

Despite the factual accuracy of the material about which they were complaining, the Muslim groups signing the letter demanded that the task force, among other actions:

“Purge all federal government training materials of biased materials.”

“Implement a mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, U.S. Army officers, and all federal, state and local law enforcement who have been subjected to biased training.”

They wished to ensure that all law enforcement officials ever learn about Islam and jihad would be what the signatories wanted them to learn — and Brennan was amenable to that. He took Khera’s complaints as his marching orders.

In a November 3, 2011, letter to Khera that — significantly — was written on White House stationery, Brennan accepted Khera’s criticisms without a murmur of protest and assured her of his readiness to comply. He detailed specific actions being undertaken, including “collecting all training materials that contain cultural or religious content, including information related to Islam or Muslims.” In reality, this material wouldn’t just be “collected”; it would be purged of anything that Farhana Khera and others like her found offensive. Honest, accurate discussion of how Islamic jihadists use Islamic teachings to justify violence would no longer be allowed.

The alacrity with which Brennan complied was unfortunate on many levels. Numerous books and presentations that gave a perfectly accurate view of Islam and jihad were purged. Brennan was complying with demands from quarters that could hardly be considered authentically moderate.

This Obama policy of the U.S. government ensured that numerous jihadists simply could not be identified as risks. The Obama administration was bound, as a matter of policy, to ignore what in saner times would be taken as warning signs. Now we can hope that Trump will reverse all that. Indeed, it is our only hope of defeating this scourge.

To Fix Counterterrorism, End Obama’s ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Strategy

February 6, 2017

To Fix Counterterrorism, End Obama’s ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Strategy, PJ MediaAndrew C. McCarthy, February 5, 2017

(Please see also, Trump Seeks to End Obama’s ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Scam. — DM)

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Last June, the jihadist terrorist Omar Mateen opened fire at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 and wounding several other revelers. It quickly became clear that Mateen was yet another “known wolf” – the term popularized by my friend and colleague Patrick Poole to describe the frequent phenomenon of terrorists who manage to plot and strike against the West notwithstanding that their patent radicalism has put them on the radar screen of law-enforcement and intelligence agents.

I have long argued that the cause of this phenomenon is the restrictions on common sense placed on our agents by political correctness, which essentially blind them to the well-known but rarely acknowledged progression from Islamic scripture to sharia-supremacist ideology (what we call “radical Islam”), to enclaves populated by adherents and sympathizers of this ideology, and inevitably to jihadist terror. This iteration of political correctness has been the backbone of Obama administration counterterrorism strategy, known as “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE). Shortly after the Orlando attack, I delivered a speech at the Westminster Institute – entitled, “Defenseless in the Face of Our Enemies” – in which I addressed CVE. The new Trump administration is in the process of formulating its own counterterrorism strategy. Below, for what it may be worth, is the portion of my speech that addressed CVE:

Of the nearly 36,000 people who work for the FBI, fewer than 14,000 are investigative agents. National security is a crucial part of the Bureau’s portfolio, but the FBI is statutorily the lead investigative agency in virtually every category of criminal offense in federal law. At most, there are a couple thousand agents assigned full-time to counterterrorism. Those numbers are multiplied somewhat by joint federal-state efforts — the Joint Terrorism Task Forces in several metropolitan areas across the nation. Even so, because the Bureau is an intelligence agency as well as a law-enforcement agency, there are over a thousand terrorism investigations ongoing at any one time. The FBI director indicates that there is activity that must be monitored in all 50 states. Unless there are flashing neon signs of imminent attack, the small number of investigators can only spend so much time on any one suspect.

Of course, that time can be maximized, or wasted, depending on whether investigators know what they’re looking for . . . and whether they are permitted to look for it.

Clearly, the FBI spent a lot of time on Mateen. It sent confidential informants to interact with him, conducted physical surveillance, covertly monitored some of his phone calls, and interviewed him face-to-face three separate times. It concluded that his bark was bad, but his bite was non-existent. Honoring guidelines imposed on terrorism investigations, the FBI closed its case. That is, in addition to concluding that no charges should be filed, the Bureau further decided that additional monitoring of Mateen was not warranted.

In retrospect, this seems reckless. But the FBI is not incompetent, far from it. The agency knew Mateen was worth a heavy investigative investment. The problem is that the FBI answers to the Washington political class. The bipartisan Beltway has long ruled that advocacy of radical Islam is protected by the Constitution. It has long instructed its investigators, preposterously, that seditious beliefs and agitation are immune, not just from prosecution, but even from mere inquiry.

