The Boston Terror Lessons
There is, of course, a lot of nonsense floating about with regard to terrorists Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — such as the claim by his mother that they’re “innocent” and were “framed” by the FBI.
And there is a great deal that is still unknown. It is being broadly assumed, for example, that these guys, who were involved in a shoot-out that left at least one dead are also the terrorists who set off the bombs at the Marathon, and yet I do not believe that this is known with any certainty.
But not only is there a great deal that is still to be exposed in this case, there are undoubtedly facts that will be kept from the public even if and when the authorities discover them. We are not exactly dealing with a nation that is “up-front” about jihad and Islamic threats. Not with the current obsession with political correctness and “Islamophobia” — and a president who has banned allusions to Islam with regard to terror attacks. To this day the Fort Hood massacre has never been identified as the Islamic terrorism that it was.
What is known about these two brothers, Tamerlan, 26, dead and Dzhokhar, 19, in critical condition in the hospital, is that their origins are Chechan — Chechnya Republic being a mostly Sunni Muslim region in the southern part of Russia, in the Caucasus, that has battled for independence and has a history of terrorism and violence associated with its separatist movement.
The brothers received early schooling in neighboring Dagestan, which, as the JPost describes it, “was drawn into Chechnya’s violence and has since become the focal point for a simmering Islamist insurgency.”
It is, however, roughly ten years since the family moved from Dagestan to Cambridge MA.
There was some speculation at the beginning about the brothers having visited Chechnya a year ago and perhaps having gone to Afghanistan or Pakistan — places where, reportedly, many Chechans go — and receiving radical terrorist or military training in one of these places. But I’m not seeing confirmation of this speculation, and it is now being said that the two likely acted on their own.
So, what the hell was going on, that motivated these two brothers to act as they allegedly did? Why, it is being asked, did they bring the Chechnya liberation battle to the US?
The answer to this is the “ikar” — the very heart of what must be understood now by America: It has nothing to do with Chechnya. There is a generation of home-grown radicals in the US that has been highly motivated to violence by the Internet. Muslims themselves, they are heavily influenced by Muslim terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, but do not act directly as agents of these groups.
See, first, this April 20 Agence France article carried by IMRA, which says the following (emphasis added):
“The two brothers suspected of the Boston bombings, Chechens who grew up in America, fit the profile of a new generation of jihadists who are radicalized online and strike in their home countries.
“Despite the many unknowns, analysts said the brothers’ turn to extremism seemed to have been stoked, not by the years of unrest in their native North Caucasus region of Russia, but on the Internet.
“‘The Chechnya issue is less relevant than the radicalization process,’ said Seth Jones, associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation, a Washington think tank.
“‘It seems the issue here is less that they conducted training in camps or not and radicalized in Chechnya, and more that they were involved in a social media radicalization,’ he said.
“…Bayram Balci, a Caucasus region specialist at the Carnegie Endowment think tank in Washington, said the uprooting of young people at an early age can make them more vulnerable to being radicalized in later years.
“…Fiona Hill, a Caucasus specialist at the Brookings Institution think tank, said the conflict in Chechnya is used as a recruiting tool for al-Qaida.
“‘Videos from Chechnya are all over the Internet. They’re constantly packaged as part of the al-Qaida network recruitment,’ she said.
“Frank Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University, said there were many examples of people wanting to fight for al-Qaida in their own country.
“…The bombs used in Boston, pressure cookers filled with explosives, reflect the methods advocated by Inspire, the English language magazine published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the movement’s Yemeni offshoot, which has also urged aspiring jihadists to launch attacks in their own countries.
“Brian Jenkins, author of a Rand study on the profile of jihadists in the United States, said 74 percent of those involved in such plots were American citizens…
“Many of the jihadists identified…began their journey toward radicalization on the Internet where they found resonance and reinforcement for their frustration and anger…”
For the record, in case any of you missed it, there has been a host of articles about the association of Tamerlan with radical websites and radical statements by him on social network sites.
