Posted tagged ‘Islamic terror groups’

U.S. Group Connected to Terrorists in Kashmir

July 17, 2017

U.S. Group Connected to Terrorists in Kashmir, Clarion ProjectRyan Mauro, July 17, 2017

(Please see also, Exclusive: Jihadi Cult Associate Arrested in NY With Firearms Stockpile. — DM)

The State Department recently blacklisted Mohammad Yusuf Shah (known as Syed Salahuddin), (2nd from right), leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist group (Photo: SAJJAD QAYYUM/AFP/Getty Images)

Neither Hizbul Mujahideen nor Jamaat ul-Fuqra (the original informal name of MOA) are on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

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The U.S. sanctioned the leader of an Islamist terrorist group in Kashmir named Hizbul Mujahideen late last month. The move targets an ideological ally of the U.S.-based Muslims of America organization (MOA), a cultish group known for its “Islamic villages” like Islamberg that is expressing support for the Kashmir terrorist group.

On June 26, the State Department blacklisted Mohammad Yusuf Shah (commonly known as Syed Salahuddin), the leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist group that fights in Kashmir against India and operates in Pakistan with backing from the Pakistani government.

Pakistan condemned the U.S. action.

Hizbul Mujahideen is the largest militant force in Kashmir. It condemns nationalism and democracy. It fights to create a theocratic Islamic state and caliphate. It is also closely linked to other Pakistani terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda affiliates.

MOA’s extremist leader, Sheikh Gilani, is based in Lahore, Pakistan and has long been involved in this circle of Pakistani terrorist groups. A 2003 FBI report says MOA acts as a conduit to groups in Pakistan affiliated with Al-Qaeda. This is substantiated by a former MOA member who went to Pakistan.

That is why it is so concerning that Muslims of America, a group that has boasted of having 22 “Islamic villages” in the U.S., is expressing solidarity with Hizbul Mujahideen.

MOA’s relationship with the group goes as far back as 1990.

Click here for FuqraFiles.com, the authoritative database on Muslims of America (also known as Jamaat ul-Fuqra)

On May 2, MOA announced a “multi-dimensional campaign” to “liberate” Kashmir from India. Its written statement was essentially a declaration to Muslims that Allah requires them to rally behind Hizbul Mujahideen.

It exalts the “charismatic leadership” of Burhan Wani, a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander killed last year. It credits him with inspiring “a new generation of fearless youth” and “freedom fighters.” MOA depicts the terrorist group as the face of the Kashmiri resistance to India.

In August 2016, MOA’s newspaper condemned India for killing a “top pro-independence militant leader.” Based on the wording, you’d think MOA was talking about a Kashmiri George Washington. Actually, it was Hizbul Mujahideen’s operations commander. MOA’s coverage presented the group as enjoying massive popular support.

In March 2017, MOA’s newspaper covered a battle between Indian forces and Hizbul Mujahideen and sided with the jihadists. It referred to them as “Kashmiri freedom fighters” contesting the “oppressive and violent treatment of the Kashmiri people by Indian forces.”

There’s good reason to suspect that MOA is providing Hizbul Mujahideen with more than sympathy.

MOA has a long relationship with the terrorist group. In 1990, MOA even wrote a public letter calling on all Muslims to contribute to jihad in Kashmir and to support the “Kashmir Freedom Front,” which was essentially another name for Hizbul Mujahideen.

Jihadis in Kashmir (Photo: SAJJAD QAYYUM/AFP/Getty Images)

 

On July 6, 2016, MOA published a public letter to the U.N. that said Muslims in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir are required to defend the Kashmiris against India “by every possible means.” Gilani and MOA have had a long presence in Kashmir, including a village named “Gillaniville.” Therefore, the letter is declaring that MOA is obligated to become involved “by every possible means.”

The letter also called on Muslim countries to unite into a single organization with a single force for intervention in places where Muslims are oppressed. In other words, to form a caliphate. MOA’s ideologyhas always been in favor of a caliphate, theocratic sharia law and violent jihad in places like Kashmir.

MOA’s May 2 press conference emphasized activism and humanitarian aid, but it did not reject violence or supporting violent elements.

