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How a Secretive Branch of ISIS Built a Global Network of Killers

A jailhouse interview with a German man who joined the
Islamic State reveals the workings of a unit whose
lieutenants are empowered to plan attacks around the world.
By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI

BREMEN, Germany — Believing he was answering a holy call, Harry Sarfo left his home in the working-class city of Bremen last year and drove for four straight days to reach the territory controlled by the Islamic State in Syria.

He barely had time to settle in before members of the Islamic State’s secret service, wearing masks over their faces, came to inform him and his German friend that they no longer wanted Europeans to come to Syria. Where they were really needed was back home, to help carry out the group’s plan of waging terrorism across the globe.

“He was speaking openly about the situation, saying that they have loads of people living in European countries and waiting for commands to attack the European people,” Mr. Sarfo recounted on Monday, in an interview with The New York Times conducted in English inside the maximum-security prison near Bremen. “And that was before the Brussels attacks, before the Paris attacks.”

The masked man explained that, although the group was well set up in some European countries, it needed more attackers in Germany and Britain, in particular. “They said, ‘Would you mind to go back to Germany, because that’s what we need at the moment,’” Mr. Sarfo recalled. “And they always said they wanted to have something that is occurring in the same time: They want to have loads of attacks at the same time in England and Germany and France.”
The operatives belonged to an intelligence unit of the Islamic State known in Arabic as the Emni, which has become a combination of an internal police force and an external operations branch, dedicated to exporting terror abroad, according to thousands of pages of French, Belgian, German and Austrian intelligence and interrogation documents obtained by The Times.

The Islamic State’s attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 brought global attention to the group’s external terrorism network, which began sending fighters abroad two years ago. Now, Mr. Sarfo’s account, along with those of other captured recruits, has further pulled back the curtain on the group’s machinery for projecting violence beyond its borders.

What they describe is a multilevel secret service under the overall command of the Islamic State’s most senior Syrian operative, spokesman and propaganda chief, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. Below him is a tier of lieutenants empowered to plan attacks in different regions of the world, including a “secret service for European affairs,” a “secret service for Asian affairs” and a “secret service for Arab affairs,” according to Mr. Sarfo.

An External Operations Branch Within the Islamic State
At least 10 deadly attacks against Westerners have been directed or coordinated by a special unit of the Islamic State dedicated to exporting terror abroad. In addition, more than 30 people working for this group were arrested before they could carry out attacks.

Jan. 2014
July
Jan. 2015
July
Jan. 2016
July
Attacks
Paris
130 killedBrusselsBeach resort
TunisiaJewish Museum
BrusselsLebanon
Suspects arrested before attacks
Two people were found with materials for an attack.
Source: Interrogation records of ISIS operatives
Reinforcing the idea that the Emni is a core part of the Islamic State’s operations, the interviews and documents indicate that the unit has carte blanche to recruit and reroute operatives from all parts of the organization — from new arrivals to seasoned battlefield fighters, and from the group’s special forces and its elite commando units. Taken together, the interrogation records show that operatives are selected by nationality and grouped by language into small, discrete units whose members sometimes only meet one another on the eve of their departure abroad.

And through the coordinating role played by Mr. Adnani, terror planning has gone hand-in-hand with the group’s extensive propaganda operations — including, Mr. Sarfo claimed, monthly meetings in which Mr. Adnani chose which grisly videos to promote based on battlefield events.

Based on the accounts of operatives arrested so far, the Emni has become the crucial cog in the group’s terrorism machinery, and its trainees led the Paris attacks and built the suitcase bombs used in a Brussels airport terminal and subway station. Investigation records show that its foot soldiers have also been sent to Austria, Germany, Spain, Lebanon, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia.

With European officials stretched by a string of assaults by seemingly unconnected attackers who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, Mr. Sarfo suggested that there may be more of a link than the authorities yet know. He said he was told that undercover operatives in Europe used new converts as go-betweens, or “clean men,” who help link up people interested in carrying out attacks with operatives who can pass on instructions on everything from how to make a suicide vest to how to credit their violence to the Islamic State.

The group has sent “hundreds of operatives” back to the European Union, with “hundreds more in Turkey alone,” according to a senior United States intelligence official and a senior American defense official, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence.

Mr. Sarfo, who was recently moved out of solitary confinement at his German prison because he is no longer considered violent, agrees with that assessment. “Many of them have returned,” he said. “Hundreds, definitely.”
Vetting Recruits

The first port of call for new arrivals to the Islamic State is a network of dormitories in Syria, just across the border from Turkey. There, recruits are interviewed and inventoried.

Mr. Sarfo was fingerprinted, and a doctor came to draw a blood sample and perform a physical examination. A man with a laptop conducted an intake interview. “He was asking normal questions like: ‘What’s your name? What’s your second name? Who’s your mom? Where’s your mom originally from? What did you study? What degree do you have? What’s your ambition? What do you want to become?’” Mr. Sarfo said.

His background was also of interest. He was a regular at a radical mosque in Bremen that had already sent about 20 members to Syria, at least four of whom were killed in battle, according to Daniel Heinke, the German Interior Ministry’s counterterrorism coordinator for the area. And he had served a one-year prison sentence for breaking into a supermarket safe and stealing 23,000 euros. Even though the punishment for theft in areas under Islamic State control is amputation, a criminal past can be a valued asset, Mr. Sarfo said, “especially if they know you have ties to organized crime and they know you can get fake IDs, or they know you have contact men in Europe who can smuggle you into the European Union.”

The bureaucratic nature of the intake procedure was recently confirmed by American officials after USB drives were recovered in the recently liberated Syrian city of Manbij, one of the hubs for processing foreign fighters.

Mr. Sarfo checked all the necessary boxes, and on the third day after his arrival, the members of the Emni came to ask for him. He wanted to fight in Syria and Iraq, but the masked operatives explained that they had a vexing problem.

Continue reading the main story
“They told me that there aren’t many people in Germany who are willing to do the job,” Mr. Sarfo said soon after his arrest last year, according to the transcript of his interrogation by German officials, which runs more than 500 pages. “They said they had some in the beginning. But one after another, you could say, they chickened out, because they got scared — cold feet. Same in England.”

By contrast, the group had more than enough volunteers for France. “My friend asked them about France,” Mr. Sarfo said. “And they started laughing. But really serious laughing, with tears in their eyes. They said, ‘Don’t worry about France.’ ‘Mafi mushkilah’ — in Arabic, it means ‘no problem.’” That conversation took place in April 2015, seven months before the coordinated killings in Paris in November, the worst terrorist attack in Europe in over a decade.

While some details of Mr. Sarfo’s account cannot be verified, his statements track with what other recruits related in their interrogations. And both prison officials and the German intelligence agents who debriefed Mr. Sarfo after his arrest said they found him credible.

Since the rise of the Islamic State over two years ago, intelligence agencies have been collecting nuggets on the Emni. Originally, the unit was tasked with policing the Islamic State’s members, including conducting interrogations and ferreting out spies, according to interrogation records and analysts. But French members arrested in 2014 and 2015 explained that the Emni had taken on a new portfolio: projecting terror abroad.

“It’s the Emni that ensures the internal security inside Dawla” — the Arabic word for state — “and oversees external security by sending abroad people they recruited, or else sending individuals to carry out violent acts, like what happened in Tunisia inside the museum in Tunis, or else the aborted plot in Belgium,” said Nicolas Moreau, 32, a French citizen who was arrested last year after leaving the Islamic State in Syria, according to his statement to France’s domestic intelligence agency.

Mr. Moreau explained that he had run a restaurant in Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital of the group’s territory, where he had served meals to key members of the Emni — including Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the on-the-ground commander of the Paris attacks, who was killed in a standoff with the police days later.

Other interrogations, as well as Mr. Sarfo’s account, have led investigators to conclude that the Emni also trained and dispatched the gunman who opened fire on a beach in Sousse, Tunisia, in June, and the man who prepared the Brussels airport bombs.