What passes for Obama’s national-security strategy, known as “Countering Violent Extremism,” exacerbates this problem. CVE delusionally forbids the conclusion that radical Islamic ideology has any causative effect on terrorist plotting. The FBI is in the impossible position of trying to conduct investigations that follow the facts wherever they lead, while fearing that such investigations — by illuminating the logical progression from Islamic scripture to sharia supremacism to jihadist terror — will enrage its political masters.

Understand: Nothing in the Constitution mandates this suicidal betrayal of national security. It flows from Washington’s lunatic concoction of an imaginary Islam — a belief system the sole tenets of which are peace and anti-terrorism. President Obama and the counsel he keeps (many of whom are connected to insidious Islamist organizations tied to the Muslim Brotherhood) insist this “anti-terrorist” “Religion of Peace” is the only viable interpretation of Islam. We are not just to believe, we are pressured to endorse, the fantasy that sharia supremacism is a “false Islam.” Its palpable mainstream status in the Middle East and elsewhere is not to be spoken of.

The FBI is bound by guidelines promulgated by the Justice Department, most of which have been in place since the administration of President George W. Bush. They impose a caveat on every investigation:

These Guidelines do not authorize investigating or collecting or maintaining information on United States persons solely for the purpose of monitoring activities protected by the First Amendment or the lawful exercise of other rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

On its face, this admonition should not be problematic. It instructs that agents may not investigate for the sole purpose of monitoring activities protected by federal law. Consequently, if agents have other legitimate purposes for investigating — such as preventing terrorist attacks or probing terrorism conspiracies — the Justice Department guidance is no bar to conducting an investigation in which a mosque or a protest rally may foreseeably come under scrutiny.

Political dissent and the exercise of religion are protected by the First Amendment. But this is a protection against being prosecuted merely for one’s words or religious observance. It is not a shield against investigation for criminal activities that are motivated by religious or political belief.

Not only may one be investigated and prosecuted for criminal offenses that are motivated by one’s beliefs or speech; it has long been the law that evidence of one’s beliefs and speech, which is often highly relevant to proving criminal intent, may be admitted in a prosecution for such offenses.

Simply stated, if you are a Muslim who believes sharia law must be imposed on society, and you tell people that Allah commands the commission of violent jihad to impose sharia, that belief and statement are admissible evidence if you are charged with bombing or terrorism conspiracy crimes. You are not being prosecuted for what you believe or what you said; you are being prosecuted for the crimes. The beliefs and statements are evidence of your state of mind — just as they are in all kinds of criminal cases beyond terrorism.

That being the case, there is nothing inherently wrong with, much less constitutionally offensive about, the concept that radical religious or political beliefs should trigger investigations. That is especially the case if those beliefs are conveyed by aggressive language, or by association with other radicals or mosques known to endorse jihadism.

Here’s an important principle we must get right: It cannot be that evidence an investigator may use to prove guilt of terrorism offenses is somehow insulated from an investigator’s suspicions about potential terrorism offenses. The goal of counterterrorism is supposed to be the prevention of jihadist attacks, not the hope that there may be a living terrorist or two still around to be indicted and tried only after Americans have been murdered.

In law enforcement, however, what matters most is not what the law allows investigators to do. It is what the investigators’ superiors allow them to do.

That brings us to “Countering Violent Extremism.” In essence, CVE holds that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, or even with Islamist ideology that reviles the United States. President Obama has conclusively proclaimed: “Muslim American communities have categorically condemned terrorism” — end of discussion . . . as if that were an incontestable proposition or one that told the whole story.

Thus, the administration narrative continues, the real threat to our security is not Muslim terrorist plots against us but our provocation of Muslims. By the Obama administration’s lights, our national-defense measures following the 9/11 attacks have conveyed the misimpression that America is at war with Islam.

Remember, we’re in Fantasy Land, so we’re not supposed to pause at this point to ask: What, then, prompted the 9/11 attacks in the first place? What prompted the increasingly audacious series of attacks from the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center to the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole — all during those sensitive, Islamophilic Clinton years when, we’re to believe, jihadists didn’t think America was “at war with Islam”?

Instead of asking such impertinent questions, we are simply to accept the president’s say-so that the key to our security is to “partner” with the leadership in Muslim communities — much of which just happens to be tied to or heavily influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a major 2007–08 prosecution (the Holy Land Foundation case), the Justice Department proved that the Brotherhood financed the Hamas terrorist organization to the tune of millions of dollars. That same Muslim Brotherhood is the main subject of my 2010 book, The Grand Jihad. The title is lifted from an internal Brotherhood memo seized by the FBI and presented at the Holy Land trial — a memo in which Brotherhood honchos stationed in the United States explained that their mission here is a “grand jihad” to “eliminate and destroy Western Civilization from within” — by “sabotage.”