In fact, MOA endorsed jihad by calling on Pakistan to intervene against the Indian military, an obviously violent action. Additionally, MOA’s claim that India is engaged in “genocide” would make jihad defensible, if not mandatory, to any Muslim audience.

The online statement announces its support for Kashmiris’ “struggle for self-determination.” Struggle is the synonym for jihad. That same statement heaps praise upon Hizbul Mujahideen for its jihad against India. MOA obviously chose to avoid using the eye-catching word in favor of the vaguer synonym, knowing that a Muslim audience would understand that it is referring to jihad.

MOA chief executive Hussein Adams, son of convicted terrorist Barry Adams, boasted at the May 2 press conference that MOA has been involved in supporting the Kashmiri “struggle” since the 1980s. Of course, he didn’t mention their involvement in jihad and soliciting of support for Hizbul Mujahideen.

Their own documents acknowledge this violent role in the Kashmir jihad. It is also seen in a secret video by Sheikh Gilani filmed and distributed among some MOA members in 1991-1993. Gilani explicitly says that MOA communes in North America can facilitate such training for jihad in places where Muslims are in battle, with Kashmir being the top priority. Training was open to Muslims outside of MOA.

Sheikh Gilani’s tape, which I was the first to publicly release long excerpts of, showed that MOA’s public face is different than what it says and does in private. This is undeniable proof that MOA was engaged in terrorism and that Gilani used his American camps to train and recruit terrorists for Kashmir and other places,” Martin Mawyer, president of the Christian Action Network told Clarion Project.

The Clarion Project later obtained and released a video of women at Islamberg receiving guerilla training that was filmed in 2001-2002.

MOA spoke of its providing of money, food, supplies and medical to Kashmiris using two fronts: The Kashmir American Friendship Society and the American Muslim Medical Relief Team. We know from government reports and prosecutions that MOA sends money, personnel and material to Gilani in Pakistan for more extremist purposes.

MOA complained that its applications for its “journalists” with its newspapers to go to Pakistan and Kashmir are not being approved. Obviously, the Pakistani government and/or the U.S. government don’t see their trips to Pakistan so innocuously.

This issue exposes a gap in America’s national security policy: Neither Hizbul Mujahideen nor Jamaat ul-Fuqra (the original informal name of MOA) are on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

A dozen Muslim organizations in North America have asked the State Department to review Fuqra/MOA for designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, as it fits the listed criteria. The case for designating Hizbul Mujahideen is much stronger, as the State Department has just acknowledged that it fits the criteria for its leader to be blacklisted as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

The State Department acknowledges that Hizbul Mujahideen fits the definition of a Foreign Terrorist Organization and it should now designate it as such. Doing so could sever whatever material relationship exists between Hizbul Mujahideen and Islamists in America like MOA and enable investigations and prosecutions of jihadists in America involved with the Pakistan-backed terrorist group.

Mission accomplished in Syria

April 12, 2017

Mission accomplished in Syria, Israel Hayom, Clifford D. May. April 12, 2017

(Accomplished or just begun? — DM)

Congress should send Trump the legislation it is now considering, seeking to impose new sanctions on Iran in reprisal for its continuing support of terrorists, its missile tests and its maintenance of more than 35,000 troops in Syria, including its own, those of its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, and Shiite fighters recruited from Iraq and Afghanistan. Suspending Iran’s deal with Boeing/Airbus would be useful, too. Only the willfully credulous believe that Iran’s theocrats won’t use such aircraft for illicit military purposes.

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If you’re still unsure about whether U.S. President Donald Trump did the right thing when he launched 59 cruise missiles at Syria’s Shayrat Air Base last week, consider the alternative.

He knew that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad had yet again used chemical weapons to murder Syrian civilians, women and children prominent among them. He knew that Iran and Russia had enabled this atrocity, as they have many others. He knew he had two choices.

He could shrug, instruct his U.N. ambassador to deliver a tearful speech calling on the “international community” to do something, and then go play a round of golf. Or he could demonstrate that the United States still has the power and the grit to stand up to tyrants and terrorists, thereby beginning to re-establish America’s deterrent capability.

In other words, this was what Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz would call a no-brainer. (Well, loosely translated.) A mission was accomplished. Do harder missions lie ahead? Yes, of course. But I suspect Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster have made that abundantly clear to the new president.

