Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

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FTR #830 Machiavelli 2.0: The Paris Attacks and the Muslim Brotherhood

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. The new drive is a 32-gigabyte drive that is current as of the programs and articles posted by 12/19/2014. The new drive (available for a tax-deductible contribution of $65.00 or more) contains FTR #827.  (The previous flash drive was current through the end of May of 2012 and contained FTR #748.)

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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment.

Converts pledging allegiance to ISIS: they are NOT auditioning for an anti-perspirant commercial

Muslim Brotherhood Offshoot Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Introduction: In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France, we delve further into the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic fascist organization at the foundation of so much of the jihadist terrorism afflicting the world.

Predictably, the aftermath of the incident(s) has seen the well-worn rhetoric about “Islam” and “Muslims.” “Is Islam a violent religion?” “Why don’t more Muslims protest against this kind of activity?” Other equally threadbare commentary has occupied much of the editorial discussion of the events.

What is missing is analysis of the relationship between the Brotherhood’s Islamic fascism and the terrorist groups that occupy the headlines–Al Qaeda and ISIS (both of which loom large in the backgrounds of the Kouachi brothers and Amedy Coulibaily), Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Chechen terrorists.

Beyond that, the corporatist economic doctrine of the Muslim Brotherhood and the apparent use of its knockoff terrorist groups as proxy warriors by elements of Western and Saudi intelligence are as fundamental to a true understanding of the phenomenon and they are absent from the vast bulk of media discussion.

Brotherhood offshoots have proved particularly valuable as proxy warriors in petroleum and mineral-rich areas of the Earth Island.

Very, very tragically, the world has chosen to ignore the fundamentally important Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002, which revealed profound links between the Bush administration, the Islamic Free Market Institute of Grover Norquist and the funding apparatus supplying Al Qaeda and Hamas with liquidity.

The continued bloodshed is part of the price people are paying for that deadly failure.

It might be difficult for some people to understand this. A duality dominates analysis of the dynamics of this situation–a duality similar to one underlying both the Second World War and the Cold War. World War II was a very real conflict, with American service men and women, as well as those of the other Allied countries, fighting against the armies of fascism. At the same time, dominant U.S. and Western financial and industrial interests favored their cartel partners in the Axis nations and the corporatist economic philosophy they embraced.

After the official end of the combat of World War II, the U.S. and U.K. incorporated the residua of the Third Reich’s national security establishment into their own and saw to it that the fascist infrastructure in Germany, Japan and elsewhere was maintained in power, behind a thin facade of democracy.

In addition, they supported and enlisted fascists from other countries to assist with the fight against Communism. The Muslim Brotherhood was one of those.

The political duality we are experiencing is similar to that of World War II–even as American service personnel and those of other countries are fighting a very real war against Islamic fascism, powerful corporate interests are supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood fascists and their corporate philosophy.

The resulting conlfict will, ultimately, have the result of destroying civil liberties and freedom of the press.

Hamas (Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood) Soldiers Saluting: Same gesture as the ISIS followers give

After highlighting several articles about the apparent Al Qaeda and ISIS links of the attackers, the program details some recent stories about CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations)–an insidious Muslim Brotherhood front group that has successfully portrayed itself as a Muslim civil rights organization, sort of an Islamic NAACP.

Officially labeled a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates, CAIR has been very active in the wake of the Ferguson incident, apparently seeking to capitalize on the anger of African-Americans. Coincidentally or otherwise, Ismaaiyl Brinsley–the killer of two New York City police officers–alleges a relationship with INSA (the Islamic Society of North America), a Muslim Brotherhood subsidiary organization.

Much of the program focuses on the corporatist economic philosophy of the Brotherhood. It is this economic philosophy that has endeared it to powerful corporate interests in the U.S. and the GOP.

In a textbook manifestation of Machiavellian strategy, European fascist groups that are successfully targeting Muslim immigrants as a political scapegoat stand to gain from the Paris attacks, this as apparent operational links between European and American fascists and Islamic fascists from the Brotherhood have gone unrecognized.

European fascists of the National Front variety can point to the attacks and say “See! We told you so! You can’t trust these (‘Muslims;’ ‘immigrants;’ ‘Muslim immigrants’ etc.)! We are your only hope! Join with us!”

By the same token, the Islamic fascists of the Muslim Brotherhood can point to the xenophobic reaction and say “See! We told you so! You can’t trust these infidels! We are your only hope! Join with us!”

In that context, we should note that both non-Muslim Europeans and Muslim residents of that continent are being squeezed to the breaking point by the austerity mandate being imposed on the EU by Germany and its corporate allies–von Clausewitzian economics.

In addition to corporatist economic philosophy, the fascists of the Muslim Brotherhood and the European and American fascist elements with which they network have much in common, from an ideological point of view. They dislike: Jews, women, gays, blacks and democracy. The very much like, in turn, the institutionalization of the privileges of great wealth.

Program Highlights Include: Ismaaiyl Brinsley’s visit(s) to a jihadist mosque in Brooklyn; allegations of Turkish governmental support for Uighur terrorists in China; Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s public statement that women are inferior; review of operational links between Erdogan’s Muslim Brotherhood mentor and predecessor as Turkish PM Necmettin Erbakan and Jean-Marie Le Pen of the National Front.

1a. Some back­ground info on the sus­pects in the Char­lie Hebdo attack. And, shocker, they’re asso­ci­ated with al-Qaeda:

“Youngest Sus­pect in Char­lie Hebdo Attack Turns Him­self In” by Dan Good, Terry Moran and Meghan Keneally; ABC News; 1/7/2015.

The youngest sus­pect in today’s deadly attack at a satir­i­cal newspaper’s office in Paris has turned him­self in, French police said.

French author­i­ties have named the three sus­pects who they believe are respon­si­ble for the shoot­ing deaths of 12 peo­ple, U.S. law enforce­ment offi­cials told ABC News.

The offi­cials iden­ti­fied the sus­pects as Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, two rel­a­tives both in their 30s, and 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad.

Cherif Kouachi, 34, is on Global watch list, ABC News has confirmed.

Kouachi, along with six oth­ers, was sen­tenced in May 2008 to 3 years in prison for ter­ror­ism in Paris. All seven men were accused of send­ing about a dozen young French­men to join Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, after fun­nel­ing them through rad­i­cal reli­gious estab­lish­ments in Syria and Egypt. French author­i­ties believed Kouachi had been plan­ning to go to Syria for train­ing in 2005.

Paris Deputy Mayor Patrick Klug­man ear­lier today told ABC News that two of the assailants went inside the offices of Char­lie Hebdo and listed off the names of their tar­gets before shoot­ing them exe­cu­tion style. The third man was wait­ing out­side the building.

The French pres­i­dent called the attack a “ter­ror­ist operation.”

The news­pa­per had been tar­geted in the past over its con­tent, often aimed at reli­gious groups.

French offi­cials con­firmed that there are believed to be three attack­ers, all of whom were seen in videos wear­ing black from head-to-toe. Their iden­ti­ties and affil­i­a­tions have not been revealed but one of the men is heard scream­ing “Allahu Akbar,” an Islamic phrase mean­ing “God is great,” in one of the scene videos.

Char­lie Hebdo, a satir­i­cal news­pa­per, has come under attack before. Their office was fire­bombed in 2011 and its web­site was hacked after its cover fea­tured the prophet Muham­mad. Nearly a year later, the pub­li­ca­tion again pub­lished crude Muham­mad car­i­ca­tures, draw­ing denun­ci­a­tions from around the Mus­lim world.

The cover of this week’s issue of the news­pa­per focuses on a new book by Michel Houelle­becq, “Sub­mis­sion,” which depicts France led by an Islamic party that bans women from the workplace.

Muslim Brotherhood Coat of (ahem) Arms

1b. Amedy Coulibaly–the gunment who took prisoner, and then executed, hostages at a kosher eating place–pledged allegiance to ISIS.

“Paris Gunman Amedy Coulibaly Declared Allegiance to ISIS” by Julian Borger; The Guardian; 1/11/2015.

The gunman who killed four people in a Parisian kosher grocery store and a policewoman pledged allegiance to Islamic State in a video published online on Sunday, two days after his death.

In the seven-minute video, Amedy Coulibaly is described as a “soldier of the caliphate” and is filmed declaring allegiance to the Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Coulibaly shot dead a Parisian policewoman on Thursday and four hostages at a kosher supermarket on Friday. . . .

1c. More about the Kouachi brothers, Coulibaly and the milieu to which they belong:

“Jihadism Born in a Paris Park and Fueled in the Prison Yard” by Jim Yardley; The New York Times; 1/11/2015.

 . . . . After French authorities swept up members of the Buttes-Chaumont group in the 2005, during his time in prison Chérif Kouachi came under the sway of an influential French-Algerian jihadist who had plotted to bomb the United States Embassy in Paris in 2001.

There, he also recruited a holdup artist named Amedy Coulibaly, the man who killed four hostages at a kosher supermarket in Paris on Friday.

It is unclear if his older brother, Saïd Kouachi, who also took part in the attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper office, was a member of the Buttes-Chaumont group, but the authorities have confirmed that the older brother spent time in Yemen between 2009 and 2012, getting training from a branch of Al Qaeda. . . .

. . . . Already, a few young Muslim men from the 19th Arrondissement had fought in Iraq, most notably Boubaker al-Hakim, who had volunteered to defend the government of Saddam Hussein against the American invasion in 2003.

There, according to Mr. Filiu’s study, Mr. Hakim made connections with Syrian and Iraqi security services, and fought. His brother, Redouane, 19, was killed during an American bombing raid in Iraq in July 2004.

Two other French 19-year-olds also died fighting in Iraq, while Boubaker al-Hakim granted an interview to the French news media in which he called for his friends from the 19th Arrondissement to come join him. . . .

. . . . Mr. Hakim, the man who had fought in Iraq, is now a member of the Islamic State and has been actively recruiting and building a network of fighters across Northern Africa and in European immigrant communities in recent years.

Just as in 2003, when he exhorted his fellow Muslims from the 19th Arrondissement to join the jihad, Mr. Hakim released a video in December, claiming responsibility for the Tunisian assassinations and vowing that the Islamic State was coming to Tunisia, once a colony of France. He was a long way from Paris, but France clearly remained on his mind. . . .

2. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been identified by key Muslim Brotherhood cleric Youssef Qaradawi as a “former” member of the Muslim Brotherhood. In the article below, note that Qaradawi notes the key terrorist leaders that were “former” members of the Brotherhood. The “former” is to be taken with a huge dose of salt–Muslim fascists are as capable as European and American fascists at implementing “plausible deniability.”

“FEATURED: Youssef Qaradawi Says ISIS Leader Was Once Muslim Brotherhood; First English Translation of Statement”; Global Muslim Brotherhood Watch; 10/21/2014.

The GMBDW has discovered what appears to be the first English translation of the video in which Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi can be seen referring to what is almost certainly Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and explaining that he was once a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. At time 0:44 of the video, posted on the Brotherhoodwatch.co.uk website, Qaradawi refers to “this youngster” who once belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood but desiring leadership and after a period in prison (al-Baghdadi is thought to have spent five years in an American detention facility) went on to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS). It would appear that al-Baghdadi joins the ranks of other infamous terrorist leaders such as Ayman al-Zawahiri, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Khalid Meshalal who once belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood before going on to joining leading terrorist organizations. In the video (time 1:12), Qaradawi also refers to unidentified “youngsters” from Qatar who also joined ISIS. . . . .

3.The United Arab Emirates has designated the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) as a terrorist organization. CAIR–represented as a Muslim civil rights organization–is a Muslim Brotherhood front organization.

“CAIR Says UAE Designation as Terrorist ‘Shocking and Bizarre'”; Global Muslim Brotherhood Watch; 11/17/2014.

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has reacted to its inclusion on a list published by the UAE that designates as terrorists a large group of organizations in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. According to a CAIR statement, it finds the UAE designation “shocking and bizarre” . . . .

. . . . The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) describes itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group and as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group.” CAIR was founded in 1994 by three officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine, part of the U.S. Hamas infrastructure at that time.  Documents discovered in the course of the the terrorism trial of the Holy Land Foundation confirmed that the founders and current leaders of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood and that CAIR itself is part of the US. Muslim Brotherhood.In 2008, the then Deputy leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood acknowledged a relationship between the Egyptian Brotherhood and CAIR.  In 2009, a US federal judge ruled “The Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF, the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), and with Hamas.” CAIR and its leaders have had a long history of defending individuals accused of terrorism by the US. government, often labeling such prosecutions a “war on Islam”, and have also been associated with Islamic fundamentalism and antisemitism. The organization is led by Nihad Awad, its longstanding Executive Director and one of the three original founders.

4.CAIR has been seeking to capitalize on the Ferguson, Missouri controversy.

“CAIR Calls for National Action on Racism After Ferguson Grand Jury Decision”; CAIR.com; 11/25/2014.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called for a “national action” to address issues of racism in the aftermath of a Missouri grand jury’s decision to not indict a police officer who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager who was shot to death in August.

CAIR also questioned the “problematic” grand jury process that resulted in a failure to indict the officer. . . .

. . . . Following Brown’s death, CAIR joined the NAACP and other civil rights groups in calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the shooting. CAIR representatives also took part in a national American Muslim call-in discussion of the shooting and joined almost 100 national civil rights groups, coordinated by The Leadership Conference and Civil and Human Rights, in calling for federal action to prevent discriminatory profiling. . . .

5.Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, the deranged killer who slew two New York City cops, has been influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood. His Facebook page claimed that he worked for the Islamic Society of North America–a Muslim Brotherhood front group. We take this with a grain of salt. There is a LOT of fresh fertilizer on people’s Facebook pages–Brinsley may well NOT have worked for them. Perhaps he attended a meeting–obviously, we don’t know.

What is important here is that he has fallen under the jihadist sway, perhaps manifesting “leaderless jihad.”

NB: the Charles C. Johnson who uncovered the information about Brinsley’s Facebook page is a screaming ultra-right media propagandist and should NOT be viewed as a credible source under normal circumstances. He is the classic broken clock that is right twice a day. This was one of those two daily occurrences. (Charles C. Johnson is NOT to be confused with Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs.

“NYPD Cop Killer Worked for Hamas-Linked Islamic Society of North America” by Robert Spencer; Jihad Watch; 12/23/2014.

The Muslim NYPD cop killer Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley worked for a Muslim Brotherhood front group, according to his Facebook page.

GotNews.com has confirmed and exclusively discovered that Brinsley went by another name — Ismaaiyl Abdullah-Muhammad — and that he worked for the Islamic Society of North America.

The Islamic Society of North America is a Muslim Brotherhood front group that was described as an unindicted co-conspirator by the Justice Department in the 2007 Holy Land terror cases.

Brinsley a.k.a. Muhammad’s Facebook page includes liking pages like “I love Islam” and “I Have To Be More Philosophical, About My Life.”…

6. Brinsley visited a jihadist mosque, which had links to numerous Muslim Brotherhood-linked terror elements. Its imam was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Blind Sheikh-led plot to blow up New York City landmarks.

“NYC Cop Killer’s Undiscovered Social Media Accounts Show Islamic Side” by Chuck Ross; The Daily Caller; 12/23/2014.

The abandoned YouTube channel of cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley contains a video showing him heading to pray at Brooklyn’s Masjid At Taqwa, a mosque that has been linked to terrorist and anti-police activity.

That is one of several new pieces of information gleaned from Brinsley’s old social media accounts which could shed more light on what made the 28-year-old tick.

Brinsley murdered two New York City police officers on Saturday as they were sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn, just hours after he had shot his girlfriend in Baltimore.

Before shooting the officers, Brinsley posted his intentions on Instagram, writing that he planned to murder cops. Brinsley referenced Michael Brown and Eric Garner — two black men whose police-related deaths have sparked mass protests — on his final social media posts.

Questions are swirling about what caused Brinsley to shoot the officers. The obvious answer is Brinsley’s thirst for revenge for the death of Brown and Garner. But others blamed Brinsley’s history of mental illness . . . .

7. More about the Brooklyn mosque that Brinsley visited:

“Letter from Peter G. Farrell to Judge Joan M. Azrack”; nyc.gov; 9/10/2013.

. . . . The NYPD’s investigation of certain individuals associated with Plaintiff Masjid At Taqwa was based upon information about their lengthy history of suspected criminal activity, some of it terroristic in nature. This information includes but is not limited to: illegal weapons trafficking by members of the mosque’s security team and the mosque caretaker both within the mosque and at the store adjacent; illegal weapons trafficking by certain attendees of the mosque; allegations that the mosque ran a “gun club”; and allegations that the assistant Imam had earmarked portions of over $200,000 raised in the mosque to a number of US Government designated terrorist organizations.

