Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Genesis of ISIS

How and where does a terrorist organization begin and grow?   Not necessarily where you'd think.   The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,
more commonly referred to as ISIS is by far the most virulent terrorist organization of the 21st Century.  Its goal,  of establishing a Caliphate  in the area of Iraq and Syria,  is pursued by the deadly sword of hatred toward all who do not accept its form of radical Islamic theology.

Bow the knee or lose the head is the choice often put to whole cities or tribes in the area.

The current threat extends beyond the region since the call by its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to individuals around the globe to maim, kill, or inflict fear (through acts of violence) to the unbelievers.
Examples of others heading his call have been seen most recently in Sydney Australia,  Toronto Canada, and Moore, Oklahoma.

We are now finding out that many of the current leaders of ISIS, as well
as al Baghdadi, were in fact incarcerated in prison together.
The facility known as Camp Bucca in the area of Umm Qasr in Iraq was operated by the U.S. military from 2003 to 2010 when the U.S. ceded control to the Iraqi government.  The name of the prison was after a New York City fire marshal, Ronald Bucca who died in the September 11th attack by
It was during this time of the operation by American forces and consultants that prisoners utilized the free time given to them to congregate through out the day.  As reported by Martin Chulov's interview with a member of ISIS who uses the name, Abu Ahmed , upon al-Baghdadi's arrival in the prison all the inmates deferred to his leadership and authority.  They often met together without interference from prison administrators.  Ahmed stated; “We had so much time to sit and plan,” he continued. “It was the perfect environment. We all agreed to get together when we got out. The way to reconnect was easy. We wrote each other’s details on the elastic of our boxer shorts. When we got out, we called. Everyone who was important to me was written on white elastic. I had their phone numbers, their villages. By 2009, many of us were back doing what we did before we were caught. But this time we were doing it better.”

This is a typical jail wise tactic used by convicts around the globe to establish lines of communication beyond the wall.  That incarcerated terrorists learned these so quickly and were able to grow in the environment should come as no surprise to seasoned law enforcement officials.
What is disturbing is that they (Administrators) took no credible action to disrupt or impede the growth.  Allowing inmates to congregate freely is a security risk that cannot be overlooked in the name of "rehabilitation" or socialization.

The United States as well as the UK and France are now faced with an inordinate number of individuals who have committed terrorist acts currently incarcerated in their prison system.
Left to themselves and allowed to attract and influence other inmates will only produce a more deadly
group than ISIS.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Peacemakers Not Pundits Needed

In the current crisis of confidence regarding the Criminal Justice System, brought on by the recent Grand Jury decisions in Ferguson and New York City, it appears that the voice that yells the loudest gets the most attention irregardless of truth.
TV and Internet News organizations are scurrying to find a commentator to fit their mold while sending out cameramen and reporters to trail protesters for the latest in "what are you seeing"
What's really needed and what we are not currently seeing are peacemakers, individuals who will bridge the gap between those who have the perception that the scales of justice are tipped against them and those who are sworn to uphold the law.

It is not a popular time to be a law enforcement officer.  To balance the rule of law within the community you serve is no easy task.  Crime effects everyone not just the victim.  Left unchecked it will produce anarchy.  Yet in administering justice, the officer has to be part priest, part teacher, and part neighbor.  The greatest tool that an officer carries everyday to work is not the gun, or the handcuffs, or the citation book.  It is his (or hers) communication skills.  The ability to hear and understand what is being said to them and more importantly the ability to defuse tense situations.
Everyday thousands of law enforcement officers are called on to  "keep the peace" in the jurisdictions they serve.   And they do it admirably, often without thanks,  sometimes at the cost of their lives.
Pundits only talk.  And as the saying goes. "talk is cheap"
What is really needed now is more peacemakers.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Face of a Terrorist: Radicalization and the Social Media

The family of Oklahoma beheading suspect Alton Nolen has expressed shock at how the ex-con raised in a Christian home could have committed such a gruesome crime, but experts say he fits the profile of a growing number of jihadists....

Law enforcement authorities have said Nolen viewed the group’s grisly videotapes showing the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and his Facebook page included a picture of a beheaded victim.

“These images and social media messages are extremely powerful,” said Patrick Dunleavy, former deputy inspector general of the New York State Criminal Intelligence Unit and author of the 2011 book “The Fertile Soil of Jihad: Terrorism’s Prison Connection.”. “In the past, we thought of terror groups in terms of cells, or handlers who coordinated attacks. But they no longer need handlers in direct contact to bring the crazy guy along and convince him to do their will. They can do it online and unilaterally."

