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Waterfront Asset Protection Measures

Funding ISIS: The Business Of Terror Fighting For An Aryan Homeland: Harold Covington And The Northwest Front Hunting The Worst-Of-The-Worst Criminals In The Nation The Terrorist Threats Against Saudi Arabia And Its Counterterrorism Response Measures

Winter Issue Vol. 20, No. 4 2014 Printed in the U.S.A. IACSP.COM

Keep On Sale Until February 21, 2015

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Vol. 20, No.4


SWAT Operations and Critical Incidents: Why People Die is the textbook at all OpTac International SWAT and Critical Incident Management Programs. Copies can be purchased for $29.95 by calling 443.61.OPTAC(67822) and at ďŹ ner bookstores. For further information on OpTac International publications, programs, and services please visit: or email your request to:

Vol. 20, No. 4 Winter 2014 IACSP Director of Operations Steven J. Fustero

Page 10

Associate Publisher Phil Friedman

ISIS: Nothing New Under The Sun

Senior Editor Nancy Perry Contributing Editors Paul Davis Thomas B. Hunter Joshua Sinai

by Brig Barker

Book Review Editor Jack Plaxe Research Director Gerry Keenan Conference Director John Dew

Page 14

Communications Director Craig O. Thompson

Funding ISIS:

Art Director Scott Dube, MAD4ART International

The Business Of Terror

Psychological CT Advisors Cherie Castellano, MA, CSW, LPC

by William Esposito, April Lenhard, & Harrison Doyle

Counterintelligence Advisor Stanley I. White South America Advisor Edward J. Maggio Homeland Security Advisor Col. David Gavigan

Page 6 Page 8 Page 10 Page 14 Page 18 Page 22 Page 26 Page 30 Page 38 Page 42 Page 44 Page 48

SITREP, Terrorism Trends & Forecasts 2014 Heartbleed, Shellshock, And POODLE? Huh? By David Gewirtz ISIS: Nothing New Under The Sun, by Brig Barker Funding ISIS: The Business Of Terror, by William Esposito, April Lenhard, & Harrison Doyle What is Symbol Intelligence? By Dawn Perlmutter & Tony Kail Transnational Crime Is A Growing Threat To National And International Security, by Paul Davis The Terrorist Threats Against Saudi Arabia And Its Counterterrorism Response Measures, by Dr. Joshua Sinai Fighting For An Aryan Homeland: Harold Covington And The Northwest Front, by George Michael Waterfront Asset Protection Measures, by Stanley I. White Secure Driver: ADSI Training From The Students Perspective, by Anthony Ricci & Sterling Vernon Hunting The Worst-Of-The-Worst Criminals In The Nation, a Q&A with Mike Earp by Paul Davis Homeland Security Bookshelf, by Dr. Joshua Sinai

Personal Security Advisor Thomas J. Patire Emergency Management Advisor Clark L. Staten Director of Emergency Ops. Don L. Rondeau Tactical Advisor Robert Taubert Hazmat Advisor Bob Jaffin Security Driver Advisor Anthony Ricci, ADSI Cyberwarfare Advisor David Gewirtz Cell Phone Forensics Advisor Dr. Eamon P. Doherty IACSP Advisory Board John M. Peterson III John Dew Thomas Patire Cherie Castellano, MA, CSW, LPC Robert E. Thorn Southeast Asia Correspondent Dr. Thomas A. Marks European Correspondent Elisabeth Peruci Middle East Correspondent Ali Koknar National Sales Representative Phil Friedman, Advertising Director Tel: 201-224-0588, Fax: 202-315-3459 Tactical Sales Representative Scott Dube, MAD4ART International Tel: 757-721-2774,

THE JOURNAL OF COUNTERTERRORISM & HOMELAND SECURITY INT’L is published by SecureWorldnet, Ltd., PO Box 100688, Arlington, VA 22210, USA, (ISSN#1552-5155) in cooperation with the International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals and Counterterrorism & Security Education and Research Foundation. Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. The opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of the authors and are not necessarily those of the editors or publisher. Editorial correspondence should be addressed to: The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International, PO Box 100688, Arlington, VA 22210, USA, (571) 216-8205, FAX: (202) 315-3459 . Membership $65/year, add $10 for overseas memberships. Postmaster: send address changes to: The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International, PO Box 100688, Arlington, VA 22210, USA. Web site:

PHOTO CREDITS: Reuters,,,, and authors where applicable.

Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

Vol. 20, No.4

Free Syrian Army fighters prepare a locally-made weapon launcher during clashes with forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar alAssad on the Amerya front in Aleppo November 5, 2014.REUTERS/Hosam Katan


Terrorism Trends & Forecasts 2014


fter a rainy season lull, South Sudan’s warring parties are preparing for major offensives with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) this quarter launching attacks on Bentiu, capital of oil-producing Unity state. Hardliners in the government and the SPLA-IO appear determined to settle the conflict through war. Despite some signs of progress, nine months of peace talks have seen few results; instead, militias and self-defense forces are proliferating as their interests splinter, with many not effectively under the command and control of either main faction. Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaoré resigned following intense pressure and violent protests against a possible extension to his 27-year rule. After several days of protests that left thirty dead, demonstrators against a proposed constitutional amendment to extend the presidential two-term limit stormed the parliament, setting it ablaze. It remains unclear whether street protestors and political parties alike are ready to accept the 12-month military transition the army has announced. Escalating violence in Bangui and deepening political


animosities once again shook the Central African Republic’s fragile transition. The mobilization of antibalaka militias following a 7 October grenade attack resulted in violent clashes with Muslim residents that left several dead. Outside the capital violence continues to plague the central and western regions where French “Sangaris” forces clashed with ex-Seleka fighters and where banditry is on the rise. Yemen’s Huthis continued their advance, bringing the country’s political transition to the brink of collapse. A late September UNbrokered peace and power-sharing agreement, aimed at preserving a nominal political process, appears

to have little real impact. The Huthis consolidated their control in the north following their mid-September seizure of the capital, Sanaa, and expanded into central Yemen where hundreds were killed in clashes with their rivals. Southern separatists have seized the opportunity to renew their call for independence, holding large-scale rallies and giving the government until this winter to remove all employees and security forces from the south. In eastern Lebanon, Syria-based jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra expanded its war of attrition with Hizbollah by attacking several of the group’s strongholds and leaving dozens dead. Meanwhile, scores

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were killed in and around Tripoli in late October when the army clashed with Sunni militants. Army raids in northern Lebanon, Saida and Beirut followed, with tens of alleged “terrorists” arrested. Clashes between police and progovernment militias, otherwise known as “colectivos”, in Venezuela’s capital left five militiamen including their leader José Odreman dead and raised concerns over the government’s ability to exert its control. The subsequent dismissal of the Interior and Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres, accused by the colectivos of assassinating Odreman, and ongoing calls for the dismissal of the National Assembly

president have only deepened the regime’s instability. In Mexico the disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero, apparently at the hands of local police with links to organized crime, triggered massive, sometimes violent, protests. The federal government has arrested a number of suspects and uncovered several mass graves, but so far failed to find the students or identify their remains. The case appears to expose yet again local and perhaps state-level complicity with criminal groups, as well as the failure of the federal government to control violence and widespread impunity. Hostilities between India and Pakistan continued along Kashmir’s Line of Control (LoC) and the working boundary dividing Pakistan and India-administered Kashmir, with each side accusing the other of unprovoked firing. The clashes were accompanied by unusually aggressive rhetoric from the Indian government, causing concern that the Pakistani government, currently engaged in a power struggle with the military over the country’s India policy, will see its political options narrow further. Fourth Quarter 2014 TRENDS Deteriorated Situations • Burkina Faso, CAR, Kashmir, Lebanon, Mexico, Venezuela, Yemen Conflict Risk Alert • Burkina Faso, South Sudan, Yemen Source:

Cybersecurity Set To Be Fastest Growing Homeland Security Market

security frameworks that often have cybersecurity at their core,” said Callum Jennings, the report’s defense and security analyst. “Although Europe and North America have struggled in recent years due to budget cuts and investment limitations,” Jennings said, “the next ten years will undoubtedly witness their reassertion as prime markets, while elsewhere in Asia and the Middle East, numerous off-the-shelf purchases of advanced technologies will enable manufacturers and integrators numerous opportunities. Altogether these factors will ensure that 2014’s $238 billion global homeland security market size will only further develop as time goes on, and lead to a much more diverse environment in the future.”


Virtual Kidnapping On The Rise Jose Ramirez, a retired New York police officer and ultra-fit triathlete, is an unlikely victim. But last December in Cancun, Mexico, after completing an Ironman competition, he was tricked into believing his life was in danger. Like an increasing number of U.S. citizens on both sides of the border, Ramirez was the target of an extortion scheme known as virtual kidnapping.

Cybersecurity is predicted to be the fastest growing homeland security market as North America, Asia and Europe invest in cyber defenses, according to the new report, The Homeland Security Market Forecast 2014-2024, published by ASDReports.

Unlike traditional abductions, virtual kidnappers do not intend to physically detain their victims. Instead, through various deceptions and threats of violence, they coerce individuals to isolate themselves from their families—or make families believe that their loved ones are being held—all to extract a quick ransom before the scheme falls apart.

“The global homeland security market is currently going through tremendous change, with many countries transitioning from purely physical defensive capabilities, to broader

Although these extortion schemes have been around for many years, their numbers are on the rise, and the criminals’ tactics are becoming more sophisticated. Since the threat is

continuing to evolve, the FBI wants to raise public awareness to help people avoid being victimized.

For tips on how to avoid being victimized, please visit: http://www.fbi. gov/news/stories/2014/november/ virtual-kidnapping

Terrorist Group Logos Law enforcement officers should be on the watch for these emblems and/or named groups during traffic stops and other contacts. These emblems may be found on jewelry, documents, posters, or other material. Displaying them may indicate membership in these groups and/or financial or general support for them. All groups whose logos are displayed on these pages, with one exception, have been designated by the US Department of State as either a Foreign Terrorist Organization or under Executive Order 13224. Lord’s Resistance Army’s logo is shown because its leader, Joseph Kony, has been designated under E.O. 13224. For more free information about these logos and the terrorists groups using them, please visit site/groups/index.html

Three U.S Cities To Participate In Anti-Extremist Terrorism Program Boston is among three cities where the Justice Department will launch a pilot program aimed at deterring US residents from joining violent extremist groups, according to federal and local authorities. The office of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz offered few details about the program, but said in a statement last month that it was “aimed at countering violent extremism using prevention and intervention-based approaches.” Boston was chosen “for the strength of our existing relationships, community engagement and community oriented policing programs,” the statement said.

The program, first announced last month by former US Attorney General Eric Holder, will also be launched in Los Angeles and Minneapolis. Holder said pilot programs in cities across the country will be run in partnership with the White House, Department of Homeland Security, and National Counterterrorism Center. The White House is hosting a Countering Violent Extremism summit in October. The pilot program comes as the Islamic State militant group that has occupied parts of Syria and Iraq has been aggressively recruiting members on social media, and a number of Americans have traveled overseas to join the Islamic State and other militant groups.

Source: Boston Globe

IACSP News Many of our members are not receiving our new monthly CTS Enews (electronic security report) because we either do not have your email, or you are using a .gov or .mil email address for your membership record. If you would like to receive our CTS Enews, please send me an email with the email address you would like us to use. Also include your current address. Please send the information to my attention to my personal email address: In the meantime, happy holiday season! Best wishes to all of our IACSP members this upcoming winter and as always, be vigilant and safe and take an easy on the egg nog. Thank you. Steven J. Fustero Dir. Of Operations/ IACSP

Heartbleed, Shellshock, And POODLE? Huh?By David Gewirtz


f you’ve been reading the news reports over the past few months, you’ve no doubt heard some mighty strange words being bandied about. Heartbleed sounds like either a villain in a particularly bad second-rate superhero movie. Shellshock sounds like, well, that particularly bad second-rate movie. And POODLE? When not written in all caps, it means a cute, fuzzy little creature all full of love and sunshine, usually with a crazy haircut that the animal only marginally tolerates. So, what the heck? Put simply, each of these are code names for cybersecurity


vulnerabilities. In the same way that the military gives operations code names, so does the cybersecurity community. In both cases, the code names allow the situations to be referenced according to a common name. They also provide a handle that gives the press a chance to grab on and write about it, without arcane language getting in the way. As it turns out, each of these vulnerabilities is bad news. Let’s look at each in turn.

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Heartbleed refers to a bug in the code for the open source OpenSSL cryptographic library. The bug was in a section of code called the “heartbeat” code, so the code name became “Heartbleed.” This is a particularly nasty bug, because it allows attackers to dump the memory contents of what’s supposed to be encrypted data, and can allow easy access to security keys, passwords, and a lot more.

The way this bug came to pass was an outgrowth of the nature of open source software. Basically, there was this guy who wrote OpenSSL (for free) and didn’t test it sufficiently. That code block got picked up (it’s free, remember) and over the years got built into Web server software, so roughly 20 percent of all Web servers now run OpenSSL. Which meant, when first discovered, roughly 20 percent of all Web servers were vulnerable. Not pretty. Not pretty at all. Shellshock was discovered a bit more recently, but also represents a bug in open source software. In this case, the bug is in something called the bash shell. A shell is the command line interface to systems ranging from Linux to BSD to UNIX to even the Mac OS X interface -- pretty much everything except Windows. It’s the command interface that system administrators use to manage their systems. Bash, too, has been around for years and so has the vulnerability. Oh, that. The vulnerability? Well, it lets remote users upload command to a computer and run them. Any remote users. Any commands. Very, very not pretty. Finally, there’s POODLE (which has somehow become all caps to distinguish it from the little guy who seems to like eating shoelaces). POODLE is all caps because it’s an acronym for “Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption.” This is actually another bug in SSL (which for those who are taking notes for the test, means Secure Sockets

Layer, which would be secure, if not for the bugs). In any case, POODLE is a bug in the SSL 3.0 specification, which is old and obsolete -as in 1996 old and obsolete. Even though it’s almost two decades old, SSL 3.0 is still used in a startlingly large

gree, is the opposite of that. Most of the programming language code that makes up Windows is not available to anyone else. What the bad guys do to break it is to reverse engineer the code, with varying degrees of success.