Records from French, Austrian and Belgian intelligence agencies show that at least 28 operatives recruited by the Emni succeeded in deploying to countries outside of the Islamic State’s core territory, mounting both successful attacks and plots that were foiled. Officials say that dozens of other operatives have slipped through and formed sleeper cells.

In his own interactions with the Emni, Mr. Sarfo realized that they were preparing a global portfolio of terrorists and looking to fill holes in their international network, he said.

He described what he had been told about the group’s work to build an infrastructure in Bangladesh. There, a siege by a team of Islamic State gunmen left at least 20 hostages dead at a cafe last month, almost all of them foreigners.

Mr. Sarfo said that for Asian recruits, the group was looking specifically for militants who had emerged from Al Qaeda’s network in the region. “People especially from Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia — they have people who used to work for Al Qaeda, and once they joined the Islamic State, they are asking them questions about their experiences and if they have contacts,” he said.

In his briefings with the German authorities, and again in the interview this week, Mr. Sarfo raised the possibility that some of the recent attackers in Europe who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State’s leader during their assaults might have a more direct link to the group than officials believe.

Mr. Sarfo explained that the Emni keeps many of its operatives underground in Europe. They act as nodes that can remotely activate potential suicide attackers who have been drawn in by propaganda. Linking them are what Mr. Sarfo called “clean men,” new converts to Islam with no established ties to radical groups.

“These people are not in direct contact with these guys who are doing the attacks, because they know if these people start talking, they will get caught,” he said of the underground operatives.

“They mostly use people who are new Muslims, who are converts,” he said. Those “clean” converts “get in contact with the people, and they give them the message.” And in the case of some videotaped pledges of allegiance, the go-between can then send the video on to the handler in Europe, who uploads it for use by the Islamic State’s propaganda channels.

The intelligence documents and Mr. Sarfo agree that the Islamic State has made the most of its recruits’ nationalities by sending them back to plot attacks at home. Yet one important region where the Emni is not thought to have succeeded in sending trained attackers is North America, Mr. Sarfo said, recalling what the members of the branch told him.

Though dozens of Americans have become members of the Islamic State, and some have been recruited into the external operations wing, “they know it’s hard for them to get Americans into America” once they have traveled to Syria, he said.

“For America and Canada, it’s much easier for them to get them over the social network, because they say the Americans are dumb — they have open gun policies,” he said. “They say we can radicalize them easily, and if they have no prior record, they can buy guns, so we don’t need to have no contact man who has to provide guns for them.”
Training Days

Since late 2014, the Islamic State has instructed foreigners joining the group to make their trip look like a holiday in southern Turkey, including booking a return flight and paying for an all-inclusive vacation at a beach resort, from which smugglers arrange their transport into Syria, according to intelligence documents and Mr. Sarfo’s account.

That cover story creates pressure to keep things moving quickly during the recruits’ training in Syria, and most get a bare minimum — just a few days of basic weapons practice, in some instances.

“When they go back to France or in Germany, they can say, ‘I was only on holidays in Turkey,’” Mr. Sarfo said. “The longer they stay in the Islamic State, the more suspicious the secret service in the West gets, and that’s why they try to do the training as quickly as possible.”

Mr. Sarfo’s facility in both German and English — he studied construction at Newham College in East London — made him attractive as a potential attacker. Though the Emni approached him several times to ask him to return to Germany, he demurred, he said.

Eventually, Mr. Sarfo, perhaps because of his burly build — 6-foot-1 and around 286 pounds when he arrived in Syria, though he has lost weight since then — was drafted into the Islamic State’s quwat khas, Arabic for special forces.

The unit only admitted single men who agreed not to marry during the duration of their training. In addition to providing the offensive force to infiltrate cities during battles, it was one of several elite units that became recruiting pools for the external operations branch, Mr. Sarfo said.

Along with his German friend, he was driven to the desert outside Raqqa.

“They dropped us off in the middle of nowhere and told us, ‘We are here,’” he said, according to the transcript of one of his interrogation sessions. “So we’re standing in the desert and thought to ourselves, ‘What’s going on?’” When the two Germans looked more closely, they realized there were cavelike dwellings around them. Everything above ground was painted with mud so as to be invisible to drones.

“Showering was prohibited. Eating was prohibited, too, unless they gave it to you,” Mr. Sarfo said, adding that he had shared a cave with five or six others. Even drinking water was harshly rationed. “Each dwelling received two cups of water a day, put on the doorstep,” he said. “And the purpose of this was to test us, see who really wants it, who’s firm.”

The grueling training began: hours of running, jumping, push-ups, parallel bars, crawling. The recruits began fainting.

By the second week, they were each given a Kalashnikov assault rifle and told to sleep with it between their legs until it became “like a third arm,” he said, according to his interrogation transcript.

The punishment for failing to keep up was harsh. “There was one boy who refused to get up, because he was just too exhausted,” Mr. Sarfo told the authorities. “So they tied him to a pole with his legs and his arms and left him there.”

He learned that the special forces program involved 10 levels of training. After he graduated to Level 2, he was moved to an island on a river in Tabqa, Syria. The recruits’ sleeping spots now consisted of holes in the ground, covered by sticks and twigs. They practiced swimming, scuba diving and navigating by the stars.

Throughout his training, Mr. Sarfo rubbed shoulders with an international cadre of recruits. When he first arrived at the desert campus, he ran laps alongside Moroccans, Egyptians, at least one Indonesian, a Canadian and a Belgian. And out on the island, he learned of similar special units, including one called Jaysh al-Khalifa, or the Army of the Caliphate.

A 12-page criminal complaint indicates that the Islamic State tried to recruit at least one American into that unit, but he declined to enroll.

The man, Mohamad Jamal Khweis, a 26-year-old from Alexandria, Va., traveled to Syria in December, only to be captured by Kurdish troops in Iraq in March. In his debriefing with the F.B.I., he explained that early on, he was approached by members of the unit. “During his stay at this safe house, representatives from Jaysh Khalifa, a group described by the defendant as an ‘offensive group,’ visited the new ISIL recruits,” the complaint says. “The representatives explained that their group was responsible for accepting volunteers from foreign countries who would be trained and sent back to their countries to conduct operations and execute attacks on behalf of ISIL. The group’s requirements, among other things, were that recruits had to be single, would train in remote locations, must be free of any injuries and had to stay reclusive when returning to their home countries.”
The Big Man

As he progressed through the special forces training, Mr. Sarfo became closer with the emir of the camp, a Moroccan, who began to divulge details about how the Islamic State’s external operations effort was structured, he said. Mr. Sarfo learned that there was one outsize figure behind the group’s strategies and ambitions. “The big man behind everything is Abu Muhammad al-Adnani,” he said.

“He is the head of the Emni, and he is the head of the special forces as well,” Mr. Sarfo added. “Everything goes back to him.”

Born in the town of Binnish in northern Syria, Mr. Adnani is said to be 39, and is the subject of a $5 million bounty from the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program. But details about his life remain a mystery. There are very few available photos of him, and the one used on the State Department’s website is years old.

Mr. Sarfo explained that when recruits to the special forces finished all 10 levels of training, they were blindfolded and driven to meet Mr. Adnani, where they pledged allegiance to him directly. Mr. Sarfo was told that the blindfolds stayed on the whole time, so that even Mr. Adnani’s best-trained fighters never know what he looks like.

To the world, Mr. Adnani is better known as the official spokesman of the Islamic State, and the man who put out a global call this year for Muslims to attack unbelievers wherever they were, however they could.

“Adnani is much more than just the mouthpiece of this group,” said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington who tracks the group’s leadership. “He is heavily involved in external operations. He is sort of the administrative ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ at the top of the pyramid,” who signs off on attack plans, the details of which are handled by his subordinates.