Certain individuals associated with Masjid At Taqwa have historical ties to terrorism. The mosque’s Imam, Siraj Wahhaj, was named by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York as an unindicted co-conspirator in a plot to bomb a number of New York City landmarks in the mid-1990s (the “Landmarks Plot”). Omar Abdel Rahman, known as the “Blind Sheikh,” who is serving a life sentence in federal prison for his role in the Landmarks Plot, lectured at Masjid At Taqwa. Wahhaj testified as a character witness for Abdel Rahman during Abdel Rahman’s terrorism trial. Wahhaj also testified as a chancter witness for Clement Hampton El, a Masjid At Taqwa attendee who was convicted as one of the Blind Sheikh’s coconspirators in the Landmarks Plot. . . .

8. A review of Dollars for Terror from Publishers Weekly:

In a provocative expos, Swiss TV journalist Labeviere argues that the real threat to the West from radical Islamic fundamentalism comes not from Iran or Iraq but rather from America’s solid allies—Saudi Arabia and neighboring oil monarchies. Based on his four-year investigation, Labeviere charges that Saudi Arabia is the principal financial backer of extremist Islamist movements around the world. The linchpin in this operation, he states, is Saudi billionaire Osama bin Ladin, trained by the CIA, who recruited, armed and trained in turn Arab volunteers to fight the Soviet army in the Afghanistan war, thereby strengthening the totalitarian Muslim Taliban regime. Bin Ladin, who, according to the author, maintains close ties with the Saudi and Pakistani secret services, now bankrolls terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and abets Islamist extremist movements in Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, South Africa, Algeria and elsewhere. Veterans of the Afghan “holy war” have been implicated in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City and the attempted murder of Egyptian president Mubarak in 1996. In Labeviere’s riveting, often shocking, analysis, the U.S. is an accessory in the rise of Islam, because it manipulates and aids radical Muslim groups in its shortsighted pursuit of its economic interests, especially the energy resources of the Middle East and the oil- and mineral-rich former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Labeviere shows how radical Islamic fundamentalism spreads its influence on two levels: above board, through investment firms, banks and shell companies, and clandestinely, through a network of drug dealing, weapons smuggling and money laundering. This important book sounds a wake-up call to U.S. policy makers. (May)
Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

9. The broadcast delineates Labaviere’s allegations concerning the profound relationship between the Saudis, the Muslim Brotherhood, elements of U.S. intelligence and the Bin Laden organization.

Dollars for Terror: The United States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copyright 2000 [SC]; Algora Publishing; ISBN 1-892941-06-6; pp. 14-5.

. . . . Many times over, American, European and Arab diplomats and public officials advised me to follow the trail of ‘the dollars of terror.’ . . Every time, I was brought back to both the official and the secret structures of Saudi finance. Every time, I stumbled on the fraternity of the Muslim Brothers. . .Where does the money for this dangerous proselytism come from? . . . Saudi Arabia and other oil monarchies allied with the United States. The greatest world power is fully aware of this development. Indeed, its information [intelligence] agencies have encouraged it . . . . The CIA and its Saudi and Pakistani homologues continue [as of 1999] to sponsor Islamism. . . .

10. Highlighting the comparisons between the Brotherhood’s program and those of Mussolini and Hitler, the broadcast continues:

Dollars for Terror: The United States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copyright 2000 [SC]; Algora Publishing; ISBN 1-892941-06-6; p. 127.

. . . . Taking Italy’s choices under Mussolini for inspiration, the economic program set three priorities . . . The social policy foresaw a new law on labor, founded on corporations. This economic program would more directly reveal its relationship to totalitarian ideologies a few years later, with the works of Mohamed Ghazali . . . . Mohamed Ghazali recommended ‘an economic regimen similar to that which existed in Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.’ . . . The moral code is also an important component in this program, which is intended to create the ‘new Muslim man.’ . . . The notion of the equality of the sexes is inherently negated by the concept of the supremacy of male social responsibilities. . .the ‘natural’ place of the woman is in the home. . . .

  11. About the Muslim Brotherhood’s economic doctrine:

“Islam in Office” by Stephen Glain; Newsweek; 7/3–10/2006.

Judeo-Christian scrip­ture offers lit­tle eco­nomic instruc­tion. The Book of Deuteron­omy, for exam­ple, is loaded with edicts on how the faith­ful should pray, eat, bequeath, keep the holy fes­ti­vals and treat slaves and spouses, but it is silent on trade and com­merce. In Matthew, when Christ admon­ishes his fol­low­ers to ‘give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s,’ he is effec­tively con­ced­ing fis­cal and mon­e­tary author­ity to pagan Rome. Islam is dif­fer­ent. The prophet Muhammad—himself a trader—preached mer­chant honor, the only reg­u­la­tion that the bor­der­less Lev­an­tine mar­ket knew. . . .

. . . In Mus­lim liturgy, the deals cut in the souk become a metaphor for the con­tract between God and the faith­ful. And the busi­ness model Muham­mad pre­scribed, accord­ing to Mus­lim schol­ars and econ­o­mists, is very much in the laissez-faire tra­di­tion later embraced by the West. Prices were to be set by God alone—anticipating by more than a mil­len­nium Adam Smith’s ref­er­ence to the ‘invis­i­ble hand’ of market-based pric­ing. Mer­chants were not to cut deals out­side the souk, an early attempt to thwart insider trad­ing. . . . In the days of the caliphate, Islam devel­oped the most sophis­ti­cated mon­e­tary sys­tem the world had yet known. Today, some econ­o­mists cite Islamic bank­ing as fur­ther evi­dence of an intrin­sic Islamic prag­ma­tism. Though still guided by a Qur’anic ban on riba, or inter­est, Islamic bank­ing has adapted to the needs of a boom­ing oil region for liq­uid­ity. In recent years, some 500 Islamic banks and invest­ment firms hold­ing $2 tril­lion in assets have emerged in the Gulf States, with more in Islamic com­mu­ni­ties of the West.

British Chan­cel­lor of the Exche­quer Gor­don Brown wants to make Lon­don a global cen­ter for Islamic finance—and elic­its no howl of protest from fun­da­men­tal­ists. How Islamists might run a cen­tral bank is more prob­lem­atic: schol­ars say they would manip­u­late cur­rency reserves, not inter­est rates.

The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood hails 14th cen­tury philoso­pher Ibn Khal­dun as its eco­nomic guide. Antic­i­pat­ing supply-side eco­nom­ics, Khal­dun argued that cut­ting taxes raises pro­duc­tion and tax rev­enues, and that state con­trol should be lim­ited to pro­vid­ing water, fire and free graz­ing land, the util­i­ties of the ancient world. The World Bank has called Ibn Khal­dun the first advo­cate of pri­va­ti­za­tion. [Empha­sis added.] His found­ing influ­ence is a sign of mod­er­a­tion. If Islamists in power ever do clash with the West, it won’t be over com­merce. . . .

12. In addition to the apparent use of Muslim Brotherhood/Islamist elements as proxy warriors against Russia and China, the Brotherhood’s corporatist economics are beloved to Graham Fuller, as well as corporate elements cdhampioned by Grover Norquist.

“Chech­nyan Power” by Mark Ames; nsfwcorp.com; 6/5/2013.

. . . Fuller comes from that fac­tion of CIA Cold War­riors who believed (and still appar­ently believe) that fun­da­men­tal­ist Islam, even in its rad­i­cal jihadi form, does not pose a threat to the West, for the sim­ple rea­son that fun­da­men­tal­ist Islam is con­ser­v­a­tive, against social jus­tice, against social­ism and redis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth, and in favor of hier­ar­chi­cal socio-economic struc­tures. Social­ism is the com­mon enemy to both cap­i­tal­ist Amer­ica and to Wah­habi Islam, accord­ing to Fuller.

Accord­ing to jour­nal­ist Robert Drey­fuss’ book “Devil’s Game,” Fuller explained his attrac­tion to rad­i­cal Islam in neoliberal/libertarian terms:

“There is no main­stream Islamic organization…with rad­i­cal social views,” he wrote. “Clas­si­cal Islamic the­ory envis­ages the role of the state as lim­ited to facil­i­tat­ing the well-being of mar­kets and mer­chants rather than con­trol­ling them. Islamists have always pow­er­fully objected to social­ism and communism….Islam has never had prob­lems with the idea that wealth is unevenly dis­trib­uted.” . . . .

13. Fuller has long been an advocate of a “turn to the Brotherhood.”

“In Search of Friends Among the Foes: U.S. Hopes to Work with Diverse Group” by John Mintz and Douglas Farah; The Washington Post; 9/11/2004; p. A01.

. . . Some federal agents worry that the Muslim Brotherhood has dangerous links to terrorism. But some U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials believe its influence offers an opportunity for political engagement that could help isolate violent jihadists. ‘It is the preeminent movement in the Muslim world,’ said Graham E. Fuller, a former CIA official specializing in the Middle East. ‘It’s something we can work with.’ Demonizing the Brotherhood ‘would be foolhardy in the extreme’ he warned.” . . .

14. More about the corporatist economic philosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood follows. Note that Khairat el-Shater was alleged by Egyptian intelligence to have been running Mohamed Morsi. (We covered this in FTR #787.) In turn, he was reported to be serving as a liaison between Morsi and Mohamed Zawahiri, the brother of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri. Shater was also networked with: Anne Patterson, U.S. ambassador to Egypt, GOP Senator John McCain and GOP Senator Lidsay Graham. In turn, Shater was alleged to have transferred $50 million from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to Al-Qaeda at the time that he was networking with the Americans and Morsi. Hey, what’s $50 million between friends?

“The GOP Brotherhood of Egypt” by Avi Asher-Schapiro; Salon.com; 1/25/2012.

While Western alarmists often depict Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as a shadowy organization with terrorist ties, the Brotherhood’s ideology actually has more in common with America’s Republican Party than with al-Qaida. Few Americans know it but the Brotherhood is a free-market party led by wealthy businessmen whose economic agenda embraces privatization and foreign investment while spurning labor unions and the redistribution of wealth. Like the Republicans in the U.S., the financial interests of the party’s leadership of businessmen and professionals diverge sharply from those of its poor, socially conservative followers.

The Brotherhood, which did not initially support the revolution that began a year ago, reaped its benefits, capturing nearly half the seats in the new parliament, which was seated this week, and vaulting its top leaders into positions of power.

Arguably the most powerful man in the Muslim Brotherhood is Khairat Al-Shater, a multimillionaire tycoon whose financial interests extend into electronics, manufacturing and retail. A strong advocate of privatization, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Muslim Brotherhood businessmen who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party’s impressive electoral victory this winter and is now crafting the FJP’s economic agenda.

At Al-Shater’s luxury furniture outlet Istakbal, a new couch costs about 6,000 Egyptian pounds, about $1,000 in U.S. currency. In a country where 40 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day, Istakbal’s clientele is largely limited to Egypt’s upper classes.

Although the Brothers do draw significant support from Egypt’s poor and working class, “the Brotherhood is a firmly upper-middle-class organization in its leadership,” says Shadi Hamid, a leading Muslim Brotherhood expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Not surprisingly, these well-to-do Egyptians are eager to safeguard their economic position in the post-Mubarak Egypt. Despite rising economic inequality and poverty, the Brotherhood does not back radical changes in Egypt’s economy.

The FJP’s economic platform is a tame document, rife with promises to root out corruption and tweak Egypt’s tax and subsidies systems, with occasional allusions to an unspecific commitment to “social justice.” The platform praises the mechanisms of the free market and promises that the party will work for “balanced, sustainable and comprehensive economic development.” It is a program that any European conservative party could get behind. . . .

15.We note that the attacks in Paris stand to provide political benefit to the  National Front, which has made Muslim immigrants in France a major target. Other European fascist groups–such as the misnamed Sweden Democrats (financed to a large extent by Carl Lundstrom, who was the chief financier of the Pirate Bay website on which WikiLeaks held forth)–stand to benefit as well.

“In Cold Political Terms, Far Right and French President Both Gain” by Steven Erlanger; The New York Times; 1/11/2015.

. . . . But no one expects this mood of solidarity to last very long; indeed, the attacks have already sharpened his clash with the far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Mr. Hollande remains the most unpopular French president since World War II. He is troubled by a weak economy, high unemployment and an underlying atmosphere of anxiety and even fear, among both Muslims and Jews, about the impact of homegrown Islamic radicalism. . . .

. . . . The homegrown terrorism here, with its apparent links to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, will also be used by other far-right, nationalist and anti-immigration movements in Europe, from the United Kingdom Independence Party to the Sweden Democrats and Germany’s Pegida — Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West. That is another reason so many European leaders from the mainstream parties of the center right and center left, from Angela Merkel of Germany to David Cameron of Britain and Mariano Rajoy of Spain, came to show their own solidarity with France and Mr. Hollande. . . .

16. Supplementing analysis highlighted in FTR #787, we reiterate that Tayyip Erdogan’s supposedly “moderate Islamic democracy” is nothing of the sort. With roots in the Al-Taqwa milieu and the Muslim Brotherhood, his government is manifesting the Islamic fascism at the core of the Ikwhan.

Manifesting his “moderation,” Erdogan has explicitly stated his view that women are not equal to men.


“Turkish President Erdogan Says Gender Equality ‘Contrary to Nature’ During Women’s Rights Meeting” [Reuters]; ABC News; 11/24/2014.

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan has said that gender equality is contrary to nature and feminists did not recognise the value of motherhood, at a meeting on women’s rights.

The conservative president said women’s “delicate” nature meant it was impossible to place them on an equal footing with men. . . .

17a. Note that Erdogan’s mentor was Necmettin Erbakan.

“Turkey Offers Support for Controversial Islamic Group”; Deutsche Welle; 4/23/2003.

. . . . Some observers say the attempt [by Milli Gorus] to reform its public image could be at least partly linked to the rise of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his AK party. Coming to power in a landslide victory last year, Erdogan styles his party as a modern conservative group based on Muslim values. He has distanced himself from former mentor Necmettin Erbakan, who founded the Islamic-influenced Welfare Party. Erbakan’s nephew, Mehmet Sabri Erbakan, was IGMG chairman until he left office after allegedly having an extra-marital affair.

17b. Fleshing out discussion of Necmettin Erbakan, his Refah party and the Muslim Brotherhood, the program highlights Erbakan’s relationship with Ahmed Huber and the manner in which that relationship precipitated Huber’s ascension to his position as a director of Al Taqwa.

Closely associated with the AK Party’s predecessor Refah organization, Huber’s concept of “moderation” might be gleaned from the photographs of some of the “moderates” he admires.

Note that Erbakan, mentor to Tayyip Erdogan, networked with Jean-Marie Le Pen, courtesy of Bank Al-Taqwa’s Achmed Huber.

Note, also, that they arrived at a political concensus, working to coordinate the Islamic fascism of the Muslim Brotherhood with the Euro-fascism of the National Front, Sweden Democrats and others.

Speaking of the décor of Huber’s residence:

Dollars for Terror: The United States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copyright 2000 [SC]; Algora Publishing; ISBN 1-892941-06-6; p. 142.

. . . . A second photograph, in which Hitler is talking with Himmler, hangs next to those of Necmettin Erbakan and Jean-Marie Le Pen [leader of the fascist National Front]. Erbakan, head of the Turkish Islamist party, Refah, turned to Achmed Huber for an introduction to the chief of the French party of the far right. Exiting from the meeting (which took place in September 1995) Huber’s two friends supposedly stated that they ‘share the same view of the world’ and expressed ‘their common desire to work together to remove the last racist obstacles that still prevent the union of the Islamist movement with the national right of Europe.’. . .

. . . . Lastly, above the desk is displayed a poster of the imam Khomeini; the meeting ‘changed my life,’ Huber says, with stars in his eyes. For years, after the Federal Palace in Bern, Ahmed Huber published a European press review for the Iranian leaders, then for the Turkish Refah. Since the former lacked financial means, Huber chose to put his efforts to the service of the latter. An outpost of the Turkish Muslim Brothers, Refah thus became Huber’s principal employer; and it was through the intermediary of the Turkish Islamist party that this former parliamentary correspondent became a shareholder in the bank Al Taqwa. . . .

18. Erdogan’s Muslim Brotherhood government may well be supporting the Turkophone Uighurs in their effort to oblige the secession of oil and minieral rich Xinjiang Province.

“Turks Are Held in Plot to Help Uighurs Leave China” by Edward Wong; The New York Times; 1/14/2015.

The police in Shanghai have arrested 10 Turkish citizens and two Chinese citizens and accused them of providing altered Turkish passports to terrorist suspects from the western region of Xinjiang, a state-run newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The people trying to use the passports — nine ethnic Uighurs trying to leave China illegally through a Shanghai airport — are also under arrest, according to the newspaper, Global Times.

All of the suspects were detained in November and formally charged recently, the report said. It added that the nine Uighurs were planning to go to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria after leaving China. Audio and video materials with content related to terrorism were found on those trying to leave, the report said.

Those involved in providing the forged passports have been charged with smuggling terrorists and altering legal documents, Global Times reported. On Wednesday afternoon, calls made to the Shanghai police seeking comment were not immediately answered.

The Uighurs are a mostly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic group in Xinjiang. . . .