We now know for certain that Russia failed to live up to its 2013 commitment to ensure that Assad surrendered all his illegal chemical weapons under the deal it brokered. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acerbically questioned whether that was the result of complicity or incompetence or whether Russia allowed itself to be duped by Assad.

The strike ordered by President Trump was not “unbelievably small” — then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s description of the punishment then-President Barack Obama decided not to impose in response to Assad’s earlier use of chemical weapons. It was big enough to make clear that American diplomats are again carrying big sticks. (For Obama to insist that diplomacy and force are alternatives was patently absurd.)

Conveniently, Trump was dining with Chinese President Xi Jinping when the strikes occurred. It’s fair to speculate that Xi is today thinking harder about American requests to rein in Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator whose drive to acquire nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the American mainland has become what Tillerson called an “imminent” threat.

Having passed his first major national security test, Trump is now obliged to demonstrate firmness and consistency. What plans might the Pentagon have on the shelf to respond to further provocations? The next round of Tomahawk missiles could permanently ground Assad’s air force. That would make it easier to then establish no-fly zones. If such measures do not alter the calculations of Assad and his Iranian and Russian patrons, consideration could be given to leveling his defense, intelligence and command-and-control centers as well.

Another idea under discussion: setting up safe havens, or, to use a better term, “self-protection zones,” for those fleeing the Syrian regime and various jihadist forces, Sunni and Shiite alike. Israel and Jordan could help the inhabitants of such areas adjacent to their borders defend themselves. The Saudis, Emiratis and Bahrainis could contribute to the cost. Might this lead to the partition of Syria? Most likely, but it’s difficult to imagine a “political solution” that would not include such readjustments.

All this, while useful and perhaps even necessary, should be seen as insufficient. Syria is a major humanitarian catastrophe but only one piece in a much larger geopolitical puzzle. Sooner rather than later, the Trump administration needs to develop what Obama refused to contemplate: a comprehensive and coherent strategy to counter the belligerent, imperialist and supremacist forces that have emerged from the Middle East and are now spreading like weeds around the world.

The Islamic State group will of course need to be driven off the lands on which it has attempted to establish a caliphate. After that, its terrorists will have to be hunted, along with those of al-Qaida, wherever they hide (e.g., Egypt where, over the weekend, they bombed two Coptic Christian churches).

But — and this is crucial — accomplishing these missions must not serve to further empower Iran’s jihadist rulers, who dream of establishing an expanding imamate, the Shiite version of a caliphate.

Most immediately, Congress should send Trump the legislation it is now considering, seeking to impose new sanctions on Iran in reprisal for its continuing support of terrorists, its missile tests and its maintenance of more than 35,000 troops in Syria, including its own, those of its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, and Shiite fighters recruited from Iraq and Afghanistan. Suspending Iran’s deal with Boeing/Airbus would be useful, too. Only the willfully credulous believe that Iran’s theocrats won’t use such aircraft for illicit military purposes.

That the United States cannot solve all the world’s problems was one of Trump’s campaign themes. But the implication is not necessarily, as some of his supporters hoped, that he would turn a blind eye to all atrocities and threats not already within America’s borders.

In the last century, most Americans recognized, in some cases with enormous reluctance, that there was no good alternative to doing whatever was necessary to rout the Nazis and communists, enemies whose goal was to kill off the democratic experiment.

In this century, jihadists and Islamists harbor the same ambition. We can attempt to appease them. We can try to make ourselves inoffensive to them. We can keep our hand extended, hoping that in time they will unclench their fists. Or we can decide instead to plan for a long war that will end with the defeat of these latest enemies of America and the rest of the civilized world. If Trump has grasped that within his first 100 days, he’s not off to such a bad start.

Time to Call Iran’s Revolutionary Guards What They Are: Terrorists

March 10, 2017

Time to Call Iran’s Revolutionary Guards What They Are: Terrorists, American ThinkerReza Shafiee, March 10, 2017

What is missing in all the talks and arguments made in Washington as to what is an effective remedy to counter the mullahs in Iran is the role of Iranian people. Iran is boiling with popular discontent, now. According to Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari, the Iranian regime’s chief of police: “On average 20 to 30 protest gatherings take place around the country by citizens who have lost their life savings to the banks,” These citizens are mainly retired with very limited savings and were scammed out of their lifetime savings by various government-owned financial institutions.  Such protests are but a drop in the ocean when we add the teachers, nurses, factory workers, and an army of college graduates with no prospects of finding decent jobs to the discontent. This amounts to tens of thousands of people, in large numbers of gatherings each year. According to a BBC report, more than 11 million or Iran’s 83 million people are unemployed in the country.

