ISIS Using Social Media to Recruit ‘Lone Wolf’ Bombers

ISIS Using Social Media to Recruit ‘Lone Wolf’ Bombers

by Fox News Insider
As seen on America’s Newsroom

Rick Leventhal reported this morning (video above) from Times Square on new concerns that ISIS is trying to inspire “lone wolf” bombings on high-profile targets like the heart of Manhattan or the Las Vegas strip.

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton calls it a “new era of potential terrorism,” but said right now there are “no credible, specific threats to the city.”

Leventhal pointed to an online chat room, claiming to be affiliated with ISIS, that provided information on making pipe bombs out of household materials like matches, sugar and Christmas lights.

The new post suggests locations and advice on covering one’s tracks and doing maximum damage. Leventhal said the concern is that someone not connected to ISIS will attempt an attack on their own.

The report comes on the heels of the arrest of a man in upstate New York for allegedly trying to recruit ISIS fighters.

More on the arrest from

Mufid Elfgeeh, 30, of Rochester, was indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of attempting to provide material support and resources to the group widely known as ISIS that has been designated by the U.S. as a foreign terrorist organization, federal prosecutors said Tuesday. Elfgeeh, who was born in Yemen and is a naturalized U.S. citizen, is one of the first people accused by the U.S. of recruiting on behalf of ISIS.

According to court documents seen by the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Elfgeeh tried to raise money to enable a Yemeni man to join ISIS. At one point, Elfgeeh allegedly sent the man $600 to travel from Yemen to Syria. An FBI affidavit alleges that this past April, Elfgeeh traveled to Buffalo with an FBI informant to get a passport for the latter man. Elfgeeh suggested that ISIS would use the informant to “operate a cannon, act as a sniper and/or build bombs,” the document claims.

Elfgeeh was arrested this past May in the parking lot of a local Wal-Mart after taking delivery of two handguns equipped with silencers and ammunition. Elfgeeh had allegedly given the informant $1,050 in cash to purchase the handguns, which had been rendered inoperable. Federal authorities said he bought the weapons as part of a plan to kill members of the U.S. armed forces returning from war, as well as Shiites in the Rochester area.

Prosecutors said two of the three individuals Elfgeeh had contact with were cooperating with the FBI.

“Disrupting and holding accountable those who seek to provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations is and shall remain a critical national security priority,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin.

The investigation included linking Elfgeeh’s home computer to tweets from alias Twitter accounts expressing support for Al Qaeda, violent holy war and Sunni insurgent groups in Syria, according to court papers.

One message allegedly from Elfgeeh read, “al-Qaida [sic] said it loud and clear; we are fighting the American invasion and their hegemony over the earth and the people.”

Elfgeeh is also charged with one count of attempting to kill “officers and employees of the United States,” two counts or possession of an unregistered firearm silencer, and a count of possession of firearms and silencers in furtherance of a violent crime. He is scheduled to appear in court for arraignment Thursday.

Elfgeeh’s lawyer, Assistant Federal Public Defender Mark Hosken, told the Democrat & Chronicle that he would enter a not guilty plea in response to all the charges.

U.N. to dump flood of Muslim refugees on U.S.

U.N. to dump flood of Muslim refugees on U.S.

By Leo Hohmann In Faith,Front Page,Politics,U.S.,World

Syrian refugees at a protest rally

Syrian refugees at a protest rally

Displaced Syrians will likely make up the next big wave of Muslim refugees coming to America.

Since the early 1990s, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees has selected more than 200,000 refugees from Islamic countries to be resettled in the United States. Most of them have come from Somalia and Iraq.

Syria could soon be added to the mix in the midst of that country’s brutal civil war. The Obama administration has been greasing the skids for the Syrian refugees for months, WND has learned, and the refugees will soon be dumped on American cities throughout the U.S.

In February, the State Department moved to ease the rules that protect the U.S. from accepting refugees with potential ties to terrorist organizations. The rules were seen as “too strict” by the refugee-resettlement groups that lobby Congress and the administration to continuously let in more Muslims from the war-torn Middle East.

Then on Sept. 4, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman hinted at her daily press briefing that a new wave of refugees will soon be coming from another predominantly Muslim nation – Syria.

“The United Nations high commissioner for refugees just this year started referring Syrian refugees to the United States for processing,” said Marie Harf. “Obviously, we have several thousand in the pipeline, and that number will continue to go up.”

Obama’s State Department is expected to present Congress with a list within the next two weeks that shows the total number of foreign refugees it wants to accept into the country over the next year and the countries from which they will come. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

A few local newspaper reports have already surfaced, providing clues as to where some of the Syrian refugees will be delivered. The Winston-Salem Journal carried a report last week that the Triad area of North Carolina could receive some of the refugees. The first Syrian family has already arrived in Greensboro, North Carolina, and is living in a hotel there, according to the Journal.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Sept. 10 that the city’s social services were preparing for “a flood of refugees” from Syria and Iraq later this year. Cleveland, Akron and Columbus, Ohio, have been hotspots in the past for Muslim refugees coming from the Middle East.