Arnett Gaston, a professor of criminology at University of Maryland and a former commanding officer at New York’s Rikers Island jail, said inmates who find faith while doing time have historically changed their lives for the good and been a positive influence in prisons. But Gaston acknowledged that terrorist groups are targeting young Muslim converts, and law enforcement must take the issue seriously.

Read more - Fox News

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Preventing Another Violent Act by a Deranged Terrorist

The signs were all there, glaring, waiting to be seen.  The predisposition to violence, time spent in prison, emotionally unstable,  website postings.   Alton Nolen was not an aberration.  He was if anything a ticking time bomb with a short fuse.  His firing from Vaughn Foods was simply the catalyst that tripped the trigger in his mind to move from jihadi thoughts to violent action.  One small switch, one perceived slight and he was gone.  Doing what he had heard and seen of others, specifically ISIS members beheading innocent victims in the Middle East.  The call to him was clear, at least in his twisted mind.  Several radical Islamist groups had recently urged American “lone wolfs” to act in the name of Allah and attack innocents where ever they could.
Could this action have been stopped before it started.  Should authorities have known beforehand what an individual like this could do.   Is there a profile or tell tale signs that authorities should have picked up on?   The answer is yes.
Over ten years ago a US Intelligence agency report on the profile of potential terrorist (violent extremists) was issued that stated in part;

"Based on a variety of reporting - including a preliminary analysis of a small sample of US converts to Islam who become associated with extremist violence...we assess.. Some individuals, particularly those who convert in prison, may be attracted directly to jihadi violence at the outset of their conversion for opportunistic rather than ideological reasons.  For this group, jihad represents a convenient outlet for aggressive behavior."

The report goes on to say:  "In an apparent play on this psychological vulnerability...extremist groups are actively recruiting prisoners…"

  Read the New York Post

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

NYPD Commissioner Agrees with Author on Questioning Individuals Arrested

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton
In a recent interview with the Jerusalem Post,
New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton defended the right for police to ask pertinent questions to arrestees.  This comes on the heels of a recent New York Times article criticizing the PD for asking Muslim inmates if they had specific knowledge of  possible criminal activity, including terrorism that they would be willing to divulge to the police.

In response to the accusations of a prejudicial policing policy when it comes to Muslims, Bratton stated that the technique is " an essential element of policing."

He went on to say, "I created this policy back in 1994, in New York City last time I was commissioner, where every person arrested was interviewed by detectives about not necessarily the crime they committed but do they have information about other crimes and is there an ability to develop these people into confidential informants,”

The Commissioner's position was further reinforced by his Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism, John Miller.   Miller, sitting along side Bratton in the interview stated;
" I think the basic tenet of policing is that when you take people into custody, you try to get information from them. This is how we take guns, this is how we seize narcotics, this is how we solve murders every single day. In the area of counterterrorism, this is how you are going to gain insight and visibility where you would otherwise have very little.”

One terrorism expert compared the comments made by the Commissioner and his Deputy to a recent article in the New York Post by the author of "The Fertile Soil of Jihad" saying: "Bratton's comments underscore what Patrick Dunleavy pointed out... Using suspects to try to learn about other crimes and conspiracies is an everyday police practice, has been for years, and simply is common sense."

Now if only the New York Times would agree...but that maybe asking to much

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Scurrilous NY Times Informant Story Ignores NYPD Successes

Exaggeration is often the tool of a disingenuous person, but when it comes to reporting, there seems to be no bounds. Case in point, the most recent article in The New York Times on the NYPD’s counterterrorism program, “New York Police Recruit Muslims to be Informers.”

The reporter goes on a mission to expose what he claims is the improper questioning of individuals arrested and being held in jails. Specifically, he decries the singling out of a specific group of criminals, Muslims. The reporter gets it dead wrong — and in the process puts in jeopardy the lives of many who have helped police fight terror.

The article claims that law enforcement personnel changed their focus of questions to home in on a specific area, religion. The writer states: “They [NYPD] showed that religion had become a normal topic of police inquiry in the city’s holding cells and lockup facilities.”
     A new technique of interrogation? I think not. As the former deputy inspector general of the New York State Department of Corrections, I can state emphatically that arrestees have been asked the question “what is your religion” for more than 40 years. It is a core part of the initial intake assessment of an individual about to be admitted to a jail. It goes part and parcel with height, weight, color of eyes, ethnicity, etc.

