Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fox in the Hen House: Allowing Terrorists to Re-enter Prisons

Steven Emerson, Executive Director
June 28, 2017

Fox in the Hen House: Allowing Terrorists to Re-enter Prisons

by Patrick Dunleavy
Special to IPT News
June 28, 2017
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Recent articles by the IPT and other news organizations have addressed the growing concerns regarding the upcoming release of over a hundred inmates convicted of terrorism related crimes. Experts have spoken on the lack of a bona fide strategy that will address the unique security issues presented when a terrorist is released. The need for post release specialized supervision programs is clear.
The one idea that should not be on the table is to allow them to re-enter prisons to speak with inmates as a religious volunteer. Yet this is exactly what has happened in the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) for the last two years.
Edwin Lorenzo Lemmons, also known as Asad al Salaam, is an employee of the Muslim Chaplain Services of Virginia. He is licensed in the state as an Islamic clergyman authorized to perform marriages and other religious ceremonies. He has been issued a statewide pass to enter any VADOC facility and speak with inmates. He is currently teaching a class in Arabic for inmates. He is also an ex-offender. While that in itself is not unusual, many ex-offenders, in a desire to give back and help others in similar situations, have successfully done so. This particular ex-offender, Edwin Lorenzo Lemmons, (FBI # 939113RA3), is quite unique.
Lemmons' criminal history began in a small rural community in upstate New York. His parents had sent him there from Chicago in hopes of protecting him from the scourge of gang violence and drugs. His first arrest occurred when he was a teenager, and for the next two years he amassed charges ranging from DUI to Burglary, Assault, and finally, Robbery. The last charge resulted in his being sentenced to a term of 2-4 years in a New York State prison. Upon his entrance to a Reception and Classification facility in April of 1996, he declared his religion as Christian. A few months later, after meeting with several inmates of Middle Eastern descent, one, a former Colonel in the Yemeni army and the other, a member of Hamas, Mr. Lemmons informed his counselor that he was changing his religious affiliation to Islam. Following that development, he began to attend Arabic classes taught by another inmate in the Cayuga Correctional Facility The inmate teacher's name was Abdel Nasser Zaben.
Abdel Zaben, a Palestinian, was born in Jordan in 1969. He illegally entered the United States in 1990, arrested by the NYPD in 1993 for Kidnapping and Robbery, and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Zaben was also the target of an investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force who had received confidential information that he had sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden and was recruiting disenfranchised inmates to his group for training and to fight in the Jihad. At the time he first met with Edwin Lemmons, Zaben worked as a clerk for the prison's Islamic Chaplain . For the next two years he tutored Lemmons in both Arabic and the Koran. When the time for Lemmons' release from prison drew near, inmate Zaben provided him with names and contact information of individuals in the Middle East who would assist Lemmons in his travel and studies.
Following his release, in the fall of 1998, Lemmons had his parole supervision transferred to Florida, and enrolled in the Islamic Center of Gainesville. In March 2000, Lemmons made his first trip overseas to the Middle East. Upon his return from Jordan through New York's JFK Airport and then on to Gainesville, Florida, he approached the president of the Islamic center and asked about fighting in the jihad overseas. The then-president, Mohamed Bahmaid, in an interview with members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, stated that he tried to discourage Lemmons from any future overseas travel. Lemmons did not heed his advice. Four months later Lemmons made another trip overseas, this time to Egypt. He stayed for three months and while there, according to a reliable source who knew both Lemmons and Zaben, he received "underground tactical training."
Later, while under surveillance by the JTTF, Lemmons was observed at a firing range in Melbourne, Florida with two other individuals, firing AK 47's and SKS assault rifles. They were practicing tactical maneuvers known as "cover & concealment." In addition, authorities received credible information from a reliable source that described Lemmons as someone with extremist Islamic views similar to that of the Taliban. Lemmons himself admitted to extremist views in a recorded conversation with inmate Abdel Zaben. The majority of Lemmon's conversations with Zaben were in Arabic and required the use of government translators. The translators often remarked as to the skill and scholarly approach to the language that Lemmons had acquired. That development caused concern with investigators in June 2003 when monitoring a conversation between Lemmons and Zaben. Lemmons kept saying over and over to Zaben that he needed to learn how to say "Big Truck" in Arabic. He was fluent in Arabic and knew precisely how to say those words. Why was he repeating the phrase, "Big Truck"? Investigators believed this was a coded message about a possible future attack that Lemmons was to be involved with.