Once the refugees are relocated to an American city, they are quickly connected to an array of taxpayer-funded social services, including Medicaid, food stamps and subsidized housing. Interpreters and tutors are often provided to help bridge the language gap that refugee children will find in local public schools.

Groups like Human Rights First, World Relief Corp., the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the Catholic and Lutheran churches all have strong presences in Washington and often do the bidding of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, World Relief, Episcopal Migration Ministries, Church World Services and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society push for more foreign refugees to be resettled in America, which results in more federal grants flowing into their coffers.

WND has documented in previous stories that more than 90 percent of the money used by these religious charities for resettling refugees comes from federal grants, much like government contractors operating in a lucrative resettlement business under the guise of providing “charity.”

Most of the Syrian refugees will likely be coming from Turkey, where thousands have fled across the border from Syria, but others are huddled in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

Melanie Nezer, head of policy and advocacy at Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, one of the organizations that resettles refugees in the U.S. using federal grants, wrote an op-ed March 28 in the New York Daily News in which she called for the U.S. to accept 75,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years. That would be 15,000 a year coming to the U.S. under permanent refugee status.

“That’s a huge number,” said Ann Corcoran, a writer and researcher for Refugee Resettlement Watch, a group that monitors the U.N.’s distribution of foreign refugees throughout the United States. She said 15,000 a year would be on a par with the Iraqi refugee program, which has produced the largest, fastest-growing refugee community in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001.

“Most of the Syrian refugees in these refugee camps are Sunni Muslims; they’re not Christians,” said Corcoran. “The camps in places like Turkey and Jordan, you’re not going to find a ton of Christians.”

The United Nations, working with the U.S. State Department, has already shipped approximately 115,000 Iraqis to American cities since Sept. 11. Another 100,000 Somalis have been resettled in the United States since that country devolved into civil war in 1993. The Somali refugees have been described as 99.9 percent Muslim by Somali-American leaders. The Iraqi refugees have also been majority Muslim and, while the exact percentages are more difficult to track, the Iraqis coming to the States have been estimated at 62 percent Muslim.

Culture clash in American cities

Once here, Muslim families have vastly more children than the typical American family. The average Somali couple in Minnesota, for example, has six children.

These refugee families have changed the demographics of their host cities, such as Shelbyville, Tennessee, Lewiston, Maine, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, all of which have reported culture clashes between Muslims expecting everything from foot baths at public colleges to dietary concessions at public schools. A Tyson Foods meat-packing plant in Shelbyville decided in 2009 to acquiesce to a local union’s demands to drop the paid holiday of Labor Day in favor of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, a decision that Tyson later reversed in the wake of a public backlash.

And in Minneapolis, Mayor Betsy Hodges sparked controversy in April when she showed up to a meeting with the city’s increasingly powerful Muslim community wearing a hijab.

Problems have also arisen with Islamic radicals recruiting young Muslim refugees in America. WND has reported in recent weeks about FBI investigations into 25 to 30 Somali refugees leaving their homes in Minnesota to become fighters for ISIS in Syria and the al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabab in Somalia.

Pamela Geller, author of “Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance,” said it should come as no surprise that the U.N. would do everything in its power to flood the United States with as many Muslim refugees as possible.

She said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, which is comprised of 56 Muslim countries and the Palestinian Authority, makes up the largest voting bloc at the U.N. General Assembly.

“They’re very powerful, they’re very dangerous,” Geller said. “You can’t make this stuff up.”

Geller, Corcoran and others such as Islam scholar Bat Ye’or have long warned that there are two methods of creating Islamic supremacy in the world. One is through violent jihad, the other through al-hijra, or the Islamic doctrine of immigration.

“Basically you have those who want to take over (countries) through immigration saying to the jihadists “you guys need to stop cutting people’s heads off and be patient,’” Corcoran said. Al-hijra will accomplish the same goal over the long term in countries open to immigration, which includes the United States and most of Europe.

The United States takes in about 70,000 foreign refugees per year, more than any other country in the world. Besides the United States, Germany and Sweden have also agreed to take in Syrian refugees through the U.N. program. Germany has agreed to accept another 10,000 Syrian refugees after already absorbing 6,000, while Sweden has agreed to accept up to 17,000 over the next year.

Creeping toward Sharia?

In 2011, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted a two-day conference with the OIC in Washington to discuss how to implement U.N. Resolution 1618 to combat “religious intolerance” and “negative stereotyping” against Muslims in the U.S., which Geller said amounted to a version of the Muslim anti-blasphemy laws.

“It was to implement the Sharia is what it was,” she said. “It was really an anti-free speech measure.”

Then in 2013 a U.S. attorney in Tennessee, William Killian, said it is possible that some inflammatory comments about Muslims posted on social media could violate civil-rights laws. He later backed off his plan to criminalize an entire segment of speech deemed offensive to Muslims, a decision Geller notes came only after an intense public outcry.