This is a particularly nasty bug, because it allows attackers to dump the memory contents of what’s supposed to be encrypted data, and can allow easy access to security keys, passwords, and a lot more.... number of systems, and therein lies the problem. The vulnerability allows the bad guys to get at the unencrypted text of what should be encrypted data. Oops. Okay, so software everyone relies on is buggy to the point of giving the advantage to evildoers. Now what? First, let’s circle back to the open source discussion. Open source software is software that’s “open.” Microsoft, to a large de-

By contrast, source code in open source projects (like Linux, for example) is shared among anyone who wants to see it. In theory, this makes the code more secure, because it gets a very wide peer review and anyone might spot a bug. And, for the most well-traveled pieces of open source software, that’s exactly what happens. Many eyes make for better software. But not all open source software is so well examined. Some of it, like the OpenS-

SL module, were written by one dude, during his spare time, and posted for others to use. It seemed to work, so it got picked up by other users, and so on and so on and so on. There was never any product management or formalized code review. It was just thrown out there and we all wound up using it. We rely on a tremendous amount of code that fits this description. Fortunately, as vulnerabilities are found, they are regularly patched by either their developers or other interested parties. So the good news is that once a vulnerability is found, it doesn’t last all that long. Except... Except if updates aren’t applied to the software. There are a lot of systems out there running old versions of software that haven’t had updates applied. These systems are incredibly vulnerable. The bottom line here is that new vulnerabilities are discovered all the time, but many of them can be protected against simply by keeping systems updated.

About the Author David Gewirtz is Director of the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute, Distinguished Lecturer for CBS Interactive, Cyberwarfare Advisor for the International Association of Counterterrorism and Security Professionals (IACSP), IT Advisor to the Florida Public Health Association and an instructor at the UC Berkeley extension. His personal site is at: DavidGewirtz. com His company site is at: ZATZ. com Follow him on Twitter at: @DavidGewirtz LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin. com/in/davidgewirtz

ISIS: Nothing New Under The Sun By Brig Barker


A militant Islamist fighter gestures as he takes part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. The fighters held the parade to celebrate their declaration of an Islamic “caliphate” after the group captured territory in neighbouring Iraq, a monitoring service said. The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), posted pictures online of people waving black flags from cars and holding guns in the air, the SITE monitoring service said. REUTERS/Stringer

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he media is spending millions of dollars and the majority of its airwave time trying to understand and explain to the citizens of the world what ISIS is. What are its goals, mindset, and political interests? How are they different from Al Qaeda? Why would they occupy territory in both Syria and Iraq? Why would they behead an individual? Certainly all are important questions. There are numerous victims to ISIS to include families who were living in these countries just trying to get by, people sacrificing their actual lives to cover this war, and the families of foreign fighters who are bewildered by the unexpected disappearance of their young sons apparently seeking Jihad. In addition to the war ravaged and chaotic situation in the entire Middle East due to ISIS’ occupation, Western and other countries are frenetically scrambling in anticipation of foreign fighters potentially heading back to their homeland. It’s as if the world has turned upside down overnight because of this mysterious new terrorist group. As such, should the world understand who ISIS is, where they came from, and where they’re going? Absolutely. Will understanding them impact lives being saved, peoples returning to a sense of normalcy, and help shape foreign policy? Without a doubt. The truth is ISIS is not new. ISIS is simply a group banded together by an ideology, and this ideology is old, steeped in history, and very well known. It is well known, it is right before the world’s eyes, and it is dying to be recognized. This ideology has successfully eluded the media and has managed

to keep undercover in Western countries for the past two decades. However, on the ISIS side of the chess board, it’s all that is talked about, lived for, and died for. In fact, ISIS as one example, eats, drinks, and breathes this ideology. It affects every move they make, to include the beheading of innocent men who are simply seeking to help others as they sacrificially carry a camera in a war torn country.

What is this ideology? It’s the same ideology of Al Qaeda and its so-called franchises over the last 20 years. It’s the same ideology of Al Shabaab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria. It was the same ideology followed by Abu Musab Al Zarqawi as he was beheading innocent Westerners in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In fact, it’s the same ideology of the freedom fighters who were pouring into Iraq

So, the issue of ISIS or Al Qaeda or the Boston Bombers is not Salafiism but those groups and/ or individuals that carry Salafiism to its most extreme level, the SalafiJihadists.

during the same timeframe. To even better understand its reach, it was the ideology of the 9/11 Hijackers and the recent Boston bombers. This ideology is right before our eyes. This ideology is Salafiism. Salafiism is an ideology within the Sunni Muslim sect that rejects the four mainstream Sunni denominations (Mathabs). Salafiism is the belief that individual Muslims should follow the teachings of the first three generations of Muslims. Salafiism is an ideology and doesn’t always inherently maintain a “convert or die” view that leads to the killing of others. Salafiism is followed by a small number of Muslims overall, and even a smaller percentage take it to the extreme of killing others in the name of this ideology. As such, it should be understood that the percentage of individuals who make up the Salafi-Jihadi sub-sect of Islam is very small. So, the issue of ISIS or Al Qaeda or the Boston Bombers is not Salafiism but those groups and/or individuals that carry Salafiism to its most extreme level, the Salafi-Jihadists. Nevertheless, in order to understand the Salafi-Jihadists one must first understand Salafiism. The challenge is that the Salafi ideology is a deep ocean, full of nuanced beliefs that are layered in rulings, opinions, science, and fatwas. It would take a lifetime of full time learning to fully understand the ideology. Yet, these groups such as ISIS are understandable,

as they follow some basic nonnegotiable beliefs that provide a macro understanding to the average person. ISIS wants certain things based on their micro-belief system as S/J’s. They are channelized by, or almost victims to their own ideology. As such, ISIS, a Salafi-Jihadist entity, can be defined and understood. The world already has its battle plan, the book just needs to be opened. Their battle plan in its simplest form is and will be characterized by three factors making up their ideology. These are Takfiriism, Sharia, and Lit-

individuals under the Takfiri mindset begin to live their lives in a Haram corridor wherein almost everything of comfort (sleeping in a bed vs sleeping on the floor) becomes Haram. Takfiris believe that one should live like the first three Muslim generations of 600700 AD, in complete austerity. Regarding ISIS, these individuals collectively and individually will consider not only Christians and Jews non-believers, but also most Muslims they come in contact with in Syria and Iraq. These individuals will be given the option of converting if non-Muslim, or following the Salafi-Jihadist way if Muslim. If the individual refuses, they will most

plementation of Sharia will continue until ISIS’ defeat. In fact, Sharia will become more widespread with each territorial expansion. Salafi-Jihadists believe that man’s involvement in the ruling of a country or jurisdiction should not interfere with God’s (Allah) supremacy. They believe that it should be God’s rule through the use of the aforementioned 4,500 Hadith rules. If these rules are broken, then obligatory discipline must take place, harsh as it may be. As ISIS expands its territory, legacy governance of jurisdictions and districts will be removed, only to have Sharia courts implemented in their place. Sharia is a non-negotiable for the Salafi-Jihadists. Sharia is a ruling by the sword and it

Overall, ISIS will use this SalafiJihadist ideology to expand their rule. They are violent, intimidating, and relentless. Nevertheless, they are also simple, predictable, and defeatable. The first step towards their elimination is an understanding of their ideology and their overall objective. What’s understood at the outset is they believe they are the true believers amongst all religions and even amongst the world’s Muslims. As such, they inherently bring an elitist and most likely narcissistic mindset to all that they do. This will bring blind spots to their pursuits within the region. They further will seek a relentless expansion of their archaic rule of law

Salafi-Jihadists rely on the “Verse of the Sword” Sura 9:5 “Go out and find the Unbelievers, slay them where you find them, lie in wait, in every stratagem of war.” Again, Salafi-Jihadists find justification in such a verse. It feeds their sense of supremacy over non-believers, and gives them cause to act out against the violator. eralism. Using their own battle plan against them is definitely attainable and recommended. However, this paper as a primer will solely focus on these three inherent characteristics of their ideology. First, ISIS are Takfiris. Takfiris are individuals or groups that feel fit to declare others non-believers in Islam--essentially, an individual such as Osama Bin Laden, although having no religious credentials, declared Christians, Jews, and other religions non-believers (Kufaar). In fact, Bin Laden declared many Muslims non-believers. The Arabic word Takfir is based on the three letter derivative K-F-R that at its root means someone who is not a true believer. Takfiris are Salafi-Jihadists who see any other individuals who don’t follow their very nuanced micro-belief system as non-believers. As there are approximately 4,500 Hadiths or traditions/ rules within Islam, Takfiris have the mindset that each and every rule has to be followed exactly as originally passed down from the first three generations of Islam. If these rules aren’t followed as proscribed, the individual is a non-believer. There are two main categories of principle within Islam, Halal (Permitted) and Haram (Forbidden). Within Takfiriism, breaking the rules of Hadeeth is Haram. As such,


likely be killed or have to pay the Jizya tax (if Christian). As far as the bigger picture, Takfiris feel compelled to take their message to the world: convert or die. They further will forcibly gain territory, carrying this message, until they are defeated. This is Takfiriism in its purist form. Next, Salafi-Jihadists see the world in black and white. Gray is forbidden. They follow the concept of Dar al Harb (House of War) vs. Dar al Islam (House of Islam). Every country should have a Muslim leader and follow Sharia (Islamic Law) . In the end, a country either does such and is considered Dar al Islam or they should be the targets of timeless violent Jihad. A country that does not have a Muslim leader [and that leader being a true believer (Takfiri concept)], and does not follow Sharia law is considered Dar al Harb. Iraq and Syria are considered Dar al Harb. As such, it is obligatory under the Salafi-Jihadist ideology that these countries be the targets of violent Jihad until they convert and come under the submission of Sharia. Practically speaking, Sharia courts have already manifested themselves under ISIS through the implementation of honor killings, the institution of Sharia courts, issuance of ISIS identification cards, and large scale female genital mutilation. Under the SalafiJihadist ideology, the widespread im-

will continue to expand in the region until the defeat of ISIS. Finally, ISIS is locked in to a mindset of literalism. Literalism defined as the literal following of Quranic verses and Hadiths (Rules) again based on their Takfiri interpretation. As such, ISIS will follow certain Quranic verses such as 8:12 (I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks) and 47:4 (Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks). ISIS, like Al Qaeda and others inspired by Salafi-Jihadism, are obligated to follow the verbatim verses without consideration of the history and context of the time of the writings. In the chain of events, Salafi-Jihadists read a verse, follow it without extensive scholarly consideration, and bring their version of justice to the legal violation. Salafi-Jihadists rely on the “Verse of the Sword” Sura 9:5 “Go out and find the Unbelievers, slay them where you find them, lie in wait, in every stratagem of war.” Again, Salafi-Jihadists find justification in such a verse. It feeds their sense of supremacy over non-believers, and gives them cause to act out against the violator. At the strategic level, ISIS uses literalism as the basis for their Sharia expansion. And, again, in the macro picture, ISIS will employ this literalism until they are defeated.

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through Sharia. Without a doubt it will be intimidating to those in their path. It will, however, continue to be predictable. Finally, they will interpret the Quran and the Hadeeth as they see fit. They will attempt to force their nuanced and self-serving interpretation on all other Muslims, mainly through intimidation. All in all, ISIS will use their SalafiJihadist ideology to continue their expansion through violence, intimidation, all for the world stage. As the world tries to understand the why behind all that ISIS does, it can simply turn towards basic research on the Salafi mindset. Again, Salafi believers are not the issue in the purest sense. It’s those like ISIS that take Salafi to the extreme, heading deep into the Salafi-Jihadist realm. ISIS can be defeated, but first this enemy must be understood. Just like any military war gaming, once the enemy is understood a formidable plan can be developed.

About the Author Brig Barker is an FBI agent with extensive experience working counterterrorism matters. This article is based on personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of the FBI.

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Funding ISIS: The Business Of Terror By William Esposito, April Lenhard and Harrison Doyle

Residents run from a fire at a gasoline and oil shop in Aleppo’s Bustan Al-Qasr neighbourhood October 20, 2013. Witnesses said the fire was caused by a bullet fired by a sniper loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, a passageway separating Aleppo’s Bustan al-Qasr, which is under the rebels’ control and Al-Masharqa neighborhood, an area controlled by the regime. REUTERS/Haleem Al-Halabi


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ince its inception in 2004, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (known in shorthand as “ISIS”, or “ISIL” for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) has grown from a minor league player to a threat greater than AlQaeda, in the words of the White House and Congress.

As the insurgents bounded across northern and central Iraq and eastern Syria, stories of bank heists, oil theft, and even the seizure of MiG aircraft and American weaponry inflated the image of ISIS as the wealthiest terror network in history. Among the first targets of the Obama administration’s aerial campaign over Syria was an ISIS finance center. The rapid transition from apparent backbencher amateurs to well-funded professionals begs the question—how did they get this far? And, more importantly, who financed this growth? Traditionally, terrorist and insurgent groups have financed themselves through a vast array of illicit activities, from the drug trade and human trafficking to counterfeiting and money laundering. Al-Qaeda, ISIS’ forerunner, was no exception. Yet, Al-Qaeda partially broke the mold when it became particularly proficient at manipulating its Islamist message to solicit private donations and skim from Islamic charities. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, Al-Qaeda’s “financial backbone” was built on the donations made to them through charities, nongovernmental organizations, mosques, websites, fundraisers, intermediaries, facilitators and banks, many of which initially funded the Mujahedeen fighters during the Soviet Union’s Cold War invasion of Afghanistan.1 Utilizing this network after the fall of the USSR, Al-Qaeda continued to launder money through major regional banking centers in the Middle East, particularly in Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain and Lebanon. While ISIS has similarly employed illicit trades and charitable contributions to fund its operations, it differs in its startling and successful evolution, deeply embedding itself into the Mesopotamian economy. As ISIS has expanded, so too have its methods and sources of funding. By combining classic illegal activities like extortion and ransom kidnapping, Al-Qaeda-style charity tactics (successful among wealthy Gulf Arabs), and integrating with the local trade in oil, crops, and antiquities, ISIS

has created a vast leviathan of an organization, with most sources estimating daily revenues up to three million dollars.2 That figure is in contrast to the seven to ten million dollars spent daily by the United States to combat the group.3

Big Money Unlike popular insurgencies, terror groups frequently alienate themselves by brutalizing the populations they control. It is not surprising, therefore, that the familiar illicit activities to which ISIS resorts for funding are inherently predatory: robbery, kidnapping, and local extortion. Yet with such complex geographical control, the group is capable of preying on local economies in a far more lucrative fashion than smaller radical competitors. Among the most common forms of fundraising in this vein is simple mafia-style protection extortion. A farmer in an ISIS-controlled area, for example, may pay ten to twenty percent of their total profits to the militants. A businessman may pay $100 a month for the privilege of keeping his shop open. Minorities are forced to pay for ‘protection’, and arbitrary road checkpoints are set up where drivers can pay the ‘toll’ by relinquishing their wallets. Ransoms are an inconsistent form of income but extremely profitable, especially from targeted European countries who have a track record of previous negotiations and payment. The theft and sale of antiquities should not be understated, either—a lesson learned after the US invasion of Iraq. The looting of a single archaeological site can yield tens of millions of dollars in sales. According to one official, ISIS has stolen antiques over 8,000 years old, smuggling and subsequently selling over twenty six million dollars-worth of plundered artifacts recovered from just one site.4 Finally, there is the time-honored classic of bank robbery, which has easily added tens of millions of dollars to the Islamic State’s ever-diversifying financial portfolio.