Under CVE, we are to let our Islamist “partners” train the police, and let them be our eyes and ears in Muslim communities. Because we all share the same interests, you see, we should rest assured that these Islamist leaders will alert us if there is any cause for concern.

Makes perfect sense, right?

If it is possible, the practice of CVE is even more of a national-security disaster than the theory. This is probably best documented by my friend Stephen Coughlin in a recent and essential book: Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad.

Apart from being an exceptional lawyer, Steve is a trained military intelligence officer who has studied our enemies’ threat doctrine, Islamic supremacism. Again, to be precise, it may be best to call it “sharia supremacism” because it reflects the classic sharia-based Islam that is mainstream in the Middle East. Catastrophic Failure is about how the United States government has systematically stifled the study of this doctrine since before 9/11. CVE is the paragon illustration of how the Obama administration has exacerbated this catastrophic failure — a failure that I have branded “willful blindness” since first encountering it as a prosecutor two decades ago.

As Coughlin demonstrates, CVE is no secret. For example, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties — which is every bit as radical as the infamous Civil Rights Division in the Obama Justice Department — has worked with the National Counterterrorism Center to develop government-agency training programs that “bring together best [CVE] practices.”

One product of this effort is a handy two-page instruction document of CVE “Do’s and Don’ts.” The “Don’ts” tell agents to avoid, among other things, “ventur[ing] too deep into the weeds of religious doctrine and history” or examining the “role of Islam in majority Muslim nations.” The guidance further admonishes:

Don’t use training that equates radical thought, religious expression, freedom to protest, or other constitutionally protected activity, with criminal activity. One can have radical thoughts/ideas, including disliking the U.S. government, without being violent; for example, trainers who equate the desire for Sharia law with criminal activity violate basic tenets of the First Amendment.

As we’ve already observed, this interpretation of the First Amendment is patent rubbish. Again, there is no free-speech protection against having one’s words examined for intelligence or investigative purposes. Free-expression principles protect Americans against laws that subject speech to penalty or prosecution — a protection, by the way, that the Obama administration seeks to deny to speech unflattering to Islam, under a UN resolution it jointly sponsored with several Islamic nations.

In sum, Obama’s CVE strategy expressly instructs our investigators to consider only violent or criminal conduct. They are told to ignore radical ideology, particularly if it has the patina of “religious expression.” They are directed to turn a deaf ear to anti-Americanism and the desire to impose sharia, which just happens to be the principal objective of all violent jihadists, and of the Obama administration’s oft-time consultants, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Our agents, furthermore, are cautioned to avoid doing anything that smacks of subjecting particular groups to heightened scrutiny. After all, that might imply that terrorism committed by Muslims has some connection to Islam — specifically, to the undeniable, unambiguous commands to violent jihad found in Muslim scripture.

Obviously, this CVE guidance is exactly what our investigators follow when they consciously avoid scrutinizing jihadist social-media postings by visa applicants from Muslim-majority countries — such as Tashfeen Malik. She was the Pakistani immigrant who joined her jihadist husband, Syed Farook, in carrying out last December’s mass-murder attack in San Bernardino (in which 14 people were killed and dozens wounded).

There is nothing secret about CVE. Willful blindness is right there in black and white.

Trump to recast Obama’s “Countering Violent Extremism” program to focus on the jihad threat

February 2, 2017

Trump to recast Obama’s “Countering Violent Extremism” program to focus on the jihad threat, Jihad Watch

“The program, ‘Countering Violent Extremism,’ or CVE, would be changed to ‘Countering Islamic Extremism’ or ‘Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,’ the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.”

Indeed, but the white supremacist threat has been wildly exaggerated by Soros-funded groups (which exaggerations have been pushed by Soros-funded media) that downplay and deny the jihad threat. Reuters’ equivalence here also ignores the fact that the jihad is an international movement set on destroying the U.S. and found on every continent; white supremacism is not.

What Trump is really doing here is reversing Obama’s bow to Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups in scrubbing counter-terror training materials of all mention of Islam and jihad. On October 19, 2011, Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates delivered a letter to John Brennan, who was then the assistant to the president on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism. The letter was signed by the leaders of virtually all significant Islamic groups in the United States: 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Relief USA, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

The letter denounced what it characterized as U.S. government agencies’ “use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam.” Khera complained specifically about me, noting that my books could be found in “the FBI’s library at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia”; that a reading list accompanying a slide presentation by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Communications Unit recommended my book The Truth About Muhammad; that in July 2010 I “presented a two-hour seminar on ‘the belief system of Islamic jihadists’ to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Tidewater, Virginia”; and that I also “presented a similar lecture to the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, which is co-hosted by the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office.”