“You know, we have real problems, they’ve disarmed the American people, misinforming them or not informing them at all,” Geller said. “There are no human rights under the Sharia for non-Muslims and so the U.N. is deeply problematic. And we do their bidding.”

State Department documents show that Iraq has produced the single largest number of refugees resettled in the United States. In fiscal year 2013 alone, 19,488 Iraqis were resettled in America, followed by Burma with 16,299, Bhutan with 9,134 and Somalia with 7,608. Only 36 Syrians were allowed into the U.S. in 2013, followed by just 63 so far in 2014.

“But again, part of this is because the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees only began this year in mid-2014 referring refugees in large numbers to the United States,” Harf said in the Sept. 4 briefing.

The Syrian civil war now has the potential to surpass even the Iraq War in its ability to create refugees. The war has caused more than 3 million Syrians to be uprooted since 2011.

Steve Emerson, a counter-terrorism expert and author of six books on radical Islam, said the screening process for refugees is not nearly tight enough.

“They’re doing very little vetting. Several years ago it was discovered that Iraqi militants were being resettled in California,” Emerson said. “So the resettlement program that’s going on around the US, the vast majority of refugees are not involved in terrorism but certainly the vetting process is lacking. It’s not that easy to acquire the intelligence needed to deny someone refugee status if in fact the conditions that apply for asylum are met.”

Then there is the problem of the powerful refugee lobby in Washington.

“You have a pro refugee lobby in the United States that is very strong and the Obama administration has been particularly receptive to it,” Emerson said.

The U.N. has been trying to relocate 30,000 Syrians it considers most vulnerable, and the U.S. would normally accept half of those, according to witnesses who testified at a Senate hearing in January.

A State Department official, who asked not to be identified, told WND that refugees assigned to the U.S. by the United Nations are thoroughly screened by the Department of Homeland Security before they are allowed into the country.

“I would refer you to DHS on that but I can assure you it’s a very rigorous process,” the official said.

The United States admits more refugees per year than all of the other countries in the world combined, Harf said.

“I think we should make the point about refugees here, that the United States resettles more refugees than the rest of the world combined, period,” Harf said. “And I think our commitment to helping with resettlement of refugees is an important one that we take very seriously.”

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Border Open For ISIS Invasion

Border Open For ISIS Invasion

Alex Jones plays a video shot by Infowars reporters former Army Staff Sergeant Joe Biggs and Josh Owens illustrating how open our southern border truly is.



Islamic State (ISIS) cells are already in the United States, and some of them have entered by crossing the Mexican border says former CIA agent Bob Baer. people working in intelligence-gathering have told him they don’t know what ISIS members’ plans are, but “it’s a definite concern.

Ayotte Rips White House Claims ISIS Can’t Attack US

Ayotte Rips White House Claims ISIS Can’t Attack US

Image: Ayotte Rips White House Claims ISIS Can't Attack US (Michael Reynolds/EPA/Landov)

By Drew MacKenzie

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte has poured cold water on claims by Obama administration counter-terrorism officials that Islamic State militants are not capable of conducting an attack inside the United States.

Senior officials were quizzed by lawmakers during a Senate committee on homeland security about whether the terror organization, also known as ISIS or ISIL, posed a threat to American citizens at home, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The greatest threat from ISIL to the U.S. and its interests is inside Iraq right now,” said Nicholas Rasmussen, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, using the name for the insurgents that the White House prefers, which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

He added that if the Islamic State’s military force was not degraded, then the danger of ISIS plots against the U.S. and other nations is “likely to grow.”

But Ayotte attacked Rasmussen’s assessment, pointing out that the extremists have the money, the ideology, the capability, and an interest in launching attacks on U.S. soil.

“I’m concerned it’s an understatement to say it’s a regional threat,” said the Republican senator.

Rasmussen replied: “Right now, we assess they do not have active ongoing plots aimed at the U.S. homeland. I don’t mean by any means to minimize the threat.”

The secretary said that al-Qaida still has the greatest ability to launch attacks inside America, while noting that the terror group has launched several plots in recent years against Americans, including a plan to blow up an airliner over Detroit.

But during a Wednesday hearing of a House subcommittee on border security, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul claimed that the Islamic State “is the biggest threat to the homeland,” according to the Journal.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson made similar remarks to Rasmussen during a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday, the newspaper said.

“Though we know of no credible information that ISIL is planning to attack the homeland at present, we know that ISIL is prepared to kill innocent Americans they encounter because they are Americans,” said Johnson.

The secretary said that ISIL was currently such a threat to U.S. interests and its allies overseas that “the only responsible thing to do is to take them on before they become even more dangerous.”

Johnson added, “This type of terrorist threat simply has to be engaged. You can’t avoid it.”


Islamic State Terrorists Talked of Entering US Via Mexico

Islamic State extremists have discussed infiltrating the U.S. through its southern border with Mexico, a U.S. official said.

Francis Taylor, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, told a Senate committee today that the Sunni militants have been tracked discussing the idea on social-media sites such as Twitter Inc.

