Human Rights and the Struggle against Terrorism: 15 Years After 9/11 Attacks on USA. By Jeffrey Imm
|Since 2008, as the founder of Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.), our activism in its current form, was driven by the perspective that the response to terrorism not only was becoming ineffective, but also was losing sight of the human rights imperative necessary for "war of ideas" with extremists of every kind. The position of R.E.A.L. has been, since our founding, that security tactics alone will not be consistently effective, and ultimately will have a counterproductive result. We developed R.E.A.L. primarily to provide a consistent voice of various human rights issues and bring them together, to contribute to a voice that the culture of human rights should be imperative in our lives, and that it is part of our social responsibility.
Our shared human rights includes security, safety, and freedom of conscience, which extremists and terrorists would deny us, not just in the United States of America, but around the world. This fundamental concept that the public is entitled to such human rights and freedoms threatened by terrorists is too often ignored by other groups, who have no compassion and concern for the victims of extremism and terrorism. R.E.A.L. and I believe that ignoring the freedoms, safety, and security of people who are threatened by extremists and terrorist - is out of touch with a consistent approach on our universal human rights. I do not believe that we can accept the short-term tactics that a commitment to human rights and a defense of human rights are mutually exclusive. Winning limited battles, just to lose the war of ideas, will guarantee no lasting justice, and certainly no lasting peace.
Terrorism is a subject that many of us don't want to discuss; we simply wish it would stop and go away. But history has shown us that denial will not effectively address this issue. I appreciate those who take the time to read my observations and call for action on a renewed focus on "war of ideas" to provide a basis for fighting terror and extremism. The skill set that I bring in my observation is a personal experience with the history of this topic, and seeing the interrelationship on these topics. I have worked in security, in law enforcement, and worked with many of the fine people who work to protect the United States and other nations. The overwhelming majority are doing what they believe to be the "right thing" to deal with these challenges. For the United States of America (USA), to the extent that we have not seen another mass-casualty level attack of the death toll of 9/11, many will argue that the current tactics are working.
But to those who have struggled against extremists for many decades, we can recognize the fault lines in our society and security, where pressure is building against our human rights of security, freedom of conscience, and the perception of tolerance and appeasement towards anti-human rights and anti-freedom extremists will lead to new and severe problems ahead. One difficulty in building a counterterror and security establishment based on tactics, rather than on ideas, is that without such supporting values and standards, we can become stubbornly fixed on short-term tactics, instead of consistent in our support of the universal human rights that we share and MUST defend.
The world will change. Terrorist and extremist tactics will change. We must be willing to change and adjust to a dynamic world, while standing on a bedrock foundation of why we defy such terrorist and extremism: in support of our shared universal human rights for all.
In these observations, I will present my conclusions, and then some areas of detailed inductive logical basis for such observations. The primary focus of the detailed observations will be from a human rights and a security perspective, rather than military tactics. The detailed observations will further address the following challenge areas and issues: (1) understanding of extremism from a human rights perspective, (2) homeland security and terrorist haven blind spots, (3) the horror of ISIS and metamorphosis as a "terrorist movement," (4) the limits of law enforcement and importance of trust, (5) essential nature of national security for global security, (6) tactics of "acceptable losses," (7) counterterror establishment and the resistance to change, and (8) responsibility to defy extremism and terrorism.
CONCLUSION: A War of Ideas for Human Rights is Essential to Challenge Terrorism
The most vital components of a homeland security strategy are our minds, our conscience, and our universal human rights.
Everything else is a very distant second priority in the essential human rights objective to protect our society, our families, and each other from terrorism and extremism. But we have too often allowed our secondary priorities to become our primary priorities, and then we seek to shore up such misguided construction regarding security, by adding more and more tactics, which simply build the tower of secondary priorities, higher and higher. Such a focus only on secondary priorities gives us a misguided belief that we can simply add layers of tactics without a strategy, and we can defeat terrorist and extremist enemies of human rights without defending ideas and values. Without a priority of a set of beliefs and values, and relying only security tactics, studies, institutes, organizations, tools, watch lists, etc., we will build nothing more than a house of cards built on sand. The world changes - every day. We must be capable of change, while remaining consistent in a strategy firmly rooted in the truths of universal human rights for all human beings.
Senior members of the U.S. counterterrorist establishment, government, institutions, and media, also realize that tactics alone are a house of cards. They have already reach the conclusion that tactics, institutions, and organizations cannot keep up with the growing challenge of extremism, and violent terrorism by such extremists. So they have tried to reset the public's expectations on the human right of public safety. Some have such denial on the priority of human rights first in challenging terrorism, that they have begun a campaign that "acceptable losses" in terrorist attacks are to be "expected." They argue that, since no one can "defend" against every terrorist attack, we just need to accept that our families and neighbors will be killed. This flight from accountability is further complicated by their belief that we can "engage" with extremists as an effective means to prevent terrorist violence from extremists. They believe that engagement and legitimizing those in direct opposition to our shared universal human rights will help stop such extremists from killing us. Such "house of cards" tactics then seek to depend on extremist informants to sacrifice violent members, all the while providing shelter and legitimization of extremist views, in the desperate belief that if we collect enough informants, enough names on watch lists, enough "information," that somehow we can manipulate a mountain of intelligence to keep us safe. Such tactics are dependent on the fallacy that we should be able to trust the very extremists, who are against our shared human rights, and that ultimately seek our destruction. Some establishment experts believe this "house of cards" approach will keep us ahead of violent terrorist attacks.
Just until it doesn't. Like in Orlando, San Bernardino, and in other cities. Like we are seeing throughout Europe and the rest of the world nearly every day. As you read this, it is very likely that a terrorist is killing someone in some part of the world. The pandemic of terrorist violence has gotten that bad. The Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) Global Terrorism Index report for 2015 showed a growth of terrorist attacks from 3,329 global attacks in 2000 to 32,685 attacks in 2014, with an 80 percent increase between 2013 and 2014. In 2014 alone, 32,685 terrorist attacks over 365 days in a year would be an average of 90 terrorist attacks EVERY DAY, or nearly 4 terrorist attacks EVERY HOUR. If those were the statistics in 2014, can you imagine what the statistics will look like for this year?