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Ever since signs emerged that Trump administration is considering a long-overdue classification of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, the ruling mullahs have gone to work. They put into place a well-known strategy of intimidation and deception aboard, coupled with an absolute iron fist at home. They do this because they know the value of controlling a terrorist organization. The problem is in the harm it means for everyone else.

In the past, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini, would brandish the former by reminding Western governments that if they chose to cross Tehran then they must be prepared to pay dearly. But that was decades ago. One fact is undisputable now: The Iranian regime has long passed its prime revolutionary and glory days when Khomeini rode in on the tides of millions who were sadly unaware of what was to come. In those days, people tasted a short-lived period of high expectations, at the time wildly called “spring of freedom.”

At the same time, hostage-taking by IRGC’s protégés, such as nascent Lebanese Hezbollah, of foreign nationals, preferably Americans, was routine. The ayatollahs were behind it even though it often took place in Lebanon. After each kidnapping, IRGC’s proteges then engaged hostages’ governments in a lengthy and humiliating process of hostage negotiations and sometimes hostage swaps in the 1980s.

Today the IRGC has made it much more convenient to reach the same ends by taking the hostages among dual citizens who take the risk of traveling to Iran. Case in point was hostages released just after Iranian regime struck the nuclear deal with the U.S. and five other world powers. IRGC’s deputy chief, Brigadier General Hossein Nejat, in a speech in Bushehr (south of Iran), said: “The Iranian-American journalist of the Washington Post, Jason Rezaian, who had formed an espionage network was identified and arrested by the IRGC.”

Hossein Nejat stated: “The former Secretary of State, John Kerry with his intelligence forces urged the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif to release Jason Rezaian. Consequently, the U.S. government in return paid 1 billion and 400 million dollars ransom to Iran for the release of Jason Rezaian.”

Other IRGC officials, on different occasions after the hostages were released, have bragged that the Obama administration released Iranian prisoners in the United States and on top of that paid a hefty sum as ransom money.

In past few weeks, despite attempts by regime officials, such as Zarif, to keep a low profile while anxiously monitoring Donald Trump’s every move, IRGC is actively scheming. It raised the prize on Salman Rushdie’s head, showcased and glorified old terrorists such as Anis-Alnaghash on state-run television and openly threatened the U.S.

CNC News revealed on Feb. 28 that an IRGC strategist, Hassan Abbasi renewed threats that the force has planned to unleash terror cells on U.S. soil. He has elaborated plans to sabotage nuclear plants in the United States among other things. Ironically, at the same time, IRGC has claimed that it is fighting terrorism in neighboring countries.

Javad Zarif has recently said: “the world at large agrees that the IRGC has extended the utmost support for neighboring countries in their fight against terrorism.”

Zarif seemingly refers to IRGC’s destructive and brutal role in Syria and is trying to sell it as constrictive. According to IRGC’s own figures, more than 1,000 members of its rank and file have been killed in cities around the war-torn country.  Many were veteran IRGC officers. The Iranian regime claims that it has only an advisory role in Syria, however it has recruited and dispatched thousands of Afghani and Pakistani nationals to Syrian fronts. Not one has fought ISIS.

On March 2, Brigadier General Ismail Ghaani, who is deputy Quds Force commander, speaking in the northeastern city of Mashhad, told a group from the Fatemiyoun Division, an offshoot of the force fighting in Syria: “Fatemiyoun proved that it is a capable force ready to operate not only in Syria but anywhere else on the planet when Islam requires it.” Fatemiyoun was formed of Afghani recruits, along with its sibling organization Zenabiyoun Division of Pakistanis.