“There have been Twitter and social-media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor said in response to a question from Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican. Islamic State is also known by the acronyms ISIL and ISIS.

Referring to the 1,933-mile (3,110-kilometer) boundary with Mexico, Taylor said he was “satisfied that we have the intelligence and the capability at our border that would prevent that activity.”

Taylor’s comments before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee came hours before President Barack Obama was to outline in a speech plans to expand the U.S. offensive against Islamic State. Steps under consideration include blocking foreign fighters from entering Syria and Iraq, delivering more aid to moderate factions among Syrian rebels, and expanding air strikes to Islamic State targets in Syria.

Mexican Cartels

Taylor said the security of the U.S.’s southwest border remains a high concern for his department, and that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has ordered “a comprehensive southern border security strategy that will include national security risks.”

U.S. intelligence officials said they are skeptical that Mexican drug cartels would let jihadists use their turf or delivery routes to attack the U.S. The cartels know that terrorist attackers coming through areas they control would almost certainly bring massive retaliation and a militarized border that would threaten their lucrative narcotics-smuggling operations, said two officials, who requested anonymity to discuss classified intelligence assessments.

Officials testifying before the committee said that Islamic State currently poses the greatest threat to U.S. interests in Iraq and within the region. At the moment, the group’s ability to develop significant, large-scale attacks diminishes with distance from Syria and Iraq, said Nicholas Rasmussen, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

Not Immediate

“We do not assess right now they have the capability to mount an effective large-scale attack on the United States,” Rasmussen said.

Islamic State’s sweep across Iraq and a campaign of terror that has included the beheading of two U.S. journalists have galvanized fears among Americans of a rising terrorist threat and stirred demands from lawmakers that Obama articulate a plan for dealing with the issue.

Sixty-five percent of Americans back bombing strikes against the extremists in Syria, more than double the level of support from a year ago, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released yesterday.

Islamic State members have surfaced in Europe — specifically in a shooting that killed four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels and through arrests in Paris — “a clear indication of ISIL’s ambition to operate outside the Middle East,” Rasmussen said. If the group is left to grow, that threat will only increase, he said.

‘Apostate’ Governments

“Left unchecked, ISIL poses a threat to all governments it considers apostate,” Rasmussen said, adding that the group’s targets would include governments in Europe, the U.S., Africa and the Middle East.

Lawmakers concentrated on the threat posed by foreign fighters who join Islamic State, either Americans or Europeans who wouldn’t need a visa to enter the United States.

Johnson, speaking in New York today, said that about 12,000 foreigners are estimated to have traveled to Syria to fight over the past three years. The FBI has arrested some people who have tried to travel from the U.S. to Syria to join the fight.

In response to threats from overseas, Johnson said the U.S. has increased aviation security in 25 airports abroad since early July, adding screening of both passengers and carry-on luggage.

Rasmussen estimated that “over 100 persons from a wide variety of backgrounds have attempted to travel to the region” from the U.S. to fight alongside extremist groups active in Iraq and Syria.

‘Looking to Join’

Many go “simply looking to join the fight” and engage with extremist elements, not necessarily searching to join Islamic State in particular, Rasmussen said. “Where they end up actually affiliating plays out over time,” he said.

Rasmussen said the estimate of 100 people included individuals who show intent to travel but haven’t left the U.S. as well as those who remain there, those who have been killed and those who have returned.

One wild card will be U.S. citizens who may be radicalized through the Internet and decide to take up arms here, Rasmussen said.

“We can’t account for homegrown terrorists,” Rasmussen said, “people who might self-affiliate.”

This “lone-wolf” phenomenon “is the hardest terrorist threat to detect, and the one I worry about the most,” he said, citing the Boston Marathon bombers.

‘Aggressive’ Sharing

If there is any good news, Rasmussen said, it is the “aggressive information-sharing with all of our partners who have the same problem.” This has given the U.S. and Europe “a significant leg up” in attempts “to disrupt travel when these individuals attempt to leave Iraq,” he said.

Gathering data on Islamic State and other extremists groups has become more difficult since disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Rasmussen said, as intelligence agencies have seen terrorists change their methods and means of communication to avoid detection.

Those changes “frustrate our counterterrorism efforts,” he said. “We cannot connect the dots if we cannot collect the dots.”


© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


Peter King: Must Be ‘More Vigilant Than Ever’ as 9/11 Anniversary Approaches

Peter King: Must Be ‘More Vigilant Than Ever’ as 9/11 Anniversary Approaches
By Greg Richter

Rep. Peter King of New York says he is aware of no specific threat against the homeland as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, but as the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaida have been ramping up their rhetoric and actions, “We certainly have to be more vigilant that ever.

“We cannot let our guard down for a second, especially with the anniversary of 9/11 coming up,” King said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

With ISIS in the headlines lately, it’s easy to see al-Qaida “wanting to get back into the game … to show that they are top in the Islamic terrorist world,” King said.

ISIS has become a lead story after beheading two American journalists recently, in addition to atrocities against Iraqis. But King warned that other terrorist groups, such as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and core al-Qaida, should not be ignored.