During his time in Syria, Mr. Sarfo was contacted by other German fighters who wanted him to be an actor in a propaganda film aimed at German speakers. They drove to Palmyra, and Mr. Sarfo was told to hold the group’s black flag and to walk again and again in front of the camera as they filmed repeated takes. Syrian captives were forced to kneel, and the other German fighters shot them, showing an interest only in the cinematic effect.

One turned to Mr. Sarfo immediately after killing a victim and asked: “How did I look like? Did I look good, the way I executed?”

Mr. Sarfo said he had learned that videos like the one he acted in were vetted by Mr. Adnani himself in a monthly meeting of senior operatives.

“There’s a vetting procedure,” he said. “Once a month they have a shura — which is a sitting, a meeting — where all the videos and everything that is important, they start speaking about it. And Abu Muhammad al-Adnani is the head of the shura.”

Mr. Sarfo said he had started doubting his allegiance to ISIS during his training, after seeing how cruelly they treated those who could not keep up. Making the propaganda video provided his final disillusionment when he saw how many times they recorded each scene in the five-minute film. Back in Germany, when he had been inspired by similar videos, he had always assumed they were real, not staged.

He began plotting his escape, which took weeks and involved sprinting and crawling in a field of mud before crossing into Turkey. He was arrested at Bremen Airport, where he landed on July 20, 2015, and he voluntarily confessed. He is now serving a three-year term on terrorism charges.
The Big Man

As he progressed through the special forces training, Mr. Sarfo became closer with the emir of the camp, a Moroccan, who began to divulge details about how the Islamic State’s external operations effort was structured, he said. Mr. Sarfo learned that there was one outsize figure behind the group’s strategies and ambitions. “The big man behind everything is Abu Muhammad al-Adnani,” he said.

“He is the head of the Emni, and he is the head of the special forces as well,” Mr. Sarfo added. “Everything goes back to him.”

Born in the town of Binnish in northern Syria, Mr. Adnani is said to be 39, and is the subject of a $5 million bounty from the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program. But details about his life remain a mystery. There are very few available photos of him, and the one used on the State Department’s website is years old.

Mr. Sarfo explained that when recruits to the special forces finished all 10 levels of training, they were blindfolded and driven to meet Mr. Adnani, where they pledged allegiance to him directly. Mr. Sarfo was told that the blindfolds stayed on the whole time, so that even Mr. Adnani’s best-trained fighters never know what he looks like.

To the world, Mr. Adnani is better known as the official spokesman of the Islamic State, and the man who put out a global call this year for Muslims to attack unbelievers wherever they were, however they could.

“Adnani is much more than just the mouthpiece of this group,” said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington who tracks the group’s leadership. “He is heavily involved in external operations. He is sort of the administrative ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ at the top of the pyramid,” who signs off on attack plans, the details of which are handled by his subordinates.

During his time in Syria, Mr. Sarfo was contacted by other German fighters who wanted him to be an actor in a propaganda film aimed at German speakers. They drove to Palmyra, and Mr. Sarfo was told to hold the group’s black flag and to walk again and again in front of the camera as they filmed repeated takes. Syrian captives were forced to kneel, and the other German fighters shot them, showing an interest only in the cinematic effect.

One turned to Mr. Sarfo immediately after killing a victim and asked: “How did I look like? Did I look good, the way I executed?”

Mr. Sarfo said he had learned that videos like the one he acted in were vetted by Mr. Adnani himself in a monthly meeting of senior operatives.

“There’s a vetting procedure,” he said. “Once a month they have a shura — which is a sitting, a meeting — where all the videos and everything that is important, they start speaking about it. And Abu Muhammad al-Adnani is the head of the shura.”

Mr. Sarfo said he had started doubting his allegiance to ISIS during his training, after seeing how cruelly they treated those who could not keep up. Making the propaganda video provided his final disillusionment when he saw how many times they recorded each scene in the five-minute film. Back in Germany, when he had been inspired by similar videos, he had always assumed they were real, not staged.

He began plotting his escape, which took weeks and involved sprinting and crawling in a field of mud before crossing into Turkey. He was arrested at Bremen Airport, where he landed on July 20, 2015, and he voluntarily confessed. He is now serving a three-year term on terrorism charges.

Photo

Members of the Islamic State team that attacked Paris in November. Credit via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The Lieutenants

Among the Islamic State’s innovations is the role of foreigners, especially Europeans, in the planning of attacks.

Mr. Sarfo’s account agrees with investigation documents and the assessments of terrorism experts, who say that French and Belgian citizens like Mr. Abaaoud are more than just operatives and have been given managing roles.

“It’s a creative and interesting operational road map, to be able to lean on someone like Abaaoud, who has his own network abroad,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, chairman of the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism in Paris. “They gave him the autonomy regarding tactics and strategy, even if the operation as a whole still needs a green light from the Islamic State’s leadership.”

Looking at the current leaders of the Emni, investigators have homed in on two in particular. They go by the aliases Abu Souleymane, a French citizen, and Abu Ahmad, described as Syrian. Both are considered top lieutenants of Mr. Adnani, according to the senior American defense official and senior intelligence official.

The two men play a direct role in identifying fighters to be sent overseas, in choosing targets and in organizing logistics for operatives, including paying for smugglers to get them to Europe and, in at least one case, sending Western Union transfers, according to European intelligence documents.

A glimpse into the possible role of Abu Souleymane came from one of the hostages held by suicide bombers inside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris in November.

After gunning down dozens of concertgoers, two of the suicide bombers retreated into a hallway with a group of hostages, forcing them to sit against the windows as human shields, said the hostage, David Fritz-Goeppinger, 24. In the two-and-a-half-hour standoff that ensued, Mr. Fritz heard one of the bombers ask the other, “Should we call Souleymane?”

The second operative appeared annoyed that the first had asked the question in French, and ordered him to switch to Arabic.

“I immediately understood that, yes, this was the individual, maybe not the individual who had organized the attack, but who held a place in the hierarchy above them,” Mr. Fritz said in a telephone interview. His testimony is also included in a detailed, 51-page report by France’s antiterrorism police. “They were absolutely, like soldiers,” awaiting orders, he said.

Souleymane, whose full nom de guerre is Abu Souleymane al-Faransi, or Abu Souleymane the Frenchman, is believed to be a French national in his 30s who is of either Moroccan or Tunisian ancestry, according to Ludovico Carlino, a senior analyst with IHS Conflict Monitor in London. Mr. Carlino says he believes that Souleymane was promoted to be the top terrorism planner for Europe after Mr. Abaaoud’s death.

A snapshot of the other senior leader, Abu Ahmad, appears in the account of a man who investigators have concluded was supposed to be part of the team of Paris attackers: an Algerian named Adel Haddadi. Mr. Haddadi said he and another member of the team, a former Lashkar-e-Taiba member from Pakistan named Muhammad Usman, were separated from two other attackers after they reached Greece by boat.

Mr. Haddadi, 28, and Mr. Usman, 22, were eventually arrested in a migrant camp in Salzburg, Austria. The two men sent alongside them became the first suicide bombers to detonate their vests outside the Stade de France during the November attacks.

After arriving in Syria and being routed to the international dormitory there in February 2015, Mr. Haddadi worked as a cook in Raqqa for months before a member of the Emni came to see him, according to French and Austrian investigation documents.

“One day, a Syrian came into the kitchen to see me and said that someone called Abu Ahmad wanted to see me,” Mr. Haddadi was quoted as saying in the Austrian record of his interrogation. He was driven to a five-story building, where another Syrian holding a walkie talkie radioed Abu Ahmad. They waited for hours before the Syrian got orders to drive the recruit to the next location. In the street, a Saudi man wearing all white was waiting, and asked Mr. Haddadi to go on a walk.

After 300 yards, they reached an empty apartment building and sat down. “I was scared, I wanted to leave, but he talked the whole time,” Mr. Haddadi told the authorities.

