Monday, September 18, 2017

European Attacks Show the Difficulty in Tracking Soaring Terror Suspect Numbers

Three separate radical Islamic terror attacks took place Friday in Europe. The most serious was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) placed on a London underground train in the Parsons Green station which injured more than 30 people.

Witnesses spoke of hearing a "whooshing" sound and then seeing a fireball coming at them from a plastic bucket that was placed unattended on the floor of the rush hour train. The device's failure to completely detonate was credited with saving lives. "There is no doubt that this was a serious IED (improvised explosive device) and it was good fortune that it did so little damage," said UK Interior Minister Amber Rudd.

Two men, ages 18 and 21, are in custody. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Until the second suspect's arrest Saturday night, Prime Minister Theresa May raised the terror threat level from severe to critical, meaning that future attacks may have been imminent.

As the number of terror attacks in Europe increases, the question arises whether current counter terrorism strategies are working. Issues such as immigrant vetting, watch lists, and de-radicalization continue to be critical components that require, upon closer examination, changes. At least one of those components failed in each attack.         Read more in IPT News...

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Barcelona Terror Imam - The Path From Prison to ISIS Soldier

In the wake of the horrific terror attacks in Barcelona that killed 15 people and injured as many as 120, including 7-year-old Julian Cadman, authorities are trying to understand how a group of young Moroccan men went from football teammates who occasionally smoked marijuana together to radical Islamic terrorists.
The man who has emerged as the leader of the group and most influential in their radicalization is the imam from the Annur Islamic mosque in Ripoll, a small Spanish town near the French border.
Abdelbaki Es Satty was hired by the Annur Islamic Community in 2016. But before that, authorities have learned, he was an inmate in the Spanish prison system, convicted in 2012 for smuggling hashish from Morocco into Spain. People who knew him then said that he was not religious and occasionally smoked marijuana. Then he met several al-Qaida members in prison, including Rachid Aglif. Also known as "The Rabbit," Aglif was serving an 18-year sentence for his part in the 2004 Madrid train bombing that killed 190 people and injured more than 1,000.
It was there in prison where Abdelbaki Es Satty was believed to have been radicalized. Authorities from the Annur Islamic mosque said that they were unaware of Es Satty's criminal history and admitted that they did not properly vet him. They simply examined his knowledge of the Quran and felt that was sufficient.

They also seemed unaware that Es Satty became known to counterterrorism officials during an investigation into radical Islamic influences in the small seaside towns surrounding Barcelona. The investigation, dubbed "Operation Jackal," resulted in the arrest and conviction of five radical Islamists for attempting to send young men to Iraq to fight alongside ISIS.
So, two important themes in understanding radical Islamic terrorists are surfacing again, prison radicalization and someone "known to authorities." There is a third: Immigration. Following his release from prison, Spanish authorities attempted to deport Es Satty back to Morocco. An order for his expulsion from Spain was issued in April 2014 citing his criminal history as a narcotics trafficker. Spanish immigration law subjects any foreign national who is sentenced to a year or more in prison to deportation.

Es Satty argued that deportation violated his human rights and won an appeal.

He then was granted asylum, which gave him the right to travel throughout the European Union. He used this privilege to make several trips to Belgium, spending three months in a Brussels suburb called Vilvoorde in early 2016. That town has seen its share of radical Islamic influences, with as many as 30 young men leaving to fight with ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Just after Es Satty left Vilvoorde, two coordinated terrorist attacks took place in Brussels that left as many as 35 dead and 300 injured. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Abdelbaki Es Satty became an imam at the Ripoll mosque after returning from Belgium and began to draw young men to the jihadi cause. The process took at least a year. Small groups met in a van, and sometimes in Es Satty's sixth-floor apartment. When group members attended the local mosque, they took precautions to mask both their radical beliefs and their intimate relationship with each other.

Two months before last week's the attacks, Es Satty told the mosque he was returning to Morocco.

In fact, Es Satty went to a house in Alcanar, a town 120 miles south of Barcelona. There, along with several others, he began to construct improvised explosive devices to be placed in vehicles as car bombs. They used gas canisters and a highly explosive substance made from acetone and hydrogen peroxide known as TATP.
This was the same substance that was used in the Brussels attacks.

On Wednesday August 16th, two days before the Barcelona attacks, an explosion rocked Alcanar, destroying the house where the bombs were being built. Authorities first thought it was the result of a gas leak but, upon investigation, forensic trace evidence of TATP was found. Several charred bodies also were found in the house.

