Tag Archives: ISIS

Mark Caserta: Isn’t it time to unite against domestic terrorism?

2 Dec

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Mark Caserta: FSP editor

12.2.16

 

It could be a tragic mistake to allow political clutter and post-election discourse to lower our guard to a very real and growing threat within the United States – domestic terrorism. And all the “walls” and “extreme vetting” we can muster won’t protect us from attackers already in the U.S.

Based on a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “Terror Threat Snapshot,” we could be facing one of the “worst years on record for homegrown Islamist extremism.” So far in 2016, 26 individuals in 13 states have been arrested for domestic terrorist-related activity, per the DHS.

In the snapshot, FBI Director James Comey estimates around 80 percent of his Bureau’s 1,000-plus active homegrown terrorist investigations can be traced to ISIS. Comey called the acts that account for that statistic “the greatest threat to the physical safety of Americans today.”

You may recall, just under a year ago, Comey revealed his agency had ongoing ISIS related investigations in every state of the union.

“We have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states,” Comey told a winter meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General. “This isn’t a New York phenomenon or a Washington phenomenon. This is all 50 states and in ways that are very hard to see,” he added.

Some of the major arrests listed in the snapshot are simply too close for comfort.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, a 35-year old U.S. citizen was arrested after attempting to hire a cell of terror operatives with a goal to ultimately launch attacks within the United States.

In Fairfax, Virginia, a 36-year old U.S. citizen and a police officer for the Washington Metro Transit Police was arrested for undisclosed, ISIS-related charges.

In Detroit, Michigan, a citizen who recently converted to Islam was arrested for “possessing a destructive device and acquiring explosive materials without a license.”

And, of course, just this week in Columbus, Ohio, a student who had complained about how Muslims were portrayed in the media injured 11 people with a car and knife attack in what police believe may have been an act of terror.The “takeaways” from the DHS report are no less alarming.

ISIS’ message continues to resonate with American citizens as more extremists plot attacks on American soil and attempt to travel overseas to join the terror group.

ISIS has targeted the West at an alarming rate, marked by a recent surge in ISIS-linked plots to attack U.S. and allied interests abroad.

ISIS and al Qaeda continue to take advantage of safe havens to consolidate their power and territory, as well as plan attacks.

Guantanamo Bay detainees are continuing to return to the fight to replenish the ranks of jihadist organizations.

Please understand, I’m not advocating we live our lives in constant fear. The ultimate purpose of terrorism, beyond obvious destruction and mayhem, is to rattle our lifestyle, widening the path for an insurgence of the Islamic Caliphate and Sharia law within our Western culture.

But, I believe it’s a reasonable assumption domestic terrorist attacks will escalate as the new administration and our allies begin to heighten the attacks on ISIS abroad. We must remain vigilant and in a perpetual state of preparedness. See something, say something.

It’s paramount that we unite against the threat of domestic terrorism.

ISIS isn’t concerned with our political affiliation.

 

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger and a Cabell County resident.

Mark Caserta: We must accept Trump’s challenge on radical Islam

27 Aug

It’s truly this election…or never

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  • Aug 26, 2016

GOP presidential nominee Donald John Trump is laying down the gauntlet against radical Islamic terrorism and asking Americans to accept his challenge.

Last week, in Youngstown, Ohio, Trump likened the fight against terrorism to the Cold War and the battle against Nazism and laid out his plan advocating a “new screening test for the threats we face today,” calling it “extreme vetting extreme, extreme vetting.”

Trump’s plan calls for all immigrants to be subjected to tests for a commitment to U.S. values, including religious freedom and tolerance. He added we would assess our allies based on their commitment to defeat “radical Islam.”

“All actions should be oriented around this goal, and any country which shares this goal will be our ally,” Trump declared. “Very important – some don’t share this goal. We cannot always choose our friends but we can never fail to recognize our enemies.”

Trump was most likely imputing our commander-in-chief, who is so apologetic for the Muslim faith he won’t even utter words insinuating radical Islam. And incredibly, we have a Democrat presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, willing to perpetuate protecting Islam over the lives of Americans.

Given the president has no greater responsibility than to ensure the safety and security of the American people, how can either one of these individuals be qualified to lead our country? Despite the obvious, neither seems to believe our nation’s borders are at risk!

Both Obama and Hillary are determined to bring thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States without properly vetting them.