18 comments for “FTR #830 Machiavelli 2.0: The Paris Attacks and the Muslim Brotherhood”

  1. You know you’re organization is experiencing a crisis of leadership when your leader has to clarify that he had to step down because of the crazy things he wrote online, and not because of the photo of him posing as Hitler:

    UPDATE 2-German PEGIDA leader resigns after Hitler pose prompts investigation

    Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:45pm EST

    * Anti-Islam group’s leader posed as Hitler, insulted refugees

    * Resignation follows news of investigation for incitement (Adds background, coming march)

    By Madeline Chambers

    BERLIN, Jan 21 (Reuters) – The leader of the fast-growing German anti-Muslim movement PEGIDA resigned on Wednesday after a photo of him posing as Hitler – and reports that he called refugees “scumbags” – prompted prosecutors to investigate him for inciting hatred.

    Bachmann, a 41-year-old convicted burglar, had appeared on the front page of top-selling daily newspaper Bild on Wednesday sporting a Hitler moustache and haircut. Bild and another paper said he had called aslyum-seekers “animals” and “scumbags”.

    Oertel said his resignation had nothing to do with the Hitler photo but was linked to comments posted on the internet.

    PEGIDA has forced itself onto the political agenda with its anti-immigrant slogans that have attracted tens of thousands to regular rallies in Dresden. Its Leipzig sister movement, LEGIDA, was due to march on Wednesday evening after police banned a PEGIDA march in Dresden on Monday due to a threat of an attack.

    Bachmann, who denies he is a racist, had heard on Wednesday that he faces a criminal investigation for incitement to racial hatred. State prosecutors in Dresden said preliminary proceedings had been launched following the Bild report.


    Bild printed the photo of him with Hitler-style moustache and hair on its front page. It quoted him as saying the photo had been taken as a joke, prompted by a recent satirical book about Hitler called “Er ist wieder da” (“Look Who’s Back”).

    The Dresdner Morgenpost newspaper also quoted what it said were Facebook messages from Bachmann saying asylum seekers acted like “scumbags” at the welfare office and that extra security was needed “to protect employees from the animals”.

    Deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, the Social Democrat leader, said the real face of PEGIDA had been exposed: “Anyone who puts on a Hitler disguise is either an idiot or a Nazi.”

    In an interview with Reuters last week, Bachmann played down a ribald comment made in 2013, seized on by the media, that “eco-terrorist” Greens, first and foremost former party leader Claudia Roth, should be “summarily executed”.

    “I am an impulsive person…I regret I didn’t resist my impulsiveness.”

    “I am an impulsive person…I regret I didn’t resist my impulsiveness,” says the guy that called for the Greens be “summarily executed”. So the ex-leader of the hot new political movement in Germany apparently suffers from an undiagnosed and untreated case of low-level Tourette’s syndrome that causes him to blurt out horrible statements that one might normally attribute to a Nazi. But he’s too embarrassed to tell anyone and now he’s got a bunch of far right nut jobs following him around. It all makes sense and it’s quite tragic, really.

    Although that still doesn’t explain all the allegedly non-far right members of the general public that continue to flock to movement led by a man with impulse control issues that cause him say horrible things:

    Right-wing anti-Islamist PEGIDA movement is losing steam, says study

    The PEGIDA protest movement has sparked a fundamental debate in Germany: the right to demonstrate. However, the group’s drama shouldn’t be taken that seriously, says leading sociologist Dieter Rucht.
    Date 19.01.2015
    Author Gabriel Borrud

    German news outlets were again jam-packed with commentaries and analysis of the right-wing “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of Europe,” or PEGIDA, movement on Monday, this time following a ban on the group because of reported threats to its leader Lutz Bachmann. Politicians of the highest level also joined the debate, with a spokesman for Chancellor Merkel calling the decision to ban PEGIDA a “one-off.”

    According to a study conducted by the Social Science Research Center in Berlin and presented Monday by its head, Dieter Rucht, PEGIDA could well be on its way out. Rucht and colleagues from the universities of Bochum and Chemnitz had spent the last week poring over data collected online to come to their conclusions.

    DW: In your experience with protest movements, have you ever seen anything like PEGIDA?

    Dieter Rucht: No, not really. The picture you get from Dresden is very ambivalent. On the one hand, you have what looks like very ordinary people out on the streets. It could be your neighbor from around the corner, for instance, and the marchers also seem to present themselves in that light.

    Together in the same group, however, you have what appears to be right-wingers marching alongside these “normal people.” We have never seen such a strange mixture like this, no. It makes you wonder why people who claim to be your neighbor and very ordinary middle class citizens would want to go marching with right-wing extremists.

    Is this a movement of the people?

    That’s what they say. “We are the people” is their most popular chant. But this is not the case at all. They have absolutely no claim of representation, and from our data and observations, we could perhaps say that this group is primarily right-wing populist, which contains pockets of genuinely racist and xenophobic people.

    Again, this fits with the incredibly ambivalent nature of the demonstrators and the way the demonstrations are organized. On the stage in Dresden, if you listen to the speakers, you hear very contradictory messages, for instance: “We are the people, and we are ordinary and peaceful, and we have nothing against foreigners and asylum seekers,” and in the very next piece you hear the complete opposite.

    The results of your study suggest that PEGIDA won’t last long, that it may well already be losing momentum. Why is that?

    I must preface by saying that our study is not representative; only several hundred people responded to our online requests. From the responses we did receive, and from our experience with such protests, we believe the movement will slowly fade away. If it continues the way it has over the past 13 weeks, it will become very repetitive. In this way, perhaps, we could draw comparisons to the Occupy movement. After a while, a kind of inflationary effect sets in. If nothing new happens, the media will lose its interest, and once the media loses its interests, the people who were motivated by media coverage will no longer be moved to the streets. Then, PEGIDA will have hit its peak.

    And nothing could change that?

    Well, it’s impossible to predict, but perhaps a terrorist attack could galvanize the people. But again, there is no way of predicting what circumstances or events could influence the popularity of such a movement.

    Do you think the rapid growth of PEGIDA will thwart its longevity?

    I do think that. This is where the comparison to modern protests such as the Occupy movement becomes viable. Despite its complete difference with regard to social composition and political statement, PEGIDA was powered by social networking, communication via the Internet and extraordinary interest in the media. We saw for months the dramatic pictures of the Occupy movements around the world, and as a result, the people who were active in the streets began to feel that they were the center of the world, or of history.

    These people truly believed they could make a change, and their over-evaluation of their own importance was a deciding factor in their motivation. When the air comes out, that motivation dwindles. This could very well – or may, I must be careful – be the case with PEGIDA.

    “Well, it’s impossible to predict, but perhaps a terrorist attack could galvanize the people. But again, there is no way of predicting what circumstances or events could influence the popularity of such a movement.” Huh. It doesn’t seem that hard.

    Still, as Rucht points out, it’s an overall puzzling situation:

    On the one hand, you have what looks like very ordinary people out on the streets. It could be your neighbor from around the corner, for instance, and the marchers also seem to present themselves in that light.

    Together in the same group, however, you have what appears to be right-wingers marching alongside these “normal people.” We have never seen such a strange mixture like this, no. It makes you wonder why people who claim to be your neighbor and very ordinary middle class citizens would want to go marching with right-wing extremists.

    Yeah, it does make you wonder very ordinary middle class citizens would want to go marching with right-wing extremists. It also makes you wonder why the best hope for PEGIDA fading away is rooted in its stunningly rapid growth that seems to be drawing in a large number of mainstream protestors marching side-by-side with far right extremists as Dieter Rucht suggests.

    Of course, a Rucht also suggests:

    These people truly believed they could make a change, and their over-evaluation of their own importance was a deciding factor in their motivation. When the air comes out, that motivation dwindles. This could very well – or may, I must be careful – be the case with PEGIDA.

    So once the far right determines it’s not as important as it thinks it is, the wind will be taken out of its sails and this will all blow over. Good to know.

    Also, it’s still feeling pretty windy out there…

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 21, 2015, 1:31 pm
  2. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died which means the Saudi Queen is now ruler of the Kingdom! Haha! No, it actually it means it’s time for the West to keep ignoring its complicity in this horrible mess:

    Think Progress
    The Truth About How King Abdullah Treated Women, Including His Own Daughters

    by Beenish Ahmed Posted on January 23, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    King Abdullah, 90, who died early Friday morning, is being hailed as a reformer, despite condoning human rights abuses and forwarding only very measured efforts to promote democracy in his oil-rich nation.

    One of the most scrutinized aspects of the Saudi Arabia’s rights’ record is its so-called “male guardianship system,” women are not allowed to travel, obtain a passport, marry, or continue their education without the approval of a male relative.

    The King’s own daughters are hardly an exception to the harsh rule. Four of his daughters claim that the are being forcibly held in a dilapidated palace with little in the way of food and water. “Our father said that we had no way out,” Sahar Al Saud, 42, wrote in an email to the British broadcast network Channel 4, “And that after his death our brothers will continue detaining us.”

    “We are just an example of so many families, of what so many women, go through. Just a tiny, tiny example,” the princess who once enjoyed international skiing and shopping trips said.

    Adam Coogle, a Saudi Arabia researcher for Human Rights Watch told ThinkProgress in an email, “It seems clear that the princesses’ freedom of movement has been restricted, but we don’t have a lot of details beyond that.”

    While Sahar and her sisters claim they are being held because of their independent spirits and critical view towards some of their father’s social policies, their detention might have something to do with their support for Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a Shia cleric imprisoned in the powerful epicenter of Sunni Islam.

    And, while it’s not a topic they have raised in their interviews with Western journalists, Sahar appeared in a video last April in which she called for opposition to her fathers’ regime and praised Nimr al-Nimr — a bold and possibly dangerous move.

    Despite his alleged repression of religious minorities, in a statement, Vice President said he “appreciated” King Abdullah’s “efforts to move his country forward,” and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called him “an important voice for reform in Saudi Arabia.”

    President Barack Obama praised the king for having “the courage of his convictions,” and for promoting security in the region, but steered clear of commenting on Saudi Arabian social policies.

    “In a very discreet way, he was a strong advocate of women,” Christine Lagarde the head of the International Monetary Fund said from the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland.

    Even news reports heralded King Abdullah’s track record on civil rights, though the laudatory language was often followed by only vague or contradictory examples from his 9-year tenure as the head of Saudi Arabia.

    CNN called him “a cautious reformer” citing “steps toward broader freedoms” without giving clear examples. The New York Times Douglas Martin and Ben Hubbard referred to the autocratic ruler as a “force of moderation,” although the already tempered phrase was followed by examples in which the King failed to carry out the reforms he publicly vowed to carry out.

    While he did make it possible for women to work as cashiers — a significant liberalization in the Saudi context — the Times’ journalists note that he walked back on what they called “a promise made to Barbara Walters of ABC News in his first televised interview as king in October 2005” to make it legal for woman to drive there.

    In the interview with Walters, however, King Abdullah never explicitly promised to shift policy to allow women to get behind the wheel. He said only, “I believe it will be possible.”

    In 2011, amid pressure from the revolutionary fervor sweeping Middle Eastern states, King Abdullah announced that women would be allowed to run and vote in future municipal elections. The move was blocked “because of the kingdom’s social customs.”

    It’s not only Saudi Arabian women who face heavy-handed sentences for defying the country’s strict laws around social order.

    Less than 10 percent of Saudis are able to vote.

    According to a report by the human rights organization Amnesty International, more than 2,000 people were executed in Saudi Arabia between 1985 and 2013. The organization claims that many of those who have been tortured or killed were advocates for social and political reform in the country who were charged with vague offenses like “disobeying the ruler.”

    On Friday, Saudi authorities again postponed the flogging of the progressive blogger Raif Badawi. Although the British foreign secretary raised concerns about brutal sentence awaiting the blogger with the Saudi ambassador to Britain prime minister was among those praising King Abdullah’s commitment to his people.

    “He will be remembered for his long years of service to the kingdom, for his commitment to peace and for strengthening understanding between faiths,” David Cameron said.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 23, 2015, 3:57 pm
  3. Quite a reformer! Maybe the Pope will make him a saint, and maybe the U.S. could give him the medal of freedom posthumously.

    Posted by GK | January 25, 2015, 3:50 pm
  4. @GK–

    Do you mean Machiavelli?

    It is unclear who the “him” is in your comment.



    Posted by Dave Emory | January 25, 2015, 6:27 pm
  5. @Dave
    Sorry for being unclear. I meant the late King Abdullah, and my comment was a reaction to the Kings unexpected passing and Pterrafractyl’s posting about the King in a preceding comment on this thread. It was one of those death of a feeling things you’ve talked about, that wasn’t very good.


    Posted by GK | January 30, 2015, 7:20 pm
  6. This is Breitbart, so naturally they leave out the fact that it was Norquist and Rove who brought these people into high DC places in the first place. Nor do they mention that the Mohammed Magid was the “token Muslim” at the Reagan funeral. But it is a pretty good indicator that the Brothers are not done in the White House. This is the Green Quest crowd, doing what they do best…


    The Obama White House has finally released the names of the fourteen Muslim “leaders” who met with the President this past week. Among the group — which included a comedian, along with a hijab-wearing basketball player and a handful of left wing activists — were a select few individuals with disturbingly close ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood.

    As previously uncovered by Breitbart News, the White House confirmed that Azhar Azeez, President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), was one of the Muslim leaders that met with President Obama. ISNA was founded in 1981 by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial. Federal prosecutors have previously described how ISNA funneled its money to Palestinian terrorist group Hamas (via Investigative Project):

    ISNA checks deposited into the ISNA/NAIT account for the HLF were often made payable to “the Palestinian Mujahadeen,” the original name for the HAMAS military wing. Govt. Exh. 1-174. From that ISNA/NAIT account, the HLF sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to HAMAS leader…

    Azeez’s bio also reveals him as a founding member the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter. CAIR has also allegedly funneled money to Palestinian terror groups and was also started by members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    In October, 2014, Azeez signed a letter endorsing Sharia Islamic governance. Under the Sharia, non-Muslims are treated as second-class citizens. The Sharia also endorses the hudud punishments in the Koran and Hadiths, which state that apostasy from Islam is punishable by death.

    Hoda Elshishtawy of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) was also in attendance at the Muslim leaders’ meeting with President Obama.

    MPAC, just like CAIR and ISNA, was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group has written and often endorsed a paper rejecting the United States’s designation of Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations, and has insisted that the Jewish state of Israel be added as a state sponsor of terrorism. The group’s former president, Salam al-Marayati, has publicly encouraged officials to look at Israel as a suspect in the 9/11/01 attacks.

    He has said that Hezbollah’s attacks against Israel should be seen as “legitimate resistance.” In a 1998 speech at the National Press Club, an MPAC senior official described the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah as one that fights for “American values.” In an MPAC-sponsored March 2009 protest to “Defend al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Quds,” participants could be heard chanting slogans encouraging Palestinians to wipe out Israel. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” demonstrators chanted.

    Mohamed Majid, who serves as Imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), was also in attendance at the White House meeting with the President, and senior advisors Ben Rhodes and Valerie Jarrett.

    In 2002, ADAMS was raided as part of a U.S. government initiative called “Operation Green Quest,” where federal agents suspected the group of supporting terrorist organizations. Government documents said that the ADAMS Center was “suspected of providing support to terrorists, money laundering, and tax evasion.”

    Majid is also an official with the brotherhood-affiliated Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

    He also signed the October 2014 letter, along with White House meeting attendee Azhar Azeez, insisting that Sharia law should be an acceptable political system worldwide.

    It remains unclear why President Obama remains a stalwart believer that the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates should be treated as legitimate political entities, when history reveals the organization as one with radical goals. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by Islamic cleric (and Hitler admirer) Hassan al-Banna after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

    The group seeks as its end-game to install a Sunni Islamic caliphate throughout the world. al-Banna said of his organization’s goals, “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.” Both Former Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi were members of the Brotherhood. Its current spiritual leader, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, has a knack for bashing Jews and praising Nazis. The Muslim Brotherhood’s motto remains: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

    Posted by Tiffany Sunderson | February 10, 2015, 9:38 am
  7. Wow, America’s social media vigilantes are at it again, because they certainly know more about a 48 hour old case than the police or federal prosecutors. And, yes, sadly, the Muslim Brothers are ALL OVER this story. Also, some liberal American commentators (and, yes, I’m a liberal still) are saying this was “typical white Nazi Christian behavior”. The reality is that the alleged killer was actually pretty far to the left and an avowed atheist. That angle is being very downplayed. Hell, his politics and antagonism to religion as a whole aren’t that far from my own! Except I’m not crazy and don’t bring weapons to parking disputes with my neighbors.
    And, no despite my questions about this case and hostility towards the Muslim Brotherhood, in NO WAY does that justify this horrible slaughter and this jerk deserves a life sentence. By most accounts, these were fairly model Muslim Americans and decent folks. However… the Brothers lurk.


    …U.S. Attorney Ripley Rand, the district’s top federal prosecutor, had said Wednesday that there was no immediate evidence Muslims were being targeted.

    …Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha were newlyweds who met while helping to run a Muslim student association before Barakat moved to Chapel Hill to study dentistry at UNC.