A lone survivor, Mohamed Houli Chemlal, was taken in to custody by police. Authorities believe Imam Abdelbaki Es Satty was killed in the explosion.
It was a fitting conclusion for someone whose life traversed the path from common criminal to radicalized inmate to a religious leader who deceived the minds of the young men of Ripoll.

Prison radicalization, open borders, lax immigration laws and the all-too-familiar case of a terrorist previously "known to authorities" have come to the surface once again immediately following a terror attack.

At some point, authorities must focus on these three areas and come up with a strategy to tighten the loopholes that allow radical Islamic terrorists to thrive.

With ISIS's continued losses in Syria and Iraq, it has now turned its attention and remaining assets toward the West, inspiring and exhorting people to attack in their home countries. They really don't care how many plots are thwarted or how many young lives are wasted. Death is their goal.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for these latest attacks and has hailed the Barcelona terrorists as soldiers of the Islamic State and "Caliphate soldiers in Spain."

If that is so then we must treat them as such – enemy combatants whether captured or killed.

Anything less is both foolish and dangerous
Read IPT News...


Friday, August 18, 2017

Author Discusses the Challenges Posed by Radicalization

IPT Senior Fellow and Author Patrick Dunleavy discusses Islamic radicalization and the prospect of releasing radicalized inmates once their sentences are completed.

Listen to interview...

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Flawed Solution to Radicalization - Group Therapy for Terrorists

The latest example of a flawed strategy in dealing with imprisoned Islamic terrorists comes from the UK's Ministry of Justice which has embarked on creating "separation centers" that would "...have an individualized care and management plan which sets out realistic, achievable targets, while also taking into account the complex, ideological/political nature of some of the risks that need to be targeted."

                          In other words, group therapy for terrorists.
While the most positive news in the war on Islamic terrorism has come from military successes against ISIS in Mosul and Syria, the overlooked recent failures by authorities to effectively deal with home grown Islamists is a cause for growing concern.  Whether it is by downplaying the threat or attempting to come up with snappy-sounding strategies to deal with the growing list of suspected terrorists "known to the authorities," the West is struggling to reverse the tide of radicalization, particularly in the prison system.
And what does the new care and management plan include? Well, one element is developing "positive personal goals." This sounds good, until you consider that the personal goal of a jihadist is to kill infidels even if it means killing themselves as well. And the method prison officials would use to attain these positive personal goals is a "collaborative approach to expressing concerns and resolving disagreements."    What a bunch of gobbledygook.
Keep in mind that the type of inmates they are talking about include the likes of Michael Adebolajo, convicted in the brutal killing of British Army soldier Lee Rigby, and Anjem Choudary, the bigoted radical Islamic clergy who inspired countless attendees at his Finsbury Mosque to jihad, including ex-con "Shoe Bomber" Richard Reid. Choudary was convicted of providing material support to the Islamic State terrorist organization.
And who will oversee the progress these coddled killers are making? According to the UK Ministry of Justice, there will be a panel of experts, "including a psychologist, a chaplain, and lawyer" who will review the inmate's progression (or regression) every three months. This sounds like making of a joke – you know, "A priest, a shrink, and a legal beagle go into a bar looking for a terrorist..." Only radical Islamic terrorism is no joking matter.
Read more in IPT News...

Friday, June 30, 2017

Allowing Terrorists to Re-Enter Prison is a Bad Idea

Edwin Lemmons arrested by FBI 2003
How did a former inmate with extremist views and convicted of firearm charges earn the ability to enter Virginia prisons as a religious volunteer and employee of the Muslim Chaplain Services of Virginia?

Recent articles by the IPT and other news organizations have addressed the growing concerns regarding the upcoming release of over a hundred inmates convicted of terrorism related crimes. Experts have spoken on the lack of a bona fide strategy that will address the unique security issues presented when a terrorist is released. The need for post release specialized supervision programs is clear.

The one idea that should not be on the table is to allow them to re-enter prisons to speak with inmates as a religious volunteer. Yet this is exactly what has happened in the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) for the last two years.
Read Full Story at IPT News...

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Admitting When You're Wrong

Everyone makes mistakes. Not everyone admits it. Plowing headlong into something you know is wrong is a sign of stubbornness. Directing false accusations and innuendos towards an individual is often a sign of vindictiveness.

Nowadays we've coined a phrase for it: "Fake News." Its purpose is to mislead. When directed at an individual its purpose is to slander. If you have ever been the victim of it, I can empathize with you.

Recently, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and another activist organization put out several press releases trying to end my work as a guest instructor for the United States military. I have spoken at the Army's Counter Terrorism Symposium and the Air Force's Special Operation School. CAIR called me names, accused me of prejudice and conduct unbecoming of, and detrimental to the goals of the United States military. Its exact words were, "...Mr. Dunleavy does not fit the U.S. military's standards..."