Top U.S. officials have already admitted concern that a potential terrorist could be hiding among refugees looking for asylum in the U.S. as reported in a February 2015 column by Justin Fishel and Mike Levine on ABC.com.

And FBI Director James Comey and the nation’s top intelligence officials already have admitted we simply don’t have the information in our nation’s data base to properly vet these individuals.

“We can only query against that which we have collected,” Comey said before the House Homeland Security Committee in 2015. “We can query our database till the cows come home, but there’ll be nothing show up, because we have no record on that person.”

But even then, it’s a red herring. As reported in a November 2015 column by Kerry Picket of “The Daily Caller,” the Obama administration is limiting the scope of query to focus on “behavior,” rather than religion or ideology.

Incredibly, Obama’s counter-terrorism officials have trained domestic Homeland Security law enforcement officers to focus on the behaviors of people entering the U.S. rather than their political, ideological or religious background.

At what point do we ostensibly label this administration’s efforts to protect Americans either a “lack of skill” or a “lack of will” – and possibly both.

It’s time America accepts Trump’s challenge. If we don’t use this election to get serious about keeping radical Islam out of our country, it will be too late.

They will have an open range under Hillary Clinton.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Nation desperate in fight against terrorism

8 Jul

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Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot Editor

7.8.16

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There are too many major issues facing our nation, both domestically and internationally, for me to speculate which raises the most concern.

And frankly, the question is ambiguous to the point we should expect our nation’s leaders to be able to strategically address multiple issues simultaneously without compromising resources or victory.

However, capable execution at the executive level requires strong leadership, predisposed at fulfilling duty and obligation to the American people, with a servant’s heart and a lion’s will. And this president is dangerously wanting in this regard.

However, all things considered, survival is paramount. So, in my mind, the threat of radical Islamic terrorism poses the most imminent threat to the nation and now my neighbor.

Obama’s sympathetic decorum toward the Muslim faith has emboldened Islamic jihadists to bring the fight to our shores – and people are dying.

Team Obama continues to demonstrate a lack of conviction in standing against our enemy’s aggression and incredibly still does not have a plan to defeat ISIS or even understand their motivation.

For a case in point, look at Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who just last week told the world how she feels we should address terrorism.

“The good in this world far outweighs the evil,” Lynch said during a press conference in Orlando on Tuesday. “Our common humanity transcends our differences … our most effective response to terror and to hatred is compassion, it’s unity, and it’s love.”

So, is Lynch proposing we show compassion and love to the barbarous individuals who are burning, beheading and slaughtering innocent people?

It takes one “evil” person, amid hundreds of “good” people, to inflict death and destruction. But while her statement is both nave and foolish, it does embody the Obama narrative which indiscriminately coddles the Islamic faith.

But I believe we’re now dangerously close to a point of no return regarding domestic Islamic terrorism.

Multiple news sources, including a February 2015 “Breitbart” column by Edwin Mora, have reported FBI Director James Comey warning Americans that his agency is investigating suspected ISIS supporters residing in all 50 states.

“We have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states,” said Comey, adding, “This isn’t a New York phenomenon or a Washington phenomenon. This is all 50 states and in ways that are very hard to see.”

In Mora’s column, Comey describes the radicalization message being used in the U.S. via social media.

“Troubled soul, come to the caliphate, you will live a life of glory, these are the apocalyptic end times, you will find a life of meaning here, fighting for our so-called caliphate. And if you can’t come, kill somebody where you are.”

Understand, if ISIS is successful at establishing domestic terrorist cells in every state of the union, we could be facing a coordinated attack of immense proportion. And nothing short of martial law could be our remaining course of action, leaving our nation forever changed.

Our nation is in desperate need of competent leadership committed to protecting life over legacy.

And we need it now.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Americans must be prepared for ISIS attack

11 Dec

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Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot Editor

  • 20 hrs ago

Not only have the feigned strategies of Barack Obama been ineffectual in deteriorating the might of the Islamic State, they have emboldened radical jihadists in bringing their savagery to the United States.

The recent attack in California where 14 people were heinously murdered at an office Christmas party was just a preview of what I believe is to come as a result of the failed policies of this administration. And it’s simply a slap in the face to all Americans that this president wallows in intellectual dishonesty by not even being able to admit we are at war with radical Islam.