The Iranian regime today makes it no secret that it is heavily involved in Syria and Iraq. It sugarcoats its involvement with the illusion that IRGC and its armed wing, the Quds Force, are fighting ISIS. But it’s not true. After almost six years of involvement in the bloody civil war in Syria, it is out in the open that the regime has no quarrel with ISIS. Former Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with Fox News: “Assad facilitated the release of 1,500 prisoners, parallel to 1,000 by Maliki in Iraq, leading to the foundation of ISIS.”  Former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, said that Americans knew what Prime Minister Maliki was up to, but chose not to take any action.

It is also a hard fact that Maliki was in every way a puppet of the Iranian regime. He was trained by the IRGC and fought alongside its forces during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

What is missing in all the talks and arguments made in Washington as to what is an effective remedy to counter the mullahs in Iran is the role of Iranian people. Iran is boiling with popular discontent, now. According to Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari, the Iranian regime’s chief of police: “On average 20 to 30 protest gatherings take place around the country by citizens who have lost their life savings to the banks,” These citizens are mainly retired with very limited savings and were scammed out of their lifetime savings by various government-owned financial institutions.  Such protests are but a drop in the ocean when we add the teachers, nurses, factory workers, and an army of college graduates with no prospects of finding decent jobs to the discontent. This amounts to tens of thousands of people, in large numbers of gatherings each year. According to a BBC report, more than 11 million or Iran’s 83 million people are unemployed in the country.

When it comes to Iran, the decision-makers in Washington have two options: One is to follow the status quo and tolerate a regime which is the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world, a stirrer of sectarian violence in the region, and engaged in two wars in Iraq and Syria. It’s a nation that secretly supplies weapons to Yemen’s Houthis which has also cost American servicemen’s lives. If the Trump administration chooses this option, it will make the same mistakes the Obama administration made.

The other, and better, option is to stand with Iranian people and their resistance, to let them shape their own future. All they asked of U.S. in 2009 was for the U.S. to stand with them. At the time, they chanted: “Obama are you with us or with them.” They clearly hoped the U.S. would not placate mullahs with concessions, nor turn a blind eye to regime’s terrorism.

One such good signal in the right direction would be to designate IRGC as a terrorist organization.  In light of all it has done and its growing strength, in designating the IRGC as a terrorist group, we are doing ourselves a favor.

Reza Shafiee is a member of Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) 

In Russia, hunkering down over Flynn affair

February 14, 2017

In Russia, hunkering down over Flynn affair, American ThinkerMonica Showalter, February 14, 2017

(Russia has become disenchanted with Iran and wants to have better ties with America, particularly in fighting terrorism. Please see, Pro-Kremlin Pravda.ru: ‘ Iran Is Becoming A Major Problem, First And Foremost For Russia’s Interests’. What’s wrong with having strong ties with Russia in areas where our interests coincide?– DM)

The political backbiting behind the sudden ouster of retired general Michael T. Flynn from the National Security Council is worth watching.

So is the reaction from Russia.  Kicking Flynn out as a security risk – complete with unsubstantiated claims of his supposed vulnerability to Russian blackmail – seems to be a calculated move to trash President Trump’s effort to improve relations with Russia to fight terrorists.  It has a look of the Cold War status quo reasserting itself.

For Russia, which is tired of constant conflict with the West, it’s a huge disappointment.  The initial response has been to lash out.  Back in Moscow, one Russian politician was not pleased:

“The resignation of Michael Flynn was probably the speediest for a national security advisor in all history. But the target is not Flynn, but rather relations with Russia,” Senator Aleksey Pushkov tweeted.

Russians like that, with domestic constituencies, have no reason not to tell it like it is.  Higher up, the response from the Kremlin has been to hunker down into a defensive crouch.  State-owned RT News reports that rather than swing back as the Russian politician did, Russia at the federal state level is suddenly going quiet.  The hilariously peppery, out-there Twitter site of Russia’s London embassy has flatlined, with only a couple of sarcastic recent tweets about Russian hackers – nothing about Flynn.  And up until now, they’ve commented about what they want to comment about, not just London-related doings.  According to RT News, Russia’s foreign ministry now says it considers the Flynn affair none of its business and plans to say nothing about it.