In the case of ISIS, however, oil is by far the most profitable financier. While most sources estimate that ISIS-controlled oil fields yield around 60,000 barrels of oil per day, others have speculated that ISIS may have achieved volumes as high as 180,000 barrels from Syria alone.5 Crude oil is smuggled out through a long-established chain of middlemen, crossing porous borders into refineries in Kurdistan, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey (or refined by ISIS itself), bringing in millions. As a consequence, the US, UAE, and Saudi Arabia have heavily targeted eastern Syria and annihilated more than three quarters of the oil refineries known to be controlled by ISIS—all in an effort to stem the flood of cash.

Further Funding While million dollar business deals grab the headlines, the reality of ISIS’ financial success goes much deeper, from its media image to a wide range of personal networks. The Islamic State’s funding efforts have succeeded in large part because of their advertising campaign. The group’s unprecedented use of social media platforms has bolstered their prestige and influence both domestically and abroad, and has led to an influx of money, weapons, and volunteers. One phone application, called the “Dawn of Glad Tidings,” gives its users updates regarding ISIS’ advances in the field, as well as images of carnage and graphic videos—all of which serve as propaganda to help propagate the idea that ISIS has become an unstoppable force. 6 From professional graphics to highly adaptable technical tactics, ISIS has developed a digital persona well exceeding that of Al-Qaeda’s grainy cave videos. Much of the money flowing to ISIS does so through a shadowy parallel banking network known regionally as Hawalas. Unlike other remittance systems, which employ Western Unions to send money from the diaspora to home, Hawalas relies on the extensive use of personal connections (familial or regional affiliations) to transfer money without ever actually ‘moving’ it.7


This system is both efficient and discreet, allowing an individual to transfer money across vast regions in less than a day. Adding to the difficulty of government monitoring, such a system leaves virtually no paper trail. Without knowledge of the players involved, there is no reliable way in which to track who received money from whom, and for what purpose. For this reason, donations emanating even from US-allied Gulf states are notoriously difficult to track. This allows ISIS to quickly redistribute the money needed to recruit, train, and pay fighters, as well as to finance the daily cost of operating across a vast and often empty expanse of territory. The salary of an ISIS fighter

and a sophisticated parallel money transfer network, turning off the flow of cash is an incredibly difficult objective.

Stemming the Tide Since ISIS is so deeply embedded in the Iraqi, Syrian, and wider regional economies, even surgical air strikes will have an increasingly difficult time disrupting the flow of cash into the group’s coffers. Dominance from the air may degrade ISIS’ ability to operate as openly as it did during its summer blitz campaign, but disentangling the maze of personal exchanges, illicit flows, and local extortion rings is a wildly difficult process. It

Much of the money flowing to ISIS does so through a shadowy parallel banking network known regionally as Hawalas. is roughly $1,000 a month, according to King Abdullah II of Jordan, an upper-middle class income for the region and significantly better than your standard jihadist payment plan.8 Through an amalgamation of sources, ISIS has amassed profits and sustained a lucrative criminal enterprise. Its use of social media has facilitated the group’s continued presence in the news, bolstering its reputation and aiding recruitment and fundraising efforts with each new perceived success. The system thus becomes self-perpetuating; success breeds donations and volunteers, and volunteers and donations breed success. Yet, with porous borders, omnipresent media,

is almost impossible to disrupt most of these funding avenues—like crop production or remaining oil refineries—without also risking an economic or humanitarian crisis for those living within the self-declared Islamic State. The more success ISIS enjoys, the deeper its network penetrates, and the more difficult it becomes to combat the group on the financial front. Nevertheless, taking the fiscal fight to ISIS means establishing control over this stateless flow of resources (natural and otherwise). This has historically been a difficult feat because the region’s fledgling countries often have limited to no control over their borders. Even at official crossings and checkpoints

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well within their own interiors, bribes and an abundance of weapons degrade the state’s capacity to control its territory. The centuriesold smuggling pathways upon which goods, remittances, financing, and people travel also serve to fan the Middle East’s informal economy. Where a tradition of tight-lipped suspicion, smuggling, and empty borders meet, it is no surprise that America and its allies have struggled for so long to shut down this vast illicit marketplace. Although some nations such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia are strengthening their border control, the sheer expanse of territory coupled with huge movements of money and materials make individual country policing almost impossible. However, this is not only an issue of operational strategy; there are multiple political and diplomatic complexities that could result from these measures. In the past, there has been reluctance on the part of several local countries to fully cooperate with international goals in disrupting smuggling chains. Turkey, for example, has been tepid on the idea of directly cutting off oil pipelines that pass through its territory, citing in the past the concern for the welfare of ransomed Turkish nationals held captive by ISIS. Thus, even when a country has the physical capacity to shut down key illegal ports of entry and impede cash flow to ISIS, a broader arrange of considerations frequently impede action. A good place to start would be for the United States and its allies to take a greater role in domain awareness. Pooled resources, local knowledge, and international technology together bring the needed operational capacity to conduct both aerial and onthe-ground surveillance of porous borders. In so doing, documenting illegal trafficking in much greater force than is being done at present, the coalition against ISIS will be in a significantly improved position to apply military and political pressure to disrupt those pathways. While cooperation at this level is difficult, it is not without precedence. During my thirty-three years in the FBI, I witnessed first-hand the effectiveness of combining resources and talent across law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and militaries, both domes-

tically and internationally. The fight against the Mafia and Italian organized crime in the United States achieved dramatically more successful results after Italy and the United States made efforts to target this common enemy collectively. Positive results were also obtained in thwarting money launderers in the Caribbean when several countries, including the US and Great Britain, pooled their resources and jointly attacked this borderless crime. It is my experience that international task forces achieve maximum success when integrating so many partners. The same model should follow in the economic fight against ISIS. Such a task force should be formed by military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies across local partners and international contributors. Even intergovernmental organizations can be included. In recent years, under the leadership of Ron Noble, INTERPOL has joined as a significant player in the fight against international crime and terror. Connecting people is a proven method of solving complicated and seemingly insurmountable challenges. As ISIS shows, the business of terror is complex, lucrative, and far from the watchful eyes of America and its allies. The lesson learned is that, in this modern age of terror, governments must take seriously the rampant illicit markets circulating beneath and within licit flows. The American-led air campaign and limited Special Forces intervention may, over time, roll back the tide of violence ISIS has spread over the heartland of the Middle East. But the dramatic economic rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria shows us that the threat of such groups will persist so long as the highly sophisticated and robust financing and trading lines they employ remain virtually uncontrolled. Doing so will not be easy, but defeating highly organized and well-funded terrorists requires disengaging global terror from the lifeline capital of international crime. In the words of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, “We are at the beginning, not the end…of our effort to degrade and to destroy ISIL,” and America’s campaign must continue until ISIS has no

safe haven within either Syria or Iraq, nor the means to start anew.9

About the Authors William Esposito is the Former Deputy Director of the FBI and a senior consultant at Security Management International. April Lenhard and Harrison Doyle are both junior associates at Security Management International.

(Endnotes) 1 “Terrorist Financing,” Center on Foreign Relations, October, 2002, accessed September 26, 2014, 2 Luay Al-Khateeb, “How ISIS Uses Oil to Fund Terror,” Brookings Institute, September 27, 2014, accessed October 6, 2014, http:// interviews/2014/09/27-isis-oilfunds-terror-alkhatteeb. 3 “Fighting ISIS,” MSNBC, accessed October 6, 2014, http://www. watch/hagel---7-10-million-a-dayon-isis-fight-333950019916. 4 Martin Chulov, “How an arrest in Iraq revealed Isis’s $2bn jihadist network,” theguardian, June 15, 2014, accessed September 27, 2014, world/2014/jun/15/iraq-isis-arrestjihadists-wealth-power. 5 “A Dark Pool in the Mideast: The Problem of ISIS Oil Sales,” U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, September 24, 2014, accessed September 26, 2014, public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_ id=005f682a-cc3f-4bd2-91b6d68e0527439d. 6 Patrick Kingsley, “Who is behind Isis’s terrifying online propaganda operation?” theguardian, June 23, 2014, accessed September 26, 2014, world/2014/jun/23/who-behind-isispropaganda-operation-iraq. 7 Patrick M. Jost and Harjit Singh Sanhu, “The Hawala Alternative Remittance System and its Role in Money Laundering,” Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, accessed September 27, 2014, http:// terrorist-illicit-finance/documents/ fincen-hawala-rpt.pdf. 8 Sarah Benali, “ISIS Entices Youth With High Salaries – King of Jordan,” Forbes Magazine, September 22, 2014, accessed October 6, 2014, 9 “Fighting ISIS,” MSNBC.

What Is Symbol Intelligence? By Dawn Perlmutter and Tony Kail


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ymbols are a language that can help us understand our past. As the saying goes, a picture says a thousand words. But, which words? Those words spoken by Robert Langdon, Dan Brown’s protagonist in his book The Da Vinci Code tell of the intricacies in interpreting symbols. A symbol that brings comfort to one person may inflict fear on another. Symbols are universal. They are used to communicate concepts and to express messages that go beyond just words. Symbols are the oldest form of communication and have the power to inspire faith, fear, loyalty, obedience and aggression. For centuries people have fought and died under emblems, banners or flags that have symbolic significance. Members of gangs and religious groups still fight and die under emblems, banners and colors that have symbolic significance. For security, law enforcement and military, symbols are valuable pieces of evidence that can serve as red-flags in the detection of criminal organizations and security threat groups. Gang investigators have long understood the value of symbols in identifying criminals. Symbols appear in many different mediums. Codes, flags, tattoos and graffiti are just a few of the ways that ideas may be conveyed by symbols. Symbols can be used to identify members of various groups, ideologies and movements. Street gangs, hate groups, transnational criminal organizations and terrorist groups utilize symbols in identifying members, issuing threats to rivals and claiming territories. The now familiar image of the black flag used by the Islamic State is an example of the kind of power that a symbol can exert. The appearance of the flag in the West has brought about an awareness of the group’s presence and the far-reaching scope of the radical Islamic organization. The meaning behind symbols may be agreed upon by a specific community such as traffic signs or forms of punctuation. However, some symbols have a number of interpretations. For example, a six pointed star to a law enforcement officer may symbolize a badge. The same symbol may be recognized as the Star of David among members of the Jewish faith. In a completely different context, the star may appear in graffiti as a symbol identifying members of the Chicago based Gangster Disciples street gang. There are a number of factors that can affect the meaning placed on a symbol. The most important is the cultural context in which the symbol is used. Most likely an image of a deputy’s badge will not be found sprayed painted on the side of a building in a gang-infested neighborhood. Nor would members of a synagogue most likely be wearing a symbol of a Chicago street gang. The problem for many law enforcement and security professionals who encounter symbols during investigations is that they typically don’t have time or resources to do the research on the cultural meanings behind symbols. Some might suggest that an internet search might provide a solution, but where would you begin to start? How do you know that the explanation that you find is credible?

Consider the following scenarios: • Investigators discover a number of protest groups promoting acts of violence via social networking sites. The groups utilize a number of common characteristics including common phrases and common symbols. What source can investigators tap into to understand the ideology behind the protesters? • Security contractors are assigned to work a specific geographic region that is home to a number of tribal societies. As contractors begin to engage members of the local culture, they realize the tribal society is in charge of local material resources. With only a name and a specific symbol the tribe uses, the contractors must figure out the cultural background of the society in order to successfully communicate with them. • Military police investigating a homicide on a military base find that the victim of the crime is covered in a number of bizarre tattoos. What can these tattoos reveal about the victim’s affiliation with a particular group or subculture?

The process of identifying symbols is not as simple as finding a matching image. The location of the symbol, the cultural context of the symbol and the worldview of the owner of the symbol are all factors in understanding, identifying and interpreting its meaning. Symbol intelligence involves much more than just identification of tattoos, emblems, insignia etc. Once identified often a threat analysis is required to determine if the image, object or symbol is an indicator of a potential threat of violence. This can assist agencies in planning tactical measures in dealing with potential threats and protection of potential targets. The Symbol Intelligence Group has developed symbolic methodologies to

Since symbols evolve and get co-opted by other groups an analysis is always based on current relevant cultural information. For example the Guy Fawkes mask which originated as a symbol of the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to blow up the House of Lords in London in 1605 has evolved into a general emblem of anarchy used in protests ranging from Occupy Wall Street to Pro Palestinian activists. It is also the trademark symbol for the online hacktivist group Anonymous. During a symbolic threat assessment the Symbol Intelligence Group takes into consideration that the Guy Fawkes mask also functions tactically to hide facial recognition of criminals, instigators and terrorists. For example, the mask was worn by two protesters on September 11, 2012 when a mob of angry protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo and replaced the American flag with the black flag of jihad. It is also has been photographed being worn with HAMAS headbands and with terrorists carrying automatic weapons. The Symbol Intelligence Group analysis examines all symbolic evidence such as clothing, gestures, protest signs, graffiti, location, and other imagery in the context of the mask to provide real time risk assessment.

determine if particular symbols are not only representative of criminal or terrorist organizations but also provoke or incite specific forms of violence. For example evocative symbols such as white supremacists flags are often used in demonstrations and protests. While possession and display of these flags are lawful and constitutionally protected there is no dispute that they are indicators of right-wing extremists and prison gangs. Similarly, when black flags typically affiliated with jihadist terrorist groups are displayed during the New York City Muslim Day Parade, political correctness must not preclude a threat assessment to determine if the flags are indicative of terrorist group sympathizers, supporters or just unwitting individuals unaware of the flags significance. Jihadist black flags have appeared in both violent and non-violent protests, rallies and funerals of terrorist leaders demonstrating sympathy, support and/or allegiance to the new Islamic State. Homeland Security recently responded to a call regarding a black flag observed hanging on a home in Garwood New Jersey that brought attention to the need for this type of assessment. In August 2014 the Netherlands banned the black flag from public demonstrations as a hate symbol that contributed to inciting violence and anti-Semitic crimes. In September 2014 Germany banned images and activities linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham including social media support and display of their black flag. In both cases there is a risk that these flags will provoke violent counter protests.