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Americans must now begin preparing for threats against our citizens that we heretofore had primarily associated with Middle Eastern nations. FBI Director James Comey has already revealed he has ISIS-related investigations in all 50 states. I share the belief of many that this formidable presence is busy readying sleeper cells for a coordinated attack on the United States, perhaps at an even greater magnitude than we witnessed in Paris.

I recently received a social media “terror alert” with this warning about the Islamic State. “They will use your laws to get inside your country and then use your freedoms against you.” The nature of this alert, and the fact that it was urgently sent by an individual who has studied the intricacies of Islam for decades, was quite disturbing. Even more disturbing is that our own government appears lackadaisical in providing timely, truthful information to its citizens.

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Barack Obama seemingly places being an apologist for the Muslim faith above the safety of Americans. And he appears to value protecting the narrative that he has “ISIS on the run” beyond being truthful with the American people. His words lead one to believe he is either grossly negligent or dangerously incompetent in understanding the true nature of the threat we all now face.

 

Just one day before the brutal coordinated attacks in Paris, where at least 120 people were killed, President Obama said in an interview that ISIS was not growing stronger and was, in his words, “contained.”

 

“I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “What is true, from the start our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them.”

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But just last week, the nation’s top military officer, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave lawmakers at a House Armed Services Committee hearing a very conflicting report to that of President Obama.

“We have not contained ISIS,” reported General Dunford. In a column in “The Hill,” written by Kristina Wong, Dunford went on to say that ISIS has been “tactically” contained in areas but “strategically they have spread since 2010.”

 

And spread they have. The conversation about the tactics for fighting terrorism is no longer solely about “boots on the ground” or “the number of air attacks.”

 

It’s now about how do we prepare ourselves and local law enforcement for being able to proactively deal with an ISIS attack here at home.

 

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Lone wolf attacks in US will escalate

23 Jul

We’re giving the enemy no reason to be afraid

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Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot Editor

Jul. 23, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

Last Thursday, five members of our military were viciously attacked by yet another Islamic extremist, this time on American soil. It should never have been allowed to happen.

The death toll climbed to five on Saturday as the Navy announced Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, 24, died from his injuries. Smith was one of three people injured when Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire on two military recruitment centers, also killing four marines. Abdulazeez was later shot and killed by police.

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Remarkably, considering the times in which we live, none of these men was permitted to carry a firearm. But as the attack raises fresh concerns about vulnerability in “soft target” areas, the governors of several states could soon be arming military personnel in National Guard facilities to protect themselves and civilians if they are targeted.

And more Americans will be targeted. President Obama’s lack of will to acknowledge the enemy and respond with extreme prejudice has been duly noted by the Islamic State.

Yes, our walls have been scaled and the gates lowered.

I’m incensed at how this administration consistently has downplayed the threat of Islamic terrorism around the globe. In doing so, it has emboldened the Islamic State in the recruitment of lone wolf terrorists within the U.S. Obama’s methodology of telegraphing his impotent punches, migrant deadlines and lily-livered military strategies ostensively have changed the way America is viewed around the world.

Our enemies no longer fear us; our allies no longer trust us.

It’s indefensible that President Obama, our “commander-in-chief,” stood idly by and watched terrorist activity re-engage throughout the Mideast without surmising its ultimate impact on the U.S. The fact that he still doesn’t have a strategy to defeat ISIS is exacerbated by his “promise” to our enemies that he will never put American boots on the ground.

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Barack Obama’s notion that he could apologize and appease our enemies into “liking us” is naive beyond words. And his negotiation incompetence has conceded positions of strength that are prerequisite to success. Any negotiator will tell you that you must be willing to walk away from the table – perhaps many times. But Obama keeps bartering with movable lines in the sand and perpetually changing deadlines to the point no true leader, foreign or domestic, will ever take him seriously.

Now, as America wavers in the winds of liberal ideology, young, impressionable individuals are falling prey to the sinister tenets of radical Islam. While President Obama, whom I believe is sympathetic to the Muslim religion, refuses to concede the fact that we are engaged in a holy war, these evil, inspirited individuals will seek to bring America to her knees by spreading fear in the streets of U.S. cities.

There’s something uncommonly ominous about U.S. military being gunned down on American soil. It reeks of vulnerability anomalous to our country. And as this president propagates the narrative that these are random acts of domestic violence, we will most assuredly see more.

As Obama continues to protect his legacy, Americans are dying.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: US must ramp up campaign against ISIS

20 Jun

me

Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot editor

Jun. 18, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

The world has now sustained months of unrelenting atrocities by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). We’ve witnessed barbaric beheadings, victims burned alive and a strategic cleansing of Christians refusing to embrace the Muslim religion. Yet, the president of the United States still lacks a strategy to defeat them.

