Attentats de Boston: La surveillance pour tous ! (Why should Muslims and leftists be less deserving of surveillance than right-wing extremist groups ?)

https://i1.wp.com/tundratabloids.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/fbi-interviewed-dead-olderbrother-tsarnaev-could-have-deported-him-20.4.2013.pngL’erreur est toujours de raisonner dans les catégories de la « différence », alors que la racine de tous les conflits, c’est plutôt la « concurrence », la rivalité mimétique entre des êtres, des pays, des cultures. La concurrence, c’est-à-dire le désir d’imiter l’autre pour obtenir la même chose que lui, au besoin par la violence. Sans doute le terrorisme est-il lié à un monde « différent » du nôtre, mais ce qui suscite le terrorisme n’est pas dans cette « différence » qui l’éloigne le plus de nous et nous le rend inconcevable. Il est au contraire dans un désir exacerbé de convergence et de ressemblance. (…) Ce qui se vit aujourd’hui est une forme de rivalité mimétique à l’échelle planétaire. (…) Ce sentiment n’est pas vrai des masses, mais des dirigeants. Sur le plan de la fortune personnelle, on sait qu’un homme comme Ben Laden n’a rien à envier à personne. Et combien de chefs de parti ou de faction sont dans cette situation intermédiaire, identique à la sienne. Regardez un Mirabeau au début de la Révolution française : il a un pied dans un camp et un pied dans l’autre, et il n’en vit que de manière plus aiguë son ressentiment. Aux Etats-Unis, des immigrés s’intègrent avec facilité, alors que d’autres, même si leur réussite est éclatante, vivent aussi dans un déchirement et un ressentiment permanents. Parce qu’ils sont ramenés à leur enfance, à des frustrations et des humiliations héritées du passé. Cette dimension est essentielle, en particulier chez des musulmans qui ont des traditions de fierté et un style de rapports individuels encore proche de la féodalité. (…) Cette concurrence mimétique, quand elle est malheureuse, ressort toujours, à un moment donné, sous une forme violente. A cet égard, c’est l’islam qui fournit aujourd’hui le ciment qu’on trouvait autrefois dans le marxisme. René Girard
The Tsarnaev brothers pulled off their terrorist attack with great skill but made a fatal mistake in letting their faces and bodies be seen at a heavily photographed international sporting event. This meant that multiple images of them were available for a massive law enforcement squad to comb over and, after three days, identify them by name and appearance. This rapid identification was not unprecedented – the London police had done likewise in the July 2005 suicide bombings but because none of the four perpetrators survived that attack, that was more a theoretical achievement than a practical one. To the best of my knowledge, the Tsarnaevs were the first terrorists to be tracked down via still and video pictures. (…) But how to avoid doing so? Hoodies leave the face exposed. Ski masks arouse suspicion in temperate weather, as do Halloween masks all but one night a year, and stocking masks at any time. Obviously, they should have put on Islamic full body covers that show only the eyes (niqabs) or nothing at all (burqas). These garments have multiple and unique virtues, totally hiding the wearers identity; being legitimate attire in any weather and in any place; permitting the discreet transport of weapons; giving off the helpfully false impression of being worn by women, which both reduces suspicion and misleads witnesses; usefully creating a social barrier; maximizing personal prerogatives; and being ideologically appropriate, sending an unmistakable Islamist signal. (…) One must expect future non-suicide bombers to turn to niqabs or burqas. (As many terrorists and criminals repeatedly have done so.). But why wait for them to engage in more murders? Why close the barn door only after the horse has run away? Far smarter would be to ban the niqab and burqa in public places now, before tragedy occurs. Daniel Pipes
L’attaque de Bourgas était une attaque sur le sol européen contre un Etat membre de l’Union européenne. Nous espérons que les Européens vont tirer les conclusions qui s’imposent. Les conclusions annoncées par la Bulgarie aujourd’hui sont claires: le Hezbollah était directement responsable de cette atrocité. Il n’y a qu’un seul Hezbollah, c’est une organisation unique avec un commandement unique. C’est une nouvelle confirmation de ce que nous savions déjà: que le Hezbollah et son parrain l’Iran orchestrent une campagne terroriste à travers les pays et les continents. Benjamin Netanyahou
Il y a des informations concernant des financements et une appartenance au Hezbollah de deux personnes, dont l’auteur de l’attentat. (Ces personnes) possédaient des passeports de l’Australie et du Canada » et « vivaient sur le territoire libanais depuis 2006 et 2010. Tsvetan Tsvetanov (ministre bulgare de l’Intérieur)
Tamerlan Tsarnaev a été entendu en 2011 par la police américaine après l’avertissement d’un pays étranger, a confirmé vendredi le FBI, qui pourrait ainsi être placé dans l’embarras. Les autorités du pays en question, qui n’a pas été précisé, le soupçonnaient d’être «un adepte de l’islam radical» sur le point de quitter les Etats-Unis pour rejoindre un mouvement armé, a précisé le FBI vendredi soir. L’audition de Tamerlan Tsarnaev et de sa famille n’a pas permis «de découvrir une quelconque activité terroriste», pas plus que les recherches concernant leurs déplacements, leurs activités sur internet ou leur entourage, ajoute l’agence. 20 minutes
A l’été 1996, le monde avait les yeux rivés sur Atlanta pour les Jeux olympiques. Sous la protection et les auspices du régime de Washington, des millions de personnes étaient venues pour célébrer les idéaux du monde socialiste. Les multinationales ont dépensé des milliards de dollars et Washington avait mis en place une armée de sécurité pour protéger le meilleur de ces jeux. (…) L’objectif de l’attaque du 27 juillet était de confondre, de mettre en colère et dans l’embarras le gouvernement de Washington aux yeux du monde pour son abominable autorisation de l’avortement à la demande. Le plan était de forcer l’annulation des Jeux, ou au moins de créer un état d’insécurité, pour vider les rues autour des lieux et ainsi rendre inutiles les vastes sommes d’argent investies. Le plan sur lequel je me suis finalement rabattu était d’utiliser cinq explosifs chronométrés low-tech à placer un à la fois et en des jours successifs tout au long du calendrier olympique, chacun précédé d’un avertissement de quarante à cinquante minutes sur le 911. Les lieu et heure de la détonation devaient être donnés, et l’intention était de ce fait de faire évacuer chacune des zones visées, laissant seuls exposés au risque potentiel de blessure les forces de l’ordre en uniforme et armées. « Les attaques devaient commencer dès le début des Jeux olympiques, mais en raison d’un manque de planification, cela a été reporté d’une semaine. J’avais espéré sincèrement atteindre ces objectifs sans nuire à des civils innocents. Eric Randolph
Aux Etats-Unis, les musulmans sont plus résistants, mais pas à l’abri du message radical. Malgré les perspectives économiques, la puissante force d’attraction des racines religieuses des individus et de l’identité peut parfois prendre le dessus sur la nature assimilatrice de la société américaine, faite de réussite professionnelle, stabilité financière et confort matériel. Mitchell Silber et Arvin Bhatt
Certains utiliseront cette menace comme un argument contre l’immigration, mais cela serait punir tout le monde pour les péchés de quelques uns. La menace radicale intérieure est vraiment un argument à la vigilance, notamment au sein de communautés enclines à produire des terroristes. Autrement dit, surveiller les groupes d’étudiants étrangers aux États-Unis, certaines communautés d’immigrants qui ont produit des jihadistes et, oui, même les mosquées et d’autres lieux musulmans. L’important est d’être assez familier avec ces communautés, pour connaître et être suffisamment en confance avec leurs dirigeants de sorte que ces hommes et ces femmes alertent les forces de l’ordre lorsque que l’un de leurs membres semble s’être radicalisé. Cela offense certains défenseurs des libertés civiles et l’Associated Press qui s’en sont pris à la police de New York pour la pratique dans une série d’histoires en 2011. Dans le sillage de Boston, cela semble particulièrement peu judicieux. Les policiers de New York disent qu’ils ont poursuivi leur surveillance, en vertu de garanties juridiques appropriées, et nous espérons qu’ils continueront. Le gouvernement américain surveille des groupes extrémistes de droite, parce que nous savons qu’ils sont dangereux. La police ne devrait pas s’abstenir de faire la même chose pour les groupes musulmans ou immigrés simplement parce que cela serait jugé moins politiquement correct. Comme le montrent les événements de la semaine à Boston, ne pas le faire serait bien trop coûteux. Le Wall Street Journal