That is why on September 6, 2003, members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Lemmons in the Orlando airport as he returned from yet another trip to the Middle East. He was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. But this was no ordinary gun case. This was the result of a joint investigation dubbed "Operation Hades" which included investigators from my Office, the NYPD, the NYSP, and the JTTF. The goal of the investigation was to determine the level of Islamic radicalization in the prison system both here and abroad and also to identify and neutralize any radicalizing influences.
Lemmons was only one of the many radicals we uncovered.
As a result of his plea arrangement, he received a sentence of twenty seven months in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was released from prison on May 12, 2006. He continued to have contact with Abdel Zaben and other individuals in the Middle East whom he met during his travels. He has never recanted his extremist views.
The question arises as to why the Muslim Chaplains Services of Virginia would hire someone holding such extremist views. Perhaps they were unaware of Lemmons' background, or perhaps they share the same beliefs as Mr. Lemmons. The MCSVA is a non-profit organization incorporated in 2003 whose stated mission is "to serve incarcerated individuals, ex-offenders, and their families." To accomplish that goal, MCSVA has received funding from various organizations including the Islamic Relief (IRUSA), an organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Its former global affiliate and current partner organization Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) was banned from operating in Israel on allegations the charity funneled funds to Hamas. Later the same year, the United Arab Emirates declared IRW to be a terrorist group.
One of the MCSVA board members, Sa'ad El-Amin, pled guilty to Tax Fraud and sentenced to 37 months in a federal prison. Adding to this, MCSVA is now employing an individual who was radicalized in prison and has spoken of fighting and dying for jihad, namely Edwin Lorenzo Lemmons, also known as Asad al Salaam
Allowing an individual with such radical Islamic views to meet, teach, and influence a particularly vulnerable group of society, incarcerated men and women, is in direct opposition to the FBI's Correctional Intelligence Initiative which seeks to detect, deter, and disrupt the level of violent extremism and radicalization in correctional institutions. It specifically speaks of preventing un-vetted religious clergy and volunteers with extremist views from any interaction with inmates. The DOJ Inspector General's Office has also spoken of this security concern. That inmates could be radicalized while incarcerated and then carry out terrorist attacks after release is a very real concern both here and in abroad.
It seems incredulous to me that, in light of the recent terrorist attacks in the UK and other European countries, carried out in part by individuals radicalized in prison, someone with Mr. Lemmons' background would be allowed to reenter a prison, let alone teach inmates.
When notified of Lemmons' well documented criminal activity since his release from a New York State prison, Melissa Welch, the Operations Support Manager for VADOC, whose office oversees religious volunteers, stated that the approval to allow Mr. Lemmons to visit and teach inmates in Virginia was granted by her predecessor in 2015. She went on to say that the agency is in the process of reviewing how Edwin Lemmons slipped through the cracks and what action VADOC will need to take to correct the security error.
Three crucial steps will be necessary to effectively neutralize this egregious security breach. First, Virginia Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke should immediately suspend Mr. Lemmons' authorization to enter any correctional facility. Second, an audit/investigation into how religious volunteers are vetted should be conducted, and changes made, to prevent individuals with prior convictions for terror related crimes to gain access to any correctional facility. And thirdly, a list of the names of all the inmates, both in custody or released, who attended any classes or services conducted by Mr. Lemmons should be forwarded to the National Joint Terrorism Task Force that has oversight for the Correctional Intelligence Initiative Program.
Failing to implement these steps will only increase the level of radicalizing influences in the U.S. prison system.
Allowing a fox into the hen house does irreparable harm to all. Allowing a terrorist back into prison will only do the same.
IPT Senior Fellow Patrick Dunleavy is the former Deputy Inspector General for New York State Department of Corrections and author of The Fertile Soil of Jihad. He currently teaches a class on terrorism for the United States Military Special Operations School.
The IPT accepts no funding from outside the United States, or from any governmental agency or political or religious institutions. Your support of The Investigative Project on Terrorism is critical in winning a battle we cannot afford to lose. All donations are tax-deductible. Click here to donate online. The Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation is a recognized 501(c)3 organization.  
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America Reviewing Norsat Contracts After Trudeau Approves China Takeover