Foreign Policy reports the same strategic retreat. In its latest analysis, its writers, one of whom is Eastern European, pointed out that Trump and his interest in improving ties with Russia are immensely popular in Russia, with even the dissidents wild about Trump.  Such a broad sentiment means high hopes – and likely a lot of disappointment as the Washington status quo reasserts itself.  It also should give domestic political cover for the Putin government to swing back and defend the right of its ambassador to talk to Flynn.  Because if you can’t talk to the ambassador, whom can you talk to?  Yet the Kremlin is showing every sign of pulling back as it finds itself playing the unwanted role of the bogeyman in the Trump-CIA-Justice Department infighting.

A Russian media source I talked to inside Russia just now cautiously says she really, truly hopes the situation will be resolved amicably.  On background, of course, speaking only for herself.  That’s pretty funny behavior, as it shouldn’t be that hard to go on the record to express such a pablummy statement.

Meanwhile, a gander at the untranslated Russian pages of TASS, the state government news agency, which chiefly serves to keep the Kremlin informed, quite unlike RT, which seeks to influence the West, shows that the story – of this magnitude, with Russia at the center of the action – was last night covered from its New York, not its Washington, office.  It seems as though they didn’t want to risk or perhaps sacrifice their longtime correspondents in the capital by having them ask questions about the matter that involves their ambassador.  As Obama showed in his last weeks in office, anyone can be thrown out for “espionage” with no evidence to back it these days.  To make peace with the CIA, Trump’s hand could be forced.  And once again, they will be the bogeyman.

The whole thing is disturbing to me because it represents a wasted opportunity to forge better ties with Russia.  Should it really be “poison” for Russians and Americans to talk to each other and say what we think?  Why is it so taboo to talk freely with them?  Flynn was ousted for that, and now the Russians are exhibiting their old paranoid behaviors and avoiding talk, too, probably with good reason.

With that the case, it signals that Russia being held hostage by the establishment, and it knows it, and it’s all because the Beltway can’t quite get control of Trump.

 

ISIS Terrorists Tapping Organized Crime to Infiltrate Europe

February 11, 2017

ISIS Terrorists Tapping Organized Crime to Infiltrate Europe, Investigative Project on Terrorism, February 10, 2017

With the help of organized criminal elements, Islamic State terrorists reportedly are buying legitimate British passports that can evade security detection from security authorities, the Daily Beast reports.

An Italian intelligence investigation into the Camorra mafia discovered an advertisement on the deep web that linked to a Naples firm capable of producing sophisticated biometric passports.

“We are selling original UK Passports made with your info/picture. Also, your info will get entered into the official passport database,” the advertisement reads. “So its (sic) possible to travel with our passports. How do we do it? Trade secret! Information on how to send us your info and picture will be given after purchase! You can even enter the UK/EU with our passports, we can just add a stamp for the country you are in.”

Other investigations also shed light onto the broader ties between terrorists and European criminal organizations, including in the smuggling of weapons and forged documents.

Last year Italian authorities arrested an Iraqi man in Naples for facilitating weapons and document transfers to the Islamic State.

“Naples has been, for many years, a central logistics base for the Middle East,” prosecutor Franco Roberti told the Daily Beast last year, adding that “the Camorra (mafia) is also active in the world of jihadist terrorism that passes through Naples.”

Terrorists are diversifying their funding sources through various criminal means to underwrite their violent and nefarious activities. The criminal-terrorism nexus manifests itself in several ways: mainly in the form of cooperation between terrorist groups and organized criminal elements, and crimes by terrorists which are conducted to finance their own operations. Terrorists’ reliance in counterfeiting in particular has attracted more attention recently with the rise of Islamic State networks in Europe and other parts of the world.

Lacking a formal state sponsor, and facing setbacks in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State may start to depend more on criminal relationships to fuel their operations and to infiltrate terrorists into Western for the purposes of carrying out attacks abroad.

Texas Officials Warn of ISIS Threat to U.S.-Mexican Border

January 27, 2017

Texas Officials Warn of ISIS Threat to U.S.-Mexican Border, Investigative Project on Terrorism, John Rossomando, January 26, 2017

A report by the Texas Department of Public Safety raises concerns about ISIS terrorists using the Mexican border both to enter and leave the country. It noted that at least 13 aspiring terrorists have tried to cross into Mexico, or considered trying, since 2012.