Last week, in a news conference following the Group of 7 summit meeting in Germany, Obama admitted to the world that “we don’t have, yet, a complete strategy” for addressing the threat posed by ISIS. He claims that after nearly a year and a half of the United States and its allies grappling with this group of Islamic terrorists, “the details are not worked out.”

The president’s failure to recognize ISIS as a grave threat early on certainly hampered strategies to squelch their advances. Some may recall that in January 2014 Obama compared ISIS to a “junior varsity basketball team,” playing down the strengths of ISIS, compared with Al Qaeda.

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a J.V. team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Mr. Obama told David Remnick of The New Yorker. That same month, ISIS seized Fallujah, a city in Anbar Province, Iraq, and parts of Ramadi, the province’s capital.

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A few months later, as the military prowess of the group became known, the president was questioned about his strategy for addressing the threat that he dramatically understated. Yet he still lacked urgency.

The president has been clear as to what his strategy won’t be!

“I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq,” Obama told reporters. “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no military solution to the larger crisis there.”

So, the president claims he can defeat ISIS with coalition air power. But a recent Wall Street Journal article reveals the Obama coalition’s air campaign against ISIS pales in comparison to strategic air campaigns waged by presidents since the end of the Cold War, which were deemed successful.

During the 43-day Desert Storm air campaign against Saddam Hussein’s forces in 1991, coalition planes flew 48,224 strike sorties, or roughly 1,100 a day. 12 years later, the 31-day Iraqi Freedom campaign averaged more than 800 sorties a day. But the Obama “campaign” against ISIS, now approaching nine months, has only averaged about seven sorties a day! With ISIS now in control of an area around 50,000 square miles, it’s easy to see why these efforts haven’t been effective.

If indeed, Obama plans to decimate ISIS with coalition air power, he should take the lead in increasing the number of strikes commensurate with prior successful air campaigns.

And despite how much we dislike the thought, we must have sufficient ground troops to facilitate coordinated surgical strikes against the enemy.

Protecting America must take precedent over protecting Obama’s legacy.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Isil leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi issues call to arms in ‘audio message’

16 May

Islamic State leader neither seen nor heard for months amid reports of his death or incapacitation in US-led air strike

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Photo: AP

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), appeared to issue a defiant call to arms on Thursday in what would be the jihadist leader’s first audio recording in six months.

“There is no excuse for any Muslim who is capable of [emigrating] to the Islamic State, or capable of carrying a weapon where he is,” the voice, which cannot be verified as Baghdadi’s, said.

Calling Islam a “religion of war”, the voice describes the jihadist path as “obligatory”.

The message seemed intended as a rebuttal to media reports claiming that Baghdadi had been so badly injured in a coalition airstrike that he might never command Isil again.

It appeared to be a recent recording, referencing Isil’s presence in the oil-rich Kirkuk province, as well as the ongoing Saudi-led military campaign against rebel forces in Yemen.

The message was accompanied by translations in English, French, German, Russian and Turkish, a move apparently intended to guarantee maximum exposure.

Baghdadi has been a towering figure in the rise of Isil, and its al-Qaeda affiliated predecessor. It was reported last month that he had suffered spinal injuries in a March 18 airstrike, and that he was being treated by two ideologically sympathetic doctors who travel to his hideout from the group’s stronghold in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Operational control of Isil has reportedly been passed to Abu Alaa al-Afri, a physics professor and longtime senior official, who had been appointed deputy leader when his predecessor was killed by another air strike late last year.

Although Iraqi authorities claimed on Wednesday that Afri had been hit by a coalition airstrike, the Pentagon has denied any knowledge of the attack.

The last known written communique bearing Baghdadi’s name was released in mid-April. It called on jihadists to send reinforcements to fighting fronts in the Iraqi provinces of Anbar and Salahedin. The terror group’s inner workings are opaque, and it is not known which Isil official was responsible for the message.

Isil swept across large swathes of Iraq and Syria last year, declaring the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.

Isil jihadists have pursued a policy of religious cleansing in areas they have captured, threatening to kill those who do not forcibly convert to Islam.

Tens of thousands of jihadist sympathisers have already heeded calls to travel to the so-called Islamic State, among them a growing number of young British men and women.

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