America Reviewing Norsat Contracts After Trudeau Approves China Takeover

As expected, the United States is very worried about Justin Trudeau’s dangerous decision to let China take over Norsat.

The takeover, which Trudeau approved without a national security review, has caused outrage within Canada and the United States.

Now, the Pentagon has said they will be reviewing all of their contracts with Norsat.
As reported by the Globe & Mail, “The Pentagon’s re-evaluation could have serious repercussions for Norsat and its new Chinese owner, Hytera Communications Corp. of Shenzhen, China. Norsat sells communications equipment to branches of the U.S. military and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”
While Trudeau says he “consulted” with Washington about the Chinese takeover, he has not said who he consulted with – leading many people to believe he is lying once again.

A danger to Canada and our allies

Norsat has done sensitive work with the Canadian armed forces, the Pentagon, and some of our other NATO allies. As a result, the Chinese Communist Party could gain access to classified information, putting us and our allies at risk.

In his pathetic subservience to China, Trudeau ignores the fact that China is not an ally of Canada, and their political system and set of values are very different than ours.

As a result, Trudeau risks pushing away our closest ally and biggest trading partner – not to mention a country with similar values to us – in order to gain favour with a ruthless regime that won’t hesitate to betray us at the first opportunity.

That will have serious negative consequences for all of us.

That’s why Canadians need to keep spreading the word and speaking out against Trudeau’s ongoing efforts to sell us out. China is not our ally, and they are not our friend, and we will pay a heavy price if we forget that.

Because of Trudeau’s reckless and disloyal decision, NATO will have to cut all ties with Norsat, and prevent them from getting any contracts in the future. Otherwise we could find our own technology being used against us.

Thanks Justin.

Spencer Fernando
The elites want to hide their many failures behind political correctness, deception, and manipulation. We need to push back and spread the truth.
That’s why I write.
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ISIS Threat Leads To Heavy Canada Day Security Efforts

ISIS Threat Leads To Heavy Canada Day Security Efforts

While the Trudeau government does everything they can to pretend there’s no threat from ISIS or Islamist terrorism, most Canadians know that our country is unfortunately a target.

Now, a report from CTV News reveals that ISIS “explicitly named Canada” as a target for attack, along with the United States.

CTV says confirmation of the ISIS threat comes from a national security memo they obtained.
Here is a key part of the report:
“According to the memo, ISIS has warned Muslims to avoid markets and public gatherings in Canada, and threatened to use “explosives, vehicles and beheadings to kill crusaders.”
“Given the current threat environment it is increasingly necessary for law enforcement officers to be aware of possible suspicious incidents that may be indicative of pre-attack planning,” the memo says. “ The planning cycle of self-directed extremists is becoming increasingly shorter and subsequently more difficult to attack.”’
While officials say there are no specific threats against Canada Day, they are beefing up security just in case. In Ottawa, all available police officers will be on duty.

The report also says that dump trucks and concrete blocks will be set up to prevent the kind of attacks that have been seen across Europe.

It is good to see security officials taking increased measures to keep Canadians safe. That said, it is clear that ISIS is a growing threat to Canada, regardless of what our naive leaders say.