Attention: un scandale peut en cacher un autre !

Responsable de l’attentat des Jeux d’Atlanta accusé d’attaque indiscriminée de civils alors qu’en alertant la police 45 minutes auparavant il avait tout fait pour l’éviter, groupe suprémaciste texan faussement soupçonné d’avoir tué un juge et son épouse, organisation terroriste libanaise et ses commanditaires iraniens contraints de déployer leurs actions jusqu’en Bulgarie devant le refus indu de l’Europe de toute reconnaissance digne de ce nom …

Alors qu’au lendemain de la mort et de la capture des Mérah américains responsables de la dernière tuerie islamiste en date …

Une opinion et des médias obsédés par les groupes extrémistes de droite continuent comme si de rien n’était leur refus de voir l’évidence …

Pendant qu’après la Maison Blanche, Hollywood se décide enfin à reconnaitre leur dû aux Weathermen et les parlementaires français comme néo-zélandais l’avancée incommensurable du mariage pour tous

Comment ne pas voir avec le WSJ…

Sous prétexte de correction politique et face aux efforts toujours plus méritants des musulmans et de leurs soutiens d’extrême-gauche se tuant littéralement à prouver leur bonne volonté meurtrière

La scandaleuse injustice d’une surveillance policière réservée aux seuls groupes extémistes de droite ?

The Brothers Tsarnaev

Mohsin Hamid

The WSJ

April 20, 2013

The terrorist suspects next door.

Events in Boston were moving so quickly on Friday that it’s impossible to draw too many conclusions. But the emergence of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the chief terror suspects who paralyzed a great American city deserves at least some reflection.

One consoling thought is the admirable behavior of the citizens of greater Boston and its law enforcers. The point may seem banal, but it’s no small matter that the public largely heeded the government’s orders to stay off the streets and take the day off so police could track down the younger brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar, who was captured Friday night after a day-long manhunt.

Bostonians have endured enormous disruption this week, but the city has shown a remarkable civility and calm throughout it all. Many lives were saved because of the rapid triage work by volunteers at the bomb scene. Bloomberg News reports that one of the marathon bombing’s victims also helped the FBI identify a suspect after he awoke from surgery at the hospital. The suspect had dropped a bag at Jeff Bauman’s feet and looked him in the eye minutes before it exploded. Mr. Bauman lost both legs below the knee but got his man.

As for the brothers, we will learn more about their motives, their training and whether they acted alone or as part of a network. What we have already learned is that they are immigrants from Chechnya, of the Muslim faith, and that 26-year old Tamerlan was uncomfortable in American society despite having lived here for about a decade.

The Associated Press reported that he was quoted in a Boston University student magazine in 2010 as saying, « I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them. » Mother Jones reported that a video attributed to a Tamerlan Tsarnaev extolled an extremist religious prophecy associated with al Qaeda. None of this is definitive but it might be illustrative.

If such alienation turned to jihad, it would not be the first time. The radicalization of young Muslims in the West, in particular children of the well-off, is by now a familiar story. The London bombers of 2005 were middle-class Pakistani immigrants from Birmingham. Faisal Shahzad, the failed Times Square bomber, was a naturalized citizen from Pakistan.

After the London bombings, many Americans took comfort in the belief that immigrants to the U.S. are better assimilated than they are in Europe. But that may be more conceit than fact, at least in regard to some young men. « My Son the Fanatic » is a novella by Hanif Kureishi that speaks to the difficulties of acculturation of second-generation Muslims. The recent Pulitzer Prize- winning play, « Disgraced, » covers related ground.