That said, King wants to see a “sustained national effort” against ISIS, which controls large portions of Iraq and Syria and claims a caliphate from which it plans to rule the world.

President Barack Obama must make it clear this won’t be a short-term operation, King said, and should include full air attacks, Special Operations forces and getting as many allies on board as possible, especially Arab allies on the ground.

He also wants to see the Iraqi army involved as well as arms supplied to Kurdish forces in northern Iraq.

King thinks Obama has authority to take action without Congress, but should probably try to get it unless there is an imminent threat.

Rep. Adam Smith, a Washington state Democrat, agrees, but told “This Week” that the language might be hard to pin down. Some might fear it would give president too much authority, and some might fear it would hamstring him, Smith said.

“If the U.S. acts without Sunni support in the region it could strengthen ISIS,” Smith warned. “We will not be successful against ISIS unless Sunnis in the region are willing to rise up … and we work with them to be an effective partnership.”

For Jihad Recruits, a Pipeline From Minnesota to Militancy

For Jihad Recruits, a Pipeline From Minnesota to Militancy by

Riverside Plaza in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, which is home to the country’s largest Somali population. Credit Tim Gruber for The New York Times.

MINNEAPOLIS — It was a friendship that began in high school and ended in militant jihad.

As Minnesota teenagers growing up in the 1990s, Troy Kastigar and Douglas McAuthur McCain shared almost everything. They played pickup basketball on neighborhood courts, wrote freewheeling raps in each other’s bedrooms and posed together for snapshots, a skinny white young man with close-cropped hair locking his arm around his African-American friend with a shadow of a mustache.

They walked parallel paths to trouble, never graduating from high school and racking up arrests. They converted to Islam around the same time and exalted their new faith to family and friends, declaring that they had found truth and certainty. One after the other, both men abandoned their American lives for distant battlefields.

  • “This is the real Disneyland,” Mr. Kastigar said with a grin in a video shot after he joined Islamist militants in Somalia in late 2008. Mr. McCain wrote on Twitter this past June, after he left the United States to fight with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, “I’m with the brothers now.”
    Cedar Avenue in the Cedar-Riverside district. Leaders in the Somali community say they are losing a battle to keep new waves of young men and women from turning to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Credit Tim Gruber for The New York Times

    Today, both are dead. While their lives ended five years and over 2,000 miles apart, their intertwined journeys toward militancy offer a sharp example of how the allure of Islamist extremism has evolved, enticing similar pools of troubled, pliable young Americans to conflicts in different parts of the world. The tools of online propaganda and shadowy networks of facilitators that once beckoned Mr. Kastigar and Somali men to the Horn of Africa are now drawing hundreds of Europeans and about a dozen known Americans to fight with ISIS, according to American law enforcement and counterterrorism officials.

    “Troy and Doug fit together in some ways,” Mr. Kastigar’s mother, Julie Boada, said at her home here. “They’re both converted Muslims. They both have had struggles.” She added, “They’re connected through that.”

    Investigators are looking into what led a handful of other people from Minnesota to follow the same path, said Kyle Loven, an F.B.I. spokesman in Minneapolis. American intelligence and counterterrorism officials say Mr. McCain, 33, and a second American believed to have been killed while fighting for ISIS traveled in the same circles in Minneapolis and knew each other.

    Officials still have not publicly confirmed the identity of that man, but he has widely been reported to be a Somali immigrant in his late 20s who went by at least two names, calling himself Abdirahmaan Muhumed on his Facebook page. He spent much of his life around Minneapolis, worked at the airport over several years and ended up in Syria this year, declaring in a text message to a friend, “With out jihad there is no islam.”

    To law enforcement officials and community leaders here, the pathway for many recruits remains murky and difficult to uncover, but the latest wave of volunteers is a chilling replay of recent history. Beginning in 2007, over 20 men, mostly of Somali origin, left Minnesota to join the Shabab militants who seized territory across Somalia and besieged the capital, Mogadishu.

    Troy Kastigar Credit Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, via Associated Press
     The radicalization of the men prompted federal investigations and brought enormous scrutiny to the Somali population in Minneapolis, the largest in America. (Estimates put Minnesota’s Somali population around 30,000.) As Shabab forces withdrew from Mogadishu under pressure from African forces supported by the United States, people here held anti-Shabab rallies, and prosecutors eventually won convictions against eight local men on charges stemming from the flow of money and recruits to the militants.

    But now, leaders in the Somali community say they worry they are losing a battle to keep another round of young people from turning to another Internet-savvy and brutal group, ISIS. Community leaders say several families have reported that their children have vanished.

    “We need to open our eyes,” said Ahmed Hirsi, a banker who has led youth groups in the Twin Cities. “This is not going to stop.”

    Officials say ISIS is not specifically targeting Somalis but is instead using social media, chat rooms and jihadist forums to recruit men and women susceptible to its message — a target audience that includes Somalis in Minneapolis. Community activists and a friend said one Somali was Mr. Muhumed, whom they described as a mostly secular man in his late 20s or early 30s whose family had emigrated from Mogadishu. He always seemed more interested in working out and basketball than in religion, acquaintances said.