Spencer Fernando

Hizballah-linked Paraguayan is Charged in Miami in a Drug Conspiracy

Steven Emerson, Executive Director
June 28, 2017

Hizballah-linked Paraguayan is Charged in Miami in a Drug Conspiracy

by IPT News  •  Jun 27, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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A Paraguayan man with ties to Hizballah pleaded not guilty in Miami federal court on Monday, after being charged with conspiring to distribute massive amounts of cocaine to the United States, the Miami Herald reports.
Paraguay's authorities arrested Ali Issa Chamas in August at an international airport for attempting to smuggle 39 kilos of cocaine. Chamas was extradited to Miami in June and now awaits trial.
But Chamas' indictment failed to reference his intimate relationship to Hizballah associates and operatives.
Chamas is of Lebanese origin and lived in Paraguay over the last decade. In addition to Brazil and Argentina, Paraguay is part of the Tri-Border Area (TBA), a region that enables Hizballah to cultivate a major base of operations. With a large Muslim population featuring significant numbers of Hizballah sympathizers, the terrorist organization uses this area for recruitment, arms smuggling and drug trafficking, and logistics planning for terrorist operations.
The State Department has stated that the TBA remains "an important regional nexus of arms, narcotics, pirated goods, human smuggling, counterfeiting, and money laundering – all potential funding sources for terrorist organizations."
Hizballah also relies on legitimate businesses and front organizations in the region, diversifying its terrorist financing profile to generate a significant portion of its revenues from its Latin American operations.
With Venezuelan government help, the terrorist group continues to expand its presence and consolidate support in other Latin American countries. The Treasury Department revealed that Venezuela's Vice President Tareck El Aissami maintains intimate ties to Hizballah and helped coordinate narcotics shipments to drug cartels operating on the U.S. border, including Mexico's infamous Los Zetas. In 2011, Virginia prosecutors said that a Lebanese man helped the Mexican Los Zetas drug cartel smuggle of more than 100 tons of Colombian cocaine. The U.S. Treasury Department claimed that Hizballah benefitted financially from the criminal network.
The IPT accepts no funding from outside the United States, or from any governmental agency or political or religious institutions. Your support of The Investigative Project on Terrorism is critical in winning a battle we cannot afford to lose. All donations are tax-deductible. Click here to donate online. The Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation is a recognized 501(c)3 organization.  

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Terrorism in Iran: As Ye Reap ... |Caschetta at Jihad Watch

Terrorism in Iran: As Ye Reap ...

by A.J. Caschetta
Jihad Watch
June 16, 2017
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Telling ISIS and Iran apart is challenging sometimes.

Earlier this month, Iranian-born Islamic State (ISIS) operatives carried out a rare terrorist attack in Iran, a country where most of the terrorism is conducted by elements of the Iranian government against its own people. President Trump condemned the violence, but he also added "We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote."
The comment was quickly condemned in certain sectors of the media. Vox said the statement "eschews any moral or ethical high ground, let alone humanity." The Daily Mail called it "a diplomatic pouch full of Schadenfreude."
It may be difficult to suppress schadenfreude over Iran's falling victim to the particular brand of asymmetrical warfare it developed and then exported to the world. But hope is a better sentiment. Schadenfreude might feel good for a few minutes, but instead we should hope that the Iranian people will pause in their mourning to reflect on the situation in ways their leaders seem incapable of doing. For instance, showing zero self-awareness, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed the attacks on "terror sponsoring despots." Iran's terror proxy Hezbollah cited evidence of an "international, destructive plan."
We should hope that the Iranian people are struck with a collective epiphany: the grief they are currently experiencing has been inflicted by their government and its proxies upon Americans, Westerners and Jews since 1979 when Ruhollah Khomeini declared himself "Supreme Leader."