It demanded that I be removed from any position involving training of U.S. servicemen and women. It followed up the accusations with another press release 45 days later stating that, as a result of their public pressure on the USAF command, the Special Operations School Commandant was ordered to conduct a review of my class. "We welcome this review and hope it results in our military personnel receiving training based on balanced and accurate information, not on personal or political agendas," said CAIR-Florida Communications Director Wilfredo Ruiz.
If Mr. Ruiz spoke the truth, then he and the entire CAIR organization owe me an apology.

I have been informed that the review of my class material by a group of military officers, which included two commissioned officers who serve as Muslim chaplains in the United States Air Force, is complete. Their findings; Nothing in my course curriculum was found to be denigrating to Islam or Muslims.

I'm not holding my breath waiting for CAIR's apology.

I teach a class on Prison Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism. It is based on my investigative experiences in the criminal justice system as an undercover agent infiltrating organized crime and other criminal enterprises. Part of my career involved working with the both the New York Police Department's Intelligence Division and the FBI. I don't teach theory. It is a practicum and it helps military and law enforcement personnel understand how a person can become radicalized.
Training is a necessary component in the war on terrorism. That doesn't just involve combat tactics but also understanding the enemy – how they operate and draw others to their fight. Islamic radicalization is a very real threat. It operates in society at large and in a particularly vulnerable segment of society, the prison environment.

We call prisons "correctional systems" because we hope in some way to rehabilitate offenders. Jihadists call them training grounds and universities. They have produced terrorists. The most recent examples are Khalid Massood, who killed four people, including a police officer, in London's Westminster area. Anis Amri killed 12 people in Berlin. Both were former inmates radicalized while incarcerated.

If we ignore the facts or attempt to silence those who speak about the subject, we become like the terrorists, refusing to hear anything that might challenge our own dogma.

Wars are fought in many places other than the battlefield. Wars are also fought in the arena of public opinion.

Honest debate is healthy, slanderous accusations are not.

Read more in IPT News...


Friday, June 2, 2017

Karim Cheurfi: From the Cauldron of Prison to the Streets of Paris

The initial reports regarding Islamic terrorist Karim Cheurfi, the man responsible for the latest attack that killed French police officer Xavier Jugele and wounded several others, contained the all-too-familiar phrase – "known to authorities."




What actually was known? Cheurfi had a predisposition for violence, animosity toward authority – he had tried to kill police officers twice before – and a sense of alienation. They also knew that he had spent a significant period of his life in a place that some authorities called a radicalizing cauldron, the French prison system. Inside those prisons, a small group of Islamic terrorists was effectively radicalizing other inmates who came in as petty criminals with no religious leanings, said Pascal Mailhos, past director of France's domestic intelligence agency.
Mailhos' warning proved prophetic as French prisons spawned terrorists like Mohammed Merah, who in 2012 murdered police officers and Jewish school children in Toulouse, and Amedy Coulibaly, who killed a police trainee before storming the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket and killing four hostages. Charlie Hebdo attacker Said Kouachi, like Karim Cheurfi, came out of the joint radicalized and ready to kill law enforcement, military personnel and innocent civilians in the name of Allah.

This problem is not unique to France. Former inmates who turned to the violent path of jihad plotted or carried out terrorist attacks in the United States, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom.

For some, particularly for those who have spent time in prison, the radicalization process from conversion to violence is more accelerated. "Some individuals, particularly those who convert in prison, may be attracted directly to jihadi violence...for this group, jihad represents a convenient outlet for (their) aggressive behavior," the Central Intelligence Agency said in a report, "Homegrown Jihad – Pathway to Terrorism."

When you combine the ingredients of violent aggressive behavior, animosity toward authority, incarceration, and radical Islamic ideology, you will almost certainly produce a deadly toxin. French prosecutor Francois Molins insisted that Cheurfi showed no signs of radicalization prior to the attack. Missing the signs could be the result of bad eyesight or, a lack of training. "We don't have anyone trained for anti-radicalization," said David Dulondel, the head of the union representing officers at France's Fleury-Merogis maximum security prison. "We can't say whether someone is in the process of radicalizing or not."

Despite an acknowledged problem with insufficient training, groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) seek to censor any mention of Islamic radicalization from American law enforcement and military training.

In 2004, the FBI's official definition of radicalization was "the process of attracting and possibly converting inmates to radical Islam." They since have been pressured to change the term to "violent extremism."

Removing warning labels from canisters containing caustic material does not render the substance inside harmless. It only increases the risk of a deadly incident. Toxic waste spills are often the result of carelessness.