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Forensic findings are especially relevant to ritualistic crimes due to the amount of trauma, the symbolic nature of physical mutilations and the prominence of pre and postmortem sexual assault. Vol. 20, No.4

The concept of symbol intelligence is also extremely valuable for homicide investigations, particularly those of a ritualistic nature. Identifying tattoos, markings, mutilations and graffiti at crime scenes and on suspects is a proven technique for investigating ritualistic crimes. For the purposes of investigation certain images, geometric shapes, numbers and designs have collective recognizable meanings for all members of the group and clearly indicate certain beliefs and practices. In death investigations in addition to graffiti and drawings left at the scene symbolic evidence can also involve body positioning, unusual trauma such as symbols cut into the body, dismemberment, beheading, bite marks, specific facial mutilation, genital mutilation, objects inserted into the body, exsanguination, and body parts missing. It is also important to determine if the crime scene is sacred or secular space or has particular meaning to the offender. Forensic findings are especially relevant to ritualistic crimes due to the amount of trauma, the symbolic nature of physical mutilations and the prominence of pre and postmortem sexual assault. The Symbol Intelligence Group Subject Matter Experts have consulted on dozens of ritual homicide cases assisting prosecutors from crime scene through expert witness testimony. Finally symbol intelligence has unique applications for counterterrorism and information operations. For example beheading videos are essentially ritual murders that are used as psychological warfare and propaganda. A symbolic analysis of the Islamic State beheading videos allows members of the Symbol Intelligence Group to provide specific operational and strategic suggestions to counteract terrorist messaging. The Symbol Intelligence Group provides a number of free resources to law enforcement, military and qualifying professionals easily assessable at Resources include full color illustrated reference guides / posters displaying dozens of the signs and symbols of violent extremist groups and gangs. These guides arm police and military with vital intelligence that assist in connecting the dots before major incidents. Additional free resources include; articles and analysis of gang codes; examples and analysis of jihadist symbols, hand signs and graffiti; examples and analysis of narco symbols: examples and analysis of Islamic State symbols and in depth analysis of IS beheadings. Free resources are regularly added providing relevant valuable information concerning active groups and current events. Subject matter experts at the Symbol Intelligence group will also respond to requests for assistance for identification of symbolic evidence and ritualistic crimes that are submitted by sworn officers or law enforcement departments. The Symbol Intelligence Group has also developed another valuable resource. A series of specialized symbolic databases that can be used on-line or mobile devices for real time information on symbolic evidence. Their unique counter-terrorism/anti-gang tool contains symbols, identifiers and concise background information on major gangs, terrorist and drug trafficking organizations. Symbol Intelligence Group specialized databases currently include Jihad-ID comprised of the signs and symbols of global jihad and is available at In early 2015 Narco-ID which includes symbols, rituals and identifiers of drug trafficking cartels and narco culture will be available at Whether developing symbolic databases, identifying symbols, providing a protest threat analysis, consulting on a homicide investigation

or analyzing terrorist imagery all of the Symbol Intelligence Group’s research is based on emic anthropological methods that interpret the meaning of symbols, rituals, language, codes, artifacts and other cultural expressions from the offender’s/terrorists point of view. The Symbol Intelligence Group also utilizes Cultural Intelligence (CULINT), a methodology developed for the military, that addresses the problem of Western interpretations of foreign cultures. Information regarding the customs, rituals and aesthetics of various cultures are collected through a number of ethnographic research methods including observation, personal interviews and through social network analysis. The Symbol Intelligence Group’s symbolic anthropological methods interpret symbolic evidence, unfamiliar practices and violent acts through the meanings that people assign to them as opposed to examining evidence in terms of psychopathy and criminal personalities. This provides an alternative interpretation to standard behavioral science methodologies typically used in criminal investigative analysis. Their symbolic anthropological approach examines how offenders create meaning out of their own experiences uncovering their cultural beliefs, worldview and motivations for violent acts. This unique analytical approach has provided valuable assistance in the identification, investigation and prosecution of numerous violent cases.

About the Authors: Dawn Perlmutter is the Founder and Director of the Symbol Intelligence Group. She is considered one of the leading subject matter experts (SME) in the area of symbols, unfamiliar customs, ritualistic crimes and religious violence. She routinely provides training and instruction for law enforcement, defense and intelligence agencies. She is the author of Investigating Religious Terrorism and Ritualistic Crimes from CRC Press and True Believers: A Symbolic Anthropological Study of Islamist Culture CRC Press, forthcoming. Tony Kail has served as a consultant and trainer for law enforcement agencies in the area of religious cultures and deviant movements since 1990. He has provided training for numerous local, state and federal agencies including the United States Army and the United States Capitol Police. He is the author of Magico-Religious Groups and Ritualistic Activities: A Guide for First Responders from CRC Press and the upcoming book Narco Cults: Understanding the Use of Afro-Caribbean and Mexican Religious Cultures in the Drug Wars from CRC Press. The Symbol Intelligence Group can be reached at:

Transnational Crime Is A Growing Threat To National Security And International Security

SIOC The Strategic Information and Operations Center (SIOC) at FBI Headquarters is the 24/7 command post that monitors FBI operations and law enforcement activities around the globe. For more information, see

A By Paul Davis


ppearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies last Spring, FBI Director James B. Comey spoke of the threat of transnational crime.

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“More than a decade ago, the image of organized crime was of hierarchical organizations, or families, that exerted influence over criminal activities in neighborhoods, cities, or states,” Comey told the subcommittee. “But organized crime has changed dramatically. Today, international criminal enterprises run multi- national, multi-billiondollar schemes from start to finish. These criminal enterprises are flat, fluid networks with global reach.” Comey explained that while international criminal remain engaged in many of the “traditional” organized crime activities, such as loan-sharking, extortion, and murder, new criminal enterprises are targeting stock market fraud and manipulation, cyber-facilitated

Strategy in regards to China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, al-Qaeda, cyber security, and lastly, transnational crime. Dempsey told the council that the transnational criminal network in the Western Hemisphere didn’t receive enough attention. “We tend to think of that as a drugtrafficking network, but it is equally capable and often found to be trafficking in illegal immigrants and arms and laundering money,” Dempsey said. “It’s extraordinarily capable and extraordinarily wealthy, and it can move anything for the highest bidder.” William R. Brownfield, the U.S. State Department’s Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement

Brownfield said that recognizing the expanding size, scope, and influence of transnational organized crime and its impact on U.S. and international security, the White House released the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime in July of 2011. He explained that the Strategy calls on all departments and agencies to “build, balance, and integrate the tools of American power to combat transnational organized crime… and urge our foreign partners to do the same.” He went on to say that the Strategy also calls for the U.S. government and international partners to work together to combat transnational illicit networks, and take the fight to the next level by breaking their corruptive power, attacking their

several continents,” Shank said. “It could also be a crime committed in one country affecting individuals in another, for example cyber criminals using a single computer to hack users all over the world. In general, we employ the same tenets in regards to defining transnational crime as our global law enforcement and intelligence colleagues, which pose linguistic, cultural, diplomatic and historical impediments that we strive to overcome.” INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization and coordinates information sharing between its 190 member countries, providing a neutral venue where jurisdictions and mandates are interwoven to permit cooperation and assistance in combating international crime.

“Today’s reality is that criminal and illicit networks have expanded their tentacles to all parts of the world, corrupting public and market-based institutions alike,” bank fraud and embezzlement, identity theft, trafficking of women and children, as well as other illegal activities. “Preventing and combating transnational organized crime demands a concentrated effort by the FBI and federal, state, local, and international partners. The Bureau continues to share intelligence about criminal groups with our partners and to combine resources and expertise to gain a full understanding of each group,” Comey said U.S. Army General Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also sees transnational crime as a threat to national security. Speaking before the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan international affairs think tank, on May 14, 2014, Dempsey explained U.S. Defense

Affairs, also spoke of the evolving threat of transnational crime before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on May 7, 2014. “Today’s reality is that criminal and illicit networks have expanded their tentacles to all parts of the world, corrupting public and market-based institutions alike,” Brownfield said. “Their activities threaten not only the interdependent commercial, transportation, and transactional systems that facilitate free trade and the movement of people throughout the global economy, but are jeopardizing governance structures, economic development, security, and supply chain integrity. Their penetration of state institutions and financial and security sectors is particularly concerning.

financial underpinnings, stripping them of their illicit wealth, and severing their access to the financial system. Brownfield said there is no doubt that transnational organized crime presents a growing and profound threat to international security. Transnational criminal organizations undercut the ability of law enforcement to protect citizens, deprive the state of vital revenues, and promotes corruption. In a recent interview Geoffrey Shank, the Deputy Director of INTERPOL Washington, said that INTERPOL sees transnational crime as criminal activity that transcends geographical borders. “It may take the form of a fugitive crossing multiple countries or a human trafficking ring that spans

Shank said that INTERPOL administers a system of international advisory notices that enable law enforcement authorities in member countries to share critical crime-related information, the Red Notice used to warn of the most dangerous criminals. He said that Red Notices are cataloged on INTERPOL’s website and seek persons wanted for such crimes as drug trafficking, homicide, rape and aggravated robbery. “INTERPOL Red Notices have been levied on many of U.S. Law Enforcements most prolific criminal organizations and nefarious wanted fugitives to include motorcycle crime syndicate Hells Angels and the Latino transnational gang MS-13,” Shank said. “A particularly impactful INTERPOL joint operation launched 2010,

which I chaired per my role in the U.S. Marshals, has been Operation Infra-Red (International Fugitive Round Up and Arrest-Red Notice) an ongoing initiative to locate the worst of the bad guys,” Shank said. “Investigators from INTERPOL’s member countries work together to track down the international criminals in their priority cases using I-24/7, INTERPOL’s secure global police communications system. The success of this initiative demonstrates the power in INTERPOL’s core value, police cooperation, and in the tools it uses every day to fight crime, such as the Notices system.” Shank entered on duty with the United States Marshals Service in January of 1990 and spent eight years as a Deputy U.S. Marshal in the District of Columbia, serving as the Deputy-InCharge of the D.C. Joint Fugitive Task Force for

agencies in INTERPOL member countries, and coordinates and integrates information in investigations of an international nature. “As the Deputy Director, I am responsible for leading operational and administrative programs to assist U.S. law enforcement and their foreign counterparts in overcoming the very real cultural, linguistic, and legal barriers that complicate the exchange of information and support across international administrations, the 190 INTERPOL member countries and the more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States,” Shank said. “I provide guidance and leadership on complex and sensitive management, operational, and administrative issues by establishing and maintaining executive level partnerships with other agencies in order to exchange key information and further the interests of INTERPOL Washington in the battle against transnational crime.”

“While terrorism has many different definitions and can take many different shapes and forms, what is becoming increasingly clear is that transnational crime is a means of financing terrorism, which must be addressed by the international community.” four years. He was then promoted to the U.S. Marshals Services’ Training Academy as an Instructor prior to accepting an assignment to the Investigative Operations Division at the Marshals Services’ headquarters in Arlington, VA. During his 13 years in the Investigative Operations Division, Shank said he served in several roles, which included Supervisory Inspector, Task Force Commander in Chicago, Deputy Assistant Director and Assistant Director. He also served as the Deputy Assistant Director for Internal Affairs and Compliance Review prior to his Attorney General Term Appointment to INTERPOL in 2012. Shank explained that INTERPOL Washington is a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, co-managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and is the designated representative to the INTERPOL General Secretariat on behalf of the Attorney General. INTERPOL Washington facilitates international law enforcement cooperation by serving as a police-to-police communications and intelligence network for both American and foreign police seeking assistance in criminal investigations. Shank said that INTERPOL Washington transmits information of a criminal justice, humanitarian, or other law enforcement related nature between domestic and foreign law enforcement


Shank explained that transnational criminal organizations are large-scale criminal enterprises which gross multi-million dollar profits from a range of crimes. In addition to human and narcotics trafficking, two of their most wellknown offenses, these organizations commit and promote firearms trafficking, the production of fake medicines, and the counterfeiting of currency and consumer goods like electronics and accessories. In today’s digital world, where criminals can use the internet to falsely prey on consumers, Shank noted, all of these crimes can take the shape of cybercrime. “These crimes are at the center of INTERPOL’s Turn Back Crime campaign, which aims to educate the public, private industry partners and the government on how organized crime affects us on a day-to-day level,” Shank said. Is there a nexus between terrorism and transnational crime? “While terrorism has many different definitions and can take many different shapes and forms, what is becoming increasingly clear is that transnational crime is a means of financing terrorism, which must be addressed by the international community,” Shanks said. “Transnational criminal enterprises can be extremely sophisticated and lucrative global networks and must be fought if we want to maintain the

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strength of our national security. This reality has been recognized by preeminent U.S. Intelligence and Law Enforcement leaders and has subsequently been interwoven in to domestic policing policy and strategies.” Shanks said that INTERPOL is doing its part to address this priority with its Fusion Task Force, a global network of counter-terrorism specialists who work to share information and intelligence and provide analytical support in dismantling terrorist networks. “Using INTERPOL’s tools, like Blue Notices, which seek information on a subject’s location and activities, help the group achieve its goals,” Shank said. “INTERPOL’s Turn Back Crime campaign is also helping to prevent transnational crime.” The four pillars that INTERPOL utilizes to fight crime: 1) Cooperation and Communication 2) Timely Action 3) Investigative Expertise and 4) Training and Capacity.   1) Cooperation and Communication: Working together is what makes INTERPOL so effective as an organization that fights crime on a global level. Information is shared among all 190 member countries through INTERPOL’s secure police communications network, I-24/7. Member countries also have real-time access to criminal databases and use INTERPOL’s Notice system to warn of fugitives, dangerous persons and weapons threats.   2) Timely Action: With critical investigative information being shared daily to member countries across the globe, INTERPOL has established regional Command and Coordination Centers that operate 24/7/365 to ensure timely action is taken in response to requests and incoming communication.   3) Investigative Expertise: INTERPOL relies on a global network of forensic and criminal experts who can accurately and efficiently analyze investigative data to include fingerprints and DNA in support of global law enforcement and humanitarian initiatives.   4)  Training and Capacity Building: The INTERPOL General Secretariat strives to strengthen the international police community by equipping its National Central Bureaus with the tools and knowledge they need to fight transnational crime. In fact, INTERPOL Washington recently hosted a cybercrime training course for the Americas region this month to address emerging threats in malware.   