These were supposed to be terrible materials because I was supposedly bigoted and hateful. However, many of the examples Khera adduced of “bigoted and distorted materials” involved statements that were simply accurate. The only distortion was Khera’s representation of them.

For instance, Khera stated:

A 2006 FBI intelligence report stating that individuals who convert to Islam are on the path to becoming “Homegrown Islamic Extremists,” if they exhibit any of the following behavior:

“Wearing traditional Muslim attire”

“Growing facial hair”

“Frequent attendance at a mosque or a prayer group”

“Travel to a Muslim country”

“Increased activity in a pro-Muslim social group or political cause”

The FBI intelligence report Khera purported to be describing didn’t actually say that. Rather, it included these behaviors among a list of fourteen indicators that could “identify an individual going through the radicalization process.” Other indicators included:

“Travel without obvious source of funds”

“Suspicious purchases of bomb making paraphernalia or weapons”

“Large transfer of funds, from or to overseas”

“Formation of operational cells”

Khera had selectively quoted the list to give the impression that the FBI was teaching that devout observance of Islam led inevitably and in every case to “extremism.”

Despite the factual accuracy of the material about which they were complaining, the Muslim groups signing the letter demanded that the task force, among other actions:

“Purge all federal government training materials of biased materials.”

“Implement a mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, U.S. Army officers, and all federal, state and local law enforcement who have been subjected to biased training.”

They wished to ensure that all law enforcement officials ever learn about Islam and jihad would be what the signatories wanted them to learn — and Brennan was amenable to that. He took Khera’s complaints as his marching orders.

In a November 3, 2011, letter to Khera that — significantly — was written on White House stationery, Brennan accepted Khera’s criticisms without a murmur of protest and assured her of his readiness to comply. He detailed specific actions being undertaken, including “collecting all training materials that contain cultural or religious content, including information related to Islam or Muslims.” In reality, this material wouldn’t just be “collected”; it would be purged of anything that Farhana Khera and others like her found offensive. Honest, accurate discussion of how Islamic jihadists use Islamic teachings to justify violence would no longer be allowed.

The alacrity with which Brennan complied was unfortunate on many levels. Numerous books and presentations that gave a perfectly accurate view of Islam and jihad were purged. Brennan was complying with demands from quarters that could hardly be considered authentically moderate.

This Obama policy of the U.S. government ensured that numerous jihadists simply could not be identified as risks. The Obama administration was bound, as a matter of policy, to ignore what in saner times would be taken as warning signs. Now we can hope that Trump will reverse all that.

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“Exclusive: Trump to focus counter-extremism program solely on Islam – sources,” by Julia Edwards Ainsley, Dustin Volz and Kristina Cooke, Reuters, February 2, 2017:

The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.

The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.

Such a change would reflect Trump’s election campaign rhetoric and criticism of former President Barack Obama for being weak in the fight against Islamic State and for refusing to use the phrase “radical Islam” in describing it. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for attacks on civilians in several countries.

The CVE program aims to deter groups or potential lone attackers through community partnerships and educational programs or counter-messaging campaigns in cooperation with companies such as Google (GOOGL.O) and Facebook (FB.O).

Some proponents of the program fear that rebranding it could make it more difficult for the government to work with Muslims already hesitant to trust the new administration, particularly after Trump issued an executive order last Friday temporarily blocking travel to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Still, the CVE program, which focuses on U.S. residents and is separate from a military effort to fight extremism online, has been criticized even by some supporters as ineffective.

A source who has worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the program said Trump transition team members first met with a CVE task force in December and floated the idea of changing the name and focus.

In a meeting last Thursday attended by senior staff for DHS Secretary John Kelly, government employees were asked to defend why they chose certain community organizations as recipients of CVE program grants, said the source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.

Although CVE funding has been appropriated by Congress and the grant recipients were notified in the final days of the Obama administration, the money still may not go out the door, the source said, adding that Kelly is reviewing the matter….

IPT EXCLUSIVE: DHS Hires CAIR to Train French Officials

December 15, 2016

IPT EXCLUSIVE: DHS Hires CAIR to Train French Officials, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Steven Emerson, December 14, 2016

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The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) facilitated a training session last week for a French police delegation, in conjunction with the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Community Engagement Office in Tampa, the Investigative Project on Terrorism has confirmed with DHS officials and other agencies.

This session stands in contrast with the FBI’s 2009 policy not to engage with CAIR outside of criminal investigations due to questions about the Hamas ties of its top executives. An FBI official wrote that “until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner.” That FBI policy toward CAIR remains in effect, and was publicly reaffirmed in 2013.