Mitchell Silber and Arvin Bhatt explained how this can evolve into a threat in an instructive paper for the New York Police Department in 2007,

« Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat. » The intelligence analysts looked at several cases here and abroad and described the process by which otherwise « unremarkable » men leading regular lives become jihadists.

« Muslims in the U.S. are more resistant, but not immune to the radical message, » they wrote. « Despite the economic opportunities in the United States, the powerful gravitational pull of individuals’ religious roots and identity sometimes supersedes the assimilating nature of American society which includes pursuit of a professional career, financial stability and material comforts. » The Tsarnaev brothers may be an example.

Some will use this threat as an argument against immigration, but that would punish everyone for the sins of a few. The « homegrown » radical threat is really an argument for vigilance, especially within communities prone to producing terrorists.

This means surveilling foreign student groups in the U.S., certain immigrant communities that have produced jihadists, and, yes, even mosques and other Muslim venues. The key is to be familiar enough with these communities, to know and be trusted enough by their leaders, so those man and women will alert law enforcers when someone appears to have become radicalized.

This offends some civil libertarians, and the Associated Press excoriated the NYPD for the practice in a series of stories in 2011. In the wake of Boston, this looks notably misguided. New York’s police say they’ve kept at it, under appropriate legal safeguards, and we hope they will continue.

The U.S. government watches right-wing extremist groups because we know they are dangerous. The police shouldn’t refrain from doing the same to Muslim or immigrant groups merely because that is deemed less politically correct. As the week’s events in Boston show, the costs of doing otherwise are too high.

Voir aussi:

Tamerlan Tsarnaev a été entendu en 2011 par le FBI

20 minutes

20/04/2013

ETATS-UNIS – Le FBI l’a confirmé. Il pourrait ainsi être placé dans l’embarras…

Tamerlan Tsarnaev a été entendu en 2011 par la police américaine après l’avertissement d’un pays étranger, a confirmé vendredi le FBI, qui pourrait ainsi être placé dans l’embarras. Les autorités du pays en question, qui n’a pas été précisé, le soupçonnaient d’être «un adepte de l’islam radical» sur le point de quitter les Etats-Unis pour rejoindre un mouvement armé, a précisé le FBI vendredi soir. L’audition de Tamerlan Tsarnaev et de sa famille n’a pas permis «de découvrir une quelconque activité terroriste», pas plus que les recherches concernant leurs déplacements, leurs activités sur internet ou leur entourage, ajoute l’agence.

«Un coup monté», selon la mère des deux suspects

Interrogée par le service en langue anglaise de la chaîne de télévision Russia Today, la mère des deux suspects a pour sa part affirmé que son fils aîné était surveillé par le FBI depuis au moins trois ans et que la police fédérale américaine était parfaitement au courant de ses activités. «Il était contrôlé par le FBI depuis quelque chose comme trois à cinq ans», a dit Zoubeidat Tsarnaeva, employant en anglais le faux-ami du mot russe signifiant «surveiller». «Ils savaient ce que mon fils était en train de faire, ils savaient quels sites il consultait sur internet» a-t-elle ajouté.

D’après Russia Today, qui l’a interrogée au téléphone, Zoubeidat Tsarnaeva se trouvait à Makhachkala, la ville du Daguestan où elle réside. Comme Anzor, leur père interrogé vendredi par les médias, Zoubeidat Tsarnaeva pense que ses enfants ont été manipulés. «C’est vraiment, vraiment difficile à entendre. Et en tant que mère, tout ce que je peux dire, c’est que je suis vraiment convaincue, je suis sûre à 100% qu’il s’agit d’un coup monté» a-t-elle dit. On ignore donc d’où provenait l’avertissement mentionné par le FBI mais Tamerlan Tsarnaev aurait effectué un voyage en Russie l’année dernière.

«Très perturbant de savoir qu’il était sur les écrans radar du FBI»

Les deux suspects, originaires de Tchétchénie, sont nés au Kirghizistan et vivaient depuis une dizaine d’années aux Etats-Unis, où rien ne pouvait laisser croire qu’il s’agissait d’extrémistes. Le cadet a la nationalité américaine Rien n’indiquait jusqu’ici que les frères Tsarnaev étaient connus des services de police.

«C’est une information nouvelle pour moi et c’est très perturbant de savoir qu’il était sur les écrans radar du FBI» a réagi Michael McCaul, député républicain du Texas et président de la commission Sécurité de la Chambre des représentants. Les services de sécurité américains avaient auparavant indiqué ne disposer d’aucune information permettant d’établir un lien entre les frères Tsarnaev et un mouvement islamiste tel qu’Al Qaïda.

Voir également:

Procureurs assassinés au Texas : un ex-juge et sa femme incriminés

France info

18 Avril 2013

Deux procureurs ont été tués dans l’Etat du Texas, en janvier puis fin mars dernier. Après avoir soupçonné un groupe de défense de la suprémacie de la race blanche, l’enquête a connu un rebondissement ces derniers jours. Un ancien juge de paix et sa femme ont été mis en accusation.

L’affaire avait suscité beaucoup d’émoi au Texas le mois dernier. Non seulement le procureur du comté de Kaufman, près de Dallas et sa femme avaient été retrouvés morts chez eux. Mais en plus, il ne s’agissait pas du premier crime. Un autre procureur travaillant dans le même bureau avait été assassiné deux mois plus tôt.

De quoi envisager aussitôt un lien entre les deux affaires. Les enquêteurs avaient même poussé le raisonnement jusqu’à relier ces deux meurtres, à un troisième, celui du directeur d’une prison dans le Colorado le 19 mars. Dans leur ligne de mire : un groupe de « suprémacistes », la Fraternité aryenne.

De la fausse piste aux arrestations

Mais la piste s’est avérée fausse. Car les recherches ont éloigné les enquêteurs de cette piste d’extrême droite, pour les conduire à un email anonyme annonçant d’autres attaques, et à un ancien juge de paix, renvoyé pour avoir été confondu dans une affaire de vol. Tout est alors allé très vite.