    NOTE: A “muslim student association”? You mean THE Muslim Student Association, the college campus front of the Muslim Brotherhood. At least two of the victims were members. This does not mean they subscribed to all the tenets of the Brothers, but they are certainly in the background of this story.


    US President Barack Obama has condemned the “brutal and outrageous” murders of three Muslim students in North Carolina.
    “No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship,” he said in a statement, offering his condolences.

    ….Mr Obama’s remarks on Friday follow criticism from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a devout Muslim, of his US counterpart’s “telling” failure to speak out about the killings.

    NOTE: Of course I agree with Obama’s remarks. But why even mention it when there is NO EVIDENCE yet that this was a killing based on bigotry? And I’m not assuming Obama made these remarks in response to Erdogan’s criticism (and the fact that ANYBODY gives a shit what Erdogan thinks scares the hell out of me!), but it is an interesting juxtaposition.


    …Chapel Hill police are also investigating whether the killings involved a hate crime but say a preliminary investigation points to a long-simmering spat over parking.A woman who lives near the scene of the shootings described Hicks as short-tempered.”Anytime that I saw him or saw interaction with him or friends or anyone in the parking lot or myself, he was angry,” Samantha Maness said of Hicks. “He was very angry any time I saw him.”

    NOTE: Yep, just an angry psycho, it sounds like to me. America is a violent country with a growing Muslim population (not trends I’m interlinking). Are we now going to assume that any time a Muslim is murdered here that it inevitably must be based on their religion? Sometimes it will be, perpetrated by Nazi or KKK types and those should be investigated as thoroughly as any other murders.

    OK, so here’s where things get interesting… remember the plot to behead Marines at Quantico? Look at what mosque the plotters attended. It’s the same damn one as the victims in this weeks’ murders! And, yes, this was blowback from our role in the Kosovo war and efforts to bring Kosovars into the US. And they showed their appreciation for our war effort there…


    …Hysen Sherifi, 27, was sentenced to 45 years in prison earlier this month in what prosecutors described as a conspiracy to attack the Marine base at Quantico, Va., and targets abroad. Five others, including construction contractor Daniel Patrick Boyd, have been sentenced to federal prison terms for terrorism charges related to raising money, stockpiling weapons and training in preparation for jihadist attacks.

    …The affidavit provides no information about the nature of the relationship between Hysen Sherifi and Elshiekh, but a woman with that same name was quoted in media reports from last year’s terrorism trial in New Bern. The names of the witnesses allegedly targeted were redacted from the affidavit.Nevine Elshiekh is listed as a special education teacher on the website for Sterling Montessori Academy, a charter school in Mooresville. Bill Zajic, the school’s executive director, did not return a message from the Associated Press on Tuesday.

    No one answered the phone at Elshiekh’s Raleigh home Tuesday. The Sherifi brothers and other family members emigrated from Kosovo following the wars that ravaged the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. A call to the Sherifi family home in Raleigh on Tuesday was not returned.

    Hysen Sherifi and others arrested in the terrorism conspiracy were members of the Islamic Association of Raleigh, the largest Muslim congregation in the Triangle. Several members of the mosque also routinely made the 4-hour round trip for the trial in New Bern to support the accused, who they described as innocent men being railroaded by overzealous federal authorities.Messages to the media contact listed for the mosque were not returned.

    NOTE: While the internet certainly has played a role in the radicalization of some Western jihadists, I suspect that is becoming a scapegoat and diversion, at least in some cases, from the reality that many of them are radicalized by imams that are HERE, working in Brotherhood or Wahhabi-sponsored mosques. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read that a terror suspect “was radicalized online, according to Imam Magid of the Islamic Center of____ (fill in the town)”. The media takes the quote and never asks questions about what is going on in the mosque. Then it turns out that the Islamic Center is directly tied to the Brothers.

    This story claims that supporters of the defendants from the Mosque regularly attended the trial, claiming that the they were being “railroaded”.


    …The Sherifi family fled Kosovo in 1999 during a brutal sectarian war between Serbs and ethnic Albanians. A naturalized U.S. citizen, Shkumbin Sherifi lived at home with his parents and sisters, occasionally taking classes at a nearby community college and recording vengeful rap music in his native Albanian.

    Earlier deemed a flight risk by a federal judge, Sherifi will remain in detention until sentencing.
    Elshiekh will remain free on bond pending sentencing. She and her lawyer declined comment as they walked out of the courtroom.
    Born in the United States to Egyptian parents, Elshiekh worked until her arrest as the director of special education at Sterling Montessori Academy, a state-supported charter school in Morrisville. She had also served as a teacher at a religious school affiliated with the Islamic Association of Raleigh, the city’s largest mosque.

    The elder Sherifi was one of six Raleigh Muslims convicted last year of being part of a homegrown terrorist plot to attack the U.S. Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., and targets overseas. The case hinged largely on surveillance tapes made by confidential informants paid by the FBI, with no direct evidence any of the men had actually agreed to kill anyone.

    A family friend of one of the defendants, Elshiekh was among a group of supporters from the Raleigh mosque who attended the month-long trial and claimed the men were being railroaded by an overzealous federal government.

    NOTE: And here is the mosque’s website itself, where services are being held for the three victims. Note who is sponsoring the press release. MAS- Muslim Brotherhood. MPAC-Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim American Society-Muslim Brotherhood. Am I starting to sound like a broken record yet? I think it is a good bet that all of these mosques are Brother mosques as well. And they will milk these murders to the furthest extent possible…


    We call upon the global community to remember and follow Deah, Yusor and Razan’s legacy of peace, service and caring. Please continue to keep the Barakat and Abu-Salha families in your thoughts and prayers.
    This press release is a result of coordination and work of the following organizations:

    • Islamic Association of Raleigh (IAR)
    • Apex Mosque
    • Masjid Ibad Ar-Rahman of Durham
    • Muslim American Society (MAS)
    • Muslim American Public Affairs Council (MAPAC)
    • Islamic Association of Cary
    • Islamic Center of Morrisville (ICM)
    • United Muslim Relief

    Posted by Tiffany Sunderson | February 13, 2015, 5:19 pm
  8. This is a great article on the incredible management of First Look/Intercept by Omidyar and Greenwald from a former employee.

    However, what really stood out to me was that we ONCE AGAIN see Greenwald walking in goosestep with the Muslim Brotherhood. You won’t get what I’m referring to until you read the second half of this post after Ken Silverstein’s article.


    Where Journalism Goes to Die
    Glenn Greenwald, Pierre Omidyar, Adnan Syed and my battles with First Look Media.

    February 27, 2015.

    …The beginning of the end for me, though, came as The Intercept launched into what would turn out to be basically the biggest story of its short existence: The Serial chronicles.

    In my final months, I helped edit and write a few stories for The Intercept with Natasha Vargas-Cooper about the wildly popular podcast Serial. Natasha landed two key interviews with figures in the murder case and she wrote a series of stories that I helped edit and shared a co-byline on two of them. The stories challenged, directly and indirectly, the narrative laid out in the unexpected podcast hit by the makers of This American Life. The podcast’s narrative followed the investigation and prosecution of Baltimore teen Adnan Syed, who was convicted and is serving a life sentence for the murder by strangulation of a teenage girl (and who dumped her body in a park in Baltimore). Serial’s thesis was straightforward: Syed did not get a fair trial.

    Our stories, though, showed the opposite—documenting the work of the prosecutor and the star witness. Given the viral success of the show, our follow-up stories were a huge success—possibly the biggest thing The Intercept has ever published. They were, though, hugely controversial inside our organization. Why wouldn’t a huge editorial success be celebrated inside The Intercept? Because we were siding with The Man.

    Now I believe the American justice system is badly flawed and often racist, but in this instance, I firmly believe, the system worked. I believe Adnan Syed murdered Hae Min Lee and was rightly prosecuted for it.

    But I came to realize that the system working correctly—and the right people going to jail—isn’t a good narrative to tell at The Intercept.

    Publishing the Serial stories was a huge headache: There were constant delays and frustrations getting them out, even after it became clear they were drawing huge traffic. Our internal critics believed that Natasha and I had taken the side of the prosecutors—and hence the state. That support was unacceptable at a publication that claimed it was entirely independent and would be relentlessly adversarial towards The Man. That held true even in this case, when The Man successfully prosecuted a killer and sent him to jail.

    Some colleagues, like Jeremy Scahill, were upset after the first installment of Natasha’s interviews with Jay, the state’s flawed-but-convincing key witness, and our co-bylined two-part interview with the lead prosecutor, Kevin Urick, both of whom had refused to speak to Sarah Koenig for her Serial podcast. Jeremy even threatened to quit over the second installment, according to two of my colleagues who witnessed what they described as his “temper tantrum” in the New York office. He told them he couldn’t believe that we’d so uncritically accepted the state’s view of the murder—even though our stories were backed up by our own research, our unique reporting and our reading of court documents. One day at the office, frustrated, Natasha wrote “Team Adnan” on a sign on Jeremy’s office door.

    NOTE: I had previously poked around some “oddities” in the phenomenon of Serial. I have only listened to it a little bit, but the general impression I got was “reporter looking for story who finds one… kind of”. It was this below article that made things REAL interesting for me. Rabia Chaudry, who leads the “Free Adnan” movement, is NOT just any Muslim lawyer. Oh, no, she is bigtime in the collaboration between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Feds! As soon as I saw her name in one of the stories about Serial, I freaked out. “THAT Rabia Chaudry?”


    ….In one entry, Chaudry described her reaction when Koenig presented her with a document prosecutors had commissioned from a consultant who discussed Islam, honor killings and sexism.
    “I think I cursed a lot,” Chaudry wrote. “But I felt my face get hot and angry and was hopping around in my chair, gobsmacked and horrified.”
    Chaudry addressed the end of her post to the consultant.
    “Pakistan, dear consultant, is not exactly what you think it is,” she wrote. “I take personal exception to your characterization because it just so happens that [I] was born there.”

    NOTE: Pakistan is a country where 75% of the women are in prison because they were RAPED and convicted of adultery for reporting being raped. And because it takes FOUR male witnesses to convict a man of rape under Islamic law, their rapists generally go unpunished. I dont know enough about the case to comment on whether or not it was an Islamic honor killing, but there are approximately 500 Islamic honor killings of women in Pakistan each year, at least that are reported. No, Rabia, Pakistan is exactly what the consultant thinks it is. Chaudry is a paid Muslim Brotherhood shill. I also note that she doesn’t live in Pakistan.

    …Chaudry’s family became friends with the Syeds through their mosque, The Islamic Society of Baltimore. Both Syed’s parents and her own are Pakistani natives who settled in Maryland.

    NOTE: Islamic Society= Muslim Brotherhood front. This will become a theme in my post… Reporter is clueless. No big deal, most of them are and I expect little else.

    …Chaudry is accustomed to being involved in high-profile — and contentious — issues. She has led efforts to dispel negative stereotypes of Muslims among law enforcement officers while also working to combat violent extremism within the Muslim community.

    NOTE: Take that last part with a whopping grain of salt. She has also told Muslims not to talk to police about terror cases.

    …”Not a lot of community people are willing to put their reputation on the line and say the messages coming out of ISIS and al-Qaida are not messages that represent the Muslim community,” said Haris Tarin, who as director of the Washington office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council works closely with Chaudry. “She’s been willing to take that fight on.”

    NOTE: Again, Muslim Public Affairs Council, you guessed it… Muslim Brotherhood front!

    A graduate of University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the George Mason University School of Law, Chaudry became involved in national security issues while working as an immigration attorney in Connecticut. She heard complaints from Muslim clients, including an imam, that FBI agents were trying to force them to spy on others in their community.
    Chaudry moved back to the Washington area with her husband and two daughters and became a fellow in a program for emerging Muslim leaders.
    She founded an organization, The Safe Nation Collaborative, that provides training on the Islamic faith and countering violent extremism and fosters dialogue between law enforcement and Muslim communities. She is a national security fellow with the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank.

    NOTE: Safe Nation is a thinktank with all kinds of powerful funders and sketchy connections. Note also that George Mason U. is a front for Cato/Koch/libertarian interests. Totally spooky. She also spoke at an ISNA convention… the BIGGEST Muslim Brother front in the US. This is from Pam Geller, who is not my cup of tea, but is not known to misrepresent the kinds of things that are discussed at these conventions. Chaudry’s effort to rewrite training manuals was DIRECTLY targeted to make it tougher for the feds and cops to detect signs of jihadism. One of Obama’s biggest mistakes in his administration, in my opinion.


    Chaudry repeatedly made it clear that the FBI, NYPD -who she called the “Big Bad Wolf”- and other agencies were not to be trusted. Chaudry works with the Saudi-funded front group Center for Muslim Christian Understanding, serves as an immigration lawyer, as well as a board member of the Connecticut ACLU and is President of the Safe Nation Collaborative. As President of the collaborative, Chaudry is working with the Obama Administration to rewrite the training manuals used to teach law enforcement personnel about the Islamist threat to America.

    CONCLUSION: Adnan Syed may be innocent… but having Chaudry as his main supporter sure as hell makes me think he isn’t.

    Posted by Tiffany Sunderson | March 6, 2015, 5:04 pm
  9. Following a terror suicide attack in Paris by what appears to be a group of eight ISIS-affiliated individuals, France responded in exactly the way one would expect France to respond to an attack of that nature by ISIS: France declared war on ISIS:

    Associate Press
    Paris Attacks Blamed On Islamic State As Death Toll Rises To 127

    Published November 14, 2015, 6:09 AM EST

    PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande blamed the Islamic State group for orchestrating the deadliest attacks inflicted on France since World War II and vowed Saturday to strike back without mercy at what he called “an act of war.”

    Hollande said at least 127 people died Friday night in shootings at Paris cafes, suicide bombings near France’s national stadium and a hostage-taking slaughter inside a concert hall.

    Speaking after an emergency security meeting to plan his government’s response, Hollande declared three days of national mourning and raised the nation’s security to its highest level.

    Hollande blamed the carnage on what he called “a terrorist army, the Islamic State group, a jihadist army, against France, against the values that we defend everywhere in the world, against what we are: a free country that means something to the whole planet.”

    As he spoke, French anti-terror police worked to identify potential accomplices to the attackers known to have committed the attacks.

    The perpetrators, at least in public, remained a mystery: their nationalities, their motives, even their exact number. Authorities said eight died, seven in suicide bombings, a new terror tactic in France. Police said they shot and killed the other assailant.

    World leaders united in sympathy and indignation, New York police increased security measures, and people worldwide reached out to friends and loved ones in France.

    The violence raised questions about security for the millions of tourists who come to Paris and for world events routinely hosted in the normally luminous capital, where troops were deployed to support police trying to restore order.

    One of Europe’s most heavily visited tourist attractions, the Disneyland theme park east of the capital, announced it would not open for business Saturday, a rarity.

    Prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said authorities couldn’t rule out the possibility that other militants involved in the attack remained at large.

    Hollande said France — which is already bombing IS targets in Syria and Iraq as part of the U.S.-led coalition, and has troops fighting militants in Africa — “will be merciless toward the barbarians of Islamic State group.”

    “It’s an act of war that was prepared, organized, planned from abroad, with internal help,” he said.

    Reflecting fears in other European capitals of the risk of coordinated or copycat attacks, the British government scheduled its own emergency COBRA intelligence committee overseen by Prime Minister David Cameron. Italy said it, too, was raising security levels on borders and major public places.

    Friday night’s militants launched at least six gun and bomb attacks in rapid succession on apparently indiscriminate civilian targets.

    Three suicide bombs targeted spots around the national Stade de France stadium, north of the capital, where Hollande was watching an exhibition soccer match between France and the defending World Cup champions Germany. Fans inside the stadium recoiled at the sound of explosions, but the match continued amid rising spectator fears.

    Around the same time, fusillades of bullets shattered the clinking of wine glasses in a trendy Paris neighborhood as gunmen targeted a string of cafes, which were crowded on an unusually balmy November night. At least 37 people were killed, according to Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins.

    The attackers next stormed a concert hall, the Bataclan, which was hosting the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal. They opened fire on the panicked audience and took members hostage. As police closed in, three detonated explosive belts, killing themselves, according to Paris police chief Michel Cadot.

    Another attacker detonated a suicide bomb on Boulevard Voltaire, near the music hall, the prosecutor’s office said.

    The Bataclan was the scene of the worst carnage.

    “Very soon I smelled powder, and I understood what was happening. There were shots everywhere, in waves. I lay down on the floor. I saw at least two shooters, but I heard others talk. They cried, ‘It’s Hollande’s fault.’ I heard one of the shooters shout, ‘Allahu Akbar,'” Sylvain told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition that his full name not be used out of concern for his safety.

    He was among dozens of survivors offered counseling and blankets in a municipal building set up as a crisis center.

    Jihadis on Twitter immediately praised the attackers and criticized France’s military operations against Islamic State extremists.

    Hollande declared a state of emergency and announced renewed border checks along frontiers that are normally open under Europe’s free-travel zone.