Prison radicalization should not be treated this way. We must put the tools in place to monitor and control this threat. Others have done it. Following last month's Westminster Bridge attack by Khalid Masood, British authorities announced the formation of a task force that will combine intelligence, law enforcement, corrections and probation personnel to look at literature, clergy, and other influences available in prisons. The task force will also closely monitor recently released inmates for changes in behavior or association with known radical mosques or people. France, which has suffered its share of jihadi violence carried out by ex-inmates, had to admit that its program to address prison radicalization had been an utter failure. Yet it has not made any significant changes.

Here in the United States, it is imperative that the Justice Department and the FBI revise the Correctional Intelligence Initiative Program to include the proper vetting of clergy and a post release component to track people who were radicalized or previously incarcerated for terrorist crimes. The initiative started in 2003 with a mission to "detect, deter, and disrupt efforts by terrorist and extremist groups to radicalize or recruit within all federal, state, territorial, tribal and local prison populations."

Failure to effectively address the ongoing threat is not an acceptable option. At some point there will be a price to pay.
Read IPT News...


Monday, April 17, 2017

Author Comments on Islamists' Effort To Remove NYPD Counter Terrorism Manual

 NYPD Counter Terrorism Unit
The NYPD has had a stellar track record of protecting the city from another 9/11, foiling more than 20 planned terrorist attacks since 2001. But some worry the department is losing its terror-fighting edge as it tries to please Muslim grievance groups.

Last year, for instance, it censored an anti-terror handbook to appease offended Muslims, even though it has accurately predicted radicalization patterns in recent “homegrown” terror cases. Rank-and-file NYPD officers, detectives and even intelligence and counterterrorism units are officially barred now from referring to the handbook or the scientific study on which it was based.                                                    Former law-enforcement officials fear its removal as a training tool may be hurting efforts to prevent terrorist activity, such as the vehicle-ramming attacks plaguing European cities.

“The report was extremely accurate on how the radicalization process works and what indicators to look for,” said Patrick Dunleavy, former deputy inspector general of the New York state prisons’ criminal-intelligence division, who also worked with the NYPD’s intelligence division for several years.                       Written 10 years ago, the seminal NYPD report detailing the religious steps homegrown terrorists take toward radicalization is now more relevant than ever, with recent terror suspects closely following those steps. But in 2007, the same year the study was released, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) organized a protest against it, complaining it “casts suspicion on all US Muslims.” Even though federal law enforcement has long-shunned CAIR as a suspected terrorist front organization, “groups like CAIR were insistent on having it removed, and de Blasio caved into them,” Dunleavy said.                   The authors of the report, led by Mitch Silber, former NYPD director of intelligence analysis, examined hundreds of “homegrown” terrorism cases and found that suspects followed the same “radicalization” path.                            “You can take all the terrorist cases since that report and compare the information on the subject and the case and see stark similarities to what Mitch laid out,” Dunleavy noted.
As the NYPD study found, “The ultimate objective for any attack is always the same — to punish the West, overthrow the democratic order, re-establish the caliphate, and institute Sharia,” or Islamic law.
Read Paul Sperry's complete article...

Monday, March 27, 2017

London Terrorist Followed a Twisted Path From Prison to Jihad

Before he drove violently into the crowd on Westminster Bridge, before plunging the knives into the police officer's body, Khalid Masood's twisted path into terrorism followed an all too familiar pattern from petty crimes to prison radicalization, to violent jihadist.
Radical Islamist terrorism once again struck innocent victims in Europe, this time killing four people in London and injuring at least 50 more.    
The emerging profile of the terrorist, Khalid Masood, also paints an all too familiar image of a jihadist bent on killing as many people as possible on the path to paradise.
Khalid Masood
Masood, a 52-year-old UK native, was born on Christmas day in Kent as Adrian Elms and was raised as a Christian. He was known as an intelligent student and an excelling athlete during his time in Huntley School for Boys. He spiraled downward from there, starting with a 1983 arrest for property damage. He spent at least two periods in three different HMPS correctional facilities, including for assault.

It was there in prison where he was believed to have been radicalized.              

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

Monday, March 13, 2017

IPT Senior Fellow Patrick Dunleavy Discusses Judicial Overreach and NYPD Surveillance Abilities

IPT Senior Fellow Patrick Dunleavy talks with former White House staffer Frank Gaffney on about his recent article, "New York Cedes Ground in Fight Against Terrorism." Under a pending court agreement, the NYPD's Intelligence Division investigations will be controlled by a civilian monitor appointed by Mayor DeBlasio.