L’ancien magistrat a été arrêté samedi, et accusé de « menace à caractère terroriste », pour avoir rédigé cet email. Quand à sa femme, elle a « avoué son implication dans la planification et la mise à exécution des meurtres par balle », indique son mandat d’arrestation. Mise en accusation mercredi, elle a néanmoins affirmé que c’est son mari qui avait appuyé sur la gâchette.

Voir encore:

Deux procureurs assassinés au Texas, les « suprémacistes » suspectés

France info

1 Avril 2013

Un procureur a été retrouvé mort samedi dans le comté de Kaufman, près de Dallas au Texas. Deux mois après le meurtre de son adjoint et deux semaines après celui d’un directeur de prison. Coïncidences ? Les autorités locales en doutent et soupçonnent un groupe de défenseurs de la race blanche.

Le FBI, les Texas Rangers et d’autres services judiciaires participent à l’enquête sur le meurtre du procureur et sa femme © Reuters – Shannon Stapleton

Il y a deux mois, le procureur de Kaufman Mike McLelland, ancien GI’s de l’opération Tempête du désert en Irak jouait les fier-à-bras, promettant une traque sans fin à la « racaille » qui venait d’assassiner son adjoint, Franck Hasse. Il ne quittait jamais son arme, « même pour promener son chien », disait-il, se décrivant comme « un soldat ». Pourtant, il a été retrouvé mort samedi, chez lui, à quelques kilomètres de Dallas, avec son épouse, le corps criblé de balles. Selon les témoignages, le couple aurait été abattu par un ou deux hommes, visages masqués.

« Une attaque ciblée », affirme la police qui refuse de tirer des conclusions trop hâtives, mais estime tout de même que deux meurtres de procureurs à deux mois d’intervalle, dans une ville de 106.000 habitants, c’est un peu trop pour n’être qu’une coïncidence.

Sur les traces de la Fraternité aryenne

Dans le viseur des autorités, la Fraternité aryenne, prônant la défense de la suprématie blanche. Un premier lien avait été établi après le meurtre de Franck Hasse, meurtre perpétré le 19 janvier, jour où le département de la Justice avait annoncé par communiqué l’ouverture d’une enquête par le bureau du procureur de Kaufman contre ce groupe d’extrême droite pour une affaire de racket.

Mais l’affaire ne s’arrêterait pas là. Car le FBI s’est déjà intéressé aux liens entre le meurtre de Franck Hasse et celui du directeur d’une prison du Colorado le 19 mars. Le suspect principal de ce dernier assassinat, mort dans une course-poursuite avec la police deux jours plus tard, faisait précisément partie de la Fraternité aryenne et portait des tatouages de croix gammées.

>>> Si vous avez du mal à suivre, le New York Times a tenté de remonter le temps pour illustrer les possibles connections entre ces différentes affaires.

La branche texane de la Fraternité aryenne est présentée comme un gang responsable de meurtres, d’incendies criminels, d’agressions et autres crimes. Il est décrit comme « enclin à la violence et aux menaces violentes pour maintenir une discipline interne ainsi qu’à des représailles contre les personnes soupçonnées de collaborer avec les forces de l’ordre ». La Fraternité aryenne (« Aryan brotherhood ») fait partie de la mouvance suprémaciste, qui comme son nom l’indique, revendique la suprématie de la race blanche. Des groupuscules surveillés de près par la SLPC aux États-Unis.

Voir encore:

Hezbollah : les révélations des enquêteurs bulgares

Alexandre Lévy

Le Figaro

07/02/2013

Le Figaro a recueilli des confidences sur le rapport top secret de la Commission nationale de sécurité bulgare qui a conclu à la responsabilité du Hezbollah dans l’attentat de Burgas contre un bus israélien en 2012.

Jacque Filipe Martin, Ralph William Rico et Brian Jameson. Deux jeunes Canadiens et un Australien sur les bords de la mer Noire à l’été 2012. Des touristes en goguette? Non, pour les autorités bulgares, ces trois hommes sont les responsables de l’attentat anti-israélien du 18 juillet 2012 qui a fait six morts et une trentaine de blessés à l’aéroport de Burgas, à l’est du pays.

Le premier y a laissé sa peau, déchiqueté par la charge explosive de plus de 3 kg qu’il transportait dans son sac à dos; ses deux complices sont repartis, via un autre pays européen, vers le Liban dont ils sont tous originaires. Des binationaux, le «cauchemar» des services de sécurité.

«Toutes les pistes mènent à Beyrouth»

«Toutes les pistes mènent à Beyrouth», résume un responsable policier au lendemain de la session extraordinaire du Conseil de sécurité, le 5 février, à l’issue duquel Sofia a officiellement mis en cause le Hezbollah dans cet acte sans précédent sur le sol bulgare. «Il y a des informations concernant des financements et une appartenance au Hezbollah de deux personnes», a affirmé le ministre de l’Intérieur Tsvetan Tsvetanov, après six heures de débats à huis clos pendant lesquels les membres du Conseil ont pris connaissance du rapport préliminaire établi par les services de sécurité bulgares et leurs partenaires occidentaux sur cette affaire – un texte classé «secret-défense».

Grâce aux confidences de certains des membres du Conseil, on peut néanmoins établir les éléments qui ont permis cette mise en cause tant attendue par Washington et Tel-Aviv qui se sont empressés de remettre la pression sur l’Union européenne pour qu’elle reconnaisse le Hezbollah comme «organisation terroriste».

Les terroristes voulaient faire un maximum de victimes

Les transferts d’argent en provenance du Liban tout d’abord. Ils avaient pour destinataire le porteur du passeport australien du trio, que les enquêteurs considèrent comme l’artificier du groupe. Les faux permis de conduire américains retrouvés en Bulgarie étaient tous fabriqués dans le même atelier libanais – un lieu «connu» des services de renseignement occidentaux.