    In a televised Friday night address he appealed to citizens to maintain “a determined France, a united France, a France that joins together and a France that will not allow itself to be staggered, even if today there is infinite emotion faced with this disaster, this tragedy, which is an abomination, because it is barbarism.”

    President Barack Obama, speaking to reporters in Washington, decried an “attack on all humanity,” calling the Paris violence an “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”

    A U.S. official briefed by the Justice Department says intelligence officials were not aware of any threats before Friday’s attacks.

    France has been on edge since January, when Islamic extremists attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had run cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, and a kosher grocery. Twenty people died in those attacks, including three shooters.

    On Friday night they targeted young people enjoying a rock concert and ordinary city residents celebrating the end of the work week and cheering their nation’s soccer squad as it took on the defending World Cup champions.

    France has seen several smaller-scale attacks or attempts this year, including on a high-speed train in August when American travelers overpowered a heavily armed man.

    French authorities are particularly concerned about the threat from hundreds of French Islamic radicals who have traveled to Syria and returned home with skills to mount attacks.

    “The big question on everyone’s mind is: Were these attackers — if they turn out to be connected to one of the groups in Syria — were they homegrown terrorists or were they returning fighters?” said Brian Michael Jenkins, a terrorism expert and senior adviser to the president of the Washington-based RAND Corporation. “That will be a huge question.”

    “The big question on everyone’s mind is: Were these attackers — if they turn out to be connected to one of the groups in Syria — were they homegrown terrorists or were they returning fighters?”
    That is indeed going to be a big question, especially in the context of a growing Syrian refugee crisis that’s catalyzing a surge in support for the far-right across Europe. And while the identities are origins of the attackers has yet to be publicly released, early reports indicate that, not surprisingly, it was a mix of homegrown and foreign individuals:

    The Los Angeles Times
    Paris terror attacks were plotted by a small extremist cell in Brussels, investigators suspect

    By Richard A. Serrano, Henry Chu and Joe Mozingo
    November 14, 2015

    Friday night’s terror attacks in Paris apparently began with a small extremist cell in Brussels, Belgium, where French authorities believe that the attacks were planned out and the operation financed, according to two U.S. federal law enforcement officials who have been advised about the ongoing French probe.

    The U.S. sources, speaking confidentially because the investigation is just underway, stressed also that the attackers likely had a substantial understanding of French history culture and Paris in particular, and that it was “highly possible” some had lived in the French capital.

    That, the sources said, was evident in how they seamlessly moved about the vast Paris metropolis and set up coordinated attacks at six separate targets – from a stadium to a theater to a restaurant.

    French prosecutor Francois Molins said three teams of terrorists, carrying AK-47s and wearing explosive vests with the same detonators, appeared to have coordinated the attacks across a swath of central Paris that killed 129 people and injured 352.

    “We are determined to find out who were the attackers, who were the accomplices,” he said. “How they were financed.”

    One of the terrorists who took the hostages was a 29-year-old man who has been arrested eight times for “acts against the common good,” but had not been linked to terrorists, said Molins.

    A second Frenchman was stopped and questioned at the Belgian border. He had rented a black Volkswagen Polo driven by a man believed to be one of the gunmen who attacked concertgoers at the Bataclan, Molins said.

    Authorities were still looking for a black Seat believed to have been used during the attacks on several sidewalk cafes, he said.

    Authorities across Europe moved swiftly Saturday to identify possible accomplices to the seven attackers, with Belgian authorities announcing they had made several arrests.

    A spokeswoman for Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens told reporters that authorities had arrested “several suspects,” though it was not clear what connection, if any, they had to Friday’s attacks in Paris.

    Geens said the arrests came after a rental car with Belgian license plates was seen close to the Bataclan theater in Paris, the scene of some of the worst violence, on Friday night, the magazine De Standaard reported.

    U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed that several vehicles, particularly black sedans, have been identified and at least one traced back to Brussels. One was found laden with high-powered weapons, they said; another had been rented.

    The sources confirmed that one of the terrorists appeared to be a Syrian, based on his fingerprints and a Syrian passport found near his body. Several others, the sources said, are believed to have come from Iraq.

    Each of the terrorists who blew themselves up was wearing “vests or belts” heavy with detonators and metal fragments, such as “nails and ball-bearings,” the sources said. All of the suicide bombs appeared to have been built the same, with the same components. Other terrorists were armed primarily with high-powered Russian-made Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles.

    “The French police were aware of at least one of them,” said one of the sources, “and had been following him at times but did not think he was operational.” By that, the source meant that the local authorities did not believe him to be a potential terrorist. “The others we don’t think were on French police radar.”

    U.S. authorities believe the suicide blasts at the soccer stadium were meant to “send a statement” because the two teams – France and Germany – are Christian countries and because French President Hollande was attending the soccer match.

    “But the killing of hostages at the theater was a slaughter,” said one of the U.S. sources. “It was about a high kill number.”

    The U.S. sources said the multiple sites and soft, crowded targets indicate the signature of Al Qaeda rather than ISIS, and stressed that authorities still are trying to pin down which organization was behind the attacks. Though they said they are leaning heavily toward ISIS.

    “Who planned this? Who paid for this? That’s what we want,” said one source. “And there is a relationship to Brussels. One of the vehicles came from there.”

    The sources also said an arrest last month in Germany of an individual with a vehicle stocked with explosive devices and other weaponry also may have had a role in the early planning and could now be linked to the Paris attacks

    But if it is ISIS, the U.S. officials said, the attacks in Paris show a whole new widening of that terror group. “They’re moving into the West, and transferring guns and people. And this kind of an attack is sobering in its sophistication. One person, OK. But a larger group with simultaneous suicide bombs is a whole new level.”

    French authorities identified one of the dead terrorists as a Frenchman, about 30 years old, who had previously been tracked by authorities in connection with his Islamic radical activities, France Info radio reported.

    French President Francois Hollande has declared a state of emergency and a three-day period of mourning after the worst terrorist attacks in France since World War II.

    “Faced with terror, France must be strong, it must be great, and the state authorities must be firm. We will be,” he declared in a televised address to the nation Friday.

    Public demonstrations in Paris have been banned until Thursday, and French schools, which normally are in session on Saturday mornings, were closed until Monday.

    The extremist group Islamic State appeared to claim responsibility Saturday for the attacks, saying in a statement that “youth who divorced from the world and went to their enemy” had targeted “the hearts of the Crusaders” and unleashed “horror in the middle of their land.”

    It said the attacks were in retaliation for French airstrikes on Islamic State-controlled territory in the Middle East, and that France would remain at the “top of the list” of its targets.

    In Vienna, where delegates from across the Middle East and Europe were meeting to discuss a resolution to the long-running war in Syria, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Paris attacks strengthened their commitment to fight extremism.

    “What they do is stiffen our resolve — all of us — to fight back, to hold people accountable, and to stand up for rule of law,” Kerry said.

    He described the attacks as “a kind of medieval and modern fascism, at the same time, which has no regard for life, which seeks to destroy and create chaos and disorder and fear.”

    Lavrov said he fully agreed with Kerry.

    The identities of the alleged attackers were either not known or were not being released. Police said all seven assailants were dead.

    If the attackers turn out to be French-born, fears of more “homegrown” terrorism — already fanned by the Charlie Hebdo massacre, whose plotters were French — will likely increase.

    France’s Muslim community braced for a potential backlash. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the country saw a spike in acts of anti-Muslim aggression, such as vandalism of mosques. France is home to the highest proportion of Muslims — 7.5% — of any country in Western Europe.

    So it’s looks like fears of “homegrown” terrorism are likely to spike not just in France but across Europe in coming months. Which, of course, is exactly what groups like ISIS intend when they plan such attacks. Creating an ‘us vs them’ “clash of civilizations” that sows paranoia and discord between Europe’s Muslim populations and the rest of society isn’t just in the interest of Europe’s far-right. Goading the West into the kind of rage-induced response that ISIS can portray as a modern-day Crusade is one of the best recruitment tools the group has, as they admitted in their statements claiming responsibility for the attacks:

    The extremist group Islamic State appeared to claim responsibility Saturday for the attacks, saying in a statement that “youth who divorced from the world and went to their enemy” had targeted “the hearts of the Crusaders” and unleashed “horror in the middle of their land.”

    It said the attacks were in retaliation for French airstrikes on Islamic State-controlled territory in the Middle East, and that France would remain at the “top of the list” of its targets.

    And that’s part of why crafting a response to this attack is so tricky. Despite the claims that the attacks were in retaliation for the French airstrikes that began in September, ISIS’s leaders, Assuming they were involved in planning this attack, were obviously expecting that the results would be a dramatic escalation of France’s military involvement in Syria. There’s just no other response they could plausibly expect. And given the group’s reliance on the steady flow of young foreigners to keep the ISIS meat-grinder running, it’s not hard to imagine that a significant Western military escalation, one which could be portrayed as a “Crusade” by ISIS’s propaganda outlets, was exactly the goal.

    It’s all part of what makes ISIS’s such an unusual terrorist group. Unlike many groups that resort to terrorism but perhaps have at least a quasi-legitimate grievance that motivates their actions, even if their methods for airing that grievance are reprehensible, when it comes to ISIS, its non-terrorist day-to-day actions and ideology, like genocide and sex slavery, are so reprehensible that it’s hard to conceive of not responding with with overwhelming military action following something like the Paris attacks because it was already hard to conceive of not responding with military action even before the Paris attacks. Because ISIS has been consistently that awful. France, like virtually every other country, has a long history filled with plenty of positive and negative contributions to the world. National histories are like that. But in the few years that ISIS has existed as an entity, it’s hard to think of a single noble or positive act that can be attributed to the group.

    And yet, thanks to the support for ISIS from the governments of Turkey and the Gulf monarchies (who aren’t ideologically much better), combined with an ongoing black market oil and human-trafficking trade that has made it one of the wealthiest militant groups ever(wealth that doesn’t actually trickle down to the locals), ISIS remains in power and hold territory.

    How does one respond to a group that clearly benefits from an escalation of violence and it willing to escalate the violence in order to realized that escalated violence? The answer isn’t obvious. ISIS wants to radicalize young Muslims living in Europe and start a “clash of civilizations”. That’s clearly at least one of the goals here. And a massive military campaign in response to these attacks that ISIS could have easily predicted is the obvious means of achieving that goal. At the same time, an escalation of the existing bombing campaign against ISIS is almost certainly going to happen and who can blame the French for doing it at this point.

    So if an increased bombing from not just France but its allies too is highly likely at this point, some of the biggest questions right now is about non-military responses. And not just the obvious non-military response one like cutting off ISIS’s access to the oil markets and weapon supplies. What about the ideology that continues to attract young disaffected Muslims? There’s clearly a great deal of appeal to ISIS’s ideology for a deeply troubled subset of the Muslim youth, and yet countering that ideology isn’t easy since it would sort of entail countering the strict fundamentalist Wahhabism promoted by regimes like the Saudi monarchy as the only acceptable form of Islam.

    But while countering the promoting of ideology ISIS relies on isn’t readily attainable (since that would simultaneously entail countering the profound influence the top ultraconservative clerics in places like Saudi Arabia), that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of things Western nations can do to limit the appeal of not just ISIS but all Islamist ideologies. For instance, how about trying to find ways to make life in general suck less for young, sexually frustrated Muslim men. That’s it. Why might achieving that goal reduce the appeal of groups like ISIS? Well, as the article below points out, when you examine the young men that actually join these groups, a consistent pattern you find is deep psychological vulnerabilities and a sense of of isolation from society resulting from a strained relationship with a deeply religious parent who is both domineering and non-attentive, manifesting as a profound need for parental approval which is filled by seductive radical clerics:

    The Daily Beast

    Sexual Frustration Driving Kids to ISIS
    South Asian kids raised in the West are interested in sex and sports like everyone else. But immigrant parents who never adjusted are driving those kids into the arms of killers.

    Nico Hines
    06.15.15 5:04 AM ET

    LONDON—A generation of domineering South Asian dads are being blamed for exacerbating the epidemic of young sexually frustrated kids in the West skipping town to go and fight for the so-called Islamic State.

    After two years spent with dozens of convicted terrorists, repentant Islamists and a former fighter known as the Godfather of British Jihad, an Emmy award-winning documentary maker says there was a common theme running through almost everyone she interviewed: immigrant fathers who couldn’t deal with the more open sexuality of the West, and who took out their own frustration on their children by abusing them and repressing their sexual urges.

    “Nine times out of ten, look to the dad and you’re gonna find he did something; beat them,” Deeyah Khan told the Daily Beast. “I would blame the fathers absolutely.”

    Khan explores this subject deeply in her new film, Exposure: Jihad which is premiering on ITV in the U.K. Monday.

    Herself a child of immigrants from Pakistan and Afghanistan, her film explores a host of other factors that contribute to the radicalization of young men and women. But parents who struggled and failed to adapt to the Western world in which they were raising their children showed up time and again.

    Strict fathers, and sometimes mothers, often refuse to accept their sons’ fascination with girls, sports and the rest of the modern world—helping to create a situation where they felt isolated in their own homes just as they did as minorities in wider Western society. None of this forces young people into the arms of the jihadis, of course, but it helps to create an environment where radicalization can flourish.

    Hate preachers and online terror recruiters are adept at stepping into the void. “These people end up being surrogate dads. So many of the guys, some of whom didn’t want to be on camera, said the same thing. ‘God, they really cared; they would call to see if you got home OK. My Dad never did that,’ one of the guys said,” Khan explained.

    One of the former Islamists featured in the documentary is Alyas Karmani, now an imam in Bradford. He said charismatic radicals sucked him into the world of international jihad. “When someone for the first time starts to understand you, emotionally support you—put that arm around you show compassion and love for you—that’s unbelievably powerful and compelling,” he says in the documentary.

    One of the most obvious generational rifts between teenagers and their parents is sex. Young Muslims living in the West are caught in an invidious trap; their parents tell them sex before marriage is haram, forbidden, and they want a say in who they eventually marry. And yet they live in the same sexualized society as their non-Muslim school friends.

    “There’s a real sense of hate that you have, that I can’t do that,” Karmani says. “And that’s why I find a greater sense of sexual dysfunction sometimes in Muslim communities.”

    “You know, I was talking to my wife this morning, and I said: ‘This is all about sex, everything all comes back to sex,’ And she said, ‘Oh you can’t say that.’ But that’s it. These guys just want girls, that’s all they want.”

    Joining ISIS promises to release these young men from parental pressure, minority status and sexual frustration all at the same time. Karmani says misguided teenagers fell for idea that heading for Iraq and Syria would make them cool. “I’m there with my gun, which is more or less just a penis extension, out there,” he says. “Look at me, I’m a mujahid now… I’m powerful now, I’m sexy now, girls are going to look at me, and there’s girls who would wanna become my bride now.”

    Another British man, who was attracted to jihadism in the pre-ISIS era, told the documentary-makers that even back in the 1980s there was a seductive power of the jihadi warriors.

    Munir Zamir became an acolyte of Abu Muntasir, a British mujahid who went to fight first in Afghanistan, then Pakistan and Burma in the 1980s and ’90s.

    “This man was famous. Infamous,” Zamir says. “A 6-foot-7 man who can pick up 10 non-Muslims and toss them over a tank—I had to meet this Abu Muntasir.”

    “Dressed in black—all black with a black turban,” he continues. “I’d never seen anyone dressed like that in the U.K. Legendary father of jihad—I was in awe of that look. I thought to myself, this is what the warriors look like.”

    The imagery of brave and righteous jihadis was honed and better disseminated first by al-Qaeda and then the even more extreme ISIS, which upped the production values and took their message into the homes of anyone who was interested via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    While the Islamist propaganda has undoubtedly improved, Khan argues that Western society and immigrant families should be doing much more to stop South Asian or Muslim teenagers becoming vulnerable to their videos and social media messages.

    “They’re being failed by everybody—their family, their local community and us,” she said. “The fact that somebody is able to sell them death and make death look appealing to them and we’re not able to sell them life… That’s not just their fault that’s also a failure on our part.”

    “They’re being failed by everybody—their family, their local community and us…The fact that somebody is able to sell them death and make death look appealing to them and we’re not able to sell them life… That’s not just their fault that’s also a failure on our part.”

    Keep in mind that every population is going to contain at least some individuals that are susceptible to violent extremist ideologies, as the appeal of the far right across the non-Muslim communities in the West make abundantly clear. Similarly, there’s always going to be families where the kids and parents don’t quite connect and we can’t start blaming the spread of ISIS simply on parental issues. That would just be silly.

    But if there is indeed a pervasive pattern where the of young radicalized Muslims of Europe tend to come from situation where their only real sense of comradery and parental bonding comes from a militant cleric that’s trying to seduce them with the promise of religious glory, and women, well, that seems like a pretty obvious place to start in terms of countering the militant Islamist appeal. Especially given the reality that the primary source of Islamic radicalism, the Wahhabist clerics of the world, aren’t about to stop spreading it.