About the Author Paul Davis is a regular contributor to The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security Int’l.

Vol. 20, No.4

The Terrorist Threats Against Saudi Arabia And Its Counterterrorism Response Measures

People shout slogans in support of the Yemen army and security forces in a U.S.-backed campaign against militant network Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), in Sanaa. AQAP has mounted dozens of attacks on government officials, security forces and foreigners in recent months. REUTERS/ Mohamed al-Sayaghi


By Dr. Joshua Sinai

s of late 2014, a spectrum of domestic, regional, and transnational terrorist-based groups continued to threaten the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Following a series of major terrorist attacks by domestic al Qaeda cells in 2004, the Saudi government substantially upgraded its counterterrorism capabilities, including implementing a comprehensive program on countering violent extremism rehabilitation and disengagement from terrorism.


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Nevertheless, with the initially Saudi-based al

Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorist group shifting its operations to neighboring Yemen around 2007 and establishing a safe haven in its ungoverned and lawless tribal regions, Saudi Arabia continued to be threatened by that organization – its primary terrorist adversary. Since AQAP also threatened United States interests in the region, as well as the U.S. homeland directly, Riyadh and the United States established a close counterterrorism cooperation program, with U.S. military and intelligence personnel deployed in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia also played a leading role in regional and multilateral counterterrorism cooperation programs, most recently against the threats presented by the al Qaeda-type insurgent groups in Iraq and Syria. Saudi Arabia is also concerned about other terrorist threats to regional stability, with an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) forces deployed in Bahrain, as part of the Peninsula Shield force that entered Bahrain in March 2011 to safeguard the beleaguered Sunni minority regime against violent opposition elements among its Shi’ite majority. It was not known how many of the Saudi forces remained in Bahrain as of late 2014. Like other long-term and entrenched monarchical dynasties, Riyadh was highly concerned about the tumult associated with the Arab Spring, which, since its initial uprising in late 2010 had turned into an “Arab Winter.” In response, a number of political reforms were implemented that the regime hoped would address the need for greater political participation by larger segments of society in the country’s relatively closed political system – although their effectiveness was unclear. In analyzing the terrorist threats against Saudi Arabia, it is important to understand the religious and demographic nature of the country’s population. First, of its estimated population of more than 27 million (exact figures are unknown since no official census has been announced), an estimated 21 million are Saudi citizens and 6 million are nonnational foreign workers (primarily from South and Southeast Asia and neighboring Yemen). Although a great majority of its foreign workers are law abiding, Saudi security services are likely closely monitoring them for possible indicators of anti-regime tendencies. Second, among Saudi nationals, approximately 90 percent are Sunni and 10 percent are Shi’ite (with exact percentages unknown). Most Shi’ites live in the country’s eastern province, which is not as highly developed and prosperous as the Sunni regions, resulting in some anti-regime activities, which the government also attributes to Iranian incitement. Finally, the country’s population is characterized by rapid population growth and a large cohort of youths, with an estimated 48 percent of the population below the age of 24 – representing a large demographic segment whose needs for greater economic opportunities and political representation must be addressed in order to prevent future “Arab Spring/Arab Winter” type political upheavals.

Like other long-term and entrenched monarchical dynasties, Riyadh was highly concerned about the tumult associated with the Arab Spring, which, since its initial uprising in late 2010 had turned into an “Arab Winter.” The Terrorist Threats Against Saudi Arabia The first major terrorist incident in Saudi Arabia was the violent takeover by heavily armed Islamist dissidents of the Al-Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca, in November 1979. This attack, in which hundreds of pilgrims were taken hostage and eventually killed in the crossfire, humiliated Saudi authorities, since the regime bases its legitimacy on its role as upholder of Islam and keeper of the faith’s holy places. In response, stricter security measures were implemented in the country’s holy sites. In the following years, Islamist militants carried out numerous attacks with most of the targets focusing on foreign civilians—initially American servicemen and later Westerners affiliated with the country’s oil-based economy. Saudi civilians, security forces, and government officials had also been targeted. The first attack against American military personnel occurred in June 1996 with the truck bombing of the Khobar Towers (part of a housing complex used by primarily American military personnel) in the city of Khobar, located near the national oil company (Saudi Aramco) headquarters of Dhahran. In the

attack, 19 U.S. servicemen were killed and almost 500 persons of many nationalities were wounded. Although no officially-designated culprits had been arrested, it is suspected that Iran and Hezbollah alHejaz were responsible for the attack. The next major attacks in Saudi Arabia were conducted by homegrown al Qaeda-affiliated cells. Saudi Arabia had long been one of al Qaeda’s primary targets because its leader, Usama bin Laden, was Saudi-born, and had called for the overthrow of the Saudi royal family to punish it for permitting U.S. military bases in the kingdom following the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq. Bin Laden also regarded the Saudi regime as “insufficiently Islamic” and as unacceptable guardians of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Al Qaeda’s attacks in Saudi Arabia initially targeted Westerners, such as the attacks in May 2003 in which an al Qaeda-affiliated cell drove three car bombs into residential compounds in Riyadh, killing 26 people, with the 9 attackers also killed. This was followed in November of that year by a truck bombing of a residential compound in Riyadh, killing 17 foreign workers and injuring more than 100. Following a massive crackdown on al Qaeda cells in Saudi Arabia, their attacks decreased dramatically in the following years. Only one significant incident took place in late August 2009, when AQAP deployed a suicide bomber (who had persuaded Saudi authorities that he was willing to give himself up), but who attempted to assassinate Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, head of the security services, by blowing himself up in Jeddah during a Ramadan gathering. The bomb was allegedly designed by AQAP bombmaker Ibrahim al-Asiri, the same Saudi expatriate who designed the underwear bomb used by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in his attempt to bring down Northwest flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas 2009. The bomber, who died in the blast, was al-Asiri’s brother Abdullah. Prince Muhammad survived the attack with minor injuries. In estimating the size of the terrorist threat, it was reported (although not independently verified) that as of March 2013 Saudi Arabia had arrested more than 7,000 terrorist suspects since 2003, with some 3,200 people imprisoned on terrorism charges, of whom 17 percent were foreigners. It is not known, however, how many of these prisoners were actual terrorists, as opposed to political dissidents. Following the crackdown on al Qaeda cells during the period of 2003 to 2007 those who survived fled to Yemen, where they reconstituted themselves as AQAP.

Counterterrorism Programs Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism programs consist of two types of measures: “hard” and “soft.” While the “hard” measures consist of intelligence, judicial/law enforcement, and military components, the “soft” measures are primarily conciliatory, as they seek

(at least in theory) to address and resolve the underlying, primarily theological, causes of violent extremism.

“Hard” CT Measures The Ministry of the Interior, which is the responsible authority for national security, is the primary counterterrorism agency. Attesting to its importance, it was led by Mohammad bin Nayef, a royal prince (who was in his early 50s and was part of the royal family’s younger generation) and considered a likely candidate to rule the country after King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman. The Ministry’s counterterrorism-related directorates consist of police forces, a highly developed and well-funded intelligence apparatus that conducts investigations, numerous special forces and counterterrorism squads, border protection forces, civil defense forces responsible for protecting critical installations, corrections, court services, security of the holy mosques of Mecca and Medina, as well as the religious police, which is in charge of the enforcement of Sharia adherence. Saudi counterterrorism authorities have implemented various measures to prevent potential terrorist attacks by dismantling al Qaeda’s physical presence in the country, making it difficult for their operatives to operate within the kingdom. Such measures include intelligence gathering capabilities (including the use of advanced monitoring technologies), and the tracking of terror financing. The Saudi Arabian Financial Crimes Unit was established in 2003, and transitioned to become the kingdom’s official Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in 2005 to handle money laundering and terror finance cases. In 2014, Saudi Arabia, together with other Gulf states, played a small role in the U.S.-led air campaign against the ISIL insurgents in Iraq, as it contributed four jet fighters and other support elements.

“Soft” CT Measures “Soft” CT measures are aimed (at least in theory) at addressing a terrorist insurgency’s underlying causes, including creating what the Saudis term “unwelcome environments” that make it difficult for terrorists to operate in. Specifically, Saudi authorities attempt to work directly with the country’s local communities to encourage their members to provide tips and leads about possible suspicious activity. Such community engagement approaches have led to the arrests of wanted terrorists and to the identification of safe houses where such operatives hide. Countering violent extremism is an important component of Saudi Arabia’s “soft” CT measures, with a spectrum of programs implemented to prevent radicalization into violent extremism and attempt to engage and rehabilitate such at-risk populations. These include outreach programs that focus on winning the “war of ideas,” which attempt to instill concepts that promote (again, at least in theory) religious moderation and tolerance, as well as undermining justifications for advocating extremism and joining terrorist groups. Specific programs focus on public awareness campaigns in the form of television advertisements, modernizing textbooks and curricula, and encouraging imams and mosques to promote greater moderation and tolerance in their sermons. In countering violent extremism, rehabilitating extremists is considered crucial, so Saudi Arabia has established such a program for imprisoned detainees with the twin objectives of changing their beliefs (i.e., de-radicalizing them) and changing their behaviors (i.e., disengaging them from future terrorist activities). This rehabilitation program includes providing for post-release care in the form of employment and other material benefits to enable them to re-integrate into society. Saudi “soft” measures also include the country’s participation in numerous interfaith dialogue initiatives with the international community. In June


2008, for example, King Abdullah convened a meeting of more than 500 Muslim scholars from around the world to promote the need for all faiths and cultures to counter extremism and intolerance. Throughout 2014, as the ISIS insurgency in Iraq and Syria gathered momentum and increased the territory under its control, Saudi Arabia was viewed as pivotal in the counter ideological war against these insurgents (as well as the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front), which had become the most violent expression of Wahabist Salafism. Ironically, after spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the export of its Wahhabi Salafism state religion to other parts of the Muslim world (which had indirectly led to the formation and strengthening of the Taliban and al Qaeda in the 1990s), now the primary threat of insurgent groups such as ISIS was not only against the West, but was especially directed against Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, which were viewed as corrupters of Wahhabi Salafism. In response, that year Saudi Arabia’s senior clerical leadership issued fatwas (legal rulings) that declared terrorism as a “heinous crime” under sharia law, as part of the campaign by the kingdom to undermine the legitimacy of ISIS’s self-declared “Islamic State” and to discourage continued support by elements of its population, especially the young, for such violent extremists.

CT Cooperation with International Partners Saudi Arabia is highly active in various international counterterrorism cooperation initiatives. In February 2010, for example, Riyadh hosted a three-day counterterrorism workshop on the “International Legal Framework for Combating Terrorism and its Financing.” This was followed in September 2011 by an agreement with the United Nations to establish the United Nations Centre for Counter Terrorism (UNCCT), for which Saudi Arabia donated $10 million. In another component of its counterterrorism cooperation, as discussed previously, Saudi Arabia had contributed four jet fighters and other support elements to the U.S.-led allied campaign against ISIL in Iraq.

Conclusion With no major terrorist attacks occurring in Saudi Arabia since 2009, and with numerous plots being dismantled during the pre-incident phases, the Saudi counterterrorism program can be considered highly successful. Nevertheless, the terrorist threat remains a continuous concern, especially from neighboring Yemen, where AQAP remained a potent force and was likely plotting future attacks against Saudi Arabia, as well as from terrorist cells being directed by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. While Saudi “hard” counterterrorism measures appeared to be highly effective, the effectiveness of the “soft” counterterrorism measures was more difficult to assess. For instance, it was not known how successful the countering extremism counseling programs were, including how many violent extremist individuals had been deradicalized, disengaged from terrorism and re-integrated into Saudi society. In the near-term, Saudi authorities were expected to maintain the country’s stability, with no major terrorist attacks foreseen. The participation of an estimated 2,500 Saudi citizens as jihadi fighters in Syria and Iraq on behalf of the al Qaeda-type Sunni insurgents (including ISIS), posed a continuing concern for Saudi authorities, especially the potential for blowback upon their return to the country. In addition, the Saudi security forces’ heavyhanded response measures against the relatively small but persistent Shi’ite protest movement in the eastern province had the potential to erupt into terrorism, although of a small scale.

About the Author Dr. Joshua Sinai is a program manager for national security studies at CRA (www.cra-usa), an Alexandria, VA firm that specializes in counterterrorism and homeland security studies. He can be reached at: Joshua.

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Vol. 20, No.4

Fighting For An Aryan Homeland: Harold Covington And The Northwest Front By George Michael

Harold Covington


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ecent incidents of lone wolf violence have brought renewed attention to right-wing extremism in the United States. For instance, in August of 2012, Wade Michael Page, a U.S. Army veteran who had been active in the “white power” music subculture, killed six worshipers at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Then in April of 2014, a longtime white supremacist activist, Frazier Glenn Miller, was arrested after a shooting at a Jewish Community Center in Kansas which left three persons dead. And just two months later, a couple that expressed anti-government sentiments on the Internet—Jerad and Amanda Miller—killed two Las Vegas police officers before taking their own lives. For obvious reasons, after the 9/11 attacks, U.S. authorities focused on the urgent threat posed by al Qaeda and related jihadist groups. As a consequence, domestic extremism was given short shrift. But according to a recent study conducted by the noted CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen, since 9/11, rightwing extremists have been responsible for more deaths in the United States than Islamists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology. In light of this threat in June of 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it was reviving its domestic terrorism taskforce. Despite episodes of sporadic violence, the extreme right in America is fragmented and organizationally weak. Unlike al Qaeda’s brand of radical Islam, which resonates with disaffected Muslims around the world, for the most part, the extreme right in America lacks ideological coherence and has no concrete strategic endgame. In recent years, however, a longstanding extreme right theoretician—Harold A. Covington—has advanced a revolutionary strategy that seems to be gaining momentum and attention. In fact, in June of 2014, News reported that propaganda fliers advertising his organization—the Northwest Front—were found on Fort Car-

son in Colorado. Proclaiming the message “Ever wonder if you are fighting for the right side?” the fliers urged soldiers to contact the group which endeavors to create a racially exclusive white republic in the Pacific Northwest.