“He said only positive things about me, that Daesh trusted me and that I now needed to prove myself worthy of that trust. He said that Daesh was going to send me to France,” Mr. Haddadi added, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “The details, he said, I would get them once I arrived in France.”

Sometime after that, Abu Ahmad arrived. Mr. Haddadi described him as a Syrian man between 38 and 42 years old, slim with a long, black beard, and dressed all in black. He was, Mr. Haddadi said, “the giver of orders.”

Abu Ahmad brought Mr. Haddadi together with three other potential attackers, with the last man, Mr. Usman, being introduced just a day before they all set out for Europe. Mr. Haddadi and two of the other men were native Arabic speakers, and Mr. Usman spoke enough Arabic to communicate with them, the interrogation documents said.

The day of their departure, Abu Ahmad came and gave them his Turkish cellphone number, instructing them to store it in their phone as “FF,” to avoid registering a name. He gave Mr. Haddadi $2,000 in $100 bills, and they were driven to the Turkish border. A man met them in Turkey to take their photographs, and returned with Syrian passports. Another smuggler arranged their Oct. 3 boat trip to Leros, Greece.

All of these logistical steps, as well as Western Union money transfers, were organized by Abu Ahmad, one of the senior lieutenants running the Islamic State’s efforts to export terror. Until his arrest in December, Mr. Haddadi remained in touch with Abu Ahmad through messages on Telegram and via text messages to his Turkish number, according to the investigation record.

Abu Ahmad’s Turkish number was found somewhere else, too: written on a slip of paper in the pants pocket of the severed leg of one of the suicide bombers at the Stade de France.

OBAMA VETOES DEFENSE BILL TO PROTECT AL QAEDA TERRORISTS

obama-in-muslim-garb
At least he’s got his priorities in order. National defense comes last. Terrorists come first.

Obama will veto a major defense policy bill Thursday, just two days after the Republican-controlled Congress sent it to his desk.

Obama plans to hold a photo op in the Oval Office when he uses his veto pen on the National Defense Authorization Act, according to his public schedule.

Obama is picking a fight over spending, but the real priority are his favorite people in the world; Muslim terrorists.

He told reporters the legislation “specifically impedes our ability to close Guantanamo in a way that I have repeatedly argued is counterproductive to our efforts to defeat terrorism around the world” and he charged that the facility has become one of the “premier mechanisms” for the recruitment for terrorists.
Really? ISIS is recruiting terrorists based on Gitmo, not the whole Caliphate thing?

How did 9/11 ever happen before Gitmo? I just don’t understand Osama bin Laden could get any recruits without Gitmo. How did Islamic terrorism even exist before Guatanamo Bay? It’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a pack of lies.

A politician who panders to terrorists tries to spin his pandering as national security.

And how are those efforts to defeat terrorists going anyway? Badly. But if we just close Gitmo, surely ISIS will just vanish.

More Wars for Peace Will Not Bring Peace

When Hamid Karzai, the man we installed and the leader of a land that is a nation in name only was the president of Afghanistan he accused the United States of colluding with the Taliban to keep the war going. According to his spokesman, “The people of Afghanistan ask NATO to define the purpose and aim of the so-called war on terror… (They) consider this war as aimless and unwise to continue.”  Even our so-called allies believe there are ulterior motives behind our foreign policy.  Yet most Americans swallow it whole.

I am a supporter of our troops.  I believe they are patriots and America’s best.  It is not the bravery or skill of our troops that I question; it is the imperial foreign policy which sends them as sacrifices on the altar of political ambition that I question.  The cruel calculations of political elites using our service men and women as pawns on their partisan game board are shameful. One shocking example of this was transparently obvious when President Obama announced a surge in troops at the same time he announced the exit strategy for leaving the country.  What could be more counterproductive than telling an asymmetrical partisan enemy that if they hang on long enough we leave and you win? Now, after fourteen years of blood, sweat, and tears we’re leaving, and they’re going to win.

Look at Iraq.  We went to war to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction which even President Bush eventually admitted were never there.  We went to war because our leaders intimated that Iraq had a hand in the sneak attacks of 9-11 based on a rumored meeting between an Iraqi agent and Mohamed Atta another claim that has since been repudiated.  Did we go to war to correct the partial victory we gained in Gulf War I under George I as claimed by some former Cabinet members?  Did we go to war as George II later claimed to make the Mideast safe for democracy?  Whatever the reason for invading Iraq, a nation we supported for years, a nation which had not and was not planning to attack us, what did we accomplish and what do we have now that we are gone?  We are faced with the Islamic State and Iran has a satellite.

What about Afghanistan?  After the sneak attacks on 9-11 we had every legal and moral right to attack the nation that harbored and protected Al-Qaeda.  However, to keep faith with the Constitution a declaration of war should have been obtained.  Our armed forces waged a brilliant campaign that dismantled the Taliban regime in short order.  Then instead of saying, if it happens again we will come back again, and leaving we have stayed for ten plus years squandering hundreds of billions building a nation for people who don’t see themselves as a nation.  They are a collection of tribes grouped together by the necessities of international politics surrounded by a porous border and a history of ungovernable conflict.

Does anyone doubt that after we leave Kabul the Taliban will return?  Does anyone doubt that the training and weapons that we have given to our Afghan allies which are turned against us on a regular basis will form the bedrock of future Taliban strength?  Does anyone doubt that as soon as we are gone Karzai and other Afghan patriots of his ilk will be leaving with 747s full of American tax dollars?

The Constitution gives Congress the exclusive right to declare war.  This limitation on the prerogative of our chief executive to commit America to war without the consent of the citizens was considered one of the most important strengths of the document.  The founders of our nation came from a society in which autocratic kings had often plunged their nations into wars based on their own desires, whims, and political machinations.  Those who wrote the Constitution to be the framework for a new type of nation determined that we should never go to war unless it was the expression of the people through their elected representatives.

There hasn’t been a declared war since World War II, and yet our sons and daughters have fought and died in countless battles around the world.  With the war in Afghanistan set to end next year the Neocons and Progressives are beating the war drums daily for intervention in Syria and war with Iran, and even push for war with Russia.  Remember WWII?  That was basically the whole world against the fascist powers of Germany, Italy and Japan.  What is being offered here is a world war with us against everyone else.

Look at the debacles this aggressive policy is inserting into American History.  The prime example is the disaster in Benghazi.  I believe once the truth is known it was the CIA implementing the Obama Administration’s on-going policy of supporting Islamic Radicals supplying weapons to the Syrian rebels to overthrow another Arab dictator as we had just recently accomplished in Libya.  I contend that the Mission in Benghazi and its satellite CIA Safe-House were in reality a conduit for transferring untraceable weapons from the captured Libyan arsenal through Turkey to the rebels.  So when it comes to Syria we have instigated and supported this war for years.  Now we are pouring money down rat holes training soldiers who melt into the enemy weapons in hand at the first opportunity.  And even this isn’t enough.  The Neocons want us to play the proxy army for the Sunni against the Shia in their long war of religious fratricide.

The same goes for Iran.  There has been a shadow war raging for years between Israel and Iran with American support.  This shadow war consists of assassinations of nuclear scientists, bombing nuclear facilities and uploading computer viruses into computers used to control the cyclotrons used to enrich uranium on the part of the allies.  The response has been attacks against Israeli citizens around the world and even a bombing attempt in Washington D.C.

This was not enough.  America led the world in imposing draconian sanctions against Iran.  Sanctions which if imposed on us would be consider acts of war.  Once again this is not enough.  Now the Obama administration has concluded a deal with Iran that takes a step back from war.  The billions of dollars that we are supposedly giving Iran are in reality Iranian dollars we have been holding up around the world due to the sanctions.  Our own intelligence agencies continue to insist there is no evidence that Iran is even trying to build a bomb and yet the Neocons are working day and night to get us to deliver some shock and awe all over Iran all in the name of peace.