An estimated 33 terrorist attacks have occurred in the United States of America in the past 15 years, since 9/11, with 2/3's of those terrorist attacks occurring in the past 8 years, and the most deadly post-9/11 terrorist attacks occurring since the summer of 2015, with 53 Americans killed in terrorist attacks in the USA by ISIS supporters since December 2015. Terrorist attacks have been dramatically increasing, not decreasing in the United States. The reality is that in a global society, we cannot pretend the massive pandemic of global terrorism will not reach our shores, and affect our families and our communities. That is blind denial.
This week, on the 15th year after the 9/11 attacks, the West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) Sentinel tells the American public not to worry about this. Their primary article by an Establishment counterterror specialist states that Americans should not be concerned about "average of six or seven jihadist-inspired murders a year in a country" with thousands of other homicides. Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge told the American public this week that Americans "should just accept the inevitability" of terrorist attacks. This defeatist "acceptable loss" argument represents the hollowness of an approach dependent on tactics alone, with no real values, no real strategy, and certainly no real "war of ideas." In essence, we have leaders who throw up their hands in defeat, and state that since we can't find the backbone to defend our shared human rights values in a "war of ideas," we should simply accept the losses that we receive from extremist terrorism, and not make to big a deal out of them. Such defeatist surrender is not the thinking of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave that I know as the United States of America.
The "realistic" surrender of "acceptable losses" to terrorism is not simply a craven withdrawal from the defense of our shared human rights of security and freedom, it is also an attack on those who would lead a "war of ideas" on behalf of universal human rights and freedom. We are lectured by too many "experts" and "leaders" that is wrong to demand a consistent support for human rights values by our fellow human beings. We are told that such calls for consistency in human rights is "judgmental" and disrespectful to others. Our public has been coached to believe that unquestioning relativism is the same as defending equality, and the failure to defend our most cherished human rights and dignity is a form of "tolerance." We are lectured by those "experts" who tell us the only way to "peace" is to engage with extremists and respect diversity of extremist views as equally valid, when they reject universal human rights for all people of all identity groups and religious views and treat women as second-class human beings. We are told that we must accept the views as legitimate by those extremists whose goal is global control, not shared stewardship of our nation and our planet. We are sternly chided that we must consider our views on equality in human rights and freedom as inapplicable to our fellow human beings and other cultures, and that the only path to true peace is to accept the views of those who deny the reality of UNIVERSAL human rights for all.
But we cannot reject the standards of universal human rights and human dignity for people in the United States and around the world. We cannot just accept that, somehow, enough tactics, lists, and "information" about terrorist threats will somehow keep us safe from extremists, when we are too afraid to even challenge their ideas. We know -- and our counterterror "experts" now are faced with enough facts to admit -- that tactics alone will not and cannot work. Yet whereas our "experts" tell us we should just "accept" the "inevitably" of terrorist attacks killing our neighbors and families, Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) offers another path, where we can stand defiantly for universal human rights on our feet, not surrender such truths on our knees in the hope that it will buy us protection from the enemies of human rights.
Counterterror tactics, engagement with extremists, and shrug-shoulder defeatism on "acceptable losses" will never work to effectively challenge terrorism, and we see the very real growth of terrorism every day around the world. But while they surrender, people of conscience must pick up the cause of universal human rights to defy its enemies.
To challenge terrorism, we must first start with a "War of Ideas," which defiantly defends universal human rights, not just for the United States of America, and not just for some Americans, but for all Americans, and for all people around the world. It is not enough to discuss what we are against. We must be clear about the standards and values that we believe and will defend for all of our fellow Americans and human beings.
For our fellow Americans, this begins with the definition of who and what it means to be an American. We don't have to debate or guess about this. It is written, so that we will never forget it, in our very Declaration of Independence, defining what America is all about. The definition of Americanism is as follows: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." To anti-human rights extremists and violent terrorists of every type, Americans must stand defiant with these words that define who and what we are as Americans. Our responsibility to defend equality and liberty is the most inherent and fundamental aspect of who we are, and who we must fearlessly be, as Americans to all those who believe our fellow human beings do not deserve equality and liberty. In the United States of America, this inherent definition of our identity must be used as a weapon to disarm the arguments of extremists of every kind and every ideology - and to dishonor extremist ideologies used to rationalize violent terrorism.
With this keystone of our identity, we must remember that in the "War of Ideas" against extremists and terrorists, we also have a guide, not just for a "War of Ideas" in the United States of America, but also a guide to our actions in the USA and around the world, for people of every race, every religion, every nationality, every gender, and every identity group. That guide to the "War of Ideas" was developed nearly 70 years ago by the nations of the world, in the aftermath of the savage Crimes Against Humanity by Nazi Germany in the Holocaust. This guide was the world's contribution to the stand that we should "Never Again" allow such savagery over our fellow human beings to run rampant, and genocide to rule over the Earth. It is a bitter irony that when our nation and the world needs this lantern of wisdom on human rights to fight extremists and terrorists today, our political leaders and counterterror "experts" leave this most powerful weapon for the truth on the shelf, as they engage in a tactical struggle, and leave our shared human rights values behind.
We must use this sword of human rights justice, fashioned from the strongest ideals for all human beings, to defend our fellow human beings and Americans from extremists and terrorists today. This weapon against terrorism, extremism, and genocide is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), agreed upon by the nations of the world on December 10, 1948, in the aftermath of the evil that devastated so many millions of lives. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was designed for the nations and the people of the world to have a guide to ensuring that the human rights, the security, the safety, and the dignity of our fellow human beings. It was designed to be used forever more, in times of peace and in times of war. But certainly, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was designed to provide a guide, a lantern, and a sword to defend our fellow Americans and fellow human beings, in the darkest hours of injustice, violence, terrorism, and extremism.
When we use the tool of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we must distinguish this tool from those attempts to take "exception" to such human rights, or weak imitations of this Universal Declaration. We would not have a separate "universal" declaration of human rights for people of just one race, one gender, one nationality... and certainly not one religion either. In fact, one of the most fundamental aspects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is its commitment to real equality, not a commitment to supremacism or superiority of one identity group over all others. That would undermine the very POINT of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But some nations, uncomfortable with the concepts of equality and freedom, including the freedom of religion and conscience guaranteed in Article 18 of the UDHR, decided to create their own "exception-based" codes, which are designed to grant only some rights, as long as they met exceptions to allow one religious view to define the rights of all people.