Background on Harold Covington Highly literate and articulate with a career in radical politics that has spanned over 40 years, Harold Covington has earned a controversial reputation in the extreme right subculture. Born in Burlington, North Carolina, he grew up in a middle-class family. When he was a teenager, he and his family moved to Chapel Hill, where he attended a newly integrated high school. After numerous bad experiences with racial minorities, Covington began drifting toward overt racism. Upon graduation, he made a silent vow to himself that he would devote his life to the cause of white supremacy. From a very early age, he was intrigued by Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Just after finishing high school in 1972, he joined the Army and also a group called the White Servicemen’s League, but after two years of service, he was discharged from the military for

racist agitation. Soon thereafter, he moved to Arlington, Virginia, where he joined the National Socialist White People’s Party, the successor organization to George Lincoln Rockwell’s American Nazi Party and edited the party’s newspaper, White Power. As would happen so often in his career, Covington had a falling out with his comrades and within a year, he left America for South Africa, which at the time was under the strict system of racial segregation known as apartheid. In 1974, he moved across the border to Rhodesia to make his contribution to the white racialist regime of Ian Smith, where he claimed to have fought as a mercenary; however, according to official documents, he worked in the office of an engineering and construction company. Nevertheless, he was instrumental in the creation of the Rhodesia White People’s Party. Deported in 1976 for issuing threats against the local Jewish community, he returned to his native North Carolina and formed a local neo-Nazi group, the National Socialist Party of America, which gained notoriety for the so-called “Greensboro Massacre.” On November 3, 1979, members of his group and a local Ku Klux Klan organization clashed with demonstrators led by members of the Communist Work-

From a very early age, he was intrigued by Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Just after finishing high school in 1972, he joined the Army and also a group called the White Servicemen’s League, but after two years of service, he was discharged from the military for racist agitation.

ers Party in a “Death to the Klan” rally. A shootout ensued in which five members of the Communist Workers Party were fatally wounded and nine others were injured. Although Covington was one of the principal organizers of the demonstration, he was conspicuously absent from the actual event, reportedly selling some stocks that his grandfather had bequeathed to him. Because of his absence, some of his fellow racial activists blamed him for the fiasco and suspected that he was government informant, though smoking gun evidence for these allegations has never been established. For his part, Covington categorically denies these accusations. During this period in his career, Covington occasionally dabbled in electoral politics. While an open member of neo-Nazi parties, he ran for various state and local offices. Amazingly, in 1980, he garnered 43 percent of the vote in an unsuccessful effort in the Republican primary for the office of state attorney general. As he gained more and more notoriety, the U.S. government paid closer attention to him. Faced with mounting legal troubles stemming from the Greensboro incident and criticism from within the white nationalist movement, Covington went into selfimposed exile in 1982. He spent the next five years in South Africa, Great Britain, and Ireland. During his stay in the Emerald Isle, the Provisional Irish Republican Army left a deep impression on Covington, who admired the discipline and determination of its members. Overlooking the group’s strong Marxist-Leninist orientation, he saw it as an exemplar of an underground revolutionary movement. Although Covington estimates that the Provisional IRA never had more than fifty people on active service at any given time in Northern Ireland and maybe a dozen or so other operatives in Britain and in Europe, the group was able to force the British government to deploy over 50,000 troops, police, and auxiliaries for almost a 30-year period. To this day, Covington frequently plays Irish republican ballads in his radio broadcasts. Around this time, he authored a book, The March Up Country, which advanced a strat-


egy to achieve a Nazi revolution. The book so impressed Charlie Sargent, a right-wing extremist in England that he used it as an organizing principle for his underground group Combat 18, which he subsequently formed with help from Covington in 1991. Covington returned to North Carolina in the late 1980s and quickly sought to re-establish himself in the white nationalist movement in the United States. To that end, he published a newsletter called Resistance. For a while, he dallied with the idea of Southern nationalism, or the creation of a separate southern nation-state; however, by the late 1990s, he shifted his separatist strategy to establishing a white homeland in the Pacific Northwest. Taking advantage of the growing popularity of the Internet in the late 1990s, he sought to reach out to fellow travelers in cyber space with limited success. It seemed that too much of his focus was on criticizing other leaders in the white nationalist movement and exposing their shortcomings. As a result, he became involved in some very bitter internecine conflicts with noted activists, in particular, Ben Klassen, the founder of the Church of the Creator and Dr. William L. Pierce, the founder of the National Alliance. Increasingly, Covington was viewed as divisive figure leading some critics to accuse him of being an agent provocateur who deliberately attempted to derail white nationalism in the United States. Despite these allegations, Covington’s long career and Spartan lifestyle (to which he refers as “holy Aryan poverty”) suggest that he is sincere in his political beliefs and not a paid informant. For many years, Covington’s career languished, but the advent of printper-order self-publishing presented new opportunities for dissident authors like him. A talented, albeit controversial writer, the new technology enabled him to get his ideas out to a larger audience with minimal expense.

The Northwest Quintet Reviewing his long record of activism, Covington’s greatest talent appears to be writing, rather than political organizing. Beginning in 2003, he published a series of five novels based on a white separatist

insurgency in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Set in the not-too-distant future, the novels extol the exploits of the Northwest Volunteer Army (NVA). The first book in the series, A Distant Thunder is a story of a young man, Shane Ryan, from a downwardly mobile family in Washington State. While in high school, he meets a white girl named Rooney Wingfield, whose father is a leader in the NVA. Facing a bleak future, Shane decides to join the rebel group. In the story’s scenario, America has long been in terminal decline. Outsourcing, the importation of cheap “coolie labor,” and other baleful economic trends have decimated the white working class. Because of massive immigration from Latin America, unskilled labor jobs paid peon wages. Working class white families blew their money at Indian-owned casinos. Government entitlements were chipped away and replaced with “faith-based” initiatives that were far less providing. Senior citizens without money and health insurance were often euthanized in order to save the government money. White Americans in the novels are described as a degraded lot. Virtually everybody was dysfunctional and nobody was normal. Feminism taught women to hate men. Religion was spiritually shallow, for although fundamentalist Christianity continued, it amounted to little more than a “theological smokescreen for Zionism.” As Covington explained, in America during this period, everyone was “wretchedly, bitterly, souldestroyingly unhappy.” While there was incessant blather in the media that America was the land of liberty, ordinary white people were always afraid. If one were to complain about this state of affairs, one faced possible prosecution under the “Dees Act” (named after Morris Dees, the founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center—an anti-racist watchdog organization that has bankrupted several extreme right groups with the innovative use of civil suits in which organizations are held responsible for the actions of errant members). A very restrictive firearms law—the Schumer Act (named after New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer)—prevented most citizens from owning guns. Those patriots who chose to pursue electoral politics

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were brutally repressed, arrested, and prosecuted on trumped-up charges. To make matters worse, the U.S. military was overstretched, as it was bogged down in a series of endless small wars in the Middle East, thus putting the federal government in a terrible fiscal predicament. Over time, these military excursions took a cumulative effect. The catalyst for the NVA’s campaign was an incident in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Federal agents sought to seize a child from the “Singer family” under provisions of “It Takes a Village”—a program that allows the government to seize children (invariably white) from recalcitrant families and sell them to wealthy families in order to generate revenue. In this particular incident, however, a spontaneous uprising ensued and the agents were ambushed by gunfire from other families who resided on the same street, thus setting in motion the revolt for which the NVA had long planned. Although the federal authorities quash the rebellion by the end of the day, the symbolic significance is so great that it proves to be the catalyzing event that ignites a war of national independence. Frequently in the novels, Covington refers to contemporary conflicts in the Middle East as a source of inspiration. Although the odds may seem overwhelming stacked against them, Covington argues that the small, yet highly effective, insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan proves that a small separatist movement can be successful. The NVA eventually opened up a second front in the Pacific Northwest, which was chosen for its large expanses of forests thus providing a setting conducive for guerilla warfare. The NVA’s campaign is described as a classic colonial war. For those who impugn his revolutionary model, Covington believes that the U.S. government is highly overrated and rests on a foundation of sand. Rather than fomenting a nationwide revolution, the protagonists in Covington’s novels instead seek to mount a separatist guerilla campaign in a limited region. Not only would they have neither the numbers nor the wherewithal to mount a campaign in the entire country, the U.S. government would never surrender in such a scenario. However, if a guerilla war

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could be conducted within a limited region in which the insurgents made limited demands—that is, the secession of a few states—theoretically, the government could be persuaded if it found the costs of continuing to put down such a rebellion too high. A frequent refrain in the series of novels is “In a colonial war, the generals never surrender! The accountants surrender!” Thus the insurgents seek to mount a war of attrition that will eventually persuade the U.S. government to relinquish limited territory. As part of their strategy, they attack numerous targets intended to cripple the economy. In order to instill a new sense of nationhood, residents and establishments were punished for flying the American flag, which is derided as the “Masonic dishrag.” In its stead, a tri-color flag with blue, white and green vertical stripes was chosen as the symbol of the new republic (symbolizing blue for the Northwest sky, green for the land, and white for the people who will dwell in between the two).

To meet the security challenge of the rebels, the federal government creates a special Federal Anti-Terrorist Police Organization to combat the insurgents. Composed mostly of non-whites, the agents brutally repress the local white population, thus further estranging them from the government. The next two novels in the series cover the exploits and the ordeals of individual insurgents. In A Mighty Fortress, the protagonist is William “Cody” Brock, a tough Seattle street kid, who at the age of sixteen, ran away from home and joined the NVA. His unit—the Number Three Seattle Brigade—is responsible for several daring attacks in Washington State and includes a female operative, Emily Pastras, known as Nightshade. Similarly,


the third book in the series—The Brigade—recounts the efforts of a unit in Washington State whose main protagonist is Kristin “Kicky” McGee, a former nude dancer who initially is forced to infiltrate the NVA after being accused of murder by an abusive black police officer. During her undercover assignment, she is exposed to the NVA’s ideology and is converted to the cause. Eventually, she becomes a valiant fighter and turns on her handlers. Despite setbacks, the insurgents

gotiations, the U.S. government finally cedes the states of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, parts of Western Montana, and most of Wyoming to the rebels for the creation of the Northwest Republic. The final two books in the quintet, The Hill of the Ravens and Freedom’s Sons, take place after the civil war and cover the challenges related to state-building and surviving in a hostile geopolitical environment. Furthermore, they allow the reader to conceptualize a future nation based on the precepts of white

In a country that is estimated to be majority non-white by mid-century, he argues that it is wishful thinking and foolish to pursue a strategy that seeks to return America to a white majority population. soldier on and eventually, the war of attrition takes its toll on the government. Preparing for yet another offensive overseas in defense of Israel, the U.S. government is overstretched and decides that it would rather concentrate its military in the Middle East, rather than continuing the counterinsurgency in the Pacific Northwest. Concomitant with this development, Mexican irredentists demand a separate “Aztlan” nation in the American Southwest, with the proviso that the government in Washington provide tax money to the fledging semi-autonomous province of Mexico. Faced with a rapidly deteriorating situation, President Chelsea Clinton announces on television that the U.S. government has agreed to hold an armistice conference in Longview, Washington. After stormy ne-

separatism and National Socialism. Reaction to Covington’s novels has been mixed in the white nationalist movement. Writing on the Vanguard News Network (an extreme right website), Michael O’Meara described Covington’s novels as the most authoritative treatment of white separatism in the English language, finding it infinitely more readable and convincing than William L. Pierce’s Turner Diaries (a notorious novel of a race war that convulses America which reportedly inspired a number of right-wing terrorists, including the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh). Others, however, have criticized Covington’s strategy for its minimalist goals in that it does not endeavor to take over the whole country. Moreover, some detractors point out that if most of the racially-conscious

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whites congregated in one region then they would be sitting ducks for “ZOG” (the Zionist Occupation Government). Even if successful, the new republic would be surrounded by hostile non-whites armed with nuclear weapons. Undaunted by this criticism, Covington attributes it to the cowardice of contemporary white men in America, as he explained in a YouTube video: “It’s always easy to find some excuse to do nothing…us white boys are real good at that. We are top notch at finding good, logical, rational excuses to do nothing. And we have to stop that.”