Washington DC-based anti-terrorist Steve Emerson had a good deal of information on this up on his website by last Friday.
In her piece, “All Terrorism is Connected,” Shoshana Bryen, director of the Jewish Policy Center, further connects the dots.
“There is a temptation with each act of terror to see it as isolated, connected to the mental state of the actor, but not to larger forces. The FBI used to have theories about ‘Sudden Jihad Syndrome’ and ‘Lone Wolves’ that were not only wrong, but also pulled law enforcement off the track.
“‘Sudden Jihad Syndrome’ was invented by the FBI to explain why people who lived quietly in the United States for some period of time ‘suddenly’ went berserk and killed others.”
Writes Bryen, “There is no unconnected terrorism.”:
She cites specific factors that appear to move some people — primarily young men — to radical, violent activity. Among these she mentions Salafist ideology that combines Islam with a determination to solve problems through violence, and “inspiration” provided by al-Qaeda.
Bryen, of course, mentions the influence of the Internet, which she sees as “an enabler, providing an anonymous virtual meeting place. Sites other than mosques can provide the sense of community otherwise isolated people may be seeking.”
She also shares with us the fact that:
“For the unremarkable conclusion that professional jihadists use the Internet to find susceptible people with self-identity problems seeking causes, and that even those people often drop out of the process at several points, the NYPD was called ‘racist’ and ‘Islamophobic.'”
And thus, at one and the same time, Bryen identifies America’s current very problematic proclivity towards avoiding hard truths, and what may well be the route taken by the Tsarnaev brothers.
It comes together neatly: I cited Bayram Balci, above, as saying that people uprooted at an early age are more susceptible to radicalism later. And here Bryen speaks about people with self-identity problems being courted by professional jihadists on the Internet.
It has been widely publicized that on a social media network said Tamerlan said he had no American friends: “I don’t understand them.” This, after years in the country.
Dr. Michael Widlanski, in “Terror Never Left America’s Shores,” examines the fallacious thinking and dangerous policies of the Obama administration with regard to terrorism. Americans ignore this at their own risk. Widlanski says (emphasis added):
“Terror did not return to America at the Boston Marathon, because terror never left.
“There have been more anti-US attacks and abortive attacks (not including Iraq and Afghanistan) in the last four years than in the previous seven years after 9-11.
“This is not a statistic that is widely cited at government briefings, in the main news media nor on most college campuses, because [the US] government, media and educational elites would like to pretend that the terror problem ended with Osama Bin-Laden.
“‘People shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts,’ asserted President Barack Obama, but he and his top aides have spent the better part of the last two years on a mistaken conclusion.
“They have pretended that there really was no terror problem, but only an Al-Qaeda problem, and that that problem was solved because, they said, Bin-Laden’s death was a death blow for terror.
“They were wrong then, and they are wrong now, dead wrong. Terrorists often send us reminders just when we think we have beaten them.
“…There is no substitute for the tough and painstaking collection of intelligence and grinding work on the ground.
“President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and other officials in the Obama Administration have done their best to inhibit the collection of such intelligence, while they have at the same time launched probes or proceedings aimed at counter-terror warriors in the CIA and the top units of the US military.
“America was kept safe by some of that same intelligence that was gathered earlier, including massive planned attacks on Los Angeles and London. Some of that same data gathered in interrogations also led to Osama Bin-Laden himself. Yet, those efforts have ended, and American intelligence has been coasting on previous efforts.
“Meanwhile, Obama and his crew pushed the idea that America should worry more about hate crimes against Muslims and Arabs than terror by Muslims and Arabs.
“Simply put, FBI crime statistics from the last eight years show that this idea is nonsense. America does not have a problem of hate crimes against Muslims.
“…The first step in fighting terror is to realize that there is a terror problem that requires a major national effort, but some of our top “experts” on terror—especially in the Obama Administration—treat terrorists like they were business rivals.