The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) created its own Sharia-based "Cairo Declaration on Human Rights" that is in fundamental conflict and direct opposition to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the "War of Ideas" in supporting universal human rights, those policy statements and "exceptions" to our shared universal human rights must be rejected. We can no more have a separate "Islamist" guide to human rights than we would have a separate human rights code exclusive to any other political or religious ideology, race, gender, or ethnicity. To date, the only human rights group that we are aware that has publicly protested the OIC's challenge to our Universal Declaration of Human Rights is R.E.A.L. We need other human rights organizations to publicly defend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and rebuke the OIC attack on it; we need a consistent defense on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has been signed by the nations of the world, as a shared guide to universal human rights on which we cannot and will not compromise.
With the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we have a guide to addressing racial extremists, and to addressing those who would deny freedoms based on our fellow human beings' gender and identity group. We have both a defense for religious freedom and freedom of conscience, while providing a guide to challenging anti-human rights religious extremists. Such extremists do not seek to guarantee freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, as well as the right to change one's belief. In the United States, I saw with my own eyes, the anti-democracy Hizb ut-Tahrir extremist group call for the denial of equality of women, and Hizb ut-Tahrir's literature distributed to Americans calls for the death penalty for those who changed their religion in Islam. We must use the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to defy and reject such extremism. We must use the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to challenge those extremists who justify oppression and persecution of religious minorities, to challenge racial hate groups, to challenge persecution and oppression of women, and to reject violence, persecution, and hatred of the LGBT and atheist communities. We must use the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as our primary weapon to defend human freedom in a "War of Ideas," for which we cannot afford and we cannot accept SURRENDER.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides more than just a guide, it is also codified as international LAW, as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). When we use this defense of our shared universal human rights against the forces of extremism and terrorism, we are not simply asking them to follow a guide, we seek to enforce the justice of International Law. Our leaders must seek the global expansion of the authority of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to act to stop genocide, as we continue to see in too many parts of the world today, as we have seen in Darfur, as we have seen by the ISIS terrorist movement in Syria, Iraq, and Libya against Christians, Yazidis, and Shiite Muslims, and as we see in other nations which reject our shared universal human rights. We need allegiances and coordinated efforts by the nations of the world to work to ENFORCE international law for those who face cruel injustice, extremism, and terrorism around the world, and who feel forgotten and abandoned, while extremists and terrorists seek the destruction of their lives and their freedoms.
To defeat terrorism in the United States and around the world, we must show terrorists and extremists that we do not fear and we that we will not cower before their attacks on our human rights, our freedom, and our nations. We must show the courage and responsibility for equality and liberty that is expected of us, both as Americans and as citizens of the world. When our political and tactical "experts" shy from such human rights justice, we must not fail to pick up the cause and stand defiantly against extremists as free human beings empowered by the truth of our shared universal human rights for all. We have learned too many times and in too many places, that we cannot have peace without justice, and we cannot have justice until we have an uncompromising defense of our universal human rights for all Americans and all of our fellow human beings.
(1) Understanding of Extremism from a Human Rights Perspective
To "counter violent extremism," we don't have to wait for a mass-casualty terrorist attack to leave our fellow human beings dead in the street. We have warning signs and to effectively challenge terrorist threats, we must be vigilant, and aware of challenging extremist views and ideologies. Terrorism does not happen in a vacuum; it is fueled by extremist ideologies and hatred of our shared universal human rights.
But some of our counterterrorist "experts" would have us believe that we have no way to forecast or predict terrorist activity, that terrorist attacks are just some wildly random events that we could not possibly foresee, and that we should simply "accept" "inevitable terrorist attacks" on society, as part of life. We have highly educated and senior experts who make such incredibly outrageous statements in public and to our press media, to the weary, confused, nodding heads of the American Establishment, without a voice rejecting such blatant defeatism.
Imagine if other aspects of our lives were like this. Imagine if our city traffic designers stated that we should just get used to the inevitably of fatal automobile accidents, so why should we need traffic signals, planning, or vigilant drivers. Imagine if our meteorologists stated that we should just get used to the inevitably of tornadoes destroying our cities, so why should they struggle to accurately forecast weather on dangerous storms and high winds. Americans and people of any nation would be understandably outraged and disgusted at such unprofessional abandonment of "expert" responsibility. When the equivalent of such comments is made in regards to terrorist threats, however, too many in the American Establishment simply go along as if to say, we really have no control over our lives. There is no question that there are aspects in everyone's lives that we have limited control over. But in a cohesive and organized society, this does not mean that we don't at least TRY to manage public safety.
Just as meteorologists study patterns of weather, and warn us of approaching storms, high winds, and extreme weather, so that we can find shelter, so our human rights advocates must warn us of growing extremism, so that we can protect ourselves from violent extremism or terrorist acts. But since we have tactical counterterror "experts" in charge, the human rights community has come to believe that extremism and terrorism is a law enforcement issue, not a human rights issue. They could not be further from the truth. Countering extremist views and protecting the public from terrorism must be a primary human right activist responsibility, because if human right activists do not study and warn us of growing extremist views, our government and law enforcement cannot effectively prevent violent extremists' terrorism.
But the failure to get human right issues at the forefront of challenging extremism and preventing terrorism - has created a situation that is total backwards. In America (and other countries) today, we have some counterterror authorities who are hiring "former" terrorists to help them "understand" why people commit terrorist attacks, as if the obvious extremist views are impossible for such counterterror authorities to understand. Imagine that a weather forecasting service had to go out and hire someone who was trying to create storms and disasters, because they believed that was the only way to understand such threats to public safety. We would think they were insane. But when counterterror authorities do this, our Establishment heads nod about the sage wisdom of bringing an extremist aboard to explain why terrorists kill people, including some right now today, while you are reading this, who are "guiding" counterterror institutes, at the same time they are promoting extremist views (including ISIS flags) online.
