Tag Archives: New York

Pay Attention to what the Jihadists Say

by Christopher W. Holton

For those, such as the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Michael McCaul, who take comfort in the repeated individual jihadi attacks such as occurred in New York City as a sign of the weakness of our enemies, we can only point out that they have not done their homework and studied what the Jihadists have said…

Successful jihad will only happen within an ummah [Islamic nation or community] in which the fighting creed is firmly established and clarified. This must happen in order to attain the “Revolutionary Jihadist Climate” that will spontaneously give rise to instruments of resistance.

Violent jihad is as an individual duty obligatory upon every Muslim. All the ulema have said this…”

The Call to Global Islamic Resistance
Abu Musab al-Suri
Al Qaeda propagandist
Captured in Pakistan 2005

We fight them for the sake of incidents to cause political pressure and psychological collapse, so that they leave our lands. Carrying out a small operation every month against the enemy will have more of an impact on him than a big operation every year or two.

Toward a New Strategy in Resisting the Occupier
Muhammad Khalil al-Hakaymah
Al Qaeda Chief of External Operations
Killed by US air strike in Pakistan in 2008

More on the Jihad Threat this Christmas and New Year’s Season

by Christopher W. Holton


Both the Islamic State and Al Qaeda have issued audio, video or online threats to attack the West this Christmas.

These threats focus on European population centers, such as Paris and London, and New York City in America, though the possibility of Jihadi attacks in other places in the West can certainly not be discounted. History has shown that places as diverse geographically as Brussels, Berlin and San Bernardino have all been targeted, especially at Christmas time.

Lone Wolf or Individual Jihad?

The possible attacks in the West could take the form of organized, planned attacks directed from Jihadi leaders overseas or inside Europe or America, or they could be carried out by individuals “inspired” by Jihadist ideology.

Ironically, very often, Western media and officials seem to take some form of weird comfort when a deadly attack ends up being the work of an individual jihadi, as opposed to an organized cell or affiliate of a known terrorist group.

In reality, the opposite should be the case.

First of all, none of the Jihadist groups–Islamic State, Al Qaeda, HAMAS, Hezbollah, the Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, Lashkar e Taiba, Ansar al-Sharia, Abu Sayyef, Jemaah Islamiyeh–issue membership cards or wear uniforms. So a case can be made that classification of an attacker as “inspired” or “directed” could be a distinction without a difference.

But there is a difference between a cell such as the 19 hijackers who carried out the September 11 attacks after training and planning conducted by Al Qaeda’s leadership and infrastructure, and the husband and wife team who shot up a Christmas party of people they knew and worked with in San Bernardino. (Though it is vital that we understand that their acts are based on the same Islamic doctrine and they are tied together by the same Jihadist ideology.)

So which flavor of Jihadi is more dangerous?

If you’re on the receiving end of an attack, it makes no difference to you, but by casualty count, the cell would appear to pose a greater threat. On the other hand, the inspired attacks seem to happen much more frequently.

A case can be made that individual Jihadis pose a greater challenge for our intelligence and law enforcement communities.

Cells have to be organized, trained and communicated back and forth with. All of this provides opportunities for detection and even infiltration.

Individual jihadis don’t offer any of these potential vulnerabilities. One can infiltrate a cell, especially one in which members are using cell phones and email to contact each other and leaders elsewhere. How does one infiltrate one guy, like the Chattanooga, Tennessee shooter, the Orlando shooter or the Uzbeki vehicle jihad attacker in New York City?

If the individual jihadi isn’t communicating with others and no one is aware of his or her plans, how are our intelligence and law enforcement assets supposed to detect them “left of bang” (before the attack)?

Unfortunately, here in the West, and the U.S. in particular, we have failed to even properly identify the nature of the threat. A popular term in Western vernacular to describe the threat of individual jihad is the term “lone wolf.”

The term “lone wolf” does not appear in Islamic doctrine, nor is it part of any Jihadist group ideology.

