Friday, March 18, 2016

FBI findings in Calif. college stabbing attack continue pattern of downplaying terror

UC Merced student Faisal Mohammad
More than four months after a black-clad loner with an Islamist-themed manifesto and a printed ISIS flag in his backpack stabbed four people on a California college campus, the FBI wrapped up its investigation Thursday by saying “it may never be possible to definitively determine” what motivated the bloody rampage.

The inconclusive findings from the probe of the Nov. 4, 2015 attack at the University of California Merced campus followed months of hesitation by local and federal law enforcement to link Faisal Mohammad’s stabbing spree to terrorism.

"Every indication is that Mohammad acted on his own; however, it may never be possible to definitively determine why he chose to attack people on the UC Merced campus,” the FBI’s Sacramento office said in a statement that avoided calling the attack an act of terrorism.
Critics say it followed a pattern in which the federal government downplays domestic terrorism even when there are seemingly obvious links. The flag, the manifesto annotated with reminders to pray to Allah in between stabbings – all reported in November by, yet not confirmed by the FBI until this week, pointed early on to the 18-year-old Mohammad having been radicalized, say terrorism experts. Even the stabbings themselves, which came as a wave of terrorist blade attacks occurred in Israel, were indicators of an extremist motivation, say experts.

The handling of the case seems to reflect a top-down law enforcement approach to downplay terrorism in such attacks, said Patrick Dunleavy, former deputy inspector general of the New York State Corrections Criminal Intelligence Unit.

“The Department of Justice continues to process investigations of terrorism cases through the lens of political correctness,” said Dunleavy, who authored the 2011 book “The Fertile Soil of Jihad: Terrorism’s Prison Connection. “They go to great lengths to avoid the obvious, that is calling it what it is: Radical Islamic terrorism. It is as if by doing so, they will calm the public's fear, when in fact all their actions and statements only acerbate them.”

“Officials seemed to think that in order for an act to be connected to a terrorist organization, the deranged individual must have been in direct contact with Abu Bakar al Baghdadi specifically telling him what to do,” said Dunleavy. “They evidently haven't learned that the methodology used by radical Islamic groups like ISIS has changed. It has morphed and adapted to utilize social media and the Internet.”

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