The writer wants the reader to believe that this type of questioning only began after 9/11. Why? It goes along with the mantra that Muslims were being singled out arbitrarily by police and intelligence officials when it comes to crime. Not so. I doubt the reporter has ever really sat in on an intake interview of an arrestee. If he had, he would have seen the line of questioning of an arrestee/inmate is founded in the historical fundamental belief by cops that, whenever a crime is committed, either someone in jail did it or knows who did it.

In gathering intelligence on specific threat groups — be they the Mafia, the Latin Kings, the Chinese Ghost Shadow Gangs, the Russian Mob, etc. — you’re going to ask a specific group of people about a specific group of criminals, and radical Islamic terrorism is a form of criminal activity. My good friend John Cutter, former deputy chief of NYPD’s Intelligence Division, put it most succinctly when he said, “I know we’re the Police Department, and we deal with crime, but terrorism is just a higher level of crime, and we have to know about it. If it’s in our midst, I need someone to investigate it.”

There are numerous examples of successful cases where terrorist acts were thwarted due to intelligence gathered from speaking to an individual in jail.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dismantling a Unit - NYPD Succumbs to Political Pressure

In a move designed to placate a small minority of New York City residents, the NYPD announced that it was disbanding its Demographics Unit.

The unit, which was a small segment of the NYPD's Intelligence Division, came under fire following a series of articles published by the Associated Press using leaked documents showed widespread surveillance of Muslim communities in New York and elsewhere. Following the articles, several Muslim activist groups protested against the NYPD's Counter Terrorism strategies.

What came next was a series of lawsuits filed by "victims" of the Department anti-terrorism policies.
The "victims" claimed that the NYPD program had "caused a series of spiritual, stigmatic, and pecuniary losses." The last being better translated as monetary losses.

But what had the unit actually done to deserve such castigation? It collected open source information of various neighborhoods in the greater New York area – i.e. "demographics" – where it was believed the greatest likelihood of Islamic terrorists would seek to assimilate themselves while plotting terrorist acts.

This belief was not based on conjecture but on solid precedent. In the late 1980s and early 90s, a small group of Islamic terrorists congregated in several area neighborhoods and frequented a select group of mosques that were in alignment with their radical theology.
The result was the first World Trade Center bombing on Feb. 23, 1993. The investigation into that attack uncovered an additional plot to blow up several national landmarks in the New York area, including the Statute of Liberty. John Miller, the new Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence for NYPD knows these facts. He wrote about them (in part) in his book, "The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It." 
But in comments reported this week regarding the disbanding of the unit, he said the unit wasn't necessary and that the police did not need to work covertly when it comes to gathering information on a specific group.

If that is true, then the next NYPD unit that could be disbanded is the Organized Crime Control Bureau (OCCB). Formed in the 1970s, the OCCB has had enormous success against the Italian Mafia, "the Westies" of the Irish mob, Chinese Mafia, East German Mafia, and Russian Mafia and Colombian Drug Cartels using similar techniques and strategies as that of the Demographics or Zone Assessment unit. Those include surveillance, mapping, infiltration, use of informants, and covert operations.

Such a move by the Police Department would be deemed ridiculous. Is terrorism any less a threat to the city than organized crime?

The mayor and the department should listen to the entire New York City community and not a select few, or those who cry the loudest...... Read more

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why Extremists Have Access to U.S. Prisons

A Prison Yard in the U.S.
Tue, April 1, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Court Upholds NYPD Counter Terrorism Program Despite Associated Press Campaign.

A federal judge in New Jeresey dismissed a lawsuit last Thursday that was brought by several Islamic activist organizations, including the Muslim Students Association and the Muslim Foundation, against the New York City Police Department. The plaintiffs accused the NYPD of violating their civil rights through a program which including surveillance and intelligence gathering of the Muslim community in New Jersey.

The groups along with several individuals stated that the actions had “caused a series of spiritual, stigmatic, and pecuniary losses” to them both as individuals and collectively. The plaintiffs went on to say that they experienced “diminished religious expression.”

In plain speak, they accused the New York Police Department of violating their constitutional right to religious freedom protected under the First Amendment.

They stated that because of the NYPD’s actions they could no longer pray in public or speak in public regarding religion or politics. They accused the NYPD of singling them out solely on the basis of their religion. The group went on to claim a loss of “employment prospects, property values, and revenue…” All because the NYPD sought to prevent another attack by Muslim extremists by monitoring one of the communities most likely to harbor Islamic terrorists. 