    “He would talk about LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, and then, the next thing you know — pfft! — he’s gone,” Mr. Hirsi said.

    Douglas McAuthur McCain Credit Hennepin County Sheriff, via Reuters

    Farhan Abdullahi Hussein said he had met Mr. Muhumed when they worked at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Patrick Hogan, an airport spokman, said a man named Abdifatah Ahmed, an alias Mr. Muhumed had used, had worked there on and off from November 2001 until May 2011, refueling planes and cleaning. (Shirwa Ahmed, an ethnic Somali who blew himself up in a suicide bombing in Somalia in October 2008, also had a job at the airport, pushing passengers in wheelchairs.)

    Mr. Hussein, who described Mr. Muhumed as “my best friend,” said Mr. Muhumed used to fume about violence in Libya and Gaza, asking, “Is this fair?” Mr. Muhumed dreamed of joining the Ogaden National Liberation Front, a rebel group trying to carve out an independent state in Ethiopia for ethnic Somalis. When he drank, Mr. Hussein said, Mr. Muhumed’s anger boiled up. Once, at a shopping center popular with Somalis, he even punched a community advocate named Abdi Abdulle who had spoken out against the group’s violent tactics.

    “He always wanted to be a freedom fighter,” Mr. Hussein said. “He always wanted to be a hero.”

    In April, Mr. Muhumed sent Mr. Hussein a text message saying jihad was his path now. “God gave us jihad,” he wrote. On July 8, he sent a short message celebrating the Islamic holy month. It was the last Mr. Hussein heard from him.

    Mr. McCain and Mr. Kastigar grew up in a different world from the towering apartment complexes and rows of Somali barbershops and restaurants that were a backdrop for Mr. Muhumed’s life. But they found a passion for Islam and, ultimately, a path to militancy.

    Abdirahmaan Muhumed is widely reported to be the second American killed while fighting for ISIS. He dreamed of joining the Ogaden National Liberation Front.
    Traces of the friendship between Mr. Kastigar and Mr. McCain are bound up in a few photo albums in Ms. Boada’s home. In one, they wear nearly identical plaid shirts. This is how relatives say they want to remember them: Mr. Kastigar as an energetic, open-minded boy who climbed up walls, and Mr. McCain as someone who made music and fiercely loved his younger sister, Lele.

    “They had a similar sense of humor,” Ms. Boada said of the men. In his teenage years, Mr. Kastigar began drinking, smoking marijuana and failing classes, and Ms. Boada said she had seen “a sadness and a darkness” settle over him. He dropped out of high school, got his equivalency diploma and worked at a mortgage office or cutting hair. But he was often unemployed. And a series of arrests compounded his troubles finding work, Ms. Boada said.

    Mr. McCain, whose family moved from Chicago when he was young, attended Robbinsdale Cooper High School with Mr. Kastigar until 1999, then switched to Robbinsdale Armstrong High for a year, the district said. He never graduated. Court records show he was arrested several times, for driving violations, theft and a marijuana charge.

    While both men converted to Islam around 2004, it is unclear whether one man’s religious decisions steered the other’s. Hatim Bilal, a high school friend who comes from a Muslim family, said Mr. Kastigar had told him that Mr. Bilal’s family and the cohesion among Mr. Bilal’s brothers inspired him to convert. A spark returned to Mr. Kastigar’s eyes after he discovered his new faith, his mother said.

    “They just wanted to be a part of something,” said Mr. Bilal, who knew both men but was close to Mr. Kastigar. “They were just trying to find something that just accepted them for who they were.”

    Abdi Abdulle, right, a community advocate who spoke out against the group’s violent tactics. Credit Tim Gruber for The New York Times

    But problems persisted. Mr. Kastigar was crestfallen when, after training to become an X-ray technician, he was told that his criminal history would make it difficult for him to get a job in the field.

    In 2008, Mr. Kastigar told his mother that he was going to Kenya to study the Quran. He bought a one-way ticket and left that November. He spoke with Ms. Boada five times, telling her that he was eating well and helping people. He was killed in September 2009 at age 28.

    Mr. Kastigar’s death may have shaken Mr. McCain, friends and relatives said. Around 2009, Mr. McCain moved to San Diego, where he had relatives and worked at a Somali restaurant, according to a cousin, Don Urbina. He enrolled at San Diego City College, a college spokesman said. Mr. Urbina said the family was shocked at his decision to join a jihadist group that has beheaded two American journalists and massacred thousands of Syrians and Iraqis.

    Alicia Adams, a high school friend of Mr. McCain’s who last spoke to him in 2013, said his faith was “such a small piece of who he was,” adding, “He was still Doug.” But Mr. Urbina described his cousin as “very serious about God.”

    “His mother doesn’t know how it got to this point,” he said. “None of us really want to know.”