Les enquêteurs bulgares disposeraient également d’une photo sur laquelle figureraient des proches parents de l’un des présumés terroristes aux côtés de membres du Hezbollah. Enfin, les policiers ont également établi avec exactitude le timing des déplacements du trio. Ils sont arrivés par avion en Bulgarie munis de leurs véritables passeports, après avoir transité par trois autres pays européens. Mais leur point de départ était Beyrouth, où, selon, le patron de l’antigang de Sofia, Stanimir Florov, les deux survivants se trouvent aujourd’hui.

Autre conclusion importante: l’explosion sur le parking de l’aéroport de Burgas, présentée comme un attentat suicide au début, est aujourd’hui considérée comme «accidentelle». «Les terroristes voulaient faire exploser la bombe à distance dans le bus en mouvement, faisant ainsi le maximum de victimes tout en effaçant leurs traces. Mais soit le porteur de la bombe a fait une mauvaise manipulation, soit il s’est fait avoir par ses coéquipiers», affirme une source policière.

Ayant reconstitué le parcours des trois hommes en Bulgarie, les enquêteurs sont également persuadés qu’ils n’avaient pas un comportement de fanatiques islamiques mais plutôt de «James Bond en herbe». Et ils n’ont boudé les plaisirs de la vie. «Ils ont fréquenté des hôtels de charme et des restaurants fins, souvent joliment accompagnés», disent-ils.

Ottawa a confirmé que l’un de ses ressortissants est bien impliqué dans cet attentat, précisant qu’il a quitté le sol canadien à l’âge de 12 ans. Les autorités australiennes sont également à la recherche de «Brian», alors que le gouvernement libanais s’est engagé à «coopérer» avec les enquêteurs bulgares. La véritable identité du troisième terroriste, mort dans l’attentat, reste en revanche un mystère. «Force est de constater que les organisateurs de cet attentat ont trouvé un homme que personne ne pleure, ni ne regrette», conclut un policier occidental spécialisé dans la lutte antiterroriste.

Voir enfin:

The Homegrown Terrorist Threat to the US Homeland (ARI)

Lorenzo Vidino

ARI 171/2009

18/12/2009

Theme: Radicalisation into violence affects some small segments of the American Muslim population and recent events show that a threat from homegrown terrorism of jihadist inspiration does exist in the US.

Summary: The wave of arrests and thwarted plots recently seen in the US has severely undermined the long-held assumption that American Muslims, unlike their European counterparts, are virtually immune to radicalisation. In reality, as argued in this ARI, evidence also existed before the autumn of 2009, highlighting how radicalisation affected some small segments of the American Muslim population exactly like it affects some fringe pockets of the Muslim population of each European country. After putting forth this argument, this paper analyses the five concurring reasons traditionally used to explain the divergence between the levels of radicalisation in Europe and the US: better economic conditions, lack of urban ghettoes, lower presence of recruiting networks, different demographics and a more inclusive sense of citizenship. While all these characteristics still hold true, they no longer represent a guarantee, as other factors such as perception of discrimination and frustration at US foreign policies could lead to radicalisation. Finally, the paper looks at the post-9/11 evolution of the homegrown terrorist threat to the US homeland and examines possible future scenarios.[1]

Analysis: The American authorities and public have been shocked by the tragic events of 5 November 2009, when Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly opened fire against fellow soldiers inside the Fort Hood military base, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others. The shooting triggered a heated debate over Major Hasan’s motives. Earlier analyses focused on personal and psychological factors, such as his alleged distress towards his forthcoming deployment to Iraq and the abuses he had reportedly suffered from other soldiers. As the days went by, more and more evidence surfaced pointing to Major Hasan’s radical Islamist sympathies. Colleagues and acquaintances described many instances in which the Virginia-born Army psychiatrist had expressed extremely negative feelings towards the US and praised acts of violence against it. Reports also indicated that the FBI had investigated Major Hasan’s e-mail conversations with Anwar al Awlaqi, a US-born Yemeni-based cleric known for his fiery rhetoric and links to two of the 9/11 hijackers.

Authorities have so far been reluctant to officially label the Fort Hood shooting an act of terrorism and, at the time of writing, various investigations are exploring all angles of this tragic event. While it might be premature, if ever possible, to identify the full spectrum of motives behind Major Hasan’s actions, it is fair to say that radical Islamist ideology had an influence on his worldview. In any case, the Fort Hood shooting comes at the tail end of two months that have challenged many of the assumptions on terrorism and radicalisation in the US that have shaped the debate for more than a decade. Since September 2009, in fact, a staggering series of arrests has taken place on US soil:

On 20 September, FBI agents arrested two Afghan immigrants in Colorado and one in New York.[2] According to the authorities, one of the men, Najibullah Zazi, had trained in an al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan and, once back in the US, had purchased large quantities of chemical substances in various beauty supply stores. Zazi allegedly intended to mix the substances and detonate them against targets throughout the New York metropolitan area. The authorities described Zazi’s plot as the most serious threat against the US homeland uncovered since 9/11.[3]

On 24 September, a 19-year-old Jordanian immigrant was arrested for having parked what he believed to be a car bomb in the car park of a 60-story skyscraper in downtown Dallas, Texas.4 Before driving the car to the site, Hosam Hamer Husein Smadi had made a video which he believed would have been sent to Osama bin Laden.[5]

On the same day but in an unrelated plot, Michael C. Finton, a 29-year-old American-born convert to Islam, parked a car that he also believed laden with explosives outside a federal courthouse in Springfield, Illinois.[6] In both the Finton and the Smadi cases, federal agents had approached the two men after unearthing information about their desire to commit acts of violence, led them to believe they were affiliated to al-Qaeda and supplied them with explosives that the men wrongly believed to be active.

On 21 October, the authorities indicted two Boston-area natives, Tarek Mehanna and Ahmad Abousamra, with various conspiracy charges.[7] According to the indictment, the men, who had been extremely active in online jihadist forums, had been trying to join various al-Qaeda affiliates since 2001 and had also planned attacks inside the US (reportedly targeting a local shopping mall and various US government officials).