To some extent, it is difficult for counterterror tactical experts, who are focused on law enforcement and military tactics to understand violent extremism. This is because such extremists' views are based on IDEAS, not weapons, not targets, not tactical "intelligence." Extremist views are based on created an organization of IDEAS that are contrary and in opposition to our shared universal human rights. But since extremists focus on IDEAS and too many counterterror experts focus on TACTICS, incredibly some counterterrorists believe the only way to understand IDEAS is to get an extremist to explain them. So the extremists urge such tacticians, if only you were more "tolerant" of extremist views, then there might be less violent terrorism. This is like a weather forecaster being told if only you ignored more storms and high winds, there would be less tornadoes and hurricanes. It is that absurd. This bizarro topsy-turvy thinking is the price that we pay for keeping human rights activists and a human rights focus out of challenging extremist and preventing terrorism.
The answer to this is found in an army of human rights activists, the IDEA people, who are largely untapped to protect our society from extremist views. They have been told that their views are not wanted and not welcome. At one conference, I distinctly recall when I told a speaker that I represented a human rights perspective, he nearly spat on me in public. The frustration with some in the counterterror comes from the incorrect conclusion that if you support human rights, then you will excuse extremist hate and activity. No, that is the view of those who do not understand our universal human rights, which include our safety and security.
Our guideline to resolve this issue must be the use of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for consistent and documented direction on the human rights which people of all races, religions, gender, and identity groups all have. The UDHR provides guidance on freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, equality of people of all races, gender, and ethnic origin, safety, and security for all human beings. The UDHR was created in response to Nazi Germany's Holocaust specifically to help future generations have a guideline on the areas we must be consistent on in defending human rights from extremist views and extremist organizations. When you are working with the UDHR in assessing extremist IDEAS that challenge human rights, you are not just looking at one shade of extremist hate or persecution, you are looking at the ENTIRE SPECTRUM of such challenges.
Based on a human rights perspective, it is no different to challenge a white supremacist, another racial supremacist, a religious extremist, or those promoting misogyny, for example. From a threat to our shared human rights, each of those anti-human rights issues must be challenged and rejected with the cleansing power of consistent support for human rights and dignity. Tacticians need to have vast armies and organizations of individuals specialized in every possible type of extremist view. But human rights activists understand that all extremism that rejects and denounces a threat to our Universal Human Rights is another storm that needs to be watched. Human rights activists are not "surprised" that violence from any type of anti-human rights extremism can be violent and turned toward terrorism, because any extremist view can potential lead to violent terrorism.
This does mean that we will silence every voice of dissent and every anti-human right opinion. But we must recognize that the root of violent terrorism begins, not with poverty, not with financial problems, not with education, not with all of the aspects that our tacticians want us to believe they can "quickly fix." The root of violent terrorism begins with extremist IDEAS. If we want to challenge such terrorist activity, we need to first understand its basis, and concentrate individuals who can provide a human rights defense to anti-human rights extremism.
(2) U.S. Homeland Security and Terrorist Haven Blind Spots
The U.S. Establishment's preferred perspective on identifying potential terrorist activity is to go where they have found it before. From a practical sense, this makes general sense. But when we look at terrorism from a tactical perspective, rather than a challenge of extremist ideas, we cannot appreciate the fluidity and dynamic nature of terrorist threats and actors. To believe that terrorist threats are only in one area, creates very real and dangerous blind spots that can allow significant and deadly threats to catch us unaware. When we focus on the basis of terrorism as extremist ideas, we realize that the threat is literally everywhere, and that no one country and no one area is free from pandemic of extremist cancer that is in our society.
In January 1995, Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden began planning the "Bojinka plot" for what would turn out to be the 9/11/2001 airline terrorist attacks on the USA. By August 1996, Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden declared war on the USA. In mid 1995, however, Osama Bin Laden sought to leave Sudan and to gain asylum refugee status in the United Kingdom. Bin Laden had a number of followers in the U.K. at that time, and they worked to develop a formal application for asylum for Osama Bin Laden. The U.K. Conservative Party Home Secretary, Michael Howard, intervened on this and denied his application. But what if he hadn't picked up on this? What if Bin Laden hadn't been such a "famous" individual? What if his "extreme" views were simply considered "understandable geo-political frustration," rather than the terrorism that they were?
A significant assumption made by the USA security community has been to focus on extremist recruitment in the Greater Middle East area, including tremendous commitment of armed forces to Afghanistan. But what we have known, for over 20 years, is that such an assumption of extremist havens only in the Greater Middle East area is very limited and short-sighted in terms of extremist havens. Furthermore, a focus on "foreign terrorists" can also leave the security community blind to extremist havens existing within the USA borders today, which has had opportunities to grow over the past 15 years.
In terms of jet airliner mass casualty attacks, the USA had another very near dangerous scare ten years ago in August 2006, which was readily forgotten as so many issues are. This was known as the "2006 transatlantic aircraft plot." The dangerous foreign terrorist enemy behind this 2006 plot to attack cities across the USA was not in the Greater Middle East, but came from terrorists in the U.K. The British terrorists planned to detonate liquid explosives onboard seven transatlantic jetliners traveling from the UK to the USA and Canada. For those who don't recall, it was this foiled 2006 terror plot, which is why American travelers have to regular separate out any liquids, shampoos, etc. from their carry-on luggage into small 3 ounce portions that can be readily inspected by the TSA. The terrorists had planned to use up to 18 suicide bombers and targeted British flights to Washington DC, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, and Montreal. They also considered attacks in Denver, Boston, and Miami.
The key terrorists arrested in the 2006 plot were BORN in Britain. They were guided by terrorists linked to Al Qaeda in Pakistan, and reportedly funded by phony charities intended to help victims of a Kashmir earthquake. The alleged ringleader, Rashid Rauf, a Briton of Pakistani descent was never prosecuted for terrorism in Pakistan. The reaction, rather than one of shame and shock, was of denial. Major UK media published articles that the terrorist arrests were phony allegations, and even former British Intelligence Officer called it a "fiction." This was despite "martyrdom" videotapes discovered for 7 of the planned suicide bombers. While 24 were arrested, the UK only prosecuted 8 terrorists, who did not begin their trial for nearly two years. In the first UK trial, the British jurors found NONE of the terrorists guilty of conspiracy to blow up the aircraft. In a second later trial in September 2009, 3 of the terrorists were found guilty of conspiracy to murder, and in yet a third later trial in July 2010, three additional terrorists were found guilty. It took four years for the UK to punish a fraction of the terrorists who planned mass-casualty terrorism on American cities.