    Of course, giving a sense of community and an alternate path forward for young, isolated Muslim men is a lot easier said than done. Sure, ending the immoral and egregious austerity policies embraced by the EU that inevitably hits the poorer immigrant communities with already high rates of youth unemployment is an obvious option. But that’s clearly not enough and what Europe can do break that sense of isolation for young men caught between deeply fundamentalist cultures and the their Western host societies isn’t clear either. Although there is one very obvious solution: embrace the refugees who are fleeing the kinds of sociopaths that carried out the Paris attacks as fellow humans that could be awesome fellow friends and neighbors. Make those refugees your Muslim friends and neighbors who are not just welcomed in a society that rejects tribalism and sectarianism in all forms but celebrated as potentially the best allies the world has against fundamentalist Islam. If anyone knows first hand what happens when an al-Qaeda-like group takes over society and is free to help counter the fundamentalist mind-virus within Islam, it’s those refugees.

    So there are options for Western nations for combating ISIS in addition to the obvious option of bombing the hell out of ISIS, even if they aren’t particularly popular options at the moment. But those options are are there and while they aren’t remotely the kinds of short-term fixes people are looking for and more of a generational solution, they’re still urgent.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 14, 2015, 6:39 pm
  10. Here’s a helpful emergency response tip: If you come across a burning building with people inside, be sure bar all exit points. Doors, windows, anything that might let someone out. The fire could have been started by an arsonist, after all, and you wouldn’t want them escaping into the larger community because that would be a disaster. Feel free to apply this same principle of harm reduction to all sorts of emergency situations:

    U.S. Republicans seek to shut door on Syrian refugees after Paris

    By Scott Malone
    Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:46pm EST

    More than a dozen state governors refused on Monday to accept Syrian refugees after the Paris attacks, part of a mounting Republican backlash against the Obama administration’s plan to accept thousands more immigrants from the war-torn country.

    Leading Republican presidential candidates called on President Barack Obama to suspend the plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming year and some Republican lawmakers began moves in Congress to try to defund the policy.

    The State Department said the administration would stand by its plan, reiterating that the refugees would be subject to stringent security checks, and Obama said that the terrorism problem should not be equated with the refugee crisis.

    But Republican leaders said it was too risky to allow a further influx of refugees after Friday’s attacks by the Syria-based Islamic State group that killed 129 people.

    The Republican states rejecting further Syrian refugee settlements were South Carolina, Oklahoma, Idaho, Maine, Nebraska, Texas, Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Georgia and Illinois. The governors of Alabama and Michigan had said on Sunday they would no longer help settle Syrian refugees. One Democratic governor, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, joined them in rejecting Syrian refugees.

    Experts in immigration law said the governors likely had no legal standing to block the federal government from settling refugees admitted into the country, but noted that they could obstruct the plans by cutting funding to programs and creating an atmosphere of hostility.

    A Syrian passport found near the body of one of the attackers showed that its holder passed through Greece in October, raising concern that the attackers had entered Europe amid the wave of refugees fleeing that country’s four-year civil war.

    “Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees – any one of whom could be connected to terrorism – being resettled in Texas,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in an open letter to Obama on Monday. “Neither you nor any federal official can guarantee that Syrian refugees will not be part of any terroristic activity.”

    Refugee advocates argued that the governors and other Republicans are targeting those who are overwhelmingly victims rather than perpetrators of extremist violence.

    “These are victims of the same terror that we’re so horrified by,” said Melanie Nezer, vice president of policy and advocacy at Jewish nonprofit refugee service HIAS. “The impact on people is going to be tragic and the impact on our reputation as a global humanitarian leader is also going to be tragic.”


    Republican concerns were to some extent echoed in Canada, where some provincial and municipal leaders said a plan by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year does not allow for enough security checks.

    The United States admitted 1,682 Syrian refugees in the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, a sharp jump from the 105 admitted a year earlier, while Europe is struggling with an influx of hundreds of thousands. Texas, California and Michigan accepted the largest number of people fleeing the war.

    Secretary of State John Kerry in September said the United States would increase the number of refugees it takes in from all nations by 15,000 per year over the next two years, bringing the total to 100,000 a year by 2017.

    “The federal government has the power over immigration. If they admit Syrian refugees, they’re here,” said Deborah Anker, a professor of law at Harvard Law School who specializes in immigration issues. “People aren’t going to the (state) border. The federal government is going to bring them in.”

    Florida Governor Rick Scott said it was unclear if a governor had the right to block refugees from entering a state. Instead, he sent a letter to Congressional Republicans asking for their help in blocking Syrian refugees from being resettled in his state.

    “We are asking the U.S. Congress to take immediate and aggressive action to prevent President Obama and his administration from using any federal tax dollars to fund the relocation … without an extensive evaluation of the risk these individuals may pose to our national security,” Scott wrote.

    Republican lawmaker Brian Babin, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, circulated a letter to the Republican House of Representatives leadership requesting that Obama’s plan be defunded as part of an upcoming spending bill. By Monday, 14 members of the House, all Republicans, had signed the letter.

    Republican presidential candidates vowed on Monday to take a tougher approach toward Islamic State, with Donald Trump saying he would consider closing some mosques and Ben Carson saying that Congress should cut funding for all programs that bring people fleeing violence in Syria

    The State Department denied that admitted refugees, who are all extensively screened before being allowed into the country, present any threat and said it would seek to alleviate the governors’ concerns.

    “We take their concerns seriously,” spokesman Mark Toner said of the governors’ statements. “We disagree that these people, individuals frankly many of them the most vulnerable (in the region), represent any kind of real threat.”

    “Republican presidential candidates vowed on Monday to take a tougher approach toward Islamic State, with Donald Trump saying he would consider closing some mosques and Ben Carson saying that Congress should cut funding for all programs that bring people fleeing violence in Syria”
    It will be interesting to hear which “tougher approaches” the GOP candidates for president end up proposing. Hopefully it will involve not doing exactly what ISIS has explicitly said it wants:

    The Washington Post
    The Islamic State wants you to hate refugees

    By Adam Taylor
    November 16 at 12:46 PM

    As the Syrian refugee crisis mutated from a regional problem to a global one, security concerns have increasingly been cited as a justification for keeping borders closed and refusing to resettle migrants. This argument has gathered momentum in the wake of the attacks in Paris on Friday, after a Syrian passport with the name Ahmad al-Mohammad, a 25-year-old born in Idlib province, was found near the body of a suicide bomber. French authorities say fingerprints from the suicide bomber match those of someone who passed through Greece in early October.

    If one of the Paris attackers really did make his way from the Middle East, through Greece, and into Western Europe, it will raise big questions on the continent about the tens of thousands of other refugees traveling along this route. In the United States, 13 governors had said as of mid-afternoon Monday that they will not allow Syrian refugees to be resettled in their states.

    It is undeniable that the huge numbers of refugees and migrants reaching Europe do represent some kind of security threat — anything involving that many people arriving in such chaotic situations would. However, it is not only deeply unfair to paint all of those arriving with the same brush — it is also self-defeating.

    All of the other suspects in the Paris attacks appear to have been European citizens. In fact, large numbers of citizens from France, Britain and other Western nations have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight, suggesting that the problem is not so much those coming from over there but those who are already here. Nor are these people necessarily the ones with familial links to the Islamic world: There have been a number of European converts to Islam who have traveled to join the Islamic State, and vast numbers of European Muslims have repeatedly condemned the actions of the Islamic State.

    Perhaps one of the most persuasive arguments against equating refugees with terrorists is simple: It’s exactly what the Islamic State wants.

    The very same refugees entering Europe are often the very same civilians who face the indiscriminate violence and cruel injustice in lands controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (though, it should be noted, many in Syria are also threatened by the brutal actions of the Syrian government). Globally, studies have shown that Muslims tend to make up the largest proportion of terror victims, with countries such as Syria and Iraq registering the highest toll.

    If Muslim refugees come to Europe and are welcomed, it deeply undercuts the Islamic State’s legitimacy. Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has helpfully catalogued some of the Islamic State’s messages on the refugees pouring into Europe from the Middle East. The messages give the impression of deep discomfort and even jealousy that the Muslim population the Islamic State so covets for its self-proclaimed “caliphate” would rather live in “infidel” Western lands.

    “Would You Exchange What Is Better For What Is Less?” is the title of one video message. It sounds more than a little like a note from a jilted ex.

    Writing in The Post’s opinion pages this weekend, counterterrorism analyst Harleen Gambhir said the Islamic State had deliberately “set a trap” for Europe with the Paris attacks:

    The strategy is explicit. The Islamic State explained after the January attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine that such attacks “compel the Crusaders to actively destroy the grayzone themselves. … Muslims in the West will quickly find themselves between one of two choices, they either apostatize … or they [emigrate] to the Islamic State and thereby escape persecution from the Crusader governments and citizens.” The group calculates that a small number of attackers can profoundly shift the way that European society views its 44 million Muslim members and, as a result, the way European Muslims view themselves. Through this provocation, it seeks to set conditions for an apocalyptic war with the West.

    Some have suggested that the Islamic State deliberately sent someone along this route to help sow discord. Given the availability of fake Syrian passports in Turkey and other places, it is quite reasonable to presume that the passport found near the body of one of the Paris bombers was planted there to further inflame a tense Europe — an idea strengthened by reports that a different man was found traveling with the same passport in Serbia.

    What seems almost certain is that the Islamic State wants you to equate refugees with terrorists. In turn, it wants refugees to equate the West with prejudice against Muslims and foreigners.

    The reality is that most of these refugees are already receiving a pretty rough welcome in the West. Syrian refugees who arrive in the United States face remarkable scrutiny from multiple government agencies, including the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Defense Department. The screening process can take years, leaving legitimate refugees in limbo. It’s worth remembering that making that welcome worse may be exactly what the Islamic State wants.

    The strategy is explicit. The Islamic State explained after the January attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine that such attacks “compel the Crusaders to actively destroy the grayzone themselves. … Muslims in the West will quickly find themselves between one of two choices, they either apostatize … or they [emigrate] to the Islamic State and thereby escape persecution from the Crusader governments and citizens.” The group calculates that a small number of attackers can profoundly shift the way that European society views its 44 million Muslim members and, as a result, the way European Muslims view themselves. Through this provocation, it seeks to set conditions for an apocalyptic war with the West.”
    For a group that bans music, ISIS sure is adept at playing reactionaries like a fiddle.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 16, 2015, 3:56 pm
  11. @Pterrafractyl–

    Not to blow my own horn, but FTR #830 analyzes the Charlie Hebdo attacks only too accurately.

    The ISIS strategy articulates in the most brutally precise strategy exactly what I said in the broadcast to which you attached this comment.

    It will be MORE than a little interesting to see if there is an attack in the U.S.

    IF there is such an attack, that will probably give the GOP some ammo to attack Obama for being “weak.”

    Stay tuned!



    Posted by Dave Emory | November 16, 2015, 8:35 pm
  12. @Dave: Part of what’s going to make the prospect of a terrorist attack in the US over the next year such an ominous possibility is that, as the article below points out, the the GOP’s primary voters are likely to reward candidates for taking positions on issues like the Syrian refugee crisis that may not actually play out very were in the general election. So we should probably expect more and more of the GOP candidates to mimic Ted Cruz’s proposal to establish a religious test for refugees and only accept non-Muslims fleeing for their lives because in today’s political environment, setting up religious litmus tests for refugees is good politics…at least in the GOP primaries:

    The Washington Post
    The Fix

    You might not like Republicans calling for a ban on refugees. But it’s smart politics.

    By Chris Cillizza
    November 17, 2015 at 9:50 AM

    Over the past 24 hours, almost half of the nation’s governors — all but one of them Republicans — have said they plan to refuse to allow Syrian immigrants into their states in the wake of the Paris attacks carried out by the Islamic State (no matter that they can’t really do that). Ted Cruz, a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has announced plans to introduce legislation in the Senate that would bar all Muslim Syrian refugees from entering America.

    That stance has been greeted with widespread ridicule and disgust by Democrats who insist that keeping people out of the U.S. is anathema to the founding principles of the country. “That’s shameful,” President Obama said in a speech addressing the Paris attacks on Monday. “That’s not American. It’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

    Think what you will, but one thing is clear: The political upside for Republican politicians pushing an immigration ban on Syrians and/or Muslims as a broader response to the threat posed by the Islamic State sure looks like a political winner.

    The Pew Research Center did an in-depth poll looking into Americans’ view on Islamic extremism in the the fall of 2014 — and its findings suggest that politicians like Cruz have virtually nothing to lose in this fight over how best to respond to ISIS’s latest act of violence.

    More than 7 in 10 Republican voters said they were “very concerned” about the rise of Islamic extremism in the United States. That’s 25 percentage points higher than Democrats (46 percent) who said the same and 21 percentage points higher than independents who expressed great concern about Islamic extremism in America.

    It’s safe to say that in the intervening year — particularly in the wake of the Paris attacks that have been plastered all over every TV screen and newspaper homepage for the last 96 hours straight — Republican voters’ views on national security broadly and the Islamic State in particular have not waned and are very likely to have grown more strident.

    Given that, the positions of these Republicans governors, as well as Cruz and several other people running for president, amount to a political layup. Calling for a ban on Muslim refugees from Syria hits two sweet spots: 1) The concerns among the Republican electorate about the threat posed by Islamic extremists and 2) The unhappiness among GOPers for how Obama has handled terrorism broadly.

    The message these Republicans are sending is simple: Obama has not acted. We will.

    “A big part of the reason we are not effectively combating radical Islamic terrorism indeed as the president readily acknowledged he has no strategy to do so, is because he will not acknowledge the enemy we are fighting,” Cruz told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday. “And so President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s proposal to bring tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees to America is nothing short of lunacy.”

    Like it or not, that is a message virtually certain to win Cruz voters — or at least nodding heads — within the Republican primary electorate he is trying to convince to be for him. The politics of such messaging in a general election is far more dicey. It open up Cruz as well as the Republican party as a whole to allegations of xenophobia not to mention potentially furthering the idea that the GOP remains unfriendly to immigrants of all sorts — a belief that is already hugely problematic for Republicans with the broader electorate.

    That, of course, is a Republican worry for another day. For now, expect more rhetoric of the sort coming from Cruz and his brethren, not less.

    “Like it or not, that is a message virtually certain to win Cruz voters — or at least nodding heads — within the Republican primary electorate he is trying to convince to be for him. The politics of such messaging in a general election is far more dicey. It open up Cruz as well as the Republican party as a whole to allegations of xenophobia not to mention potentially furthering the idea that the GOP remains unfriendly to immigrants of all sorts — a belief that is already hugely problematic for Republicans with the broader electorate.”
    Part of what makes the political calculus that justifies calls for religious litmus tests so alarming is that Ted Cruz’s message isn’t just going to resonate with the GOP’s primary voters. It’s going to resonate with ISIS too. If, for some strange reason ISIS wasn’t favoring a GOP president before, they sure will now! Just imagine what President Ted Cruz would do for the popularity of not just ISIS but Islamist groups everywhere after he basically frame any and all anti-Islamist terror efforts as some sort of anti-Muslim crusade. The “I told you so”‘s from militant extremists across the world would be deafening.

    And as you point out, it’s just going to take a handful of successful attacks to sway the US electorate, so the temptation to ISIS for successfully attacking the US over the next year is going to be potentially higher than ever. If they do it, and the US electorate reacts predictably, hello President Ted Cruz and Holy War!

    It all raises a grimly fascinating question: Who does ISIS prefer in the GOP primary? Ted Cruz has a very obvious appeal. But he does have competition. For example, John Kasich just proposed creating a government agency dedicated to promoting Judeo-Christian values around the world and Chris Christie wouldn’t even allow 5 year old Syrian orphans into the US if we was president. And then, of course, there’s The Donald, who not only pledged to send back any Syrian refugees that are already here should he get elected, but he also has psychic powers and can just ‘feel’ when terrorism is coming (he actually said this).

    So ISIS has a variety of options for their preferred future US President/geopolitical foil. And thanks to the current competition among those candidates to out-‘anti-Muslim’ each other that isn’t going to end any time soon (or at all), it’s hard to imagine ISIS viewing any of them becoming president as anything other than a big step towards their much desired War of Civilization.

    And as you say, if there is such an attack, it will probably give the GOP quite a bit of political ammo. It’s all a reminder that the GOP Clown Car will probably become less and less of a laughing matter in a growing number of ways the closer we get to November 2016 election.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 17, 2015, 7:55 pm
  13. If there’s one thing that’s inevitable in any contemporary GOP primary, it’s that new lows won’t just inevitably be reached, but repeatedly reached. Here’s the latest iteration of the inevitable:

    Trump: U.S. May Have to Do ‘Unthinkable’ in Light of Paris Attacks

    Nov. 19, 2015

    Donald Trump said that U.S. may need to take extreme measures to keep the country safe after Friday’s Paris attacks, including possibly requiring Muslims to have national ID cards or be registered in a database.

    In an interview with Yahoo News, Trump was asked about how he would want to increase surveillance on American Muslims.

    “We’re going to have to do things that we never did before,” he said. “And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule. And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”

    Yahoo asked specifically if Trump would require registering Muslims in a database or giving them identification cards. The business mogul dodged, but did not rule them out.