On 27 October, the authorities arrested two long-time Chicago residents of Pakistani descent and charged them with conspiracy to provide material support and/or to commit terrorist acts against overseas targets.[8] According to the charges the two men had been in close contact with senior leaders of Pakistani jihadist groups Lashkar e Taiba and Harakat ul Jihad Islami and one of them, Daood Gilani, had travelled to Denmark to conduct surveillance of the facilities of the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten for a possible attack against it. On 7 December the authorities charged Gilani also with conducting surveillance of various targets in Mumbai in the two years preceding the deadly November 2008 attack on the Indian city. According to the indictment, upon accepting the task Gilani changed his name to David Headley and travelled at least five times to Mumbai, confident that his new name and American passport would not attract the attention of the Indian authorities. After each trip he travelled to Pakistan, where he shared the pictures, videotapes and notes he had taken with senior Lashkar e Taiba operatives.[9]

On 28 October, the federal authorities in Detroit proceeded to arrest 11 members of Ummah, a group of mostly African-American converts to Islam, on charges that ranged from mail fraud to illegal possession and sale of firearms. Most suspects were arrested without opposing resistance, but Luqman Ameen Abdullah (alias Christopher Thomas), the group’s leader, fired at agents and was subsequently killed. While the case cannot be considered a full-fledged terrorism investigation, it nevertheless involves a US-based radical Islamist network. Ummah, in fact, is a group that, according to authorities, ‘seeks to establish a separate Sharia-law governed state within the United States’ and whose members have been involved in violent acts in the past.[10]

Finally, in early December, the Pakistani authorities arrested five American Muslims in the city of Sargodha. The five, all US citizens in their late teens and early 20s who had gone missing from their northern Virginia homes a few days earlier, had reportedly been in touch via the Internet with senior militants of various al-Qaeda-affiliated organisations and allegedly intended to train with local outfits to fight against US forces.[11]

All these plots are very diverse in their origin, degree of sophistication and characteristics of the individuals involved. Yet they all contribute to paint the picture of the complex and rapidly changing reality of terrorism of Islamist inspiration in the US. Moreover, they smash or, at least, severely undermine an assumption that has been widely held by policymakers and analysts over the last 15 years. The common wisdom, in fact, has traditionally been that American Muslims, unlike their European counterparts, were virtually immune to radicalisation. Europeans, argued this narrative, have been unable to integrate their immigrant Muslim population and radicalisation is the inevitable by-product of the discrimination and socio-economic disparity suffered by European Muslims. America, on the other hand, is more open to its immigrants and has been able to integrate its Muslims, making them impervious to radicalisation.

The wave of arrests of the last months of 2009 has contributed to shedding light on a reality that is significantly more nuanced, showing that radicalisation affects some small segments of the American Muslim population exactly like it affects some fringe pockets of the Muslim population of each European country. Evidence supporting this view has been available for a long time, as the cases of American Muslims joining radical Islamist groups date back to the 1970s.[12] According to data collected by the NYU Center on Law and Security, for example, more than 500 individuals have been convicted by the American authorities for terrorism-related charges since 9/11.[13] Most of them are US citizens or long-time US residents who underwent radicalisation inside the US. While making a numerically accurate comparison is not easy, it is fair to say that the number of American Muslims involved in violent activities is either equal or only slightly lower than that of any European country with a comparable Muslim population.

Yet, despite this evidence, for a long time the American authorities and commentators seemed unable to acknowledge the existence of radicalisation among small segments of the American Muslim population. In the FBI’s parlance, for example, until 2005, the term ‘homegrown terrorism’ was still reserved for domestic organisations such as anti-government militias, white supremacists and eco-terrorist groups such as the Earth Liberation Front. Such groups were termed ‘homegrown’ to distinguish them from jihadist terrorist networks, even though some of the latter possessed some of the very same characteristics (membership born and raised in the US and a focus on US targets). Since the cause of the jihadists was perceived to be foreign, the US government did not label them as ‘homegrown’, despite the typically homegrown characteristics of many of them.

The July 2005 attacks in London led the US authorities to look at the homegrown issue with renewed attention. As an increasing number of cells that clearly possessed homegrown characteristics were uncovered throughout the country, the authorities began to re-assess the definition of homegrown. By 2006 top FBI and DHS officials began to openly speak of homegrown terrorism of jihadist inspiration inside the US, even describing it as a threat ‘as dangerous as groups like al-Qaeda, if not more so’.[14] As a consequence of this reassessment, the US authorities began to ask themselves if the emergence of relatively large numbers of radicalised second-generation Muslims that had been observed in Europe could also take place in the US. This fear led to an increased attention on the dynamics and causes of radicalisation among Muslims in both Europe and North America.

Comparing Radicalisation in Europe and America

Five concurring reasons have traditionally been used to explain the divergence between the levels of radicalisation in Europe and the US. The first one is related to the significantly better economic conditions of American Muslims. While European Muslims generally languish at the bottom of most rankings that measure economic integration, American Muslims fare significantly better, and the average American Muslim household’s income is equal to, if not higher, than the average American’s.[15] As the many cases of militants who came from privileged backgrounds have proved, economic integration is not always an antidote to radicalisation, but it is undeniable that radical ideas find a fertile environment among unemployed and disenfranchised youth. A direct consequence of economic integration is the lack of Muslim ghettoes in the US. Areas of large European cities with a high concentration of poor Muslim immigrants have been ideological sanctuaries where radicals could freely spread their message and where radical Islam has become a sort of counterculture. The American Muslim community’s economic conditions have prevented the formation of such enclaves in the US.

Geographic dispersion, immigration patterns and tougher immigration policies have also prevented the formation of extensive recruiting and propaganda networks as those that have sprung up in Europe. While places such as Brooklyn’s al-Farooq mosque or Tucson’s Islamic Center saw extensive jihadist activities in the 1990s, they pale in comparison to recruiting headquarters such as London’s Finsbury Park, Hamburg’s al-Quds mosque or Milan’s Islamic Cultural Institute. Moreover, the fact that large segments of the American Muslim population belong to ethnicities that have traditionally espoused moderate interpretations of Islam has been cited as another reason for America’s lower levels of radicalism. In fact, Muslims from the Iranian and Indian American communities, which account for vast segments of America’s Muslim population, have traditionally embraced moderate forms of Islam and have been, to varying degrees, almost impervious to radicalisation.