The Butler Plan The Northwest Front was officially founded on November 5, 2008, one day after “Black Tuesday,” as Covington put it, the day Barack Obama was first elected president. What sets his organization apart from others in the white nationalist movement, Covington claims, is that none of the other groups have any plan for the actual assumption of state power. His principal criticism of the American white nationalist movement is that its goals have always been ill-defined and unrealistic. In a country that is estimated to be majority non-white by mid-century, he argues that it is wishful thinking and foolish to pursue a strategy that seeks to return America to a white majority population. Such a proposition would presuppose ethnic cleansing on such a large scale that would be wildly unrealistic. He counsels that contemporary white Americans have neither the political will nor the fortitude for such an ambitious program. To be viable, revolutionaries must have a specific and tangible goal that they seek to achieve. This brings ideological coherence to the group and informs its political and revolutionary strategy. Northwest migration is based on the so-called Butler Plan. First proposed in the 1980s by the late Pastor Richard Butler (the founder of the Aryan Nations), the plan calls for the establishment of an exclusively white republic in the Pacific Northwest. By reducing the white racial survival problem to manageable proportions and concentrating the assets of the white nationalist movement into a smaller area, Covington reasons that their goals have a greater likelihood of success. The proposed borders of the

Northwest American Republic include the complete states of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, and also Montana west of Interstate 15. Based on this territory, Covington estimates that the Homeland area would cover 300,000 square miles and include roughly 14 million white people. Beginning in January 2010, Covington began broadcasting an Internet radio program called “Radio Free Northwest” in which he exhorts racially-conscious whites to relocate to the Pacific Northwest to form a critical mass for the formation of his future Northwest Volunteer Army. At the present time, the Northwest Front maintains no official membership rosters, for that would make the organization vulnerable to penetration from the government and monitoring groups. Supporters, however, are encouraged to pay $10 monthly dues. Inasmuch as his organization eschews formal membership rolls, the precise number of followers he has is uncertain. Be that as it may, Covington estimates that the number of listeners to his radio program has increased over the past few years as he explained in an interview with this author: We [the Northwest Front] are running on the average of 5,000 hits per week on the website, which I can discuss because I’m sure the régime monitors our stats, so I’m not revealing any big state secret. How many of these

actually download or listen to Radio Free Northwest is difficult to tell, or rather I don’t have the technical expertise to tell. Assuming 4,000 listeners and writing off 1,000 of them as various kinds of police or NGO [non-governmental organization] spies, Jews, leftists, and general useless idiots, let’s say we have a weekly listenership of roughly 3,000. Add another 33% for intermittent or casual listeners who don’t listen in every week, and let’s say an audience of four thousand, which of course is pure chickenfeed by internet standards. The simple fact is that we are a very small internet community despite the millions who secretly agree with most of what we say, and I do not deny that. In a bizarre way this may be what has saved us from even more harassment from the assorted secret police agencies than we have received. They probably have some kind of internal benchmark: once we go above X number of hits per week the hammer starts coming down. According to Covington, electoral politics is no longer viable insofar as an openly pro-white candidate would be a non-starter in an increasingly racially diverse America. Moreover, he contends

that the electoral system is rigged to prevent prowhite candidates from gaining office even if they could somehow garner enough votes in a particular district. As a consequence, the Northwest Front, or some related movement, will eventually have to resort to violence to achieve its goals. Although Covington believe that someday in the future armed conflict against the U.S. government will be inevitable to bring about his goal of an Aryan republic, he counsels his followers that there is much preparatory work that must be done before that phase of the struggle can begin. The Northwest Handbook—a guidebook for Covington’s strategy—outlines four phases required for the revolution. The first involves establishing communities of racially-minded whites in the Northwest. By developing autonomous white communities, members can build their own economic infrastructure enabling them to hire their own people. That would make members less vulnerable to pressure from anti-racist groups, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. From these communities, will come the small core of ideologically-motivated activists who will serve as the vanguard of the revolution. Once established in the Northwest, volunteers are supposed to undertake a vigorous program of political action, propaganda, and educational activity. In order to attain a critical mass for a revolu-



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tionary movement, it will be necessary to recruit like-mined people. Hence, the second phase entails conducting political and propaganda activity in the “homeland.” Covington describes “organic migrants” as those white people who fled their own localities to escape the problems associated with multiculturalism, but would never publicly admit to their true racial motivations. Recruiting from the population at large, he concedes, will be challenging. Inasmuch as

headquarters like spokes in a wheel. Finally, numerous propaganda and operational teams would contribute to the cause as well in a style not unlike the various “al-Islam Brigades” in the Middle East. With the preceding phases accomplished, the party will be prepared to engage the enemy. In the fourth state, the Northwest Volunteer Army will launch a campaign of armed struggle against the government. The objective will be to hit the enemy hard and then melt away out of reach. The long-term political strategy is

live in a clean and healthy environment. In return, the state would demand certain responsibilities from its citizens. Citizenship would be open to “all White people of non-Semitic ancestry” irrespective of their country of birth. However, citizenship will not be bestowed at birth, but must be earned in adulthood through military or civic service to the state. As far as the actual structure of government, a State President will serve as the head of the executive branch of government as well as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and other state security ser-

and the contemporary United States. In the Soviet Union, there was much overlap between ethnicity and the various republics. For example, Ukrainians lived primarily in Ukraine and Lithuanians lived in Lithuania, etcetera. Once there was a serious push for secession and independence, the various ethnic groups could fall back on traditional ethno-national identities with neat territorial borders as an alternative to the Soviet national identity. The situation in America is far different. There is great racial and ethnic heterogeneity in most of the individual American states

The long-term political strategy is to make the Northwest region as ungovernable as possible. By doing so, the Northwest Front seeks to de-legitimate the U.S. government and offer a viable alternative to the white people in the region. “American brains are like a lazy herd of cattle,” he counsels his followers that their propaganda must be simple and digestible to the general white public, “packaged in Styrofoam and guaranteed 100% content-free, just like [their] Big Mac[s].” Metropolitan areas, he insists, will be more fertile ground for recruitment because they are more racially diverse; thus, it will be easier to convince prospective recruits of the problems associated with living in a multicultural environment. Someday, he muses, these people might be amenable to his message, but at the present time, the bulk of his recruits, would come from listeners to his radio program who already agree with him. In order to bring about a separate nation, the creation of a genuine political party is essential, which is the essence of the third phase. The proposed Northwest Front Party would consist of two levels. The first would include the local units on the ground. The second would be the General Headquarters which would serve as a kind of central office supplying support to the local units. Furthermore, various ancillary party groups would operate around the


to make the Northwest region as ungovernable as possible. By doing so, the Northwest Front seeks to de-legitimate the U.S. government and offer a viable alternative to the white people in the region. Once the government loses the credible monopoly of force, the population will question its effectiveness. With the withdrawal of the consent of the governed from the white population in the region, the Northwest Front would force the U.S. government to relinquish the territory. The Northwest Handbook includes a draft constitution for the new republic. Its guiding principle can be summed up in the fourteen words credo of the late David Lane, a white separatist who was imprisoned for his involvement with a right-wing terrorist group known as the Order: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children.” The ideal state would take a nurturing role by protecting and promoting the racial cultural heritage of the nation. Many “progressive” sounding rights are accorded to citizens, including the right to decent housing, productive employment, quality medical care, religious freedom, bear arms, and to

vices. Elected by a direct popular vote of all citizens, he would serve a six-year term. Members of the legislative branch—the National Convention—would be elected by a popular vote of all citizens every two years. Unlike the U.S. government, the judicial branch would not have the authority to overturn laws passed by the National Convention. Rather, its function would be to try criminal cases. Foreign policy would be based on the long-term interests of the white race world-wide. To that end, the republic would endeavor to maintain the world’s most powerful military force which would require universal conscription for all young men and the maintenance of a larger military reserve composed of allabled men to the age of 50. Covington frequently invokes the case of the dissolution of the Soviet Union as an analogue for what awaits the United States in the future. While there appears to be increasing political, social, and regional fragmentation in America (for instance, red states versus blue states as reflected in electoral maps), there seems to be some serious qualitative differences between the erstwhile Soviet Union

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which arguably makes the prospect of a Soviet-style break-up less likely, a point Covington conceded in an interview with this author: Yes, I agree it’s not so neat here, which means it’s going to be a hell of a sloppy mess when it does happen. The Soviet Union was able to survive its breakup without a total meltdown due to the fact that the various Soviet republics and “stans” had functioning governments in largely ethnically homogenous regions. Many of these simply hoisted a different flag over the post offices and went on trucking. Here it will be much more violent and confused, kind of like a political version of Hurricane Katrina. I try to avoid crystal ball-gazing because we do not know exactly how it’s going to come about. It could be a long, slow deterioration similar to that of the Western Roman Empire, but I don’t think so. I think [a more

likely scenario is that] all of a sudden one month the EBT card system [an electronic system that allows state welfare departments to issue benefits by way of an electronically encoded card] breaks down and no longer functions, leading to massive non-white rioting and attacks on white areas in search not only of blood and plunder but basic resources like food and water. But with the latest outbreak of lunacy in the Middle East, I think we can’t discount some kind of serious disruption of the crude oil supply. The government running out of money could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back; $24 per gallon gasoline and diesel could do it. Both together would be Max Max-style catastrophe. We could be looking not at the Soviet paradigm, but at Beirut or Rwanda. The idea of a serious white separatist movement in the Pacific Northwest would certainly occasion a strong response from the U.S. government as Covington discusses in his novels. It is worth mentioning that there are other separatist movements active in the United States besides the Northwest Front. For example, the Nation of Islam under the leadership of Louis Farrakhan endeavors to establish a separate territory exclusively for African-Americans in some undetermined area in the United States. Likewise, Chicano nationalists seek to implement their separatist vision in the American Southwest. They call this aspirational homeland Aztlan, which is envisaged to be a Spanish-speaking, dark-skinned, Chicano nation. Conceivably, if separatist movements in other parts of the country gained traction then the Northwest Front might have a better chance of success. Be that as it may, Covington is averse to forming any sort of strange bedfellows’ alliance as explained to this author: There can be no “alliance” with non-whites under any circumstances. The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend… That said, the Aztlan and assorted black separatist tendencies do exist, and just as “England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity,”

A family member of one of the victims at the Sikh temple shooting holds a American flag as mourners attend a candlelight vigil on the one-year anniversary of a mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin August 5, 2013. Gunman Wade Michael Page killed six members of the Sikh temple in 2012 before shooting himself dead. REUTERS/Darren Hauck

the more time the FBI and other authorities expend on La Raza [a major Latino advocacy group] and chasing Muslims of various kinds over plots real and imagined (most imagined), the better it will be for us. They can prove to be a valuable distraction. According to Covington, the single greatest obstacle to be surmounted for the Northwest Front to succeed is what he sees as the white man’s lack of character and moral fiber. He believes that many white people in America would be agreeable to his message, but are too afraid to affiliate with his or similar groups for fear of public disapprobation. He laments that contemporary American white men fall short of the ideal political soldiers. According to his analysis, they have been softened by years of politically correct indoctrination. As a consequence, they are cowed from taking any kind of meaningful political action. Moreover, he frequently laments over the poor quality of activists in the white nationalist movement which he has christened as the “Great Covington Paradox,” that is, “the cause is so right; the people in it are so wrong.” Even his own organization was beset with this malady. In late 2012, it transpired that one of the regulator commentators on his radio program—“Axis Sally”—was in fact Corinna Burt, a female bodybuilder who once appeared in bondage porno films. After her departure, she gave an interview to the anti-racist watchdog group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, for its Intelligence Report magazine in which she revealed em-

barrassing details about Covington and the Northwest Front. Despite what he sees as the pitiful situation of contemporary white Americans, Covington maintains that in the final analysis they can win because they “are smarter morally and mentally tougher, meaner, and just plain better than [their] enemies.”

Conclusion For Covington, what is at stake is the very survival of the white race. If whites do not act swiftly, he warns that they will become extinct in North America by 2100. Categorically rejecting to “make peace with the system,” he has become even more strident in recent years as evidenced by his statements on Radio Free Northwest broadcast on July 4, 2013: “Fuck the United States government. Fuck democracy. Fuck America. We’ve seen enough. We’ve had enough. And we want out. Yeah, I know, our ancestors tried this in 1861. Well, it’s time for a rematch.” Although Covington’s Northwest Front may seem fanciful, it should be viewed in light of current political, economic, and demographic trends in America which could have far-reaching effects. For instance, according to Census Bureau projections, by the year 2050, whites will no longer comprise a majority of the American population due in large part to increases in both the Hispanic and Asian segments of the population. This development is viewed in nearly apocalyptic terms in the white nationalist movement. By contrast, in the Chicano nationalist movement,

this proposition is often greeted with a sense of triumphalism because it prepares the way for the eventual Reconquista of the American southwest. Another issue worth noting is American national identity. Over the years, American national identity has come to be defined by a creed, rather than by race, or ethnicity, or culture. But, as the late Samuel Huntington pointed in his 2004 book, Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity, national identity based solely on a creed can be fragile. As he explained, the rise of multiculturalism and the decline of the assimilationist ideal could diminish the larger American national identity, which he believed was essential for the long-run survival of the country as a unified political entity. Ominously, a protracted economic downturn could undercut the credibility of the American Dream, and by extension, American national identity. As a consequence, the festering economic crisis could create a greater pool of the dispossessed that might support radical movements—including the Northwest Front—in the future.

About the Author George Michael is an associate professor of criminal justice at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. Previously, he was an associate professor of nuclear counterproliferation and deterrence theory at the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama. He is the author of five books, most recently, Lone Wolf Terror and the Rise of Leaderless Resistance (Vanderbilt University Press, 2012).

Waterfront Asset Protection Measures By Stanley I. White


Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

Vol. 20, No.4


hen American military operations in Iraq were completed a few years ago and with the plan to withdrawal American forces in Afghanistan on the horizon, many people thought the “War on Terror” was finally in its end game. This was a welcomed thought to our war-weary nation but it is also apparent today that this withdrawal was a welcomed idea to our extremist enemies who couldn’t wait to re-group and launch another wave of terror against the U.S. and our allies. On one hand the thinking was Al Qaeda was a weakened enemy, but then here comes ISIS in Syria and Iraq and now the lone terrorist wolves in America. Politicians and many media figures have stated over and over again that Al Qaeda is on the run and no longer a threat to the western world. However, what Al Qaeda was in 2001 does not resemble what it is in 2014. The Al Qaeda flag now flies in sections of Iraq and Libya. The organization and its sister components have suffered great losses and its infrastructure has been shattered only to be re-organized into savvy social media units with growing franchises in Africa and South America. These units distribute cyber radicalization in the U.S. and worldwide. These splinter Al Qaeda groups are believed to have abandoned large scale attacks in exchange for small scale well-coordinated attacks that instill fear and garner media attention. This new breed of extremist operates without any direct guidance from an established terrorist hierarchy. This has been exemplified from 2009 to the present as terrorist cells have attempted to rain terror on innocent victims using their preferred weapon of destruction: the improvised explosive device, IED. Summarized below

are several thwarted attacks during this time frame: September 2009 – Najibullah Zazi was arrested by law enforcement for plotting suicide bombings in the New York City Subway system as a part of an Al Qaeda terror plot. May 2010 - Faisal Shahzad, Pakistani Islamic extremist attempted to detonate a vehicle borne explosive in Times Square. October 2010 – Farooque Ahmed was arrested for plotting to detonate multiple explosives in the Washington DC Metro-Rail Station. U.S. law enforcement has uncovered and thwarted a number of attempted attacks on U.S. soil since September 11th. 2001. However, on April 15, 2013 at approximately 2:49 pm two brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnev and Dzhokhar Tsarnev executed multiple IED attacks at the Boston Marathon. The attacks resulted in the murders of three civilians (Krystle Marie Campbell, Lingzi Lu and Martin William Richard) and the wounding

of over 250 other individuals. The later engagement with law enforcement resulted in the execution style murder of a MIT Police Officer (Sean A. Collier) and the wounding of an additional police officer. This attack caused a complete lock-down of an American city for the first time in U.S. history. Evidence obtained by law enforcement later revealed that the Tsarnev brothers had additional targets in mind such as Times Square in Manhattan and upcoming July 4th celebrations. The three previously mentioned attacks may have been thwarted but have one component in common with the April 15th attack. All of these incidents involved naturalized citizens who lived and walked among their prospective innocent targets. These individuals freely moved about on U.S. soil enjoying the freedoms of this country while planning to unleash terror within its borders. Americans sought to heal and celebrate the nation’s independence three months after the April 15th attacks, while law enforcement, intelligence

and security professionals spent their time trying to prevent a repeat of the Tsarnev brother’s attack at the Boston Marathon. One July 4th event was scheduled over 200 miles south of Boston on the Hudson River and was touted as the largest of its kind in history. This event was the Macy’s July 4th Fireworks Celebration. This event was estimated to draw approximately 250,000 spectators along the waterfront municipalities of West New York and Weehawken at an area commonly known as the “Gold Coast”. (Note: other locations along the New Jersey waterfront such as Hoboken and Jersey City also played host to spectators during the event, however, the asset protection measures deployed related specifically to the waterfront areas in the townships of West New York and Weehawken). The number one threat to this event was believed to be some form of IED deployed via a vehicle, backpack, portable cooler, etc. Law enforcement and security personnel were tasked with the challenge of possible terrorist operatives being either naturalized or U.S. born citizens. Due to the fact that this region of New Jersey is culturally diverse, suspicious