Iran's Islamic Republic invented modern suicide terrorism.
Ali Khamenei, the current "Supreme Leader," downplayed the ISIS attacks as "fireworks." He predicted that they will "have no effect on Iran," and declared them "too small to affect the will of the Iranian nation and its officials." Interestingly, he didn't mention the Iranian people.
The delicious if bitter irony to these "fireworks" in which five men and one woman simultaneously attacked the Iranian parliament and the shrine of Khomeini, was underscored by their use of suicide bombs (Khomeini being the inventor of suicide terrorism).
Between 1945 and 1979, there were no documented uses of suicide attacks anywhere in the world. The Japanese Kamikazes disappeared after World War II, but shortly after the Iranian Revolution, suicide terrorism first appeared when Khomeini's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) facilitated a suicide attack against the Iraqi embassy in Lebanon in 1981. Iran turned Lebanon's Bekaa Valley into the cradle of suicide terrorism, where it was passed on to the Palestinian terrorist groups, the PKK and others.
But Khomeini did more than bring suicide terrorism to the world. He turned it into a commodity.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini is singularly responsible for the emergence of modern suicide terrorism as we know it today.
Months into the Iran-Iraq war, before the Iraqi embassy bombing, Khomeini began using children as combatants. On October 30, 1980 a child warrior named Hossein Famideh allegedly crawled beneath an Iraqi tank and exploded a grenade, thwarting the Iraqi advance. Khomeini used the 13-year-old Famideh as a role model and built a culture of suicide terrorism. Soon a monument to Famideh was erected, and the boy's likeness was everywhere, on book bags, murals, posters, and stamps, along with Khomeini's invitation to follow Famideh's lead and "drink the nectar of martyrdom."
Islam is not monolithic. Like other religions, there are variations among sects and practitioners. But there can be no doubt that the version Khomeini foisted upon Iran is the enemy of the world. Khomeini's Islam is the official Islam of Iran, and he has been very clear about it for a very long time. In 1942 he wrote:
Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam councils against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: kill the unbelievers just as they would kill you all!...Islam says: kill them, put them to the sword!...Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you!...Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for Holy Warriors!
This version of Islam has brought Iran and the world to the current predicament.

According to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the November 2015 Paris terror attacks happened because Western countries "tried to use terrorism as a tool" in Syria, whatever that means.
Iranian government officials blame the US for the attack, making it even more difficult to feel their pain. But this is to be expected, and we should not let our contempt for the government spill over to the Iranian people. Iran also blamed the US for the November 13, 2015 ISIS attacks in Paris. Khomeini even blamed the US for the siege of the grand mosque in Mecca on November 20, 1979. Juhayman al-Utaybi and his followers, conducted that attack, but Khomeini blamed the "Great Satan" and stirred anti-American uprisings across the Muslim world.
So when Iranian ISIS suicide bombers targeted Khomeini's shrine, it was surely meant to send a message. Americans should resist indulging in pleasure over the tables turned.
Americans, including the president, aren't the only ones indulging. Joshua Davidovich at The Times of Israel observed that Israeli reaction to the attacks "vacillated drunkenly in the large gap between snot-nosed schadenfreude over a country that supports terror and genuine horror and concern." It's hard to be magnanimous to those who want us dead, and it's difficult to shake the impression of Iranian chickens coming home to roost, but schadenfreude will fade and concern will win out.
Back to hope. After 9/11, the Iranian regime cried crocodile tears for the dead while harboring bin Laden's family and other Al-Qaeda members, allegedly under "house arrest." But the people of Iran broke out in spontaneous demonstrations against Al-Qaeda, complete with home-made American flags and chants of "Death to the Terrorists" replacing the regime's preferred "Death to America." So threatened were the Mullahs, in fact, that the Basij was reportedly sent to attack protesters on the next night and police disbursed crowds thereby preventing more demonstrations.
We must retain our humanity even against enemies who have abandoned theirs.
Now, like so many of the victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism from Buenos Aires to Beirut and everywhere in between, the Iranian citizenry is engaged in the gruesome aftermath of a terrorist attack. After they have picked up pieces of human flesh from the 17 fatalities and cleaned up the mess, but before they rebuild what was destroyed, let's hope the Iranian people are overwhelmed by a wave of empathy for the suffering of thousands of victims of Iran's reign of terror.
And let's resist the tendency to indulge in schadenfreude. Rather than dwelling on the miserable symbolism in the attack, Americans and all victims of Iranian terrorism should instead show how we retain our humanity even against enemies who have abandoned theirs.
A.J. Caschetta is a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum and a senior lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Related Topics:  Iran, Terrorism  |  A.J. Caschetta