    Ms. Boada said she still did not know exactly how her son had ended up in Somalia, hoisting an assault rifle and wearing a checkered head scarf. She said he had never been motivated by hate, but by a belief that somehow he could be a hero. Sometimes, she said, people will ask her about his death. But more often than not, she does not discuss it.

    “I just don’t tell people,” she said. “I just say that my son passed away in 2009. If someone asks why, I just say, ‘It was a tragedy.’ ”

    Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington, Christina Capecchi from Minneapolis, and Mario Koran from San Diego.

    A version of this article appears in print on September 7, 2014, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: For Jihad Recruits, a Pipeline From Minnesota to Militancy. Order Reprints|Today’s Paper|Subscribe


Watch: Unseen ISIS Video, Analysis by CIA Gary Berntsen

Watch: Unseen ISIS Video, Analysis by CIA Gary Berntsen

The first minute of the infamous ISIS has never been shown on any major news outlet … until now. Also, exclusive extended interview with former CIA Station Chief Gary Berntsen.

On three separate occasions, Berntsen led several of CIA’s most important counter-terrorism deployments including the United States’ response to the East Africa Embassy bombings and the 9/11 attacks and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

Berntsen is one of the CIA’s most decorated agents receiving awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal in 2000 and in 2004 the prestigious Intelligence Star (only a few dozen CIA officers have received this award-most posthumously).

Follow The United West on Twitter @TheUnitedWest

11 jetliners ‘missing’ after Islamist takeover of airport


11 jetliners ‘missing’ after Islamist takeover of airport

‘We found out on Sept. 11 what can happen with hijacked planes’

Eleven commercial jets have reportedly been stolen in recent weeks in Libya, and Western intelligence agencies have begun warning they could be used in terror attacks on 9/11, the anniversary of the devastating Osama bin Laden-orchestrated attacks on New York and Washington that left nearly 3,000 dead.

According to a report in the Free Beacon, the jets were taken by Islamist militias in Libya, and reports distributed within the U.S. government “included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack … on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks…”

One official in the report assembled by the highly respected Bill Gertz said, “There are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing. We found out on September 11 what can happen with hijacked planes.”

Gertz now is senior editor of the Free Beacon, but built his career during 27 years as reporter, editor and columnist with the Washington Times. He’s also authored six books and his online biography reveals the state-run Xinhua news agency in 2006 identified him as the No. 1 “anti-China expert” in the world.

His report about the missing jetliners notes authorities have a high level of concern because of the convergence of the cases of missing airplanes and the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

It also is just two years after the 9/11 terror attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, a scandal that still is reverberating through the Obama administration and threatening to become a game-changer for the 2014 elections.

Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in that attack.

A State Department official declined comment, Gertz reported.

The officials quoted by Gertz said U.S. intelligence agencies now are trying to locate all the airplanes belonging to two Libyan airline companies, and they have not confirmed the aircraft theft, which reportedly happened after the takeover by terrorists of Tripoli International Airport in August.

“The state-owned Libyan Airlines fleet until this summer included 14 passenger and cargo jetliners, including seven Airbus 320s, one Airbus 330, two French ATR-42 turboprop aircraft, and four Bombardier CJR-900s,” the report said. “Libyan state-owned Afriqiyah Airways fleet is made up of 13 aircraft, including three Airbus 319s, seven Airbus 320s, two Airbus 330s, and one Airbus 340.”

The report blames Libyan Dawn, one of the terror organizations operating there, for the alleged thefts in late August.

Following the warnings from Western intelligence agencies, Tunisia halted flights from Tripoli, Sirte and Misrata because of the potential the jets would appear in suicide missions, the report said.

And Egypt halted flights to and from Libya.

Gertz said military components from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt were put on a higher level of alert.

Libya has been an uncontrolled disaster area since the Obama administration engineered the removal in 2011 of strongman Moammar Gadhafi from office. His departure left terror factions struggling for control as the nation plunged into chaos.

Both Libyan Dawn and another group called Ansar al-Shariah were declared by Libya’s parliament to be terror groups. The report said Ansar al-Shariah reportedly has surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft guns and rocket-propelled grenades, among other weapons.

Abderrahmane Mekkaoui, a Moroccan military expert, explained to Al Jazeera broadcasting that “credible intelligence” reports say the jets are intended for use by a group called Masked Men Brigade for attacks on the 9/11 date.

Gertz reported that a counterterrorism expert, Sebastian Gorka, explained the events that could develop with the stolen jets.

“The first would be how commercial airliners were used on Sept. 11, 2001, literally turning an innocent mode of mass transit into a super-high precision guided missile of immense potency,” he said.

“The second tactic could be to use the airframe with its civilian markings as a tool of deception to insert a full payload of armed terrorists into a locale that otherwise is always open to commercial carriers,” he said.

Gertz’ report noted the planes themselves become an agent of destruction.

“Who needs ballistic missiles when you have passenger planes?” asked Michael Rubin, of the American Enterprise Institute. “Even empty, but loaded up with fuel, they can be as devastating.”