Finally, commentators have often pointed out that America is a country built on immigration, traditionally accepting immigrants of all races and religions as citizens. European countries, on the other hand, have been unable to develop a sense of citizenship not linked to century-long identifying factors such as ethnicity and religious affiliation. In a nutshell, it is easy to become American, while it is very difficult for immigrants, particularly if they are not white and Christian, to be accepted as full-fledged Germans, Frenchmen or Spaniards. This sense of exclusion is traditionally cited as one of the factors driving some European Muslims to radicalisation, while the more inclusive nature of American society would prevent American Muslims from undergoing the same process.

While all these characteristics still hold true, they no longer represent a guarantee. Factors such as perception of discrimination and frustration at US foreign policies could lead to radicalisation, irrespective of favourable economic conditions. Experts and community leaders have repeatedly warned about the growing alienation of American Muslims, particularly among those of the second generation. These frustrations could produce what Steven Simon refers to as ‘a rejectionist generation’, which could embrace radical interpretations of Islam.[16] The same conclusion has been reached by a widely publicised report released by the New York Police Department Intelligence Division in 2007. ‘Despite the economic opportunities in the United States’, reads the report, ‘the powerful gravitational pull of individuals’ religious roots and identity sometimes supersedes the assimilating nature of American society which includes pursuit of a professional career, financial stability and material comforts’.[17]

Future Scenarios

The terrorist threat to the US homeland has evolved significantly over the last eight years. Until mid-2003 virtually all of the terrorist conspiracies intended to strike against American soil had been planned, albeit with varying degrees of involvement, by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and al-Qaeda’s central leadership. The arrest of KSM and many of his top lieutenants, al-Qaeda’s loss of the Afghan sanctuary and the significant improvement in homeland security measures triggered a shift that began to materialise in late 2003. With the exception of the 2006 Transatlantic Plot, a plot hatched by UK-based militants apparently directed by al-Qaeda members in Pakistan to detonate liquid explosives on board several US-bound flights, every single attack against the American homeland thwarted by US authorities since then appears to have been conceived by individuals acting independently from al-Qaeda’s leadership.[19]

The individuals involved in these plots have been an odd mix of low-ranking al-Qaeda affiliates and jihad enthusiasts who had never had any contact with al-Qaeda or other established organisations. And most of them have been characterised by the absolute operational independence of the planners. The result of this shift from leader-led to homegrown has been a remarkable decrease in the sophistication of the operations planned, as most of the plotters were amateurish if not embarrassingly clumsy, lacking the basic tradecraft and capabilities to operate undetected or mount any sort of sophisticated attack.

While this was true until a few months ago, there are indications that things are changing. Recent investigations have shown that a small yet increasing number of American Muslims have been travelling to Pakistan to acquire operational skills and establish contacts with various jihadist outfits. One well known case is that of Bryant Neal Vinas, a 26 year-old Long Island native who was captured in Pakistan and brought back to the US in November 2008.[20] Vinas, who had allegedly participated in a rocket attack against a US military base in Afghanistan, decided to cooperate with American interrogators and has since provided ‘an intelligence gold mine’.[21] Thanks to Vinas’ information the authorities have been able to identify and arrest several American and European militants who had also trained with al-Qaeda and affiliated groups in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.

While this ‘Pakistan connection’ is not new to the European authorities, it is a disturbing new development for their American counterparts. To be sure, Americans had trained with various Afghanistan/Pakistan-based jihadist outfits before and after 9/11. In 2003, for example, the US authorities dismantled the so-called ‘paintball jihad’ network in northern Virginia.[22] The network was formed by a dozen young men from the Washington suburbs who had travelled to Pakistan immediately after 9/11, where they trained with Lashkar-e-Taiba. But what seemed to be isolated cases are increasingly becoming the norm. Moreover, in the case of Vinas and at least two of the cases from the fall of 2009 (the Najibullah Zazi/New York plot and the Chicago/Denmark plot) authorities have noticed with apprehension that American militants returning from Pakistan were significantly better trained and organised than the homegrown jihadists who had been operating in the US over the last few years. The ‘Pakistan connection’, that operational link to organised outfits in the Afghanistan/Pakistan area that makes amateurish homegrown networks graduate into more professional terrorist clusters, has been crucial in the development of jihadist networks in Europe over the last five years and it now appears to have become a significant factor also in the US.

Given these dynamics, one of the scenarios that the US authorities take into particular consideration is the case of a homegrown cluster that, thanks to the directions and skills obtained from al-Qaeda or various al-Qaeda-affiliated networks in Afghanistan/Pakistan, manages to reach sufficient operational sophistication to carry out a significant attack against the American homeland.[23] And if traditionally authorities estimated that al-Qaeda’s leadership intended to strike inside the US only with a mass-casualty attack that would at least rival the actions of 9/11, lately this assessment has been revised.[24] Recent cases have shown that not only independent clusters but also American networks operating in cooperation with Afghanistan/Pakistan-based groups are focusing on less grandiose plans, considering that even a less ambitious attack –on the scale of the 2004 Madrid or 2005 London bombings– would be a success.

If Afghanistan/Pakistan is a major source of concerns, the authorities have also been monitoring the possible impact of the Somali conflict on American domestic security. Over the last few years, in fact, a few dozen young American Muslims have travelled to Somalia to fight and train alongside al-Shabaab, the local Islamist militia battling the Somali government and African Union troops. Most of them have been ethnic Somalis, sons of the large Somali diaspora community present in Minneapolis, Seattle and other American cities. One of them, 27-year-old Minneapolis college student Shirwa Ahmed, reportedly blew himself up in a suicide bombing in northern Somalia in October 2008.[25] Another four Minneapolis residents have been reported killed in the African country since then. A few non-ethnic Somali Americans have also reportedly joined al-Shabaab. While the New Jersey native of Egyptian descent Amir Mohamed Meshal and Massachusetts-born convert Daniel Maldonado have been arrested after leaving Somalia, Alabama native Omar Hammami is still very much active inside the country, starring in several English language al-Shabaab propaganda videos under the nom de guerre Abu Mansour al Amriki.