Most of those cases involved people who knew they were on the federal no-fly list but wanted to travel to join terrorists, the report said. Sneaking across the southern border “presents an opportunity for increasing numbers of aspiring foreign terrorist fighters to evade US interdiction efforts such as the No-Fly List.”

The most recent example happened in October. Texas authorities arrested two Milwaukee men near San Angelo, Texas on the way to the Mexican border. Jason Ludke, 35, and Yosvany Padilla-Conde, 30, wanted to go to Mexico, obtain fraudulent travel documents and travel to join ISIS in Syria or Iraq.

In another instance in April 2015, seven Somali men from Minnesota tried to cross from San Diego into Mexico in an effort to get to Syria and fight for ISIS.

Texas resident Bilal Hamed Abood, an Iraq-born naturalized U.S. citizen, successfully used the border in 2013 to travel to Syria, where he fought for a Syrian rebel group. The FBI arrested Abood for lying about his initial travel to Syria when he tried to come home through the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. Abood claimed he fought for a faction that was not prohibited under U.S. law. However, FBI agents search his computer and found that he took an oath of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Texas authorities voiced concern in 2014 about ISIS social media threats to use the Mexican border to enter the United States.

In a criminal complaint filed last year, alleged ISIS supporter Erick Jamal Hendricks claimed to have had contact with an ISIS supporter known as “Abu Harb.” “Abu Harb” told Hendricks that he was in Dallas and that the “Islamic State had brothers in Mexico.”

Previously, government officials warned about threats to the U.S. border posed by other terrorist groups including Al-Shabaab and Hizballah.

President Trump touted the ISIS threat as a reason for building his wall along the Mexican border during the campaign. He signed an executive order Wednesday calling for the wall’s construction, but funding sources are not yet clear.

They Teach Our Children, Advise Our Government, And Support Jihad

January 27, 2017

They Teach Our Children, Advise Our Government, And Support Jihad, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abigail R. Esman, January 27, 2017

1957

Esposito seems to want to aim his work beyond the ivory towers. He has spoken on Islam to the State Department, the FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security and other government offices.

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Since the rise of ISIS as an Islamic extremist group, and certainly since its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the official creation of the caliphate, researchers and intelligence groups worldwide have noted its popularity with Muslim women, even in the West. Unlike other terrorist groups, ISIS has pointedly recruited women. And many women have, on their own, found the promise of life in the Islamic State particularly appealing.

Along the way, researchers and intelligence agencies have argued that the Muslim women who join ISIS, especially those who travel to Syria from the West, take active roles in ISIS’s jihad. While they are largely barred from fighting on the battlefield, women have enrolled in the al-Khansaa brigade, the women’s moral police force which enforces strict codes of dress and public behavior. Al-Khansaa officers regularly arrest and beat women who violate sharia-based modesty laws or who appear in public without a male companion. Other women raise their sons to be jihadists, or bring their children with them from the West in the hopes that they, too, will grow up to support the Islamic State and its jihad.

Now a young Dutch researcher, Aysha Navest, has come out with a different theory based on interviews she held with over 22 women now living in the caliphate. Navest, who is affiliated with the University of Amsterdam (UvA), says she knows several of those women. They reveal a very different portrait of the so-called “ISIS brides:” girls who are not recruited for jihad, but who willingly and eagerly make the perilous trip to Syria, where they live peaceful, happy lives as homemakers, mothers, and wives. Her findings appeared last April in the journal Anthropology Today, a peer-reviewed publication of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

There is just one problem: Aysha Navest allegedly also recruits women for the Islamic State.

This is the conclusion of journalists at the Dutch national daily NRC Handelsblad, who matched Navest’s birthdate, hometown, children’s first names and other identifying details with those of “Ought-Aisha,” a woman posting messages on the Dutch-Muslim website Marokko.nl. And according to “Ought-Aisha” (or “Sister Aisha”), life in the Islamic State is simply grand. In various posts, she has praised suicide bombers, honored Osama bin Laden, and insisted that jihadists will find rewards in Paradise. Additionally, the NRC reports, in Facebook posts she has referred to Shiites and apostates as “people who rape our women, torture our men, and kill our children.”