1 common link among world’s most brutal terrorists

1 common link among world’s most brutal terrorists

Posted By Greg Corombos On 08/31/2014 @ 5:55 pm In Faith,Front Page,Politics,World | No Comments

 Radical Islam expert Brigitte Gabriel says ISIS is capable of anything from shopping-mall shooting sprees to nuclear attacks in the U.S. and believes the best way to ward off calamity is for Americans to wake up their elected officials and demand they “throw political correctness in the garbage can” and confront the radical threat as it truly exists.

She also revealed the one common link motivating the worst terrorists in the world today: the words of the Quran.

Gabriel was a victim of terrorism in her native Lebanon. She is founder and president of and is author of numerous books, including “They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It.” She said the danger to the U.S. posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is significant but the threat is nothing new.

“We know that radical Islamists have been trying to attack the United States,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what organization they identify with, whether it’s al-Qaida or ISIS or whatever name du jour that’s exciting and dominating the news. Since President Obama became president, we have arrested on American soil 226 home-grown terrorists. And that was before ISIS.”

She does acknowledge a significant difference with ISIS: the deep pockets of the terrorist army. Gabriel said those kind of resources can finance a whole lot of trouble for the U.S. and other Western nations.

“ISIS has their hands on biological weapons. They have captured the oil fields. They have their hands on nuclear material. And they certainly have the money to be able to buy the technology to put missiles together with nukes on top of them or be able to smuggle something into our country. We cannot afford to let our president, even though he is blind to the issue, to let the issue go ignored,” said Gabriel, who added that ISIS can strike a devastating psychological blow to Americans with far less complicated plots.

“It doesn’t take a mega-attack. All they need is a few crazies to strap bombs to their bodies and walk into malls in different states across the United States. That would literally strike terror in the hearts of Americans,” she said.

Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Brigitte Gabriel:

The Obama administration and many other public officials and organizations are taking great pains to insist ISIS does not speak for Islam or any other religion. Gabriel Islam and radicalism are seamlessly intertwined throughout the past 1,400 years.

“They are basing their actions on the words of the Quran,” she explained. “What IS is doing right now is no different than what Prophet Muhammad himself did.”

Gabriel added, “They are using scriptures from the Quran. For example, Quran 8:12 talks about striking fear into the hearts of disbelievers. Therefore, they cut off their fingers and toes because they disobeyed Allah. So what ISIS is doing is no different than what any other group or devout followers of the Quran will do.”

She said the U.S. has seen the rise of numerous radical Muslim groups just since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Gabriel pointed to mass executions and stonings in Afghan soccer arenas by the Taliban, the al-Qaida beheading of Daniel Pearl, the terrorist beheadings of Nick Berg and 35 other people in just one year in Iraq and the horrific murders, rapes, abductions and church burnings carried out by Boko Haram in Nigeria.

“When you look at these different groups across the world, whether they are Al Shabab in Somalia, or Boko Haram in Nigeria, or Lashkar-e-Taiba in India, or Hamas in Gaza, or Hezbollah in Lebanon or al-Qaida, the name doesn’t matter,” she said. “They all are operating out of the same manual, sharing the same ideology and the same goal.”

Speaking of Hamas, Gabriel said the recently announced cease-fire in Gaza is nothing but a chance for the terrorists to regroup and eventually pose a greater threat than before.

“Israel has got to decapitate Hamas and destroy its infrastructure,” she said. “Otherwise, Hamas is going to come back stronger than ever. It may take them a year, two years, three years. They’re going to come back, and we’re going to see the same thing.”

“They Must Be Stopped” is New York Times bestselling author Brigitte Gabriel’s warning to the world: We can no longer ignore the growth of radical Islam – we must act soon, and powerfully.

Act for America is hosting its annual security conference in Washington, a three-day event beginning on Sept. 11. Gabriel said elected officials need to understand the gravity of the terrorist threat facing our country and the urgency with which it must be confronted. However, she said it’s up to the American people to make sure Washington takes notice and takes decisive action.

“The American public must come together and put pressure on our elected officials to throw political correctness in the garbage where it belongs and start speaking the truth about the threats we are facing,” Gabriel said. “(We need to) remind our elected officials as to the importance of securing the United States, securing American lives, protecting American cities and doing what is right to fight evil.”

Part of that, she said, is working to thwart the rise of home-grown terrorists. She said rudderless young people are especially attracted to the cause.

“What we’re suffering in the West today is the lack of structure in the family, the lack of guidance. Many families are broken. Young people feel disenfranchised,” Gabriel said. “What Islam offers is a way to tell you how to live your life, down to the simple things and to how many times you can wash your hands and how many times to pray and everything to that detail. That’s what they’re attracted to.

“A lot of people are also resentful of America. A lot of the youth are very easily drawn to very attractive recruitment videos on the Internet,” said Gabriel, noting that ISIS is even recruiting people most would consider the least likely to join its cause.

She said, “Right now ISIS is focused on recruiting women on the Internet, offering them safety and security and stability and a home life if they would come and marry a jihadist and take care of a jihadist’s needs.”



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