While there are no indications that al-Shabaab is planning an attack within the US, its increased focus on global issues and public support for al-Qaeda make the hypothesis not that far-fetched. Moreover, while many of the foreign fighters joining al-Shabaab, whether from the US, Europe or other regions, are Somalis driven by some sort of nationalist sentiment, others are aspiring jihadists whose interest in the African country is mostly tactical and temporary. It is safe to assume that many of them, given the opportunity, would use the skills acquired in Somalia against other targets. Questioned by American interrogators after his arrest, in fact, Daniel Maldonado described his experience in the African country with these words: ‘I would be fighting the Somali militia, and that turned into fighting the Ethiopians, and if Americans came, I would fight them too’.[26] The fact that Maldonado was in close contact with the individuals arrested in Boston in October 2009 provides additional evidence as to why the ‘Somalia connection’ is considered a serious threat.

Conclusion: Since 9/11 the American counterterrorism posture has been extraordinarily aggressive, both domestically and globally. Extensive overseas military and intelligence gathering actions, the introduction of enhanced investigative powers, a significantly improved inter-agency coordination and, in general, a constant high level of vigilance have allowed the authorities to keep the country safe from terrorist attacks. While some civil libertarians might have a point in questioning some of the tools used to do so, the achievement is nevertheless remarkable. At the same time, though, the US seems to be lacking a long-term strategy to confront the threat of radicalisation on the domestic front. The authorities have in fact been unable to conceive a policy that would pre-emptively tackle the issue of radicalisation, preventing young American Muslims from embracing extremist ideas in the first place.

Various intelligence and law enforcement agencies have reached out to the academic community to better understand the social, political and psychological causes of radicalisation. But the limited understanding of the issue, coupled with the overlap of jurisdiction between often competing federal, state and local authorities, has prevented the implementation of a systematic, nationwide programme to combat radicalisation. Solutions are, to be sure, hard to find. Europeans, who experienced the problem of radicalisation of segments of their own Muslim communities well before the US, are still struggling with the same issue and are only now attempting to put in place coherent anti-radicalisation programmes, the success of which must still be verified. Equally challenging have been the efforts, on both sides of the Atlantic, to find reliable and representative organisations within various Muslim communities to be employed as partners in anti-radicalisation activities. Clearly, more attention and analysis should be devoted to the issue. But the awareness that homegrown terrorism of jihadist inspiration does exist in the US is a necessary starting point. The events of the fall of 2009 provided, if needed, additional evidence to suggest so.

Lorenzo Vidino

Fellow at the Initiative on Religion in International Affairs, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a Peace Scholar at the US Institute of Peace

[1] It goes without saying that various forms of homegrown terrorism have long threatened the US, some of them well before those of jihadist inspiration. Right-wing militias, radical environmentalist groups and, to a lesser degree, some fringe left-wing and anarchist groups are very much active inside the country and have occasionally carried out violent acts over the last few years. Yet it is undeniable that, in terms of magnitude, frequency and sophistication, homegrown terrorism of jihadist inspiration currently represents the most immediate threat against the US and is therefore the subject of this analysis.

[2]http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel09/zazi_092009.htm.

[3] Kevin Johnson, ‘Alleged terror threat seen as “most serious” since 9/11 attacks’, USA Today, 25/IX/2009.

[4]http://dallas.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel09/dl092409.htm.

[5] Jon Nielsen, ‘FBI says Dallas terror plot suspect made video to send to Osama bin Laden’, Dallas Morning News, 5/X/ 2009.

[6] http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/ilc/press/2009/09September/24Finton.html.

[7] http://boston.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel09/bs102109a.htm.

[8] http://www.justice.gov/usao/iln/pr/chicago/2009/pr1027_01.pdf.

[9] http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2009/December/09-nsd-1304.html.

[10] http://detroit.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel09/de102809.htm.

[11] Waqar Gilani & Jane Perlez, ‘5 US Men Arrested Said to Plan Jihad Training’, New York Times, 11/XII/2009.

[12] For an overview, see Lorenzo Vidino, ‘Homegrown Jihadist Terrorism in the United States: A New and Occasional Phenomenon?’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, vol. 32, 1/I/2009, p. 1-17.

[13] http://www.lawandsecurity.org/publications/TTRCHighlightsSept25th.pdf.

[14] Remarks of FBI Director Robert Muller, City Club of Cleveland, 23/VI/2006.

[15] Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream, Pew Research Center, 22/V/2007, p. 24-5.

[16] Steven Simon, Statement before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 12/IX/2006.

[17] Report by Mitchell D. Silber and Arvin Bhatt, New York Police Department Intelligence Division, Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat, August 2007, p. 8.

[18] Bruce Hoffman, ‘The Use of the Internet by Islamic Extremists’, Testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, 4/V/2006.

[19] Vidino, ‘Homegrown Jihadist Terrorism in the United States’.

[20] US v. Bryant Neal Vinas, Superseding Indictment, US District Court, Eastern District of New York, 08-823 (NGG) (S-1), 28/I/2009.

[21] ‘Man Was “Gold Mine” of Terror Intel’, Associated Press, 31/VII/2009.

[22] Terrorism in the United States, 2002-2005, unclassified report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,http://www.fbi.gov/publications/terror/terrorism2002_2005.htm.

[23] Interview with various FBI officials, September/October 2009, Boston and Washington DC.

[24] David Johnston & Eric Schmitt, ‘Smaller-Scale Terrorism Plots Pose New and Worrisome Threats, Officials Say’, New York Times, 31/X/2009.

[25] http://minneapolis.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel09/mp112309.htm.

[26] Affidavit of FBI Special Agent Jeremiah A. George in US v. Daniel Joseph Maldonado, US District Court, Southern District of Texas, H-07-125M, 13/II/2007.

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