In return for the harm they had suffered they ask for “…compensatory, economic, and nominal damages.”

In other words, money.  

U.S. District Judge William J. Martini found otherwise. The alleged damages in the lawsuit were theoretical, he wrote. There is no evidence of any “injury in fact,” which is required for the lawsuit to continue. If any such injury were offered, though, it wasn’t the fault of the NYPD.

The NYPD surveillance and intelligence gathering program was one of the department’s counter terrorism programs. It began in early 2002, after the 9/11 attacks by Islamic terrorists, and with the appointment of David Cohen, former deputy director of the CIA, as the deputy commissioner of intelligence for NYPD. At the time, the city was looking for new and innovative measures to counter the threat of Islamic terrorists who had struck the city twice, once in 1993 and again on 9/11.

The police department, under the direction of Ray Kelly, had little confidence in the FBI’s sharing of information and thus began on its own to bring various law enforcement agencies together to gather intelligence on suspected groups. The program included the use of confidential informants and undercover officers as well as surveillance of known locations within the greater New York City area, including parts of New Jersey. This was not unique or groundbreaking.

Law enforcement officials, including the FBI, had used these methods in the past to investigate criminal organizations such as the mafia and Colombian drug cartels. It was, in fact, a standard police practice accepted by the courts, both on the state and federal level.

As the former Deputy Inspector General of the New York State prisons’ Criminal Intelligence Division, I was assigned to work with the NYPD Intelligence Division from 2002-2005 in this program. As such, I can confidently state that the program was neither biased nor harmful to individuals or organizations. Rather, it was a proactive protective service to the people of New York who had witnessed first-hand the atrocities of Islamic terrorists.

The specifics of the program were brought to the public’s attention in the summer of 2011, when two Associated Press reporters, Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, wrote an article regarding this component of the overall NYPD’s counter terrorism program. The reporters had obtained un-redacted and confidential documents from several former and current NYPD employees outlining a program which was designed to see if there was any terrorist activity within the Muslim community in the greater New York City region, including New Jersey.

Their interpretation of the documents painted a picture of the police department sneaking around in the community, lurking on every corner, looking to set people up. It was not unlike the flier posted circulated by CAIR’s San Francisco office which showed a sinister agent in hat and trench coat lurking outside the community’s doors. It included a caption that said; “Build a wall of resistance, don’t talk to the FBI.”

The AP article failed to articulate that two major terrorist attacks against the United States and New York City specifically were perpetrated by radical Islamists who had ties to the Muslim community in the geographical area in question. In 1993, the individuals who plotted and carried out the first attack on the World Trade Center either lived in or frequented the Muslim community in both New York and New Jersey.

Why did the AP reporters overlook those facts? This was clearly not an example of responsible journalism.

How could the AP not see the reasonableness and necessity for this confidential counter
terrorism program? Thankfully the court in this case did understand the logic of the NYPD’s intelligence program by saying:
“The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself.”

Martini’s ruling echoes a 2012 review conducted by the New Jersey Attorney General’s office at the request of Muslim activist groups. Then-Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa found that the NYPD’s monitoring of people in New Jersey, conducted in public locations, was not a form of racial profiling. NYPD followed "legitimate law enforcement leads, intelligence received from around the world, and its experience in counterterrorism," an official in Chiesa’s office said.

In his ruling, Martini continued to laud the intent of the NYPD’s program stating:
“the motive for the Program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but rather to find Muslim terrorists hiding among ordinary, law-abiding Muslims.”

In ruling in the NYPD’s favor, Martini also stated that there was no injury caused by the NYPD’s actions. More importantly, he went on to say that even if they, the Muslim community in New Jersey, had suffered any injury it would have been caused not by the actions of the police department but in fact by the actions of the Associated Press reporters. The AP “released unredacted, confidential NYPD documents and articles expressing its own interpretation of those documents.”
Thus, “Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries flow from the Associated Press’s unauthorized disclosure of the documents.”

That was stunning.  The judge laid the guilt for any harm at the AP’s doorstep.

One could only wonder if the reporters in question would have to return the Pulitzer Prize awarded them for their inaccurate and harmful piece of journalism.

As expected, the Muslim activist groups response to the verdict was predictable. They decried the ruling as a miscarriage of justice and vowed to appeal.

However, in this case the scales of justice have tipped in favor of sound reason and logic when it comes to combatting terrorism.

IPT News