Downplaying the threat

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

10 May 2007: The depiction by the media pundits and other expert analysts regarding the group of terrorist suspects who planned an attack on Fort Dix in New Jersey as “homegrown with no ties to al Qaeda or any other international terrorist organization” is misleading to the extent that the description seems to be used to downplay the terrorist threat posed by Islamic terrorists.

In some cases, it is an illustration of a lack of understanding at the most basic levels of our enemy. In other cases, it appears to be used as some type of reassurance that the threat facing the West, especially the U.S. and Canada is not as dangerous as it was prior to 2001. It is this very type of erroneous analysis that unnecessarily confuses an otherwise simple issue and assuages the public into the perilous belief that a successful attack is contingent upon command structure and sophistication. It is the same analysis that also suggests that the evolution into less structured groups of Islamic terrorists is somehow disassociated with al Qaeda.

As a terrorist organization, al Qaeda is simply one spoke of the wheel of the virulent and malignant doctrine of Islamic fundamentalism. Al Qaeda has evolved well beyond a single terrorist organization with an identifiable command and control structure, and has become an ideology that is ubiquitous throughout the Muslim world. To state that any individual or group “may or may not be affiliated with al Qaeda” manages to skew the accurate representation of the threat posed by our enemy. The perception that a suspected terrorist cell is not affiliated with al Qaeda, or receiving its commands from some central authority associated with al Qaeda the terrorist organization, is irrelevant and tends to understate the threat posed by such individuals or groups. The ideology of al Qaeda is not limited by orders from a readily identified al Qaeda leader, nor is it hindered by the absence of the same.

While the terrorist organization known as al Qaeda has suffered the physical blows by the United States military and intelligence services, it’s core ideology has not only survived, but has progressed at an alarming rate in its manifestation within the West, including and especially inside the United States and Canada. More importantly, the core ideology of al Qaeda in the form of Islamic fundamentalism has been allowed to metastasize inside America’s mosques and Islamic centers. It has been cultivated inside U.S. prisons, fueled in part by the lack of oversight and the ignorance to the threat from within by those in charge of such programs. It has been left unchecked by the majority of Muslims who proclaim their Islamic ideology as moderate. It has been prostituted by various Islamic organizations under the banners of civil liberty and anti-profiling, and has been accommodated by our own federal law enforcement agencies for those very same reasons.

Further, the use of the phrase “homegrown terrorist,” applied as we have seen in the media and by some expert analysts and government officials, also promotes a certain misrepresentation of our enemy. By definition, the term “homegrown” indicates something that is “grown or originating in a particular place,” meaning, in this case, the United States. The context in which this term is used by many federal authorities, pundits and experts in the field of counter-terrorism analysis is misleading to the extent that it is perilously obscuring the face of our enemy. While it is true that there are Islamic terrorists who are indigenous to the U.S., their core ideology is not - no more than Nazism was indigenous to the U.S. before and during WWII.

As during WWII, some U.S. citizens adopted the Nazi ideology, some facilitated its growth through supportive roles, while others publicly downplayed the existence of any such activity inside the U.S. The difference between then and now is staggering, as Americans not only had a clear understanding of who the enemy was, but we had no tolerance for our enemies to manifest themselves inside the borders of our country, much less allow their destructive ideology to prosper. The time periods and public perceptions might be different, but the ideologies between Nazism and the principles of the orthodox Islamic fundamentalists are quite similar.

For the last few decades, the ideology of Islamic fundamentalism that breeds terrorism has been imported on wholesale levels through Saudi-funded mosques and Islamic Centers, certain Muslim organizations that are subsidized by Saudi funds, Wahabbi prison outreach programs, and through a variety of other venues. This process is facilitated by our unwillingness to look beyond al Qaeda as our sole enemy and identify the totality of the ideology of Islamic fundamentalism as the enemy of our nation, our culture and our way of life. It is further exacerbated by our naivete the objectives of our enemy - our submission to Islam and the destruction of our current way of life - as well as the inherent “religious” rights afforded by this country. These rights that have been exploited by some Muslims who have lived in the U.S. for years, decades and even generations, those whose objectives are to facilitate nothing less than the complete Islamization of North America, or its annihilation.

Regardless of where you live or work, look around you. It’s a good bet that you will pass someone on the street, work with or live near someone who at the very least, passively espouses the ideology of Islamic jihad. And it’s also a good bet that they have no identifiable al Qaeda connections, but are nonetheless infected with the same ideological components that threaten the security and safety of our nation and way of life.

The Northeast Intelligence Network has been at the forefront at sounding the alarm bells that the enemy is already here, and they are preparing for future attacks. Accordingly, we should not be distracted, or worse, misled, by the improper use of the descriptive phrase “homegrown terrorist,” nor should we be encouraged that an individual or group “may or may not be associated with al Qaeda.” In the end, the threat is far greater than al Qaeda, and the “Fort Dix six,” along with the “Lackawanna six,” the “Portland seven” and others who have been caught are merely the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

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