CAIR-Florida issued a press release Dec. 8 giving details of the event, and posted numerous photos of the French delegation on its Facebook page. The training session was devoted to showing the French officials “how to effectively challenge violent extremist individuals of all backgrounds and prevent hate crimes, while protecting civil rights and challenging profiling and discrimination,” the release said.

Several French counter-terror officials received this training, including a representative of France’s Ministry of the Interior and many police chiefs.

They presented Nezar Hamze, CAIR-Florida’s regional operations director, with a medallion bearing the French national colors and inscribed: “Public Safety Departmental Directorate at Bouches-du-Rhone / Discipline – Valor – Devotion.”

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“We appreciated the opportunity to communicate how restricting liberty encourages hate crimes and violence and that preserving liberty and civil rights is key to preserving peace and security,” CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly said in the release.

This indicates that the thrust of this training was devoted to discouraging counter-terror activities within Muslim communities, which CAIR often has falsely represented as infringing upon the civil liberties of Muslims. CAIR officials repeatedly urge Muslim Americans not to cooperate with the FBI.

DHS and the State Department participated in this CAIR training of French officials despite the well-documented record of CAIR’s ties to terrorists. Internal Muslim Brotherhood records obtained by the FBI place CAIR and its founders at the core of a Brotherhood-created Hamas support network in the United States known as the Palestine Committee.

CAIR’s Powerful Ties

CAIR officials enjoyed close relations with the Obama administration despite the FBI’s evidence linking it to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Hamas. DHS/State Department coordination with CAIR is nothing new. The State Department sent CAIR officials abroad to conduct foreign outreach.

The State Department hosted CAIR officials in October 2015 to discuss Syria and “the need … to challenge [alleged] aggressive Israeli actions targeting the Al Aqsa mosque compound, one of the holiest sites in Islam.”

Top CAIR officials repeatedly received White House invitations and participated in White House conference calls. DHS collaborates with CAIR on numerous non-public projects, and funnels anti-terrorism funds allocated by Congress.

CAIR received a sub-grant of $70, 324 from DHS in 2015, records show.

Hassan Shibly: Terrorist Apologist

Considering Shibly’s statements that Islamist ideology has nothing to do with terrorism and the rash of jihadist attacks that have rocked France since January 2015, his involvement in the training should be cause for alarm.

In an April 21, 2013 interview with OnIslam, Shibly said that, “American political scientists have made it very clear that those who commit acts of terrorism have nothing to do with religion and are often motivated by political, not religious, reasons. Actually, such attacks can never be justified and truly are nothing more than the result of having a twisted and sick mind.”

In a June 2014 blog post, Shibly argued that the purported “FBI entrapment program targeting the Muslim community” was an example of tyranny that strayed away from the “great ideals of liberty, equality and justice.”

In his view, the FBI manufactures terrorists through sting operations such as that against Sami Osmakac, convicted in 2014 on charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of a fully automatic firearm.

“I’m concerned that the government’s own tactics turned him into a greater threat than he could have been on his own,” Shibly told the Tampa Tribune in a June 3, 2014 article. “There’s no need to enable a Hollywood-style plot … Would Osmakac have had the ideas and the means to do this crime but for the government informant?”

Shibly also is helping a family sue the FBI, alleging an agent unjustly shot and killed a friend of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev after hours of questioning in his Orlando home in 2013.

Independent investigations, requested by CAIR, completed by the Justice Department and a Florida state attorney found that Ibragim Todashev, a “skilled mixed-martial arts fighter,” attacked the agent shortly after acknowledging involvement in a separate triple-murder case in Massachusetts. Todashev continued charging after being shot, prompting the agent to fire more.

Shibly rejected the findings, saying only Todashev could “contradict the government’s narrative,” but he was dead.

Kareem Shora: CAIR’s Ally at DHS

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According to a source, Kareem Shora played a key role in organizing the French delegation’s CAIR training. Shora serves with the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) and a Community Liaison Council with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

He has a long record of denying the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat. Last July, for example, Shora claimed that it was an “unfortunate reality” that Muslims were portrayed as “more vulnerable” to “potential recruitment to terrorist activities…including those represented by Daesh.” Instead of devising ways to counter this “unfortunate reality,” Shora said that the DHS was trying to “promote the notion” that Muslims were no more likely than anyone else to be recruited into terror organizations:

“It’s not because they’re Muslims. They represent nothing of Islam. Daesh represents nothing of Islam or a state for that matter, quote unquote. So I think our position, as U.S. government, is to advocate that point every opportunity we get. And from a Homeland Security perspective, in order to build a society that’s resilient to all threats, regardless of the nature of that threat, our job is to make sure that these communities don’t end up being categorized as being vulnerable, because they are in fact the ones most suffering as a result of those attacks.”