There is a great deal of information that has yet to be acquired concerning what happened in Boston. But it’s not too soon to ask some hard questions about what America’s top policy-makers have learned — are OPEN to learning — with regard to terrorism.
The beginning comes with naming the enemy. Islam — or jihadist radical Islam — is at the center of the terrorist problem. To say so is not prejudicial — it is a simple statement of fact.
Then it is necessary to take a hard look at how potential terror threats are monitored and responded to. As Widlanski makes clear, the best of intelligence must be gathered. And those who are fighting the good fight must be supported in their efforts, not undercut in the name of political correctness.
There are a host of hard questions to be asked regarding the fact that the FBI had information on these guys and yet missed the boat somehow with regard to comprehending their potential danger.
Already law makers are asking some hard questions in this regard.
“‘If he was on their radar and they let him go…why wasn’t a flag put on him?’ Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said on CNN…”
“…’The ball was dropped,’ said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) also on CNN. ‘The FBI missed a lot of things…There was a lot to be learned from this guy. We’re at war with radical Islamists and we need to up our game.'”
I close here with a link to an extremely serious analysis by Clare Lopez of the “History of the Muslim Brotherhood Penetration of the U.S. Government”:
“Given the long history of Muslim Brotherhood activity in this country, its declared objective to ‘destroy the Western civilization from within,’ and the extensive evidence of successful influence operations at the highest levels of the U.S. government, it is urgent that we recognize this clear and present danger that threatens not only our Republic but the values of Western civilization.
“…This report describes how the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrated and suborned the U.S. government to actively assist, whether knowingly or not, the mission of its grand jihad. Its hard-won position at the forefront of the 21st century Islamic Awakening is possible only because of decades of patient infiltration and political indoctrination (Da’wa) in the West, and especially the United States of America, even as the grassroots work of building an organizational structure advanced steadily in the land of its origin as well. It is important to recognize the sophistication of the Brotherhood’s international strategy and how the takedown of U.S. national security defenses from within was critical to the current Middle East-North Africa (MENA) campaign to re-establish the Caliphate and enforce Islamic Law (shariah).”
Lopez names names of those with close Muslim Brotherhood affiliation who have penetrated the US government:
Rashad Hussain…”the Obama administration’s envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).”
Muhammed Magid…”an A-list invitee to White House iftar dinners, and a member of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Advisory Council. In that capacity, Magid participated in a July 2012 CIA training session…”
Huma Abedin…who was “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff, has served her in various capacities since first coming to the White House as an intern in 1996…For decades, she and members of her immediate family — mother, father, brother, and sister — have been closely associated with individuals among the top ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qa’eda financial support organizations, and the Saudi royal family.”
She then concludes:
“As we can see, as early as the George W. Bush administration period, the Muslim Brotherhood already had achieved an information dominance that, in coming years, would only intensify. Not only did figures associated and identified with the Muslim Brotherhood achieve broad penetration at senior levels of U.S. policymaking, but voices that warned of their true agenda (such as Stephen Coughlin’s) were actively excluded. That information dominance has contributed to startling consequences, most evident in the U.S. policy towards the al-Qa’eda and Muslim Brotherhood-dominated revolutions that many call the “Arab Spring,” but which in fact are more accurately termed an “Islamic Awakening.” Under the Muslim Brotherhood-influenced Obama administration, U.S. policy has undergone such a drastic shift in the direction of outright support for these jihadist movements — from al-Qa’eda militias in Libya, to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and both al-Qa’eda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked rebels in Syria — that it is scarcely recognizable as American any more.
“…Given the long history of Muslim Brotherhood activity in this country, its declared objective to ‘destroy the Western civilization from within,’ and the extensive evidence of successful influence operations at the highest levels of the U.S. government, it is urgent that we recognize this clear and present danger that threatens not only our Republic but the values of Western civilization.”