This is the reaction that USA had to a mass-casualty terrorist plot on U.S. cities from citizens of its "closest ally," the U.K., with a very close "near miss" of terrorists' whose plot got to an advanced stage, only some of which were actually prosecuted, and those that were prosecuted took years to receive punishment. In this specific case, the other U.S. "ally" of Pakistan could not find a way to convict ringleader Briton Rashid Rauf of terrorism, who eventually died in a drone strike. If this is where the USA was 10 years ago with our allies, where should Americans think they are today, with the growing infiltration of extremists throughout institutions and government agencies, and the numbers of ISIS terrorists who are increasingly appearing in U.K., European, and American cities?
As Americans have seen in the past year, case of case of ISIS terrorist activity and supporters have been uncovered throughout Europe and the U.K. The approach by U.S. institutions and Establishment media to suppress such reports for political partisan goals will further have an inevitable blowback of undermining trust by many Americans in the credibility of such institutions on this problem. But we have seen in cities throughout Europe, ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks using guns, knives, axes, bombs, throughout France, Germany, and Belgium, with other attacks thwarted in other parts of Europe and the U.K. When the narrative has been that restricting access to guns would stop such "lone wolf" terrorism, we have seen ISIS terrorists use knives, axes, and now, as in Nice, even trucks to commit terrorist attacks. Many of these attacks, as we have seen with other ISIS attacks around the world, have been in low security areas: public concerts, restaurants, trains, public street gatherings, as well as airport terminals. We have also now seen apparent plots for car bombs near Christian churches in Europe. Furthermore, we have seen ISIS individuals traveling easily throughout countries in Europe to evade law enforcement authorities.
The obvious question should be: if such extremists are willing to commit terrorist acts in the Europe and U.K., why will keep them from committing such terrorist acts in the United States? Our primary assumption is that we will stop all of such terrorist using watchlists provided to airlines for transatlantic travel. But what about those that are not on such "watchlists"? We know that terrorists involved in the Brussels airport terrorist attack, including individuals with airline security clearances. One bomber worked at the Zaventem airport for five years. We also know that a number of extremists and ISIS supporters have worked at other European airports.
While in the past, the American security focus has been on the Greater Middle East, a coherent strategy to protect the American homeland from extremist threats from "allied countries" depends largely on watch lists and intelligence. As we have seen from a number of attacks in Europe, not all of those associated with these attacks are part of some "list" of extremists, and the assumption that these tactics alone will address this issue is a false hope, dependent largely on luck.
We have had no serious reassessment of our security relationships with the U.K. and Europe, and USA continues a relationship with Pakistan as if Osama Bin Laden didn't find haven there for nearly 10 years. Our foreign policy and counterterrorism experts continue to tell us not to "worry" about these relationships, and we regularly share counterterrorism intelligence with these allied nations. Our experts believe this approach will continue to work based on tactics to combat terrorism developed 15 years ago, as if the world has remained static. (It hasn't.)
Hopefully, the experiences of the past several years in the U.K. and Europe will create a new environment for such allied nations to reconsider weakness on extremist threats. However, when it comes to security issues, each nation will have to recognize, until there is a more common understanding on a coherent "war of ideas" regarding extremists and terrorists that every nation needs to prioritize its own national security interests. For example, a more robust security position will have to consider visa requirements for countries not previously requiring visas, during periods of security threats, and it would imprudent not to have such contingent policies and positions in place for rapid implementation.
In the case of ISIS, UK, and Europe, between 5,000 and 7,000 of ISIS terrorists in Syria arrived from Europe, and about 800 from the United Kingdom. A number have been returning to the UK and Europe, and Europol is expecting thousands of ISIS terrorist recruits to be in Europe. Currently, there are least 30 to 40 known active ISIS terrorist at large in Europe, and as the numbers show, that is a small fraction of the number that will be there.
Let us hope that it will NOT take new tragedies for the American people to recognize that there is a need for a new relationship with other countries, based on their ability to manage extremist and terrorist threats in their country, a shared willingness to use our shared human rights to defy the extremist roots of terrorism, and their ability to keep terrorists from being exported to the United States or other countries. We have not really begun a serious discussion on this issue yet. In the meantime, extremists from nations around the world have funneled into Syria and Iraq for terrorist training with ISIS, and many are returning back to U.K., Europe, the United States, and other countries.
However, as too many find out the hard way, the worst blind spots are usually those that are too close for you to see. For the United States, the worst blind spots on terror are not in the Greater Middle East, not in U.K. or Europe, but right here now in cities in the United States. Outside of very limited law enforcement-centric tactics, there really is no overall strategy to deal with American extremists and terrorists, other than vague and general calls for outreach and rejection of violent extremism.
The U.S. terrorist problem in challenging blind spots is even more complex than Europe, with a growing number of anti-human rights extremists in a number of areas. We have no real human rights-based approach to challenging extremists and terrorists in the United States yet. With a human rights-based approach, you are not just looking for "one tactic" or "one group" of potential terrorists, but you are challenging anti-human rights extremists across the board. The guideline for a human rights-based approach to challenging terrorism is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which rejects anti-human rights extremist by race, gender, religion, and other identity group.
Regarding American "blind spots" on "unpredictable" terrorist attacks, mature human rights activists and groups like R.E.A.L. have been documenting and challenging anti-human rights group and extremism. We simply do not have the support for such efforts as part of a coordinated anti-terrorist effort, because Establishment counterterror experts view that terrorism is about tactics, not ideas. But this failure to challenge anti-human rights extremists prevents the U.S. authorities from consistency in challenging such extremism as:
-- White supremacist terrorism, such as the Dylann Roof terrorism attacking a Charleston Church, and killing black Christians. We have warned and provide detailed cases, lists of organizations, and other groups on R.E.A.L.'s website regarding such group, and documented details of threats. We have challenged such extremist groups, including in-person protests in defense of human rights.