What is part of Islamic doctrine and Jihadist ideology is the concept of Jihad as an individual obligation. So what we have been seeing around the world are acts of individual jihad based on Islamic doctrine and Jihadist ideology. Given the basis for these attacks, they are not “senseless violence.” We can explain and understand these attacks based upon Islamic doctrine and Jihadist ideology.

Most importantly, the wave of individual jihadi attacks in recent years is all part of plans articulated by Jihadi ideologues:

Successful jihad will only happen within an ummah [Islamic nation or community] in which the fighting creed is firmly established and clarified. This must happen in order to attain the “Revolutionary Jihadist Climate” that will spontaneously give rise to instruments of resistance.

 Violent jihad is as an individual duty obligatory upon every Muslim. All the ulema have said this…”

The Call to Global Islamic Resistance
Abu Musab al-Suri
Al Qaeda propagandist
Captured in Pakistan 2005

We are now seeing this “Revolutionary Jihadist Climate” in the West as evidenced by the rise of seemingly spontaneous acts of Jihad carried out by individual Muslims with no known direct contacts with Jihadist organizations.

It is this threat that we are most likely to see this Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your Local Jihadi

Warnings in Jihadist literature and on Jihadi social media aren’t meant to give us a heads up. They are meant to inspire individual Jihadis to rise up and attack, in this case during the Christmas season. If recent history is any indication, we will see an act of deadly jihad somewhere in the West as a result of these communications.

The Christmas and New Year season is a particularly high-risk period as it offers unusually large numbers of potentially high-value and high-casualty targets, not just in places like New York, London, Paris and Berlin, but in just about every major city in the West.

The holiday season brings large crowds at sporting events, Christmas celebrations and ceremonies, churches, parks, restaurants and other gathering locations. In addition, the holiday season is also characterized by high volumes of leisure travel leading to large numbers of travellers in airports and train depots. The vast number of potential targets makes it virtually impossible for homeland security and law enforcement agencies to deploy enough personnel to successfully prevent every possible attack.

The Western holiday season is particularly attractive to Islamic jihadists because any successful attack, even a minor one, becomes a propaganda victory that can inspire others to follow suit and aid in Jihadist organization recruitment (despite what the U.S. government has said, Jihadis don’t recruit based on the prison at Gitmo; they recruit based on their successful attacks).

Jihadists have repeatedly demonstrated their will and capacity to plan and execute attacks during high-profile events. The Nice (July 216), Berlin (December 2016) and Manchester (May 2017) attacks show how individual jihadis and small cells can successfully carry out mass-casualty attacks. Despite their resounding defeats in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State continues to benefit from supporters in the West, which means there is a greater risk of terrorist attacks in the West during the holiday season.

We are most likely to see vehicle jihad using large trucks, knife jihad (stabbings) and shooting attacks, but improvised explosive device (IED) attacks are certainly also a possibility using pressure cookers (Boston marathon bombing), fertilizer and diesel fuel (1993 World Trade Center bombing) or propane tanks (failed Time Square VBIED attack).

This is why intelligence services and foreign service offices continue to issue bulletins almost on a daily basis for Europe. As Christmas nears, we should expect to see such alerts issued for major events in the U.S. as well.

U.S. Terrorism Sentencing Needs to be Overhauled


by Christopher W. Holton

Embedded in a story in The Philadelphia Tribune touting 15-year sentences for some Jihadis convicted on terrorism charges is the revelation that U.S. terrorism sentencing is ridiculously lightweight.

Consider this quotes from the article:

The majority of terrorism defendants in the United States who have been sentenced for supporting the Islamic State group received the maximum 15 years in prison, according to a summary filed Friday by federal prosecutors in Minnesota.

The report looked at sentencing data of Islamic State-related cases over the last two years and focused on material support convictions, not sentences for convictions such as lying during a terror investigation.

Some of the cases cited in the report are similar to the Minnesota cases: In two separate cases, a Texas man got nearly seven years and a Georgia man got 15 years after they were arrested while trying to leave the U.S. A New Jersey man received 15 years after planning to join the Islamic State group himself and helping his brother successfully make the trip abroad.