The mayor has in the past praised domestic terrorist groups like the FALN

He also discusses recent judicial action against POTUS immigration policy

Click Here to Listen






Tuesday, March 7, 2017

NYC Mayor Gives Up Ground Gained By NYPD Against Terrorists

Capitulation in a time of conflict is demoralizing to the rank and file charged with protecting the community they serve. This appears to be the case in the latest legal go round between the New York Police Department (NYPD) and Muslim activist groups.

U.S. District Judge Charles S. Haight Jr, is about to accept an agreement that will hand over control of the NYPD's Intelligence Division investigations to a civilian monitor appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. This is the same mayor who loudly cheered President Obama's last-minute commutation of FALN terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera, who will be freed in May. De Blasio extolled the works of a man whose organization was responsible for more than 100 bombings, many in New York City, including one that killed four innocent people.
To understand the impact that this proposed settlement, between the NYPD, and the activist organization known as the Muslim Advocates will have on existing counter terrorism measures, we have to understand how vitally important is the issue of protecting cities against attacks by radical Islamist terrorists. The activist groups claim that the police department unfairly singled out Muslim communities in the greater New York/New Jersey area for investigation and surveillance. They also claim that gathering specific information about the neighborhoods amounted to unprecedented "profiling." They point to a little known NYPD unit that collected the data and accuse it of spying.

Their argument belies the fact that collecting demographic statistics has been used for years by the U.S. Census Bureau to map out trends and changes in neighborhoods. Law enforcement agencies nationwide have used this practice for decades to investigate criminal organizations such as the Mafia, or Columbian drug cartels. The normal investigative process would include forensic examination of the communities most likely to be victimized by criminal organizations. The FBI did not set up surveillance in Chinatown when taking down the Cosa Nostra. They went to Little Italy.

Radical Islamist organizations have in the past infiltrated Muslim neighborhoods in the United States and exerted harmful influence on those communities.
 
Yet  groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) seek to portray law enforcement as sinister characters sneaking through neighborhoods in trench coats looking to do harm to the community. One chapter urged community members to "Build a Wall of Resistance" and not cooperate with investigators in ongoing terrorist investigations. Nothing could be further from the truth.         

Read More in IPT News...

Monday, February 13, 2017

IPT Senior Fellow Patrick Dunleavy Discusses the Challenges of Monitoring Jihadis After Prison

Click Link to Listen
Eventually scores or convicted terrorists will be released after completing their prison term.  A possible security facing the United States and other countries.
Patrick discusses the issue with former White House staffer Frank Gaffney

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

United States ILL- Prepared for Release of Terrorists

An Inmate Being Released from Prison
"O Allah, Free the Muslim Prisoners." 
     (Inspire Magazine  2010)


Radical Islamic organizations such as al-Qaida and ISIS never forget their members. To them, going to prison is part of the pathway to paradise. Both groups' leaders, Ayman al-Zawahri and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, spent considerable periods of time locked up. It did nothing to diminish their zeal, but rather, fueled their fervor. Often, as in their cases, what comes out of prison is worse than what went in.
The old adage, "Out of sight, out of mind" does not apply to dealing effectively with the threat of Islamism especially in the case of terrorists who have been captured or incarcerated.
This is further illustrated by the increased number of terrorists released from Guantanamo who rejoin the fight against U.S. military personnel. Almost one in three released prisoners return to the jihadists' fold. This recidivism can be attributed in part to the admonitions terrorists receive to assist those who are captured or imprisoned. That support may include financial help for their families and for legal fees..
These instructions were found in a training manual discovered in 2000 by law enforcement officers in Manchester, England.

"I take this opportunity to address our prisoners. We have not forgotten you,"  "We are still committed to the debt of your salvation . . . until we shatter your shackles"                                                                                               Ayman al-Zawahiri uttered these words in an interview with Al Shabab in 2005 commemorating the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  
AQAP's Inspire magazine went so far as to list the names of incarcerated members for all to remember. 

They do this because jihadis firmly believe that sooner or later they'll be reunited with those members.

If that isn't ominous enough, consider the fact that as many as 100 people convicted of terror-related offenses in U.S. prisons will be set free in less than four years.

Read More at IPT News...

                      



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Recidivism, De-Radicalization, and Terrorists

Author and Senior Fellow for the Investigative Project on Terrorism Patrick Dunleavy talks with former Reagan White House staffer Frank Gaffney on the recurring problem of recidivism and the pending release of incarcerated terrorists.
Listen to Radio interview... 
The Defense Department transferred four detainees into Saudi Arabian custody on Jan. 5, 2017
(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)