Shora helped leading Islamist figures attend DHS meetings, including Salam al-Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council and, Ingrid Mattson of the Islamic Society of North America, records obtained by the IPT through the Freedom of Information Act show.

DHS could have turned to any number of organizations and people to work with the French delegation. Choosing an Islamist group whose ties to a terrorist group rendered it persona non grata with the FBI is either a sign of dangerous incompetence or institutional arrogance.

Saudi Jihadi Rehab Actually Encourages Jihad

November 29, 2016

Saudi Jihadi Rehab Actually Encourages Jihad, Front Page Magazine (The Point, Daniel Greenfield, November 28, 2016

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You wouldn’t let Guinness or Budweiser run AA. Having the Saudis run a Jihadi rehab program is just as much of a joke. And yet our leaders went along with the joke by pretending that the Saudis were helping transform bad misunderstanders of Islam into good Muslims through Koran lessons and some R&R. The notion that Islam is best fought with Islam came to characterize CVE.

And it’s a bad joke.

Counterterrorism experts have long suspected Saudi Arabia’s “rehabilitation” center for terrorists does a poor job of de-radicalizing jihadists. But a Saudi detainee at Guantanamo Bay now reveals it’s actually a recruiting and training factory for jihad.

According to recently declassified documents, senior al Qaeda operative Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi told a Gitmo parole board that the Saudi government has been encouraging previously released prisoners to rejoin the jihad at its terrorist reform school, officially known as the Prince Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center.

The Obama administration has praised the effectiveness of the Saudi rehab program — which uses “art therapy,” swimming, ping-pong, PlayStation and soccer to de-radicalize terrorists — and conditioned the release of dozens of Gitmo prisoners, including former Osama bin Laden bodyguards, on their entry in the controversial program.

Al-Sharbi dropped a bombshell on the Gitmo parole board at his hearing earlier this year, when he informed members that the Saudi kingdom was playing them for suckers. “You guys want to send me back to Saudi Arabia because you believe there is a de-radicalization program on the surface.

True. You are 100% right, there is a strong — externally, a strong — de-radicalization program,” al-Sharbi testified. “But make no mistake, underneath there is a hidden radicalization program,” he added. “There is a very hidden strong — way stronger in magnitude — broader in financing, in all that.”

Al-Sharbi is one of the longest serving, and most unrepentant, prisoners at Gitmo. A Saudi national with an electrical engineering degree from King Fahd University, he attended a US flight school associated with two of the 9/11 hijackers. He traveled to Afghanistan in the summer of 2001 and trained at an al Qaeda camp, building IEDs to use against allied forces.

Al-Sharbi was captured March 28, 2002, at an al Qaeda safehouse in Faisalabad, Pakistan, with senior al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah. According to his US intel dossier, he told interrogators that “the US got what it deserved from the terrorist attacks on 9/11.”

Given a chance at parole after 14 years, however, Al-Sharbi was surprisingly frank with the board.

He explained that Riyadh is actively recruiting and training fighters to battle Iranian elements in neighboring Yemen and Syria. Saudi views Shiite-controlled Iran as a regional threat to its security.

“They’re launching more wars and the [United] States is backing off from the region,” he said. “They’re poking their nose here and here and there and they’re recruiting more jihadists, and they’ll tell you, ‘Okay, go fight in Yemen. Go fight in Syria.’ ”

Al-Sharbi said the Saudis also are “encouraging” former detainees “to fight their jihad in the States.”

This isn’t a mystery to anyone. We simply insist on pretending that the Saudis aren’t involved in terror.

Clapper: US collects and analyzes more intelligence on jihadi groups now than ever

November 19, 2016

Clapper: US collects and analyzes more intelligence on jihadi groups now than ever, Long War Journal, November 17, 2016

(Collecting lots of intelligence is good; how it is analyzed, what is looked for and what’s done with the information are at least as important. Please see also, Clueless Clapper Calls It Quits – DM)

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper announced his retirement during a hearing held by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) earlier today. In his written testimony, Clapper offered this assessment (emphasis added):

Violent extremism, which has been on an upward trajectory since the late 1970s, has generated more IC collection and analysis against groups, members, and safe havens than at any other point in history. These include: the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant; al-Qa’ida with its nodes in Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen; al-Shabaab, al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in East Africa; and Iran, the foremost state sponsor of terrorism, which continues to exert its influence in regional crises in the Middle East through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force, its terrorist partner Lebanese Hizbollah, and proxy groups.