    “We’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely,” he responded. “We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.”

    Trump said earlier in the week that he would consider shutting down mosques that support extremism.

    “And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule. And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”
    Well, yes, Muslim ID cards would indeed be quite unthinkable. And, fortunately, following a backlash to Trump’s comments that even included his fellow GOP candidates, it turns out that setting up a special Muslim database and issuing religious ID cards is still largely unthinkable. So now we have Donald Trump walking back his remarks and asserting that he wasn’t referring to a Muslim database at all. Whether or not we’re looking at a real pull back from our new new low or just a political-decency dead cat bounce, remains to be seen:

    Chicago Tribune
    Donald Trump tries to pull back from support for Muslim database

    By Tribune Wire Reports
    November 21, 2015, 2:04 PM | Washington

    Donald Trump on Saturday tried to back away from his support for a government database to track Muslims in the United States, an idea that drew sharp rebukes from his Republican presidential rivals and disbelief from legal experts.

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called the prospect of a registry “abhorrent.” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said the idea was “unnecessary” and not something Americans would support. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has largely avoided criticizing Trump throughout the 2016 campaign, said, “I’m not a fan of government registries of American citizens.”

    “The First Amendment protects religious liberty, and I’ve spent the past several decades defending the religious liberty of every American,” Cruz told reporters in Sioux City, Iowa.

    The first reference to a database came in a Trump interview with Yahoo News published Thursday. When asked about requiring Muslims to register in a database or carry a form of special identification noting their religion, Trump said, “We’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely.”

    Trump was pressed on the idea of a registry by an NBC News reporter Thursday evening while the candidate campaigned in Iowa. Asked if there should be a database system for tracking Muslims in the United States, Trump said, “There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases.” The reporter asked if that was something Trump would put in place as president. Trump replied: “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.”

    Trump also told the reporter that Muslims would “have to be” registered and said that the registration process could occur at “different places.”

    In an interview on Fox News Channel on Friday evening, Trump tried to clarify his position. “I want a watch list for the Syrian refugees that (President Barack) Obama’s going to let in if we don’t stop him as Republicans,” he said.

    He said he had trouble hearing the NBC reporter’s questions. He was not asked specifically if he disavowed a general registry for Muslims living in the country, and he did not condemn the idea on his own.

    “I want to have watch lists. I want to have surveillance. I mean, we’re not a bunch of babies,” he said.

    He once again addressed the issue during a rally in Birmingham, Alabama, Saturday afternoon, telling a crowd in a rambling speech that reports on his previous statements were inaccurate.

    “I do want surveillance. I will absolutely take database on the people coming in from Syria if we can’t stop it, but we’re going to,” he told the crowd.

    Trump also voiced support for additional surveillance, both of arriving refugees and certain mosques.

    “So here’s the story just to set it clear: I want surveillance of these people. I want surveillance if we have to and I don’t care,” said Trump. “I want surveillance of certain mosques, OK. If that’s OK? I want surveillance. And you know what? We’ve had it before and we’ll have it again.”

    Trump has also voiced support for closing certain mosques as a way to contain the terrorist threat in the U.S.

    The House passed legislation this past week essentially barring Syrian and Iraqi refugees from the United States. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has slotted the bill for possible Senate consideration, though it’s unclear whether the chamber could get enough votes to override a threatened veto by President Barack Obama.

    The Republican candidates’ unified criticism of Trump was striking.

    His rivals have vacillated in how they have handled other inflammatory comments from Trump, apparently wary of alienating his supporters while increasingly concerned that he has held his grip on the race deep into the fall.

    Civil liberties experts said a database for Muslims would be unconstitutional on several counts. The libertarian Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro said the idea violates basic privacy and liberty rights.

    Marci Hamilton, a Yeshiva University legal expert on religious liberty, said requiring Muslims to register appears to be a clear violation of the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom.

    “What the First Amendment does and what it should do is drive the government to use neutral criteria,” Hamilton said. “You can use neutral criteria to identify terrorists. What it can’t do is engage in one-religion bashing. That won’t fly in any court.”

    “I do want surveillance. I will absolutely take database on the people coming in from Syria if we can’t stop it, but we’re going to”.

    So the proposed database for all Muslims in the US has been scaled back to just a database of Syrian refugees which, of course, would exist anyways since they all have to go through an extensive vetting process which would obviously involve a database of ALL the refugees’ names, regardless of religious affiliation. Again, this could just be a political-decency dead cat bounce which new lows rapidly on the way in keeping with the tenor of the GOP primary thus far, but who knows, maybe we’ve seen the last of the Muslim database idea for the current campaign season. We can always dream!

    Either way, let’s hope this whole notion of declaring all Muslims potential terrorist isn’t simply refuted but actually used to highlight a key tactic that could be used to undermine the ideas underpinning ISIS’s appeal to disaffected youths that is largely ignored by the global community. Putting aside militant Jihadist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda that obviously need to be countered in every way possible, there is actually one group of Muslims that really needs to be singled out by the global community and asked to change their ways. And fortunately it’s a very tiny group. And a powerful one: the Saudi royal family:

    The Guardian
    Saudi Arabia is right to be anxious over its ideological links with Isis

    Brian Whitaker
    The Saudi authorities have condemned Islamic State, but they fear the destabilising effects of any detailed examination of their shared principles

    Tuesday 6 January 2015 08.16 EST

    In a pre-dawn raid on Monday, militants attacked a Saudi border post from the Iraqi side of the frontier. The resulting clash left three soldiers and four militants dead, according to the Saudi government news agency.

    It later emerged that one of the dead soldiers was no ordinary border guard but the commander of Saudi Arabia’s northern border forces, Brigadier General Awdah al-Balawi. This suggests that the attack, far from being random or opportunistic, had been carefully targeted and perhaps based on inside information regarding the general’s whereabouts.

    The attack has been widely attributed to Islamic State, with some reports saying the rebel group has now claimed responsibility for it. This might be viewed simply as a reprisal for Saudi participation in the US-led bombing campaign against Isis, but Isis has also been seeking to extend the current conflict in Syria and Iraq into Saudi territory.

    There is no doubt that Isis has both sympathisers and active supporters inside the kingdom – it claimed responsibility for shooting a Danish citizen in Riyadh last November, for example – but whether it will be able to establish a military foothold is another question. Isis tends to flourish militarily in places where central government is weak, but that is not the case in Saudi Arabia.

    In military terms, the Saudi security apparatus is probably capable of suppressing Isis on its own territory, just as it did with al-Qaeda a decade or so ago, but it is in no position to confront Isis at the ideological level. The problem here is that Isis and the Saudis’ Islamic kingdom are ideologically similar, so attempts to challenge Isis on ideological grounds risk undermining the Saudi state too. As Heba Saleh and Simeon Kerr noted in the Financial Times last September:

    “Some of the features of Isis ideology, such as its hatred of Shia Muslims and application of strict punishments such as limb amputations, are shared with the purist Salafi thought that defines Saudi Wahhabism. Isis has explicitly referenced early Wahhabi teachers, such as Mohammed ibn Abdulwahhab, to justify its destruction of Shia shrines and Christian churches as it cuts a swath through Iraq and Syria. Thousands of Saudi nationals have been recruited to its ranks.
    “Yet, in contrast to the tacit official encouragement of more liberal voices after 9/11, any debate within Saudi Arabia over the role of its official creed in fostering the group’s extremism has been timid and largely confined to social media …
    “The Saudi authorities have been quick to condemn Isis. But, according to observers, they are anxious to avoid a potentially destabilising examination of common ideological links between the extremist group and the Saudi religious school whose support underpins the legitimacy of the royal family.”

    The underlying issue, therefore, is the rival claims of king and would-be caliph. In the words of two Saudi government supporters: “To restore the ‘caliphate’, [Isis] would ultimately need to implant itself at the epicentre of Islamic life, the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina. Therefore, [Isis’s] road to the caliphate runs through the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

    So far, Saudi efforts to confront Isis ideologically have mainly taken the form of denunciations from tame clerics – figures who have no prospect of influencing Isis supporters and sympathisers – but it is difficult to see what else they might do without calling their own state system into question.

    The king and his princes have dug a hole for themselves by harnessing religion in the pursuit of power. Religious credentials bolstered their claim to legitimacy and helped them assert their authority. For a long time, those credentials served them well, but now they are becoming a liability and it may be too late to unfasten the harness.

    “The king and his princes have dug a hole for themselves by harnessing religion in the pursuit of power. Religious credentials bolstered their claim to legitimacy and helped them assert their authority. For a long time, those credentials served them well, but now they are becoming a liability and it may be too late to unfasten the harness.”
    Harnessing religion in pursuit of power is pretty much always an awful idea. But as history has shown over and over, it’s quite effective too. But in the case of the Saudi royal family, that power includes who rules over Mecca and sit on the largest oil reserves in the world, that domestic political and financial power gets translated into a profound theocratic influence on how Islam is practices and taught around the globe. And it’s a little hard to get the globe to rally around the idea that ISIS is completely insane when one of the most powerful clans are the planet has spent decades and billions of dollars aggressively promoting ideas that are only somewhat less fanatical.

    At the same time, it’s a little hard to take seriously the idea that all Wahhabist are potential terrorists since people have been living under zany authoritarian ideologies and theologies (that they were mostly just born into) since the dawn of civilization, and it’s pretty obvious that the vast vast majority of any group of people just want to live their lives in peace regardless of what they’re born into. That said, the ideas embedded in Wahhabism and their aggressive promotion by not just the Saudi royal family but all the Gulf monarchies as the only acceptable form of Islam have clearly played a major role in the rise of group of ISIS and its long string of al Qaeda-like predecessors.

    It’s pretty obvious that the most conservative sects of Sunni Islam are long overdue for a period of reform and modernization that the royal clans won’t allow to happen. Feat of losing a theologically-backed grip on power is a pretty powerful motivator for letting nothing change. So, barring just waiting for these sclerotic regimes to collapse (while hoping that an ISIS-like group doesn’t replace them), how can the rest of the world help convince the royals to allow and even catalyze that period of reform? That’s unclear, although it might help to recall that the Saudi royals, in particular, are in store for a number of major reforms that are going to threaten their grip on power whether or not there’s a theological renaissance, because the Saudi kingdom isn’t just reliant on the theological backing of Wahhabist clerics to maintain its claim to legitimacy. It’s also reliant on oil. And unlike religious fervor, the Saudi’s supply of cheap oil isn’t endless, and even if it was, we still need to all stop using it:

    Financial Times
    Kingdom built on oil foresees fossil fuel phase-out this century

    Pilita Clark in Paris
    May 21, 2015 7:44 pm

    Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, could phase out the use of fossil fuels by the middle of this century, Ali al-Naimi, the kingdom’s oil minister, said on Thursday.

    The statement represents a stunning admission by a nation whose wealth, power and outsize influence in the world are predicated on its vast reserves of crude oil.

    Mr Naimi, whose comments on oil supply routinely move markets, told a conference in Paris on business and climate change: “In Saudi Arabia, we recognise that eventually, one of these days, we are not going to need fossil fuels. I don’t know when, in 2040, 2050 or thereafter.”

    For that reason, he said, the kingdom planned to become a “global power in solar and wind energy” and could start exporting electricity instead of fossil fuels in coming years.

    Many in the energy industry would find his target of a 2040 phase-out too ambitious. Saudi Arabia is the largest consumer of petroleum in the Middle East, and more than 25 per cent of its total crude production — more than 10m barrels a day — is used domestically.

    A 2012 Citigroup report said that if Saudi oil demand continued to grow at current rates, the country could be a net oil importer by 2030.

    But while acknowledging that Saudi Arabia would one day stop using oil, gas and coal, Mr Naimi said calls to leave the bulk of the world’s known fossil fuels in the ground to avoid risky levels of climate change needed to be put “in the back of our heads for a while”.

    “Can you afford that today?” he asked other conference speakers, including British economist, Nick Stern, author of a 2006 UK government report on the economics of climate change. “It may be a great objective but it is going to take a long time.”

    With more than 1bn people globally still lacking access to electricity, there would be strong demand for fossil fuels for years to come, he said, adding that more work was needed to find ways to burn oil, coal and gas without releasing warming carbon dioxide.

    Saudi Arabia, like other Gulf states that burn a lot of oil domestically, has long said it plans to use more renewable power.

    Officials in the kingdom declared three years ago they had plans to build so many solar plants they would be able to export solar electricity. But the recent fall in oil prices has increased doubts about the fate of such schemes.

    Mr Naimi said he did not think lower crude prices would make solar power uneconomic. “I believe solar will be even more economic than fossil fuels,” he said.

    The minister’s comments come as Paris prepares to host UN talks in December where nearly 200 countries are due to agree a global climate pact.

    Ahead of that meeting, the leaders of Germany and France have called for an end to carbon emissions this century.

    World leaders have already agreed in previous UN talks to curb emissions enough to avoid global temperatures warming more than two degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial times.

    But Mr Stern said the action countries had pledged in the lead-up to the Paris meeting so far would not be enough to put the world on a path to meeting the two degree target. It was therefore crucial for any agreement signed in Paris to include measures that required countries to ramp up their climate actions in future, he said.

    Yes, the Saudi government is reading the wall about its own ability to export oil which it seems to accept:

    A 2012 Citigroup report said that if Saudi oil demand continued to grow at current rates, the country could be a net oil importer by 2030.

    but also the writing on the wall over the world’s urgent need to cut back on fossil fuels, which it doesn’t seem to find so acceptable:

    But while acknowledging that Saudi Arabia would one day stop using oil, gas and coal, Mr Naimi said calls to leave the bulk of the world’s known fossil fuels in the ground to avoid risky levels of climate change needed to be put “in the back of our heads for a while”.”

    Whether or not the world kicks its oil addiction, earth shattering changes to how the Saudi regime finances itself are probably on the way within the next quarter century. And it’s pretty clear that those earth shattering changes just might include the overthrow of the Saudi regime if that previously endless supply of oil money dries up (not to mention its water supplies). Don’t forget that the unemployment rate for ages 16-29 is almost 30 percent and two thirds of its population is under 30 and a quarter of the population lies below the poverty line. And the IMF released a report last month on Saudi Arabia’s finances: The country could go bankrupt by 2020. In other words, the Saudi regime is a ticking time bomb. And it knows it.

    So how about, as a counter-proposal to Donald Trump’s proposal to demand that all Muslims in the US register themselves for a database, we see the global community do the opposite and make one tiny, but very powerful and influential, group of Muslims a free offer that could end up helping exactly the Muslims Donald Trump wants to vilify: If the Saudi royals and other Gulf monarchies promote a period of Sunni Islamic renaissance that explicitly involve of rapid modernization of Wahhabism and a transition towards democracy and the kinds of other vital social reforms, the West will commit itself during this long transition period to economically assist a regime that is otherwise doomed. And yes, democratic rule would potentially threaten the royal family’s grip on power. But it’s not like a democracies won’t vote for insanely rich guys.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 21, 2015, 6:54 pm
  14. http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/deep-concern-over-return-of-anti-muslim-pegida-protests-a-1057645.html

    This is a long article and one may read it and become concerned of a potentially fascist polictical shift in Germany. The key excerpt is at the end:

    “In Bavaria, officials at the state chapter of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which monitors extremist activity, are speaking of a “massive verbal escalation” on the part of the anti-Muslim scene. The agency found it of particular concern that that the right-wing extremists had clearly begun reaching previously untainted people with their “campaigns of hate.” This group, too, could become a future source of “xenophobia-inspired attacks,” they warn. The closing of ranks between right-wing extremist parties and German citizens irate over the refugee influx is a phenomenon that is worrying officials at virtually every domestic intelligence agency in the country. Now officials at the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution are hoping to find ways to track down ringleaders of the NPD and other neo-Nazi parties like Die Rechte (“the Right”) and The Third Way and to find ways to unsettle the scene.”

    “Something is heading our way,” says one high-ranking member of German domestic intelligence. “We need to try and stop it.”

    Posted by Der Spiegel | November 29, 2015, 12:43 pm
  15. It’s worth noting that an arms dealer who specialized in buying and then modifying starter guns that shoot blanks and selling them on the Darknet probably sold the Paris attacks four of the assault rifles used in the attacks:

    German arms dealer ‘probed over possible link to Paris attacks’

    November 27, 2015 11:42 AM

    Berlin (AFP) – German prosecutors said Friday they were investigating whether an illegal arms dealer had sold four assault rifles to a person in the French capital and whether there were “possible links to the attacks in Paris”.

    The 24-year-old German national from the southwestern town Magstadt was arrested Tuesday on charges of having converted starter guns which shoot blanks into deadly firearms and illegally selling them online.

    Police had found several handguns during a search of his home, said prosecutors in the nearby city of Stuttgart.

    “Investigations so far suggest that the accused could have sold four assault rifles to a buyer in Paris in November,” said the prosecutors’ statement.

    Earlier Friday, the mass-circulation Bild daily reported that the arms dealer, whom it identified as Sascha W., had sold two AK47s and two Zastava M70s on November 7 to an Arab customer in Paris.