Iran has not attacked another country in the memory of anyone who is alive today.  Or in the lives of the ancestors going back hundreds of years.  America’s intelligence agencies unanimously tell us, Congress, and the Administration that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.  Iran is a signer of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, and as a part of that treaty it is guaranteed the right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes.  I know none of this will endear me to my more doctrinaire readers.  The truth often does not fit into the insulated scenarios of ideology, which according to the law of paradigm thinking means that anything that does not fit is wrong.  I am prepared to be wrong to get this right.

As part of the big push to get us into another war we are told that with regard to Iran “Containment is off the table.”  Usually soon after we are told “All options are on the table” war is on the table.  Why is containment off the table?  It worked during the Cold War when we faced off with an enemy many times larger with thousands of nuclear weapons on delivery systems aimed at our cities.  Why won’t it work against a nation that at this point has no nuclear weapons?

Why is it acceptable for North Korea to have nuclear weapons but not Iran?  Does anyone think the Ayatollahs are crazier than the new boy dictator of the Kim dynasty?  There is no doubt that the United States military has the ability to destroy Iran’s conventional defensive and offensive resources within a short time.  It is obvious we could, “Bomb them back to the stone age” as the saying goes.  However that wouldn’t necessarily mean that some of the stones thrown later in the contest might not hurt.  Iran has an unknown asymmetrical war capability.

It is believed that their allies in Gaza and Lebanon would immediately attack Israel.  The Iranians would also do all they could to interrupt the supply of the oil upon which we continue to allow ourselves to rely.  They would attempt to attack the oil fields of their neighbors, to close the Straits of Hormuz, attack nearby American bases, and possibly stir up rebellions in Sunni ruled countries with either sizable Shiite minorities or in some cases majorities.  We might even face terrorist attacks here in the Homeland.  This war would not be a cake walk.  The military and economic consequences would be immediate and they would be dire.

However, as dire as these consequences would be these are not potentially the most troubling. War opens the door for domestic changes that would not be possible during normal times.  While we have been and are engaged in a multi-generational seemingly endless series of wars this war might be different.  While all our other wars have been fought over there the civilian population continued to live as if Americans were not in harm’s way even though our sons and daughters were.  In other words we managed to have both guns and butter, war overseas and peace at home.  In the case of a war with Iran we might face a situation that could bring the war home to America in multiple ways.

Economically gas could skyrocket causing dislocation in our fragile economy.  On the military front terror sleeper cells could be activated in America or terrorists could come in through our porous southern border, or we could import them ourselves through refugee relocation.  Both the economic impact and terrorist activities would open the door for drastic government action which could well negatively impact our lives.  Rights are often curtailed in times of emergency.   The cost of war is often seen in the growth of government power and the loss of freedom at home.

Our worldwide military presence is not keeping us safe and in many ways it is provocative.  Peace and equitable trade with all is the course recommended by our founders.  It was the foreign policy of every administration until McKinley and the default position until FDR.  Let us return to our traditions and reject these endless wars for peace.  Let us quit supporting other economies with our foreign bases.  Let us end the many entangling agreements that bind us to fight for others who should instead fight for themselves.  It is time for patriots to see that more wars for peace will not bring us peace.  What we need is real peace not a phony peace at home and endless war abroad.

With real peace we could perhaps deal with the domestic issues that are tearing us apart and driving us into bankruptcy.  Every patriot should recognize the danger new fronts in our never-ending war will have on our current battle to maintain personal liberty, individual freedom, and economic opportunity here at home.  Consequently patriots should do everything in their power to stop the stampede to war.  Stand up for real peace and not for more wars for a peace that never comes.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

ISIS Member Tries To Blow Up Florida Beach

A 23 year-old man who the FBI describes as an ISIS supporter was arrested and charged with plotting to detonate a backpack bomb on a Florida beach on Tuesday.

According to WSVN, Harlem Suarez of Key West has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in the U.S. Authorities say the young man first popped up on the FBI’s radar through his extremist online posts that praised ISIS.

The complaint states that Suarez told an FBI informant that he wanted to build a timer bomb and then bury it on a Key West beach before detonating it. He was arrested on Monday immediately after taking possession of an inert explosive device provided by the informant.

Suarez’s first court appearance was in Miami today. We’ll update you further as this story develops.

Read more at http://visiontoamerica.com/23478/breaking-isis-member-tries-to-blow-up-florida-beach/#JBlC7IMupuIiCMz7.99

Jettison the Empire to Save the Republic 2015

In 1951 President Harry Truman ignored the advice of General Douglas MacArthur who rightly perceived that it was China that was the real threat. Truman fired MacArthur and doomed American troops to a limited war which dragged on for two more years.  Then when General Ridgeway and his meat grinder defense had bled the Chinese white, President Eisenhower refused to mount an offense and claim the victory instead settling for a peace that is no peace.

In 1973 the Watergate Congress took the lead in throwing away the victory our heroes had won in Vietnam.  In 1991 President George Bush I threw away the victory in the First Gulf War by not going to Bagdad and deposing Salaam Hussein.  Then he compounded the error by not supporting the Southern Shia or the Northern Kurds both of whom he had encouraged to rebel against the dictator.

Following this post-World War II tradition of not declaring war and not retaining victory George Bush II led us into Afghanistan but instead of finishing the job at Tora Bora or leaving once the Taliban were crushed he/we stayed on for a nation building exercise that has now cost more than 2,000 lives.  After the attacks of 9-11 we had every right to chastise the Taliban for sheltering and protecting the al Qaeda terrorists.  We defeated these Islamic fundamentalists in two months.  We smashed their power structure and drove them out of the country, a just punishment for facilitating and shielding the perpetrators of the sneak attacks on our nation.  We won the war but we never pacified the country.

That is when we should have declared victory and left with the admonishment, “If you do it again we’ll do it again.”  Instead we have stayed and stayed and stayed for what has become America’s longest war.

There can be no doubt that our heroes have fought with skill and valor.  And there can be no doubt that where Bush turned it into a nation building crusade to spread democracy among the tribal peoples of central Asia Obama turned it into a political prop for his re-election.  All the while during both administrations our soldiers have been dying and being wounded for something other than the national interest.  Our policies are subservient to the political ambition of the Progressives who have captured both political parties, of the cronies who control the major industries, and the life-tenured black-robed infallibles who decide what the Constitution means.

One sure way to end up in a bad situation is to fight the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place.   The Middle East is disintegrating.  Our so-called allies, the Sunni states want us to fight for them in a thousand year-old sectarian religious war between them and their Shia co-religionists.

This brings me to several questions.  If the Shia states of Iran and Syria and their affiliated militias are such an existential threat to them why aren’t they willing to fight?  If the Sunni Reaction to the Shia is ISIS whom we have declared to be the next BIG thing, the one we are sworn to degrade and destroy and our Sunni allies have been supporting them or at least refusing to fight them either, why should we?  There is an old saying, “When your enemies are killing each other….let them.”

War is the deathbed of empires.  Look at History and see how war has debilitated and destroyed empires from Rome to Britain to the USSR.  Today we have been bled dry by endless wars for peace.  Our economy cannot seem to recover from the late great recession.  Our leaders are not really engaged in foreign affairs.  We are adrift as they concentrate on fundamentally transforming us into a Progressive utopia.

Now is not the time for another war whether it is against the Shia states or militias or against the Sunni ISIS.  Our allies seem to want us to fight both ends against the middle.  A formula which will lead us to disaster: we can’t afford more war and our people will not support more war.

Let’s give peace a chance.

The crushing weight of maintaining hundreds of bases around the world which are akin to precinct houses for a world police department is draining us dry and not making us any friends.

Why should we still defend a Europe that has a GDP as large as ours?  Why can’t they defend themselves?  Why can’t South Korea with a GDP more than 40 times that of the North defend themselves?  Some might say all right maybe we shouldn’t still be defending nations that can defend themselves but what about Russia?

