Thursday, January 14, 2016

Al Qaeda Recruiter Released From Gitmo Prison

The latest detainee to be released from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp was considered a high risk Al Qaeda loyalist and recruiter as recently as 2014, but was deemed to no longer pose a risk to the U.S. before being freed Monday, as the Obama administration continues to empty the prison of terror suspects.

Muhammed Abd Al Rahman Awn Al-Shamrani, a member of Al Qaeda, was released from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the Saudi Arabian government, the Department of Defense announced Monday.

The U.S. government "determined continued law of war detention of Al-Shamrani does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States," the Defense Department said in a statement.  
Muhammed Abd Al Rahman Awn Al-Shamrani
Al Qaeda Recruiter
Independent terrorism experts say detainees like Al-Shamrani will amost certainly return to a radicalized life aimed at harming the U.S. and its allies.
"I think that is going to draw others to the radical Islamic movement," said Patrick Dunleavy, author of “The Fertile Soil of Jihad: Terrorism’s Prison Connection.”

                  "He’s like a poster boy. 'I survived Gitmo – you can, too,'"       

Dunleavy, who is the former deputy inspector general for New York State Department of Corrections, said Saudi Arabia's rate of recidivism for known terrorists like Al-Shamrani is somewhere between 20 and 30 percent -- even with rehabilitation programs. The Justice Department, he said, estimates the recidivism rate as "upwards of 60 percent."

"Even if we say conservatively that one-third of these terrorists return to the battlefield, that is alarming," Dunleavy told "The defense experts looking at him said he was not only on the battlefield, but was considered to be a recruiter. So now we’re putting a known recruiter back into the mix."

Friday, January 8, 2016

NYPD Gives In To Demands

Thursday's announcement that the New York Police Department (NYPD) will settle a lawsuit filed by Muslim activist groups is unsettling and confounding. With Islamic terrorist acts on the rise globally and the FBI stating that it has as many as 900 open cases on individuals suspected of being ISIS operatives, it is beyond reason that NYPD would cave to the demands by a select group to impede investigations in potential terrorist cases.

The department was accused of singling out the Muslim community for surveillance and undercover operations in a post 9/11 world, as if that was some sort of abnormal behavior by law enforcement. The original suit, brought by several Islamist activist organizations, included the Muslim Students Association and the Muslim Foundation, accused the NYPD of violating their civil rights through a program which including surveillance and intelligence gathering of the Muslim community in New Jersey.
It was tossed by U.S. District Judge William J. Martini in February 2014. Then, the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit last October.

Now, in an attempt to placate a small, though noisy group of complainers, Mayor Bill De Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton have acquiesced to demands that the police treat with kid gloves a select community. Why? What specifically did the department do in investigating radical Islamist threats that differed from other criminal investigations that led to this surrender by city officials? Nothing!

This decision by the mayor and the NYPD was made in the climate of political correctness rather than according to well-established law enforcement practices. Surveillance and undercover operations have long been effective tools in fighting crime. When police were investigating the Mafia and organized crime, for example, the Italian community was assessed, examined for structure and hierarchy and highly scrutinized.
Similarly, when Colombian drug cartels were investigated for cocaine distribution, the Hispanic community was the focal point. If Islamic terrorists use local mosques to further their plotting of heinous acts, as in the case of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, then why should the Muslim community be exempt or require special procedural protocols by the police before investigating?

The specifics of the surveillance and intelligence gathering program, which included community outreach, surveillance, and undercover operations was both lawful and effective. NYPD knew that many participants in the first World Trade Center attack and other plots frequented mosques in the greater New York / New Jersey area. That fact is indisputable.

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. I can confidently state that the program was neither biased nor harmful to individuals or organizations. Rather, it was a proactive protective service on behalf of the people of New York who had witnessed first-hand the atrocities of Islamic terrorists. It kept the city safe.
An exhaustive NYPD report, written by Mitchell D. Silber and Arvin Bhatt, "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat," is a necessary tutorial for all law enforcement organizations seeking to understand how an individual is moved to Islamic radicalization. The city's agreement to delete it from the department's website as part of the settlement is a blatant act of cowardliness.

Seeing the NYPD and city officials caving in to the demands of a few is most disheartening.

Perhaps the tool most needed in fighting radical Islamic terrorism in 2016 is going to be a backbone.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

FEDERAL PRISONS : Ripe for Radicalization

 ADX Florence Colorado
America’s federal prisons have become a “breeding ground” for radical Islam, warn critics, who say imprisoned terrorists are more likely to spread their beliefs than renounce them.

As law enforcement authorities lock up more home-grown terrorists, experts are warning the success could turn sour if jailhouse jihadists are allowed to infect fellow inmates. Prisons have long been criticized for a culture that can make some inmates more dangerous than when they entered, but the possibility that typical felons could become lone wolf terrorists upon earning parole is a disturbing new wrinkle.

“If we continue to downplay the threat, we do so at our own peril,” said Patrick Dunleavy, author of “The Fertile Soil of Jihad: Terrorism’s Prison Connection.”

The aggressive recruitment of Americans by ISIS has resulted in a spike in domestic terror-related convictions. Some 71 people are imprisoned in the U.S. on ISIS-related charges, including 56 individuals arrested in 2015, the most terrorism arrests in a single year since September 2001, according to George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.

n addition, the FBI has said it is currently conducting more than 900 investigations into ISIS-linked radicalization, including cases in all 50 states.

There are hundreds more federal inmates serving time for terrorist activities related to other terror groups. An estimated 100 are scheduled for release in the next five years, according to the Congressional Research Service. Still more terror suspects could be transferred to U.S. prisons from Guantanamo Bay in the coming months.

“We have never been faced with such a large number of terror inmates before,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., during a recent Homeland Security Committee hearing on countering violent extremism in prison.

King and others say the federal Bureau of Prisons must do a better job of monitoring and, if necessary, isolating inmates who could radicalize others behind bars.

Dunleavy, a retired deputy inspector in the criminal intelligence unit of the New York Department of Correctional Services, said criminals have been radicalized in prisons for years, and predicted it will only get worse. He cited Chicago gang member Jose Padilla, who converted to radical Islam while doing time in prison in the 1980s, and was later accused of plotting to set off a radiological “dirty bomb” in the U.S. He is now serving a 21-year sentence for conspiring to commit acts of terror overseas.

More recently, ex-convict Alton Nolen was arrested in a September, 2014 attack at his former place of employment, a food processing plant in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore. Nolen, who is awaiting trial, allegedly beheaded a 54-year-old female worker while yelling Islamic slogans. Dunleavy believes Nolen converted to Islam while serving time in an Oklahoma prison after attacking a police officer in 2010.

In between Padilla and Nolen, Dunleavy says there were “scores of others” who became radicalized in state and federal prisons, either by listening to fellow inmates or hearing sermons on contraband devices smuggled into prisons and shared.

“Over the years, our Federal prisons have become a breeding ground for radicalization,” said Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., who introduced a measure that would compel the BOP to study prison radicalization and beef up background checks for clergy and other workers allowed access to inmates. “By allowing volunteers to enter the system without first having to undergo a comprehensive background check, some of the most vulnerable members of society have become susceptible to radicalization.”