-- Sovereign Citizen and anti-government terrorism, including the attacks in Oregon and elsewhere around the country. We have identified the extremist views and challenged their anti-human rights views that they believe gives them the right to attack our human rights of safety and security based on their extremist violent ideology.
-- ISIS style and Islamist extremist terrorism, as we have been warning about since 2001. We have provided a human rights-based approach to challenge extremist groups and individuals. When the Foot Hood terrorist appeared at a university conference where we spoke, we defied the views that extremist terror can be justified and defended our human rights for against extremists over and over again, across the nation, challenging Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other groups. Our consistent challenge has been to the human rights aspects of the extremist views, and calling for consistency on human rights.
-- Nation of Islam and black supremacist terrorism, such as the recent police shootings in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Tennessee. R.E.A.L. has also uncovered extremist links and inspiration to by statements from hate group Louis Farrakhan. R.E.A.L. has pointed to the anti-human rights extremist views of Farrakhan since 2009, and documented links to Farrakhan's extremist anti-white hate group views, and how such extremist incite terrorism among others. In the most recent Baton Rouge terrorist attack, we documented how calls by the NOI and Farrakhan to use violence against police, including symbols of guns and weapons, predated that attack. We also have pointed to the violence by the Black Panther extremist organization in seeking to disrupt public events.
The U.S. cannot continue to afford such "blind spots" when it comes to growing extremist and terrorist threats. While our blindness on threats from "ally" nations remains an issue, the even greater issue remains the challenge to dealing with such extremist threats in the United States.
For example, in an analysis of the Twitter traffic in support of ISIS, the top countries have been our ally Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, and number four.... is the United States of America.
FBI Director James Comey told national media in December 2015 that the FBI has identified ISIS terrorist cells or people in the process of "radicalizing" in all 50 states. R.E.A.L.'s own public source research has confirmed known ISIS terrorist presence in the following 24 U.S. states and 1 territory: Washington DC, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington State, Wisconsin. There is no doubt to R.E.A.L. that this public documentation of ISIS infiltration throughout half of the states in United States -- is merely a fraction of the depth of real infiltration.
Conservative estimates are that approximately 250 Americans have successfully gone to join the ISIS terrorist movement in Syria and Iraq, and the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee states that "several dozen" Americans have successfully returned from ISIS to the United States. This committee also states that there have been 177 arrests of terrorist supporters since 9/11/2001. In 2016 alone, there have 26 people arrested in 13 states for a combination of terrorist charges including: plots to attack USA, overseas travel, financial support, weapons charges, ad lying to authorities. What this demonstrates is the tip of the iceberg as to how the level of terrorist and extremist infiltration in the United States. While we can focus on the Greater Middle East in assuming that threats come from that area of the world, we must not lose sight of the current terrorist threat inside the United States today.
Most of the U.S. counterterror tactics are dependent on an army of "informants" (reportedly a network of 15,000 according to the National Public Radio)," electronic surveillance, and the ever-reliable public sources on the Internet where stupid extremists baldly self-incriminate themselves on Twitter and other social media. The problem with this dependence on tactics is that the counterterrorism community genuinely believes these tactics are "working." Certainly, the tactics have captured a number of poorly educated and slow-witted extremists, who are have the stupidity to self-incriminate themselves on the Internet, or who are readily entrapped by informants, or "Confidential Human Sources" (CHS).
In 2016, R.E.A.L. has attempted to catalog some of these cases of Americans arrested and convicted of support for the ISIS terrorist movement, with R.E.A.L. posts on Twitter and Facebook using the tracking hashtag of "#AmericanISIS." Most of these have been arrested, based on informants and stupidity on the Internet.
Over the past year, if they had been disciplined and successful, such American ISIS terrorist movement supporters would present a very different picture of the terrorist threat in the United States today:
-- Washington DC - Nicholas Young - who was a Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) police officer, responsible for the safety of thousands of daily passengers whose lives were in daily jeopardy, while a 6 year investigation was conducted on him. Despite his plots for murder and kidnapping, Young was only prosecuted for providing material support in buying gift cards for ISIS
-- Hollywood, Florida - James Gonzalo Medina - plot to attack a synagogue
-- Rochester, New York - Emanuel L. Lutchman - plot to attack restaurant
-- Houston, Texas - Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan - ISIS material support
-- Minneapolis, Minnesota: Khaalid Adam Abdulkadir, threatening to kill an FBI agent (Minneapolis has been a source for 15 ISIS supporters)
-- Minneapolis, Minnesota - Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame - plot to shoot down planes at Minneapolis airport, worked at airport as baggage handler
-- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Jalil Ibn Ameer Azi - plot to assassinate the prisdient
-- Rochester, New York - Mufid A. Elfgeeh - plot to provide ISIS material support
-- Baltimore, Maryland - Mohamed Yousef Elshinawy - material support to ISIS and plot to attack USA
-- Rutherford, New Jersey - Nader Saadeh - support to ISIS
-- Akron, Ohio - Terrence J. McNeil - soliciting the murder of U.S. military personnel
-- Aurora, Illinois - Jonas Edmonds - plot to attack U.S. base supported by cousin Hasan Edmonds
-- Bolingbrook, Illinois - Mohammed Hamzah Khan - plot to join ISIS
R.E.A.L. recognizes that this is but a small fraction of the total ISIS threat currently in the United States today, and typically the less intelligent and easily arrested figures.
In November 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee stated that the "vast majority of the 900 active homegrown extremist investigations involve links to ISIS." Most Americans don't even have any concept that there ARE 900 active "homegrown extremist infestations," let alone that many involve the ISIS terrorist movement.
Due to the blind spot in counterterror tactics by "experts," the belief is that we can solve this problem with informants, surveillance, and intelligence. If we know of 900 active homegrown extremist investigations, mostly regarding KNOWN ISIS terrorist supporters, most of whom are likely to be publicly incriminating themselves on the Internet, the question that Americans should really be asking themselves on this blind spot is "how many thousands of actual ISIS terrorist supporters are in the United States today?"