Unsurprisingly, the NRC’s findings put renewed focus on Navest’s reports and the nature of her research, which was performed under the tutelage of two well-known UvA professors – anthropologist Martijn de Koning and Modern Islamic Culture professor Annelies Moors. Both De Koning and Moors now admit that Navest’s subjects were interviewed anonymously, largely via WhatsApp, and that she did not share the women’s names even with them – a departure from standard research practices that call for transparency. Even so, according to Elsevier, they stand behind her research.

Others, however, voice considerable skepticism. The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD dismissed Navest’s report from the outset, noting that her conclusions stood in stark conflict not only with their own, but with other studies by UvA scholars. The UvA has now called for an independent investigation into Navest’s background and the reliability of her work.

Even fellow academics have been scathingly critical. In his column for Elsevier, Leiden University Professor of Jurisprudence Afshin Ellian observed that as a result of Navest’s online postings, “in normal situations, she would end up in prison for incitement to violence and hate with terrorist intentions.” Instead, the conclusions of her “research” showing that women do not join directly in jihad but simply enjoy idyllic lives as wives and mothers in the Caliphate, represent “the manner in which she pursues her own jihad: by pulling a smokescreen before the eyes of the unbelievers.”

But the situation also exposes a larger problem within academia internationally. In many institutions, subjectivity clouds social research, while students’ minds are too-frequently shaped by anti-democratic, anti-Western, and – worse – truth-challenged ideologues. For example, at UvA, De Koning has long been accused of sympathizing with Islamic extremists. Among other things, he co-authored a book describing Salafism as a “utopian idealism.”

Likewise, at Kent State University, the FBI is reportedly investigating history professor Julio Pino for ties to the Islamic State. A Muslim convert, Pino has made provocative comments on campus and in university-based newspapers, including shouting “Death to Israel” during a lecture by a former Israeli diplomat. In a letter to a campus publication, he declared “jihad until victory!” On Facebook, Pino once described Osama bin Laden as “the greatest.” He also posted a photograph of himself in front of the U.S. Capitol Building, adding the caption “I come to bury D.C., not to praise it,” Fox News reports.

Kent State officials say they “distanced” themselves from Professor Pino, whose tenured position poses legal challenges to dismissing him from the faculty.

In contrast, at nearby Oberlin, Assistant Professor Joy Karega’s Facebook posts calling ISIS an arm of American and Israeli intelligence agencies and blaming Israel for the attacks of 9/11 were enough to get her fired from her job teaching Rhetoric and Composition. As the industry newspaper Inside Higher Ed reported, despite initially defending her right to academic freedom, Oberlin officials ultimately determined that, “Beyond concerns about anti-Semitism, which fit into larger complaints about escalating anti-Jewish rhetoric on campus, Karega’s case has raised questions about whether academic freedom covers statements that have no basis in fact.”

Then there is John Esposito, Georgetown University’s professor of Religion and International Affairs and Islamic Studies. An extensive Investigative Project on Terrorism investigation into Esposito’s activities found that he has used his position to “defend radical Islam and promote its ideology- including defending terrorist organizations and those who support them, advocating for Islamist regimes, praising radical Islamists and their apologists, and downplaying the threat of Islamist violence.” He refuses to condemn Hamas and, according to the report, “remains a close friend and defender of Palestinian Islamic Jihad board member Sami Al-Arian.”

Al-Arian ran the PIJ’s “active arm” in America while working as a University of South Florida professor.

Like Navesh, Esposito seems to want to aim his work beyond the ivory towers. He has spoken on Islam to the State Department, the FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security and other government offices. Similarly, Navesh hoped that her “research” would help shape policy in the Netherlands, encouraging courts to issue lighter sentences on women who returned home from the Islamic State. After all, they hadn’t engaged in terrorism. They’d only lived in domestic bliss abroad. Where’s the crime in that?

None, of course, if it were true. But it is not.

There is nothing new, of course, in respected journals publishing flawed research by people who aim to shape public policy or opinion – the infamous and now-debunked Andrew Wakefield study that claimed to link autism to vaccines is a prime example. But such examples only underscore the challenges, and the need to investigate better the accuracy of scholarly reports as well as the integrity of those who write them. Islamic jihad, after all, is not just about destroying our lives, but about destroying our culture. In the face of the “smokescreens” of that jihad, intellectual vigilance will be our strongest shield.