    “French investigators believe that the weapons were allegedly used in the attacks in Paris,” said Bild.

    Bild said the suspect was accused of having hawked the weapons on the Darknet — a hidden network used for both legal and illicit ends — using the name “DW Guns”.

    Four emails on his smartphone had shown that he sold “four Kalashnikov assault rifles to an Arab in Paris”, added the newspaper.

    The prosecutor’s office said the man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of converting starter guns into deadly weapons and selling them on the Darknet.

    “He is believed to have built the parts for this himself,” the spokesman said, adding that only pistols had been found.

    “Four emails on his smartphone had shown that he sold “four Kalashnikov assault rifles to an Arab in Paris”, added the newspaper.”
    That’s sure sounds like investigators found their man. But, of course, there were more than four rifles used in that attack. So it’s also worth noting that the plotters probably didn’t need the Darknet to acquire the rest of their weapons.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 2, 2015, 7:08 pm
  16. President Obama gave his Oval Office address tonight following the attacks by an apparently ISIS-inspired San Bernardino couple to soothe the perpetually freaked out American public over growing anxiety over why not just ISIS hasn’t been magically defeated yet via some sort of specially ISIS-version of “The War on Terror” (and that doesn’t involve a massive ground-invasion and long-term occupation of Syria since the public doesn’t want that either).

    During the address, President Obama use the analogy for the conflict between US and groups like al Qaeda and ISIS that’s worth examining: The conflict between groups with ISIS-like ambitions and the US is like “a cancer that has no immediate cure”.

    Beyond the obvious comparison of cancer to the kinds of virulent ideas (memetic oncoviruses) that enable groups like ISIS to recruit the Islamist equivalent of the Joker’s streetgang and grow the tumor, it’s a useful analogy in ways that may not seem apparent at first. If you think about it, many of the causes of cancer (chronic stress, poverty, pollution, etc) are quite often catalyst for the kind of lunacy and despair that drives extremism and allows a group like ISIS or al Qaeda to thrive. Cancer is a diverse disease, and while some tumors can aggressively grow on their own soon after becoming a tumor, other tumors need a lot of “help”, in terms of chronic stress, metabolic disruptions, carcinogens, and other biochemical insults. And a tumor like ISIS isn’t going to pop out of the blue and start growing. It’s too messed up. The ISIS tumor needs a REALLY messed up body to grow and thrive. It needs help. Help that goes far beyond oil, arms and new fighters. People aren’t normally suicidal and that’s why the ISIS tumor of militant irrationalism and fundamentalism needs pervasive conflict and despair. And boy has that tumor received the help it needs!

    But while it’s easy to identify many of the environmental factors that are helping to drive the growth of the ISIS tumor, there’s still another basic problem that that these easy-to-identify problems are often intractable. And that intractable nature of, for instance, the civil war in Syria or hyper sectarian polarization of Iraq that’s, paradoxically, going to be critical to keep in mind when crafting a therapeutic response to the ISIS tumor. Why is it paradoxical? Well, because intractable problems tend to be despair inducing, and that’s exactly what’s growing the tumor. And yet it’s still vital we recognize the intractable nature of the problem because, as Josh Marshall points out below, there’s another analogy that works to describe the nature difficulty in crafting a response to something like ISIS: Intractable problems are intractable because they’re paradoxical too. Effective solutions to paradoxes are extremely hard to come by and the obvious solutions tend to aggravate the problem. It’s like the Chinese finger trap of reactionary despair:

    TPM Editor’s Blog

    The Conundrum

    By Josh Marshall
    Published December 5, 2015, 11:55 PM EST

    As you likely are too, I’m watching conversations unfold among friends on Facebook and in real life about the terrorist attack in San Bernardino and what the United States should be doing in response. Depending on your point of view, the argument is framed as one between American values and bigotry or political correctness and getting tough on radical Islam. Admittedly, these are extreme formulations, in each case using one side’s caricature of the other. But all of this ignores the central conundrum we face when we think about counter-terrorism, especially ones of the lone wolf variety or even more organized ones like the recent massacre in Paris.

    The kinds of surveillance and scrutiny which inevitably fall on suspect populations as part of a heightened counter-terrorism posture are exactly the kinds of strictures which over time are likely to create the kind of social isolation and alienation which seems, from the evidence we have from Europe, to create a breeding ground for radicalization. So getting the balance right is very difficult. And this is entirely apart from the very legitimate and pressing discussion about what policies are American values and our constitution will or should allow. Throw all of that out the window and you’ve still got a very complex balancing act on your hands.

    Let’s take the case of Western Europe. Over a couple decades and particularly since 9/11 we’ve had abundant evidence that Muslims in Europe, and particularly Muslims whose ancestry is in Muslim majority countries in the Middles East, North Africa and South Asia appear to be substantially more prone to radicalization and participation is mass casualty terror attacks than immigrants and descendants of immigrants from those countries now living in the United States. We have lots of evidence for this both in journalistic and academic studies. And we have lots of evidence in a volume of terrorist attacks. The 9/11 attacks stand alone in terms of death count. But the Paris attacks, ghastly as they were, come after London, Madrid, Charlie Hebdo, various individual attacks, assassinations, one-off attacks on Jews in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries in Western Europe. Virtually everyone who has studied the matter concludes that it is this social isolation that is at the root of the greater propensity toward radicalization and willingness, albeit for a tiny subsection of the population, to commit acts of violence.

    Now, this isn’t only a matter of prejudice or Islamophobia. And it’s certainly not just a response to counter-terrorism surveillance since the phenomena long predates all the post-2001 measures. One key issue is that Western European countries simply have much less historical experience with mass immigration or the mix of ethnic diversity and assimilation that it brings with it and requires. Another too little discussed issue is that the great majority of these immigrants in France and the United Kingdom are immigrants from or descendants of immigrants from countries which France and the UK once ruled as colonies. In the case of France, remember that many of the assailants in recent terror attacks are the descendants of Algerian immigrants. And Algeria was for decades not a colony, at least technically speaking, but an integral part of the French Republic – Oran was just as much part of France as Marseilles, but with the vast majority of Muslims lacking full civil and political rights. That is a whole other issue. And it’s beyond the scope of this post to address. But I think it must play some role in the way Middle Eastern and North African immigrants in France for instance remain a people apart in a way that seems profoundly different from in the United States.

    What does it all mean?

    It means that one of our key strategic defenses against the general conflagration of the Middle East and Muslim South Asia spilling over onto the mainland United States is and has been the relatively high level of integration of American Muslims. Talk to any counterterrorism expert in law enforcement, the US intelligence community or academics and they will tell you this is true. Not nutballs on Fox News or other more mainstream outlets – but people actually charged with keeping Americans safe. The best way to change that is to turn American Muslims into a suspect population, walled off from the mainstream of American life by fear, bigotry and even well-intentioned broad and aggressive surveillance.

    I don’t say this as just some big pluralism Kumbaya. This is a real threat. And the fact that we also have far-right, revanchist white extremists and overlapping anti-abortion extremists in the US doesn’t make it less of a threat. I also want to be clear that I’m not brushing aside the constitutional strictures and American values of pluralism. My point is that even if we did do that, even if we collectively said, ‘okay enough, it’s too dangerous not to finally crack down’ and do all the stuff the Islamophobes want we’d likely be sowing more trouble. We’d end up like France. As I noted just after the Paris attacks, we need to realize that while Assad is a big problem, he’s not something or someone that poses any pressing and immediate threat to the US. ISIS is that kind of threat. And we need to order our Syria policy around eliminating that threat. That’s important and necessary. And yet, our real objective needs to be not so much withdrawing from the Middle East as cauterizing ourselves off from the societal collapse which is engulfing it.

    On all these fronts we face something like a a Chinese finger puzzle: the things we do to arrest the problem draw us deeper into it, paradoxically deepen the threats facing us. The conundrum requires a mix of force and restraint, vigilance and pluralism. It is genuinely complicated and a balance our politics – any democratic society’s politics – is challenged to summon.

    “On all these fronts we face something like a a Chinese finger puzzle: the things we do to arrest the problem draw us deeper into it, paradoxically deepen the threats facing us. The conundrum requires a mix of force and restraint, vigilance and pluralism. It is genuinely complicated and a balance our politics – any democratic society’s politics – is challenged to summon.”
    How does one extricate themselves from a finger trap that demands absolute obedience to its death cult or it will hunt you down and blow you up and only seems to benefit from your attempt to stop it? Well, there is one obvious solution, albeit not an easy one: transcend the finger trap. For instance, moving in 4-dimensonal space should do the trick. Or, in the case of the ISIS finger trap, transcend ISIS’s appeal to isolated, disaffected Muslim youths by being more appealing:

    It means that one of our key strategic defenses against the general conflagration of the Middle East and Muslim South Asia spilling over onto the mainland United States is and has been the relatively high level of integration of American Muslims. Talk to any counterterrorism expert in law enforcement, the US intelligence community or academics and they will tell you this is true. Not nutballs on Fox News or other more mainstream outlets – but people actually charged with keeping Americans safe. The best way to change that is to turn American Muslims into a suspect population, walled off from the mainstream of American life by fear, bigotry and even well-intentioned broad and aggressive surveillance.

    Yep, using the US’s freedom of religion and security as a “safe space” for Muslims to come from around the world and create communities that stand as non-fundamentalist models for the world is one of the best possible strategies the US can use. It’s a point that, sadly, has become particularly important given the endless political whining over Obama not explicitly declaring that the US is “at war with radical Islam”.

    And yes, there are inevitably going to be extremists within the US Muslim community given the influence of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood who may not be quite as bad as ISIS theologically but are still pushing a strain that is obviously in need of profound reform. But, again, as Josh pointed out, the best way to promote any of the various strains of radical Islam is to “turn American Muslims into a suspect population, walled off from the mainstream of American life by fear, bigotry and even well-intentioned broad and aggressive surveillance.” Sure, authorities shouldn’t play dumb in the face of real threats, but it’s hard to see how the growing GOP calls for aggressive surveillance aren’t going to foster exactly the kind of isolation and despair that groups like ISIS rely on.

    Instead, an embrace and celebration of modernized Islam, coupled with a collective eye-roll and “*sigh* not these nut jobs again” response every time there’s a militant Islamist attack, is actually going to be a far more effective approach to creating the kind of environment that not only prevents the kind of isolation in the US that promotes the spread of militant Islamist sentiments but also really changes the environment groups like ISIS are operating in globally by allowing a non-fundamentalist community to really thrive as a model to the world. In other words, random hugs for Muslims in the face of Islamist terror is a critical ingredient to defeating groups like ISIS. Or how about no hugs at all because there’s no special “othering”, positive or negative, that takes place because we’re the kind of appealing society that doesn’t do stuff like that? Wouldn’t that be part of the long-term solution to groups lie ISIS? Yes, being a really really nice, forgiving, understanding, patient, and not bigoted society is key sending the ISIS tumor into remission.

    It’s all quite paradoxical, except not actually.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 6, 2015, 9:55 pm
  17. Well, if any American members of ISIS fighting over in Syria decide to send in an absentee ballot in the upcoming US elections we can be pretty sure who their candidate of choice is going to be:

    TPM Livewire
    Trump Calls For Total Ban On Muslims Entering The U.S.

    By Tierney Sneed
    Published December 7, 2015, 4:29 PM EST

    GOP frontrunner Donald Trump released a statement Monday calling for “a total and complete shutdown” of Muslims immigrating into the United States in light of recent terrorist attacks.

    “Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine,” Trump said in the statement. “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.”

    Trump spokesman Corey Lewandowski confirmed to the AP the proposal would apply to Muslims who are tourists as well as those seeking immigration visas. Another campaign spokeswoman told The Hill the ban would also apply to Muslim-Americans traveling abroad.

    Trump’s statement comes as recent attacks in Paris and in San Bernardino, California, have inflamed anti-Muslim rhetoric and prompted fears about immigrants, particularly concerning the U.S.’s Syrian refugee program. Trump’s statement to end all Muslim immigration goes further than previous GOP proposals, including Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) call that immigration from the Middle East should be halted..

    “Trump spokesman Corey Lewandowski confirmed to the AP the proposal would apply to Muslims who are tourists as well as those seeking immigration visas. Another campaign spokeswoman told The Hill the ban would also apply to Muslim-Americans traveling abroad.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 7, 2015, 5:22 pm
  18. French investigators appear to be getting closer to answering the question of whether or not Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the man who drove the 19-ton truck through the Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France, had outside help or was a true “lone nut”. Based on the seven people arrested so far, it appears he had help. At a minimum, he had an arms dealer who apparently accepted orders via text messages:

    The Telegraph

    ‘Bring me more weapons’: Nice attacker’s texts lead to arrest of suspected arms supplier

    David Chazan, Tom Morgan and Camilla Turner, | July 18, 2016 9:26 AM ET

    A man was arrested in Nice yesterday (Sunday) on suspicion of supplying arms to the Bastille Day killer, who sent a chilling text message demanding weapons minutes before the seafront massacre.

    The 37-year-old man is thought to have been the recipient of the message sent from the mobile phone of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel 18 minutes before he plowed a 19-ton truck into holiday crowds, killing 84 people.

    It read: “Bring more weapons, bring five of them to C.” More than 200 investigators were urgently working to determine the significance of “C” and whether the killer had accomplices or links with a terrorist network.

    Seven people, including a woman, were in custody last night after the arrests earlier in the day of an Albanian couple suspected of aiding Bouhlel, described by the so-called Islamic State as one of its “soldiers”.

    Bouhlel sent a flurry of texts shortly before the attack. One saying “I’ve got the material” was sent to one of the men in custody, whose identities have not been made public.

    The killer fired a 7.65mm automatic handgun at police before they shot him dead on Thursday night. Other weapons in the truck were fakes or replicas.

    CCTV cameras on the Promenade des Anglais, the scene of the massacre, captured Bouhlel twice in the two days before the attack driving the truck as he scrutinised his surroundings, apparently preparing before the attack. He sold his car and emptied his bank account and reportedly sent up to pounds 84,000 to relations in Tunisia – a huge amount for a man who had worked as a low-paid delivery driver.

    Bouhlel’s brother, Jabeur, said in Tunisia that the killer sent him a selfie taken among the crowds on the Promenade des Anglais, showing him smiling, just hours before the attack.

    Jabeur claimed his brother had phoned him around the same time. “He said he was in Nice with his European friends to celebrate the national holiday,” Jabeur said. “He seemed very happy and pleased. He was laughing a lot.” However, Jabeur declined to show the photograph.

    The image of a man cold-bloodedly planning an act of carnage that targeted happy families contrasted with earlier descriptions of him as mentally unstable and prone to violent fits of rage.

    He is said to have frequently beaten his wife, and after she left him shredded his daughter’s teddy bear with a knife. His estranged wife, the mother of his three children, was released from custody yesterday. She was not a suspect but was questioned about Bouhlel’s possible links with Islamist extremism. One of those arrested told investigators that the 31-year-old Tunisian, who settled in France at the age of 20, had become suddenly radicalised in the weeks before the massacre.

    “Seven people, including a woman, were in custody last night after the arrests earlier in the day of an Albanian couple suspected of aiding Bouhlel, described by the so-called Islamic State as one of its “soldiers”.”

    It doesn’t look like Bouhlel operated alone. And while potential ISIS influences and contacts are indeed disturbing, it’s arguably less disturbing than the idea the guy spontaneously plotted and executed this himself as part of an ISIS copycat attack. At least, it’s not obvious what situation is a worse sign. Is a centralized Joker’s Army of crazy people worse than a decentralized Joker’s Army of crazy copycat people?

    Another question raised by the text messages for more guns just minutes before his rampage is whether or not he thought he was going to drive that truck to a location where he would meet accomplices who would then use all those extra guns. Considering that most of the weapons found in the truck were fake you also have to wonder if they were obvious fakes, like toy guns, or Bouhlel wound up buying fake guns or being given fake guns by accomplices. In other words, was Bouhlel told by ISIS or some other group that he was part of a big multi-person attack and his job was to first drive the truck through the crowd to a location for an even bigger final shootout and then given fake guns? At this point it’s a possibility that’s hard to rule out because it’s not like ISIS has a problem using their recruits as explosive human sacrifices.

    But if Bouhlel was coordinating with ISIS only recently and really only had his religious conversion in the last few months, it will be interesting to learn more about whether or not the 84,000 pounds he sent back home really was the savings he had accumulating over the time he’s been working or if he suddenly received a mysterious cash windfall. Does ISIS offer cash-for-suicide-attack compensation? It’s hard to see why ISIS’s ‘death and destruction at all costs’ style would have a problem with that. At least if the money is available.

    Either way, it’s a reminder that if your violence-prone acquaintance who recently experienced a militant religious conversion suddenly gives you their life savings to pass along to their family, as was the case with Bouhlel who gave acquaintances the 84,000 pounds in cash to give to his family Tunisia days before the attack, maybe that’s a good time to call the cops.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 19, 2016, 1:16 pm

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