Our counterterror establishment does not want to answer that question, just like it does not want the Establishment media to use the word "terrorism" or report on "terrorism." But denial won't make this issue go away. The problem of terrorism in the United States is so much bigger than what the political and counterterrorist establishment wants the public to realize, we simply cannot be dependent only on the blind spots of limited tactics, without a strategy for a human rights challenge to extremism. Dithering and appeasement of extremism over 10+ years has simply allowed the extremist problem to grow too large to use the tactics of 10-15 years ago, and simply hope for the best.
Other than informants, stupid terrorists self-incriminating themselves on the Internet, the primary U.S. counterterrorist tactic for identifying and stopping homegrown terrorism is largely based on cliche slogans "If you see something, say something," and simple luck. As anyone in any area of security knows, luck is not a strategy. Yet when it comes to stopping extremists, reliance on luck and dependence on the incompetence of terrorists are major component of the U.S. tactics today.
Furthermore, the U.S. counterterrorism and security policies are based primarily on recognizing a flow of "foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs)." To the extent that homegrown terrorists in the United States provide a documented link to the ISIS terrorist movement (for example), which can be proven in a court of law, beyond a reasonable doubt, then there is a partial method to deal with homegrown U.S. extremists and terrorists. The FBI has benefited from the ISIS terrorist movement's use of social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter), which allows U.S. homegrown, native extremists to create a documented case to prove such links. To the extent law enforcement can prove such links to FTOs, they have a way to document such cases and to move forward.
Yet in the most recent terrorist attacks in the United States, San Bernardino, Philadelphia, and Orlando, such documented links to specific FTOs were not available to readily predict and stop such terrorist attacks. For all of our informants, surveillance, and tactical maneuvers, these had no impact on the most recent and deadly ISIS terrorist attacks in the United States.
In the December 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack, the U.S. Government and even federal law enforcement was reluctant to even use the word "terrorism" in describing the attack, until days later, when ISIS proudly took responsibility the terrorists supporting its movement. The San Bernardino killers from the ISIS terrorist movement waited until the last minute, after the attack, to publicly declare their allegiance to ISIS, and managed to find time to destroy their links and contacts.
In January 2016, a Philadelphia police officer, was shot by a man in the street approaching his police vehicle with a gun. The man who repeatedly shot this police officer stated he was doing so on behalf of the ISIS terrorist movement. After the attack, initial government response was to deny any such linkages. When another witness publicly came forward with more details on this aspect of the case, an initial federal investigation into the reported ISIS link was started a week after the attack. The investigation on that aspect became very quiet on this issue, as soon as media interest on the topic was diverted.
In the Orlando terrorist attack in March 2016, which resulted in the death of nearly 50 Americans, the ISIS terrorist had been under watch for some time, but since there was no proof of a specific criminal link to a FTO (which could stand up in a criminal court), there was nothing that law enforcement felt it could do. Even after the attack, a combination of a government and law enforcement in denial, as well as an Establishment media as co-conspirators of denial, there was a concentrated effort to rationalize any possible motive to the ISIS movement terrorist, other than his stated, recorded motive to a 911 caller that he was committing this act on behalf of ISIS. Once again, the ISIS movement managed to humiliate the U.S. government by taking credit for the terrorists attack, and despite a concentrated effort of denial, the government as eventually forced to recognize they had another "homegrown" ISIS terrorist attack. But the effort to deny and obfuscate the facts on this case was so strong, the Department of Justice tried to redact all references to ISIS in the published 9/11 call transcript on this case.
In none of these cases were documented links to FTOs readily discernible, or an ongoing effective link to traditional, known "terrorist cells" or groups apparent to law enforcement. While there were some reports on the Orlando ISIS terrorists links to extremist movements, the federal law enforcement felt they were insufficient to warrant any further investigation and action.
Just like we have blind spots about parts of the world that we don't want to believe are a threat, we have an even more determined blind spot about an unwillingness to recognize our blind spot about terrorists native to the United States. While the USA has dithered without a "war of ideas" strategy and limited law-enforcement centric tactics in the USA for the past 15 years, a new generation of extremists and terrorists have been raised and are growing up in the United States around us. While we have been vigilantly watching the terrorist havens from the Greater Middle East, we have been oblivious to terrorist havens being built in our own nation.
(3) The Horror of ISIS and Its Metamorphosis into a Global Terrorist Movement
Among the most significant challenges in countering terrorism today has been the dynamic nature and fluidity of ISIS, which has evolved from a more traditional terrorist branch of Al Qaeda, to a merged organization with other terrorist groups, to a terrorist force controlling territory in multiple nations, to an international terrorist movement, now with even de-centralized terrorist supporters willing to commit terror attacks around the world - independently. In every stage of the ISIS evolution, however, it continued to remain constant in supporting extremist ideas, while those countering it have struggled to wage any type of real offensive "war of ideas" against it.
While the Establishment governments, institutions, and media are only interested in reporting about the activities of ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and Libya, where they actively control territory at this time, the reality is the the ISIS terrorist movement is much more of a global challenge to the security of the nations of the world.
The number of estimated ISIS supporters varies wildly, depending on the source, anywhere from nearly 50,000 to 250,000. The most recent estimate of ISIS supporters inside Syria and Iraq has been recently estimated at 20,000 by U.S. officials in late 2016. Others major concentrations of ISIS terrorist supporters are located in West Africa (7,000-10,000), Libya (6,500), Jordan (several thousand), Turkey (1,000), Yemen (300), Afghanistan and Pakistan (between 300 - 2,000), Saudi Arabia (1,600), Russia, India, Algeria, and the United States (where in November 2015 there were a reported 900 active ISIS investigations ongoing). Around 27,000 supporters are believed to have joined the ISIS terrorist movement since the start of Syria’s civil war five years ago, with between 5,000 and 7,000 of them arriving from Europe, 800 from United Kingdom, and an estimated 250 from the United States of America.
For the American readers, let me repeat, this includes (nearly a year ago) nearly NINE HUNDRED active terrorist cases involving ISIS terrorist suspect in the United States of America. The FBI has reported that ISIS terrorists have been radicalized among Americans in every one of the 50 states of the United States.