It is clear from his description that what Clapper describes as “violent extremism” is what we call jihadism. The Islamic State and al Qaeda are on the Sunni side of the jihadi coin, while the Shiite side is led by the Iranian regime.

What specifically stands out is Clapper’s testimony regarding al Qaeda’s “nodes.” Al Qaeda maintains a cohesive international network more than fifteen years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

In Syria and Yemen, these “nodes” are known as Jabhat Fath al Sham (formerly Al Nusrah Front) and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), both of which are regional al Qaeda branches devoted to waging insurgencies against the local governments and their allies. Likewise, Shabaab is headquartered in Somalia and is al Qaeda’s regional arm throughout East Africa. Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) is the newest branch of the group, operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan and neighboring countries as well. To this list we can also add Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which maintains a footprint in North and West Africa. There are multiple other al Qaeda-linked groups as well.

In each case, the emir of the regional al Qaeda arm has been openly loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri. The only wrinkle is in the case of Jabhat Fath al Sham (JFS), which is led by Abu Muhammad al Julani.

In late July, Julani claimed that his group would no longer be affiliated with any “external” or “foreign” entity. His language was deliberately ambiguous, but many ran with the idea that JFS was no longer really part of the al Qaeda network. The Long War Journal offered an extensive rebuttal to that interpretation of Julani’s statement. Indeed, al Qaeda’s senior leadership never wanted to formally acknowledge the group’s presence in Syria, so Julani’s message was a return, of sorts, to al Qaeda’s original strategy for the war against Bashar al Assad’s regime. Julani did not renounce his bay’ah (oath of allegiance) to Zawahiri and Julani heaped praise on Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden even as he supposedly distanced his organization from them. Moreover, one of Zawahiri’s top deputies gave his blessing for Julani’s statement beforehand. Some break. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Analysis: Al Nusrah Front rebrands itself as Jabhat Fath Al Sham.]

Although the Islamic State generates most of the headlines these days, al Qaeda remains an international organization, albeit one that is not keen to advertise its presence in the same manner as Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s enterprise.

Al Qaeda’s senior leadership is not confined to South Asia. It is well documented that the group sent cadres to Syria, Yemen and elsewhere to lead the charge. The Obama administration’s drone campaign has repeatedly targeted veteran al Qaeda figures throughout 2015 and 2016.

The al Qaeda threat to the West and the US homeland is not confined to South Asia either. In October, the Pentagon announced that the US carried out airstrikes targeting jihadists serving al Qaeda’s “external operations” arm in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February, Clapper warned that the threat emanates from multiple countries. Clapper testified that al Qaeda “nodes in Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey” are “dedicating resources to planning attacks.”

There is no question that the Islamic State expanded rapidly beginning in 2013 and 2014, thereby cutting into al Qaeda’s share of the jihadi market around the globe. But as Clapper reminded Congress today, al Qaeda is far from out of the game.

The HPSCI hearing was devoted to the US intelligence community’s role supporting the Defense Department. Clapper explained that the war in Afghanistan continues to demand resources.

“In addition, we must continue to provide intelligence to assist in the transition of our mission in Afghanistan by supporting the Kabul government against persistent hurdles to political stability including eroding political cohesion, assertions of authority by local powerbroker, recurring financial shortfalls, and countrywide, sustained attacks by the Taliban,” Clapper’s written testimony reads.

That transition is not going smoothly, to put it mildly. Al Qaeda remains closely allied with the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. Siraj Haqqani is now one of the Taliban’s top deputies. Zawahiri has announced his allegiance to Taliban emir Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada. The US military and its partners are forced to hunt al Qaeda throughout much of Afghanistan, while also attempting to turn back the Taliban’s rising insurgency, which threatens several provincial capitals at once.

It is easy to see why the intelligence community is forced to collect and analyze more intelligence on jihadi groups now “than at any other point in history,” as Clapper testified. Sunni and Shiite jihadis are operating in more countries now than ever.

Liberals Wanted to Talk about Islamophobia at the Debate, but the Real Problem is Terrorism

October 10, 2016

Liberals Wanted to Talk about Islamophobia at the Debate, but the Real Problem is Terrorism, Conservative Review,  Nate Madden, October 10, 2016

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Amid the tawdry, ad hominem cacophony that was the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were forced to contend with the implications of a supposed “rise in Islamophobia.” However, a quick look at the facts show that the question and implication really need some context.

Sunday night’s debate was, as expected, laden with pro-Clinton bias from moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz. However, several of the questions submitted by the randomly-selected panel of undecided voters on the stage also carried the hallmarks of prepared layups for the Democrat nominee.