Look at this situation.  Russia did not annex Crimea, was a part of Russia for centuries, is the home to the Russian Black Sea fleet and is populated by mostly Russians, until after a western backed coup toppled the democratically elected government of the Ukraine.  If Russia wanted to conquer and absorb all of the Ukraine they could have accomplished that within a few weeks at most.  The Eastern part of the Ukraine, the part that is in revolt against the western imposed government in Kleve is populated by a vast majority of ethnic Russians who have always wanted to be re-united with the motherland.  This is a European problem.  Let the Europeans deal with it. We have enough problems of our own.

Entangling alliances were not a part of the original model for the United States.  From the time of the Founders and for more than 100 years afterward we believed they would involve us in quarrels and rivalries which were really none of our concern.

This was more than a policy.  This was an expression of the American people through their government that did not change no matter which political party occupied the White House.  This expressed how we viewed ourselves in the world.  We contrasted the virtues of our Republic with the corruptions of European power politics and imperialistic overreach. From 1789 until the WWII, except for our relationship with Panama, the United States did not enter into treaties of alliance with anyone. In the 70 years since the end of the war, however, in a dramatic reversal of national policy, we have allied ourselves with:

NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY PARTIES: United States, Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom.  During 2004, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovak Republic, and Slovenia were added to the list.

AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND PARTIES: United States , Australia, New Zealand.

PHILIPPINE TREATY (Bilateral) PARTIES: United States, Philippines.

SOUTHEAST ASIA TREATY: PARTIES: United States, Australia, France, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

JAPANESE TREATY (Bilateral): PARTIES: United States, Japan.

REPUBLIC OF KOREA TREATY (Bilateral): PARTIES: United States, Korea.

RIO TREATY PARTIES: United States, Argentina, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Looking at this long list of people we have pledged to support with the blood of our finest and the treasure of us all I ask myself where were all these countries after 9-11?  Where are they now?  And why should we bear the burden of their defense.  Critics of America love to point out that our defense budget is larger than the next five countries combined.  And that is true.  However it is true in large part because we have taken on the burden of their defense.  Look at the people we have pledged to cover with our umbrella.  Try to find one that is spending even 2% of their GDP for their own defense.

Enough is too much already. We are not Atlas.  We cannot carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, and if we are Atlas isn’t it time that we shrugged?

I stand with our George Washington.  He advised us in his Farewell Speech,

Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all….

Nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded…. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest….

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence…the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republic Government….

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little Political connection as possible….

‘T is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world….

Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies….”

I also stand with Thomas Jefferson who said in his first Inaugural Address, “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.”

What’s to be done?  Can I offer some solutions as well as comment on the problems?

Close the overseas precinct houses.  Bring our troops home.  Stand ever ready to defend ourselves.  Offer fair trade with all; if you put tariffs or restrictions on our goods we will put them on yours.  Defend our borders.  Restore limited government, individual liberty, and economic opportunity at home instead of wasting ourselves building nations for people who want to be left alone.

In other words, jettison the empire to save the Republic.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

A Rose By Any Other Name

The main lesson we learn from History is that we don’t learn from History.  The lack of historical perspective is, I believe, one of the major contributing factors in America’s current state.

People don’t realize that all of these novel fixes our collectivist leaders are shoving down our throats with regard to health care have been tried multiple times before.  Or that they have failed every time.

People don’t realize that preemptive imperial wars of aggression and suppression have been disguised as endless wars for peace since Sargon the Great marched out of Akkad to found the first known empire.

Running true to form most people, apparently including our national leaders both political and military and the news anchors for the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media, do not realize that ISIS is not an aberration in Islamic History.

Neither are the other forms of Islamic terrorist groups which have plagued the world since the late 1960s when Palestinian secular movements such as Al Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) began to target civilians outside the immediate arena of conflict.  These were self-proclaimed secular groups.  As pointed out by RAND’s Bruce Hoffman, in 1980 two out of 64 groups were categorized as largely religious in motivation; in 1995 almost half of the identified groups, 26 out of 56, were classified as religiously motivated; the majority of these espoused Islam as their guiding force.

Political versus Fundamentalist Islam

Political Islam, as opposed to fundamentalist or neo-fundamentalist Islam, posits a worldview that can deal with and selectively integrate modernity. In contrast, fundamentalist Islam calls for a return to an ontological form of Islam that rejects modernity; groups such as ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad are representative of fundamentalist Islam.

A Note on State Sponsors of Religious Terror Groups

Unlike the “secular” national, radical, anarchist terrorism which have been sponsored by states such as Libya, Syria, Iraq, Cuba, North Korea, and behind the scenes by the former Soviet camp, most of the religious Islamic terrorist groups have never been sponsored by states. Many Egyptian organizations emerged from the Egyptian domestic landscape. Algerian groups likewise were not sponsored by foreign states. Hezbollah certainly can be viewed as an Iranian surrogate, but other movements, while open to state assistance, remain operationally and ideologically independent.  ISIS is different in that it has declared itself to be a state.

This brings us to the willful disregard of easily accessible knowledge which brings all of our political and cultural leaders to constantly say:

  • That the forces of ISIS and other Islamic terrorist organizations are not Islamic.
  • That these groups have somehow hijacked Islam or that they are merely criminals hiding behind Islamic names and slogans.

For one thing who are we to judge another’s faith?  If someone says they are followers of Muhammed who are we to say they aren’t?  If someone says they are doing their best to live by their interpretation of the Koran who are we to say they aren’t?

This is one of the reasons it is so hard to get even the most “moderate” of Muslims to denounce ISIS and the other Islamic Terror organizations. Even if they personally disagree with their theology and their methods there is enough in their declarations of faith that align with traditional strains of Islam. It would be like a Catholic saying a Pentecostal isn’t a Christian because they have differing views of the actions of the Holy Spirit in the modern day.

This refusal to admit the Islamic nature of these groups disarms the West.  We cannot understand what they want, what they do, or why they have such a strong hold on the lives of so many.  Another aspect of our official blindness that prevents us from confronting this clash of civilizations appropriately is the oft repeated mantra that those Muslims who support the radicals is a tiny group, often mentioned at 1%.  We are also reminded often that 1.6 billion people make up the Muslim world.  If this second figure is correct the tiny minority of the first figure translates to 16 million people.

Sixteen million people willing to fight to the death, blow themselves up, or financially support them is larger than any army ever fielded by Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, or Stalin.  Obviously this is a threat that should be taken seriously.  It should not be dismissed by ignoring what they say about themselves.  Imagine if the leaders of the western democracies had bothered to read Hitler’s Mein Kampf and believe that he meant what he said.  They could have stopped him when he marched into the Rhineland with no trouble whatsoever.  Instead they ignored what he said and fifty million people paid with their lives.

Today we stand in a similar place.  We ignored Osama Bin Laden when he declared war on America in 1988 and 1996 with disastrous consequences.  Now we are ignoring the inherent attraction of those who claim the Islamic world as their own when we say they are not motivated by their religion.  It strips us of the ability to understand them, their objectives, their appeal, and their tactics.

Another disservice our leaders are foisting on us is the other mantra of their secular religion that Islam is a religion of peace.  This flies in the face of historical reality.  Islam did not initially spread as Christianity did by the power of its message and the blood of its martyrs.  Islam spread as a conquering religion.  Muhammed conquered Medina and Mecca, forced unity on the disparate Arab tribes before bursting forth from the Arabian Peninsula and spreading through military conquest and forcible conversions.

Rod Dreher in the American Conservative has done a masterful job of asking two important questions, “Is ISIS Islamic? How would we know?”   Much of what follows is excerpted from his penetrating analysis.

To take one example: In September, Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments—the stoning and crop destruction—juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide.  As if to show that he could terrorize by imagery alone, Adnani also referred to Secretary of State John Kerry as an “uncircumcised geezer.”

Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion. His exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone—unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of Kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away.

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic.  Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.

Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel contends that the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor.  Of partial Lebanese descent, Haykel grew up in Lebanon and the United States.  Haykel regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous and sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he saidAccording to Professor Haykel, “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else” Haykel continued.

In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day” says Haykel.

According to one thought passed along by Rod Dreher what we call “Islamic fundamentalism” or “Islamic extremism” is so hard to defeat because it is so clearly rooted in Islamic history and Scripture. To tell the followers of ISIS that they are “un-Islamic” in their practices when they are doing, or trying to do, exactly as the Prophet and his early followers did, is a hard sell to fellow Muslims.  It is also the kind of self-imposed blindness that stops us from effectively knowing what we are dealing with.

If we ignore what we know due to political correctness how will it ever be possible to do what needs to be done?  If we refuse to name something does that mean it isn’t what it claims to be?  A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and an Islamic Fundamentalist is a follower of Muhammad no matter what we say or how we say it.  There are none so blind as those who will not see, and when the blind follow the blind they both end up in the ditch.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Enough is Too Much Already!

The recent elections delivered the most crushing defeat a political Party has suffered since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 Forty-nine state landslide.  Democrats were rejected by every voting block demographic: young, old, men, women, rich, poor.  Everyone said, “Enough is too much already!” Exit polls everywhere say their handling of the economy and the general direction of the country were the major reasons.  BHO tried to make the election about him as he tries to make everything about him.  His party spent millions trying to run away from him, his record, and his agenda.  However in the end the President’s repeated statements that his policies were on the ballot and that all these Democrats had supported him and his agenda outweighed his friends protests that they hardly knew him.

After the 1994 Contract With America Congress came to town in a similar wave of rejection for the Progressives and their agenda, President Clinton was eventually dragged by his advisor Dick Morris to the signing table and he eventually signed on to the Contract’s legislation.  This brought about everything he is credited with today: a balanced budget and reforming welfare.  After his comeuppance he took the microphone to remind us he was still relevant.

After his recent shellacking BHO came to the world’s stage to tell us he hadn’t lost because the two thirds of the electorate who didn’t vote support him.  He has declared himself to be the voice of those not interested enough to pry themselves off the couch long enough to vote and the advocate of those who care enough to show up.  This is a bold attempt to organize the anarchy of the militantly apathetic.

Since his meteoric messianic rise from the South Side of Chicago to the Oval Office BHO has governed against the will of the American people.  When he, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid used parliamentary sleight-of-hand to shove Obamacare down our throat they knew the majority of the public opposed it.  When the President used executive orders to implement the Dream Act he knew the representatives of the people had rejected it.  When he announced the surge in Afghanistan and at the same time announced the coming evacuation, when he cut and ran from Iraq setting the stage for ISIS to rise, when he encouraged the Arab Spring to overthrow our allies and empower our enemies leading to the wholesale slaughter and dispossession of the Christians of the Middle East, he knew all of these acts were contrary to the will of the people.

So it should be no surprise that after the largest shout by the voters since the 1940s that they want him to stop his fundamental transformation of America he plans to move ahead with his import-a-voter campaign.  Any moment now he will announce another decree from the imperial presidency.  In the wave of his hand that disregards the wave of the people he will legalize millions of illegal immigrants.  These are people who have broken our laws.  These are people whose goal is to take jobs from Americans.

I know that we are told constantly by the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media that these people are doing the jobs Americans refuse to do.  If this is so then why are the majority of people in the very sectors that employ the majority of illegals: farming, construction, lawn care, manufacturing, restaurants, and service still legal American workers?  Why when the INS staged a raid on chicken processing plants and rounded up the illegal immigrants who had these difficult and unpleasant jobs were there legal workers lined up to replace them?  Americans are hurting for jobs.  The unemployment figures are smoke and mirrors.  They do not reflect all the millions who have quit looking, those who are working part-time who want full time, or those whose benefits have run out.  The central government in a transparent attempt to put a good spin on a massive problem only counts those who are receiving unemployment benefits.  Then again the official inflation report leaves out food and energy for an unreal twist to a real problem.

BHO knows the Congress will do nothing to stop him.  Boehner has already taken impeachment off the table and if the Clinton interlewd taught us anything, even when a president is obviously guilty a Republican senate will not convict.

It almost seems as if BHO is intent on igniting a violent reaction from those who believe in limited government.  This would give him an excuse for an even more autocratic response.  He told us before he was elected that what we needed was a civilian defense force as well armed as the armed services.  Today he is hurriedly militarizing the police as he pink slips the army

We must avoid this trap.  We need to urge our elected representatives to do all they can to stop any and all unconstitutional actions on the part of the executive.  They need to reassert the power and authority of the legislature to reasserting the system of checks and balances that is at the heart of the American system of government.  If need be the legislature should use its power to curb the federal courts.  They have the power to make place any issue beyond the scope of judicial review.  They even have the power to abolish all federal courts below the Supreme Court.

The authority is there in the Constitution if our elected representatives will use it.  They can right the ship of State before it capsizes into the shabby swamp of socialist collectivism.  However I am sorry to say these bold new fresh faces we have just sent to Chicago on the Potomac will learn how to play the game before they get there.  They will reaffirm John Boehner and Mitch McConnell as the same old same old and before we can say wave the wave will have broken against the cliff of status quo that is the Washington establishment.  Our new heroes will bend over backwards to reach across the aisle, and they will do nothing to stop our rule-by-decree executive who allows his dedication to anti-colonialism color every decision.

We may have been a colonial power.  We may have been aggressive at times in our past.  However, America is the greatest force for good that this world has ever known.  We have provided the model for individual liberty, personal freedom, and economic opportunity for the world.  American exceptionalism is a reality even if the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue doesn’t understand it.

Without enough votes to override a veto there is little chance of rolling back the transformation. Just remember gridlock is out friend.

Keep the faith. Keep the peace.  We shall overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

ISIS CLAIMS DIRECT ROCKET HIT ON US EMBASSY IN

On Tuesday the Islamist militant group took credit for a mortar attack against the embassy in Baghdad. The group bragged about the attack on social media, claiming that there were likely casualties.

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“Four rockets strike Green Zone in #Baghdad; helicopters hovering over the Green Zone; ambulances heading that way after strikes!!” one ISIS militant noted on Twitter. Just one day before the alleged attack, retired Lt. Col. Oliver North claimed that sources in Iraq believed ISIS was planning a “major attack” against the embassy in Baghdad.

“They know Baghdad. They’ve lived in Baghdad,” North said of the militants reportedly planning the attack.

“They are at the gates of Baghdad. They’re coming for us,” he added.

It’s Time to Kick ISIS Members Out of America

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Every week brings new reports of Muslims in America flocking to join ISIS. Those who aren’t killed in battle will eventually return to New York, to Los Angeles and to Minneapolis–Saint Paul.

And they will stop being Iraq’s problem and become our problem.

ISIS is more than just another terrorist group. It is now an Islamic State. Its followers and allied militias pledge to obey the Caliph of ISIS and reject all allegiances to other states and entities. Western ISIS recruits burn their passports to show that they are no longer citizens of those countries.

Like most Salafists, ISIS members see our system of law and government as idolatry and heresy. Fort Hood Jihadist Nidal Hasan, who recently applied to join ISIS, had earlier written that he would “renounce any oaths of allegiances that require me to support/defend any man made constitution (like the Constitution of the United States) over the commandments mandated in Islam.”

“I therefore formally renounce my oath of office as well as any other implicit or explicit oaths I have made in the past … This includes my oath of U.S. citizenship,” Hasan declared.

By his own admission, Nidal Hasan is no longer a United States citizen. He should be promptly denaturalized. So should every ISIS member and anyone who supports the Islamic State.

The oath of citizenship that Hasan was retroactively rejecting states, “I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen.”