In Europe, as ISIS has lost to military forces in retaining some areas in Iraq and Syria, some of the European recruits have returned back to Europe, with European security sources expecting thousand of ISIS trained terrorists to return to Europe. As of this week, European security is currently aware of 30 to 40 ISIS terrorist suspects at large across Europe - this is clearly just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the ISIS terrorist threat to both Europe and the United States.
Any institution would be challenged to keep up with the rapid metamorphosis of such a terrorist movement like ISIS, but a tactics-based counterterrorist establishment, focused on military, law enforcement, and intelligence tactics has certainly been ill-equipped to "fight" ISIS. Even as a military-centric approach to ISIS has been haltingly pursued by the U.S. and other countries, ISIS has evolved with ideological propaganda and nimble global recruitment methods to gain new supporters literally around the world.
As each military "success" is trumpeted to be "defeating" ISIS, its evolution as a global terrorist movement has allowed ISIS to expand the theater of warfare to any and every street, town, and city across the world. To find a solution to effectively challenge ISIS, we need to recognize the seriousness of this threat and employ new human rights-based measures which challenge the very extremist ideas that ISIS seeks to promote, and why such anti-human rights ideologies are destructive to both its supporters and the rest of humanity.
Using counterterrorism offensive measures from 15 years ago, the American and Western nations leaders thus far would prefer to fight the sources of terrorism through military means (where possible), with a focus on threats in the Greater Middle East. These tactics provide several benefits to such leaders: (a) they provide a tangible demonstration of such governments "doing something" offensively against terrorist camps, (b) they transfer the focus of such terrorist and extremist views to those in other "foreign" countries (not in their own or "ally" countries), and (c) they, in fact, do stop some structured terrorist groups and disrupt some leadership.
The challenge has remained that, other than a limited law enforcement-centric approach in the actual United States homeland, a very significant portion of resources and emphasis has been put in tactics to fight the "last war" in the Greater Middle East for the past 15 years. But instead of gaining more security for the American nation, over time, we are actually seeing a diminishing security position from such military intervention. It has come to the public's realization, and there is a sense of frustration both among the general public, as well as within the military, who feel they have been saddled with "go slow" tactics specific to the ISIS movement that don't allow them to "do the job" and get out of there.
The military tactics involved with the ISIS movement are uniquely complicated for the United States leadership due to the multiple countries involved, changing alliances, and a previous commitment to expedite disengagement of the USA from Greater Middle East wars, the U.S. leadership has been confused and frustrated on what tactics are appropriate when dealing with ISIS. The initial tactics by the U.S. government leadership were to diminish the perception of the threat of ISIS, with the now notorious statement by President Obama, that ISIS was a "Jay Vee" (a slang for "junior varsity" sports teams in high school) level of terrorist group, with the obviously mistaken perception that ISIS posed no real terrorist threat.
The primary focus on terrorist threats to the USA homeland have migrated from the 9/11 attacks by Al Qaeda terrorist group (given haven by the Taliban) to the ISIS terrorist movement. The ISIS terrorist attacks have been less focused on mass-casualties, and more focused on frequency and low security targets, making their threats less "predictable" and "structured," but more random and diverse, including threats and killings in small town and areas, which previously would have considered themselves outside a threat to "terrorism."
The fundamental roots of the ISIS terrorist movement come from a branch of the Al Qaeda terrorist; Al Qaeda was behind the largest mass casualty terrorist attack in history on the United States on 9/11/2001. Its success spawned Al Qaeda branches in different parts of the world to continue such terror activities. This process of global terrorist expansion has now been taken over by the ISIS terrorist movement on a truly world-wide scale.
In the course of seeking to end the war in Iraq, the U.S. government signaled its intentions, and the Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) organization was able to leverage the military pullout to gain territorial gains. In 2006, Al Qaeda in Iraq re-formed itself as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) merging with other groups, and it used pullouts and military weakness between 2006 to 2013 to develop strongholds in Mosul, Baghdad, Al Anbar, Diyala, and Baqubah. ISI then sent terrorists to Syria in 2011 to fight against the Syrian government. Through its its success in capturing cities, ISI then proclaimed itself to be a worldwide caliphate in June 2014, and it gained further control of parts of Libya as well as parts of Syria and Iraq, becoming the multi-national terrorist force we know today as "Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham", "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" or simply "ISIS."
ISIS has used this concept of building a global Islamic "caliphate" out of a series of nation-states in the Greater Middle East as a vision of the future for Islamist extremists, who are drawn to this message. Many others have spoke about and called for this idea for the past 20 years, from Al Qaeda to Hizb ut-Tahrir (who has appeared with the U.S. DHS and a White House adviser) and have promoted this view of a global caliphate to develop a major new "Islamic" territory with the land, funds, and resources to truly challenge other parts of the world. This vision of a caliphate of Islam not only to defy, but also to someday defeat and conquer the "non-Islamic" world is a tangible vision to encourage Islamist extremists to join and support the ISIS terrorist movement.
While ISIS was recruiting global members for a vision of ultimate world-wide domination, our Establishment was dismissing their threat as a "Jay Vee team" terrorist. Once again, this demonstrates the danger of a tactical approach to counterterrorism that measures by manpower, weapons, control of cities, rather than understands the power of IDEAS in influencing how people think and believe. It demonstrates the impotence of such tactics that do not understand without a "war of ideas" against those building a global movement based on "ideas," we have not even begun to fight.
Much has and will be written about the endless activities, campaigns, and permutations of the detailed military campaigns regarding ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. This is very important, but has been extensively addressed elsewhere. That is not the point of what I write about regarding ISIS here, because the greater global threat of ISIS has not been in its terrorist activities in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, but the real global threat has been the metamorphosis of ISIS from a "caliphate" and "terrorist army" to an international "movement."
At the same time as ISIS promoted this vision of a global caliphate to its supporters, it also demonstrated a new low in human rights atrocities and genocide against Christians, Yazidis, Shiite Muslims, and others, the likes of which we have not seen since Adolf Hitler's Holocaust. The amount of genocidal mass murder by the ISIS terrorist movement is unknown, but the 72 mass graves that have been found thus far in former ISIS territories in Iraq and Syria indicate that in 17 of these 72 mass graves, there may readily be 15,000 who were ma