Davis has been open-minded when it comes to sentencing terror defendants in Minnesota, and has pioneered a program that’s designed to assess a defendant’s prospects for de-radicalization and risk of re-offense. He has said he plans to use that information in sentencing.

What all this means is that, short of being convicted on conspiracy to commit murder overseas, the MAXIMUM sentence that someone convicted on terrorism-related charges can expect to serve is 15 years. In some cases, a felon convicted on terrorism-related charges will serve just a few years in prison.

Note that the judge mentioned in the article linked below is going to depend on a so-called “deradicalization” program to help him with determining sentencing.


15 years in prison is ridiculously light for anyone associated with supporting violent Jihad, especially the Islamic State. The even shorter sentences are obviously much too light. Our experience has shown that there is an even chance that a prisoner will be exposed to MORE Jihadi doctrine in prison, rather than being “rehabilitated.”

The first thing that needs to happen is that sentencing for terrorism charges, especially material support for terrorism, need to be lengthened, perhaps doubled.

But there is another measure that needs to be taken to account for all the Jihadis who are in prison who have already received light sentencing: New York State Senator Thomas D. Croci has introduced a bill that would establish the New York State Terrorist Registry:


The registry would work similar to the current sex offender registry. Right now, when a convicted sex offender moves into a jurisdiction he must register with the local sheriff.

The terror registry would work the same way. Those convicted on terror related charges would have to register with local law enforcement in the same manner.

The bill hasn’t passed in New York and may not, but other states need to pick up this idea and make it happen.

State and local law enforcement need to know if a terrorist is living in their midst.

New York Times Square Car Bomb Bulletin

By now, most readers of Terror Trends Bulletin know that a car bomb was discovered in New York’s Times Square last night. It was discovered just as it was fizzling out after failing to detonate.

Just as was the case with the “Fruit of the Boom Underwear Bomber” over the skies of Detroit on Christmas Day, America was saved from a terrible attack only by the incompetence of its enemies. This illustrates the inadequacy of emphasizing security measures as the chief means of defending ourselves against Jihad. He who tries to defend everything defends nothing. Sooner or later, we will be forced to confront our enemies’ threat doctrine and take a much wider and more comprehensive approach to defending ourselves.

Unfortunately, I feel that things will have to get much worse before America confronts the ongoing and longstanding threat from Jihad.

The bomb in Times Square was located inside a Nissan Pathfinder SUV and was made up of two 5-gallon gasoline containers, M-88 firecrackers, three propane tanks and a metal box which contained what appeared to be fertilizer. Press reports make no mention of shrapnel or other explosives. This appears to be a bomb that was designed to create a fireball. But it also was a bomb that seems to have had some missing components.

For instance, the fertilizer was either not of a type that could be made to explode or else it was not soaked in kerosene or diesel fuel to prepare it for ignition. It is difficult to perceive how this device was supposed to work, though we are certain that NYPD is not releasing all details of its make up, so it is impossible to know.

Unfortunately, press reports are repeatedly quoting New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who referred to the device as “amateurish.” This is a classic case of a politician with no real knowledge making a statement that was certainly not helpful. The reason why this label is unhelpful is because it tends to downplay the seriousness of this attempt. Moreover, the use of propane (or butane or acetylene) tanks in conjunction with conventional explosives is a common and very lethal methodology for VBIEDs (Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices). A large version of this was used in the October 23rd, 1983, bomb which killed 241 US servicemen in Beirut, Lebanon.

Propane tanks have also been used in IEDs in Iraq. Moreover, the use of household goods, such as those used in this device, is a method used by Jihadists in London previously. Except for the M-88 firecrackers, everything mentioned in the NYPD press conference is available at WalMart.

Had this bomb detonated, no one would have been referring to it as “amateurish.” We were very fortunate that something went awry in the detonation process because, given the crowded streets in Times Square at the time, there is every possibility that this bomb could have caused a lot of casualties, including horrific burns on victims in the area.