ISIS members have pledged their allegiance to a foreign prince and a foreign state. Denaturalizing them should be a mere formality.

Anwar Al-Awlaki, Hasan’s mentor, whose American citizenship became such an issue for the left when he was killed in a drone strike, was clear in his lectures that he was at war with America, that “Muslims in the West should see their stay there as temporary” before leaving to build an Islamic State in the Middle East and that Muslims shouldn’t even vote in America because they would be participating in “a disbelieving system, in a disbelieving country.”

Like Hasan, he did not consider himself an American in any way, shape or form.

In the past the United States had denaturalized Nazis and Communists and even specifically targeted foreign agitators linked to the Nazis and Communists, denaturalized them and then deported them.

Recently Obama Inc. found the time to have two former Guatemalan soldiers accused of committing atrocities against a village linked to Communist guerrillas in the so-called Dos Erres massacre back in the 1980s stripped of their citizenship.

Other denaturalization targets under his administration included two Serbians, an Ethiopian Marxist who took part in the 70s Red Terror and a woman involved in the Rwandan genocide.

None of the denaturalized were Muslim terrorists posing a current national security threat. And yet if we are to have a strategy against ISIS, denaturalizing its members will accomplish more than air strikes.

The modern Jihadist threat had at its core a group of fighters who trained and fought in Afghanistan during and after the Soviet invasion. These fighters went on to lead terrorist groups and stage attacks. But the battlefields of the Arab Spring will produce a new wave of threats on an unprecedented scale. Muslims in the West, especially converts to Islam, who have gone to join ISIS will return with training, battlefield experience and a plan. It’s far more urgent to keep them out than to deport war criminals.

A serious ISIS strategy has to address not the flow of fighters from the United States, as Obama has proposed to do, but the flow of fighters coming into the United States. If ISIS members want to travel to fight in Iraq and Syria, they should be allowed to do so.

By joining the Islamic State, they have disavowed their allegiance to the United States. Their citizenship is now only a passport of convenience that they will burn as soon as they make their way into Syria.

It’s far more important to keep them from coming back than to keep them from leaving.

If the United States can denaturalize foreign soldiers for being part of units linked to war crimes, as it has under Obama, it has the obligation to pursue the denaturalization of anyone who chooses to affiliate with an organization such as ISIS which has committed undeniable war crimes. While the legal grounds for denaturalization won’t be the same since some of those being denaturalized did not have terrorist histories and may have even been born in the United States, the policy basis is clear.

Despite the various dubious Supreme Court attempts to strike down the denaturalization power of Congress, there are still clear standards for denaturalization. Joseph Lieberman and Scott Brown introduced the Terrorist Expatriation Act back in 2010 which would have added providing material support to terrorists as a basis for denaturalization leading to hysterical reactions on the left and the right. But such an explicit addition isn’t strictly necessary; particularly in the case of the Islamic State.

Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act anyone voluntarily “committing any act of treason”, bearing arms against the United States or plotting to conquer it will lose his citizenship. While establishing this has proven tricky in the past due to the preponderance of evidence standard, ISIS represents a clear case because its fighters travel voluntarily from the United States for that purpose and because the Islamic State’s creed explicitly repudiates citizenship in anything but the new Caliphate.

It is clearly apparent that any American citizen joining ISIS intends to abandon his citizenship. He is not only serving in a foreign army, but he is joining an organization whose very reason for existence is precluded on a rejection of states and manmade documents such as the United States Constitution.

Furthermore if Obama were to admit that the United States is at war with ISIS, its fighters would also be guilty of bearing arms against the United States. However even without this admission, ISIS has made sufficient threats and has now murdered two Americans. There is no serious doubt that we are at war.

Unlike the Taliban, some of whose American members argued that they had not originally been in conflict with the United States, ISIS originated in conflict with the United States and its creed explicitly calls for the perpetuation of conflict not only with the United States, but with the rest of the world.

The Islamic State’s founding declaration urged all the Muslims of the world to gather to it, “So rush O Muslims and gather around your Caliphate, so that you may return as you once were for ages, kings of the earth and knights of war… By Allah, if you disbelieve in democracy, secularism, nationalism, as well as all the other garbage and ideas from the west, and rush to your religion and creed, then by Allah, you will own the earth, and the east and west will submit to you.”

The Muslim fighters rushing to join ISIS hoping to be its “kings of the earth” and “knights of war” and to force the east and west to submit to it are at war with the United States. They have given their allegiance to a foreign power that promises them that they will rule over Americans.

Both attacks on the World Trade Center were carried out by terrorists who should not have been allowed into the United States. It’s time we learned the lessons of those attacks.

ISIS members and supporters like Nidal Hasan are eager to abandon their American citizenship. It’s our own government that is standing in the way.

It’s useless to bomb ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria, if we let them march through our airports.

FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ISIS

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by Winton Hall

In January, President Barack Obama dismissed the Islamic State (ISIS) as merely a “JV team.” Last week, Obama reversed that position and told NBC News ISIS is “not a JV team.” Similarly, two weeks ago Obama said the Islamic State can be shrunk to “a manageable problem.” Then on Friday, as NBC News reported, “The Obama administration said for the first time Friday that the United States is ‘at war’ with ISIS militants.”
Given the Administration’s contradictory and muddled messages, here, then, are seven ISIS facts:
1. ISIS Began in the 1990s
While the Islamic State may be new to some Americans, as The Atlantic notes, “The group that recently renamed itself simply ‘Islamic State’ has existed under various names and in various shapes since the early 1990s.” The Washington Institute for Near East Policy notes that in its 1999 incarnation, ISIS was known as Jamaat al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad (JTWJ).

2. ISIS is Led by a Man Released from a U.S. Detention Camp in 2009
The leader of ISIS is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Baghdadi was released from the U.S. detention camp named Camp Bucca near the Kuwaiti border in 2009. When he was freed, Baghdadi reportedly told U.S. Army reservists from Long Island, New York, “I’ll see you guys in New York.”

3. ISIS is the Richest Terror Organization in the World
Through its seizure of oilfields, banks, weapons, and other resources, ISIS has amassed a war chest estimated to total $2 billion, according to NBC News. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) warns that “the threat ISIS poses cannot be overstated.” Feinstein, who has criticized President Barack Obama for being “too cautious” in confronting ISIS, calls the terror group “the most vicious, well-funded and militant terrorist organization we have ever seen.”

4. The Number of ISIS Fighters Has Tripled to 31,500
On Friday, a CIA spokesman told CNN that the Islamic State “can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria.” Months prior, U.S. official put the figure at just 10,000.

5. ISIS has an Estimated 2,000 Westerners in its Ranks
Through its sophisticated social media recruitment and other means, ISIS has successfully recruited 2,000 Westerners—a key terror asset whose passports could allow re-entry into Western countries to carry out attacks. Intelligence reports indicate that over 100 Americans have enlisted as Islamic State fighters. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and other Republican members of Congress have advanced legislation to “revoke their passports and strip them of their U.S. citizenship,” reports the Houston Chronicle. Last week, the Daily Mail reported that at least three Minnesota women have traveled to Syria to assist ISIS fighters. Two American ISIS members have already been killed, both from Minnesota.

6. ISIS Now Controls 35,000 Square Miles in Iraq and Syria
In its drive to expand the caliphate, ISIS now controls 35,000 square miles of territory—an area roughly the size of Indiana. As former Pentagon official Janine Davidson told the New Yorker, “ISIS now controls a volume of resources and territory unmatched in the history of extremist organizations.”

7. In Addition to Beheadings, ISIS Has Carried Out Mass Executions and Rapes
In addition to ISIS’s videotaped beheading of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines, the terror group has slaughtered innocents in mass killings, raped women, abducted thousands of women and girls for use as sex slaves, and, according to the State Department, has forced parents to watch as ISIS terrorists “beat their children to coerce the women into converting to Islam.”

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