One such topic in particular, asked by one of the attendees, Gorbah Hamed, put the candidates on the spot about how they would deal with “Islamophobia” as president (per the Washington Post):

There are 3.3 Muslims in the United States and I’m one of them. You’ve mentioned working with Muslim nations, but with Islamophobia on the rise, how will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being a threat to the country after the election is over?

To his credit, Trump bridged the question directly to recent terror attacks, and the importance of Muslims patrolling their own communities. Meanwhile, Clinton criticized Trump’s views on immigration from Muslim-majority nations while hypocritically espousing religious freedom for foreign nationals from those nations, despite her own deplorable positions on free exercise for anyone who disagrees with her views on marriage and abortion.

Furthermore, while Clinton made a very big point of agreeing with Trump’s premise that American Muslims need to be “part of our eyes and ears” on the front lines, and bragged about her work with Muslim groups in the U.S. and how she intends to use that experience to defeat ISIS. But she failed to differentiate how her approach to the Muslim community is going to differ from President Obama’s, whose analogous “countering violent extremism” program has already been found as a “catastrophic failure,” according to a recent report.

But I digress. While the issues of Middle Eastern immigration and jihadist terror in the 2016 election cycle have sparked a chorus of concern from the Left over so-called “Islamophobia,” the concerns ignore reality of how big a threat it actually is.

The question hearkens back to a few weeks ago when the Hamas-and-Muslim-Brotherhood-affiliated Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in the wake of a jihadist stabbing that they were afraid of the blowback from the attack.

“We are concerned about the potential for backlash,” CAIR’s Minnesota executive director Jaylani Hussein said, per NBCNews.com, following last month’s Minnesota mall stabbing. “[Muslims] are being made to suffer for [the terrorists’] acts. They are minorities in our faith. Islam is peace.”

Well, here’s the real story about that blowback.

According to FBI data, ACTUAL incidents of Islamophobia pale in comparison to incidents of anti-Semitism in the U.S. Numbers from December indicate that in the previous year saw, 1,140 victims of anti-religious hate crimes, and the rate of Jewish victims was nearly four times that of Muslim victims at a proportion of roughly 57 percent to 16 percent.

Even in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks — the deadliest Islamist attack in American history — 2002 data from the FBI shows that anti-Muslim hate crimes totaled a grand total 174 for the year. These are, of course, dwarfed when compared to the 1,084 cases committed against Jews, and the 237 committed against “other.”

And it doesn’t stop there: America’s college campuses have become seething hotbeds of anti-Jewish activity. Meanwhile, a report from February finds, attacks on free exercise of religion across the board have doubled in the waning years of the Obama administration.

There was no mention of how America’s Jewish population (with nary a notable terrorist attack attached to its name) is under increasing fire — and has been so for years. Furthermore, recent jihadist terror attacks in San Bernardino to Orlando to Manhattan have taken scores of American lives and have left all of our citizens, regardless of their religion, under siege.

Yet, the question that both candidates were forced to contend with is one that clearly targeted the Republican nominee’s focus on the security concerns that mass migration from Muslim-majority countries generates in relation to America’s national security.

When we look at this issue earnestly, the real threat to American Muslims from the specter of Islamophobia are far less than the threats faced by all Americans from the threat of global jihadism. They’re far less than what American Jews have to deal with both on and off the university campus. And they’re far less than what anyone who runs afoul of the government’s views on marriage, abortion, and contraception face on any given day.

Finally, when it comes to the havoc created by ISIS and other terror organizations that commit atrocities in the name of Allah, President Obama and company are quick to point out that most of the victims of jihadist violence around the world are Muslims themselves. But when it comes to the the same threat posed to those on our own soil, such concerns are nowhere to be found. Rather, they find themselves drowned out by those that worry about a so-called “Islamophobia” epidemic rather than the threat faced by every person in the civilized world, Muslims included, when they leave their homes every morning.

What exaggerated concerns about “Islamophobia” actually do, however, is dull, silence, and distract from the message of those who actually voice that there is indeed a centuries-old problem within Islam — that it creates legitimate security concerns, and that these realities have to be addressed in bold and earnest terms. Those terms might hurt someone’s feelings, after all.

In sum, the “Islamophobia” question was endemic of a host of concerns that the Left has thrown at anyone who dare raise questions about the Islamic nature of jihadist terrorism, or about the safety of the Obama administration’s immigration and refugee policies. However, in light of the numbers and the real security threats faced by Muslims and non-Muslims around the world, that the debates chose to focus on “Islamophobia” really ought to be put into context.