We should not assume that just because this bomb fizzled and appeared to be assembled incorrectly that it was not the work of Jihadists. Jihadists planted two bombs very similar to this one in the UK in 2007. The bombs were placed in parked cars near areas with high pedestrian traffic and included petrol cans and propane tanks. Just as in Times Square last night, passer-bys noticed smoke and fumes coming from one of the vehicles and called authorities in to take care of the matter. So just because the bomb failed does not mean that it wasn’t planted by a “real terrorist.” All it means is that it was planted by a terrorist who wasn’t up to speed on demolitions.

Keep in mind that this bomb contained three propane tanks. Here is an indication of the fire created by a single propane tank exploding (in this case, the handiwork of some really incredibly moronic individuals):


In his press conference on Sunday afternoon, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly indicated that they may have video footage from surveillance cameras of an individual associated with the Nissan Pathfinder. There are also reports that police were able to collect fingerprints at the scene. Why would a bomber leave fingerprints?

Remember, the guy who planted that bomb figured on it blowing up and burning. He wasn’t worried about fingerprints on the Nissan or any of the component parts. Fortunately, he screwed up and pedestrians in Times Square were spared from incineration.

As for the Nissan Pathfinder, the Connecticut license plates mounted on it were not registered to it, but to a Ford truck. There are conflicting stories about the Ford truck. Press reports indicated that the owner of the Ford claimed that he sent it to a junkyard for disposal long ago. But Commissioner Kelly stated in his press conference that the Ford truck was in for “repairs.” There may be further developments associated with this aspect of the investigation.

At this point there is no way to determine conclusively who planted this bomb. The Pakistan Taliban released a video claiming responsibility in retaliation for the recent killing of Al Qaeda leaders in Iraq, but the Pakistan Taliban have claimed responsibility for incidents in the past that they were clearly not associated with. It should be noted, however, that Jihadist groups are different from the terrorist groups of the 1970s and 1980s, like Baader-Meinhoff, the Provo IRA and the Red Brigades, in that they don’t necessarily feel compelled to lay claim to their work, at least not immediately on the heels of an attack. Their outlook is different in that they are not doing this to “terrorize” us, they are doing it because they are at war with us and this is but one operation in a long, civilizational, global war.

One thing that makes us feel that there may be some credence to the Taliban’s claim of responsibility was the promptness of that claim. Using the news aggregator NewsNow.co.uk, we determined that the first NEWS report of the Taliban claim was by the British Channel 4 at 0341hrs Central Daylight Time. This means that the Taliban would have had to released that video just a few hours after the incident. It seems unlikely that they would have been able to do so in such a short time frame without prior knowledge of the incident. So, even though there is no “evidence” of Taliban involvement, that doesn’t mean that the Taliban weren’t involved in some way.

There are also reports of video surveillance indicating that a possible suspect seen nearby was identified as “white.” Again, this does not mean that this wasn’t a Jihadist operation. The leader of the Jihadi cell in North Carolina that was plotting to infiltrate and attack Marine Corps Base Quantico was blonde-haired and blue-eyed. John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban, was white as well.

For his part, Senator Charles Schumer of New York has already declared that this was almost surely the work of a “lone wolf.” Once again, we have a case of an ignorant politician opening his mouth in a vacuum of knowledge. What Schumer based his statement on is unclear, but no one else in New York or Washington DC is saying anything like that about a motive or suspect in this case.

There are many obvious reasons why a Jihadist group might want to target Times Square on a Saturday night, but none more significant than the fact that the area is teaming with people on a spring night. The fact that Viacom’s headquarters is nearby may or may not be a motive (Viacom is the owner of South Park, the cartoon which did a spoof on Mohammed recently). One would think that, had the terrorists been targeting Viacom, they would have done so during normal business hours. The same goes for the big armed forces recruiting center nearby.

We will continue to track developments as they occur.

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