All of these incidents involved naturalized citizens who lived and walked among their prospective innocent targets. These individuals freely moved about on U.S. soil enjoying the freedoms of this country while planning to unleash terror within its borders.

activity and actions had to be more strictly analyzed over ethnic appearances. This area of waterfront property consists of existing luxury town-homes, condominiums, apartments, passive recreation parks, a pedestrian walkway system along the Hudson River, vacant undeveloped parcels as well as active residential/commercial construction zones. The population of the waterfront residents at the time of this event was estimated at approximately 4,000 to 5,000 not counting visitors from Manhattan and the surrounding New Jersey communities. In addition this section of waterfront property is the only location in the state that houses a light-rail train, ferry and bus service all in one location. The event also would have world-wide media coverage and be attended by such international entertainment personalities such as Maria Carey, Usher and Nick Cannon. Existing waterfront asset-protection measures were developed as a series of evolving protocols deployed by waterfront management in order to deter terrorism, criminal activities and to protect the assets of residents, onsite contractors, visitors, consultants and other entities who work and reside on the waterfront. This document was relevant not only for day-to-day activities but for special venues such as the Macy’s Event. This document continues to evolve and grow as input from the waterfront corporate ownership, contractors, consultants, local law enforcement, security and safety professionals forwarded their recommendations and concerns to provide an asset protected environment. Listed below are some of their recommendations and protocols: Security and staff should be regularly trained to detect and report suspicious individuals, vehicles and other items, especially those who are attempting to conduct hostile surveillance on any potential waterfront targets on-site. On-site workers should report suspicious activities and persons to site management as soon as possible. All breaches in perimeter fencing should be repaired as soon as possible and signs of attempted break and entries should be reported to on-site management, local law enforcement and site security.


A communication network should be established with site management of neighboring sites to inform designated personnel about thefts and suspicious activities at adjacent properties and communities. All incidents of criminal activity such as theft, vandalism and other unauthorized activities should be reported to on-site management, local law enforcement and site security. On-site security should record and monitor these incidents. On-site management is encouraged to mount concealed security cameras, night illumination and signage. If the use of security cameras presents an issue, it is strongly recommended that visible signage be posted that states the property is monitored 24 hours by a security element. The locations of these units should only be known by a limited number of authorized personnel. Security personnel should be made aware of the work hours (start and end of the construction site work shifts) for all active redevelopment sites as well as changes in work schedules. On-site management should maintain a contact person within the local police department to convey security concerns as well as to seek advice on additional security measures. All potential targets that would be desirable to terrorist operatives should be documented and regularly monitored with additional scrutiny given prior to any major event. These locations include but are not limited to communication hubs, pump-stations, transformer pads fueling depots etc. Increased attention should be given to bomb threats and false fire/police alarms that result in the response of first responders. Strict measures should be executed to protect the storage/distribution of sensitive security information/protocols, on-site identification cards, vehicle placards, staff uniforms and other items of importance. All individuals found in the possession of unauthorized information, expired IDs and or false forms of identification should investigated. Increased attention should be given to those requesting information on critical infrastructure, existing and proposed buildings, structures and utility corridors.

All suspicious packages, briefcases, backpacks and other such items should be investigated and properly removed from the site. All unattended vehicles found to be abandoned near or within restricted locations are to be investigated and removed off-site. All sites whether under construction or inactive should be enclosed with a chain-linked fence that has a minimum height of six feet and where specified fencing will be screened from public view. (Note: Fence screening can be used to visually block unlawful construction activities as well as provide visual cover to unlawful activities conducted after hours.) Completed residential communities and closed construction sites should be patrolled 24 hours a day by a private security element that works in conjunction with local law enforcement. Be aware of locks used to secure perimeter fences that have serial numbers filed off on their outer casings. Access to keys and lock combinations should be given to only authorized members of site management or staff. All chains used to secure access gates should be painted fluorescent orange to assist security patrols during night time inspections of locked gates. All site chemicals (i.e. fuels and compressed gases, etc.) should be properly labeled and secured onsite to guard against acts of theft and vandalism. Waterfront security elements should regularly stagger their patrols and incorporate the use of unmarked vehicles/plain clothed officers to monitor waterfront properties. All additional input from waterfront corporate ownership, contractors, consultants, local law enforcement, security, and safety professionals shall be reviewed and incorporated into existing protocols to enhance the creation of an asset secure environment. The Macy’s Event came and went with very few incidents and stands as a

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testament to the complete cooperative effort of local officials, corporate waterfront management entities, public, and private sector security elements. However, the threat of future terrorist actions against this location and other venues adjacent to Manhattan are still very real. At the time this piece was being written, the 2014 Super Bowl loomed less than three months away. The site of the game, Met-life Stadium, was approximately seven miles from the waterfront in the municipality of East Rutherford. A large number of social and media events were scheduled to be held in Manhattan with waterfront’s transportation hub providing a major corridor from New York City to New Jersey. Security and anti-terrorism measures would find their way to the top of the to do list once again. A number of round table meetings and training sessions were conducted at this time involving the waterfront management and staff. By this time the protocols used for the Macy’s event had been condensed into a plan titled Waterfront Asset Security Plan-20 (WASP-20). A copy of this plan was forwarded to federal law enforcement for review and possible use in the securing of the active construction and vacant sites adjacent to Met-life Stadium. Just as the Macy’ event came and went without incident, so did the 2014 Super Bowl. Several weeks following the Super Bowl, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, testified before the House Homeland Security Committee that he feared attacks, similar to the Boston Marathon bombing, may be the future of terrorism in the U.S. When it comes to intelligence, law enforcement and security professionals, they need to make sure they have the proper plan in place rather than wishing they had one after the damage is done.

About the Author Stanley I. White is currently the CI Adviser for the IACSP as well as a defensive tactics instructor who has trained personnel from numerous law enforcement agencies. He also holds active memberships with the IACSP and AFIO . He is an internationally published author on the topics of personal security and counter terrorism. Mr. White can be reached for comment at

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ADSI Training from the Students Perspective By Anthony Ricci and Sterling Vernon


ost of IACSP’s readers know that ADSI is a Security Driver Training School, however over the years we have diversified into High Performance, Fleet safety and New Driver education. In a recent High Performance Driver Training Program we had a strange anomaly happen, some of our students actually wanted to learn the why’s rather than just drive their cars fast. When students have the quest for knowledge it should be music to any good trainer’s ears. 42

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So off I went into math land, and soon the class had a new found respect for the car/driver equation. The student that put the following article together has certainly gained a greater understanding of what his Porsche can and cannot physically do. We set up the most easy to understand drill, four cones in a straight line, which at most schools is simply a warm up drill. At ADSI it is a mathematical challenge and our students leave with a much greater appreciation and understanding or their vehicle. The following article was written by one of our students, Sterling Vernon. I personally thought it was worth sharing with everyone.

How hard can 4 cones in a row be to master? At the most recent ADSI high-performance driving school day on June 22, they treated us to a simple yet very effective (and humbling) exercise: drive through four cones laid out in a straight line 60 feet apart as fast as you can. Sounds easy, right?

(mine should be close to that), you get a vmax of 44.3mph. Here is our theoretical case: Pic 2

cones. If we do that, the radius of the arc goes up. And not by just a little.

So we drove the course, trying to bump our speeds up slowly while being measured by a radar gun to know our speeds on entry, midway, and exit. It was tough to maintain a constant speed, tough not to hit cones as you went faster and even more difficult to be smooth. We slowly started to beat our theoretical vmax speeds. The question became, how were we doing it? I was perplexed on the exact details and knew I had some math ahead of me. Boy was I rusty when it came to geometry and let’s not even talk about calculus... But I had to know how and why.

The radius goes up to a whopping 448.6 feet! And the vmax for an arc that size is 79.7mph! So if you could perfectly “cheat” one set of cones, you could run at 80mph instead of the paltry 44mph that should be the top speed.

If you did 100 cones in a row, I’d bet that you’d get really consistent with this drill and could rhythmically bang out a nice, even line at the vmax easily. Not being robots or Schumachers, we all made some mistakes in our short four cone drill. Sometimes we went in too hot and had to scrub some speed with hard turns and

In reality, about 47 or 48mph was the best I could manage at any given point. Real-world considerations like acceleration times and inability to fully cheat any section should be fairly obvious. This also shows how sacrificing corner entry speed on the corner right before a straight to get a better exit speed pays big dividends. After some time, it became intuitive and the math helped to make it that much more clear. Maybe it is now clearer to you also. It got really intense when the instructors put a row of cones as “walls” 7 feet away from the slalom cones on each side. Then the pressure Pic 1

Pic 2

Pic 3

We sat down and calculated our theoretical max speed (vmax) first. We were taught that what determines your max speed is the radius of the curve you are driving and the grip of your tires. If you could drive perfectly close to the cones and your car is 5.5 feet wide and the cone is another foot wide, the center of your driving line begins 2.75 feet away from the center line. Then let’s assume that you’ll arc from the mid-point of a set of cones to the next mid-point. This gives you a radius for your arc of 138.5 feet. If your car can achieve 0.95G

some sliding. Sometimes we went too slow and could turn in a bit earlier and make up time. We certainly didn’t use brakes at all. So why could we exceed vmax at times without spinning? It appears to come down to the fact that the arc really can change a bit even in such a short course. And the effects are not small. Let’s look at a case where you turn in really quickly - right after the first cone, then round the second cone, and then aim for just the far side of the third cone. You are effectively making the arc as narrow and as long as it could be between the first and third

was on. We had to drive the slalom but inside these new “walls”. Speeds tumbled as we all summoned our courage and nascent skills. It was a humbling and fun experience. As I get older, not being able to be good at things is often far more interesting than things I’m good at.

About the Authors Anthony Ricci is President of ADSI (http:// Sterling Vernon is a consultant to ADSI.

Hunting The WorstOf-The-Worst Criminals In The Nation

An IACSP Q & A With Mike Earp, former Associate Director of the U.S. Marshals Service and author of “U.S. Marshals: Inside America’s Most Storied Law Enforcement Agency.”


ike Earp retired as the third highest-ranking official in the U.S. Marshals Service in 2012 after 29 years of service. As the Associate Director for Operations, he supervised all operational divisions and programs for the agency.

In his book “U.S. Marshals” Mike Earp, a descendant of legendary U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp, tells the inside story of today’s U.S. Marshals. Based on interviews with more than 50 current and former deputies, Earp offers some of the agency’s greatest and most dangerous cases.


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The interview was conducted by Paul Davis, a contributing editor to the journal. IACSP: Why did you write this book? EARP: Throughout my entire 30 years, whenever I introduced myself as a U.S. Marshal, people nodded their head and the next question was always “what do marshals do?” The Marshals Service celebrated their 225th anniversary in September, yet there is a large population that doesn’t know what the Marshals do. So, I decided, along with David Fisher, that we ought to tell the story of the men and women of the U.S. Marshals Service, particularly in the world of fugitive hunting, or man hunting. IACSP: Are the men and women you write about in the book still on active service, or are they retired like yourself? EARP: Both. The Enforcement Program is about 30 years old, so I started with Chuck Kupferer, who was chosen to put the program together, and a lot of the people who helped him in the beginning. Back then it was so low tech that we had nothing. Today we have a lot of technology available and we have open sources and social networking. IACSP: For those who have not yet read your book, can you give us an overview of the history of the U.S. Marshals Service? EARP: The U.S. Marshals Service was the first law enforcement agency established in 1789 by President George Washington. Back then they were the only law enforcement agency around and so they did everything. The Marshals did a little bit of everything until other agencies were established and took over certain investigative authority. The Marshals are remembered from the old Wild West where they swore in citizens for their posses and chased down the wanted bad guys. For a period of time the

other agencies were doing more investigations and the Marshal Service was doing primarily security-type stuff with the judiciary, such as protecting the courts and transporting prisoners. Then right after the Vietnamera a lot of veterans came into the Marshals Service and they wanted more action. They wanted to chase the bad guys. We started the Witness Security Program in the late 1970s and we started the Enforcement Program in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Marshal Service’s story to be told now is that they arrest over 120,000 fugitives a year. These are violent criminals. They are the worst-of-the-worst. The Marshals are at the forefront of reducing violent crime. IACSP: What type of man or women becomes a deputy U.S. Marshal? EARP: They come from all walks of life, because there is a lot of diversity in the Marshals Service and there is a lot of diversity in the jobs within the Marshals Service. You have to be driven and honor-bound. And if you’re hunting fugitives, you wake up at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning to go kick in a door. You have to enter that door knowing that the person inside is wanted and does not want to be taken alive. So you start your day that way and you don’t know when you are going home. You must have that internal drive to keep doing this and want to put the bad guys away. IACSP: The man hunting role is the most dangerous job in the Marshals Service. Are they volunteers or is it an assigned duty? EARP: It is a duty. In your deputy development period you will rotate through all the different areas, such as witness security, judicial security, prisoners and court security. And then you’ll be assigned to the warrants squad or to the fugitive task force. There are 94 judicial districts in the country and nearly everyone has a fugitive task force that is made

up of federal, state and local agencies under the Marshals Service’s umbrella. There are those who only want to chase the bad guys for the rest of their careers. IACSP: You mentioned the worstof-the-worst. Who are the bad guys the Marshals hunt and bring in? EARP: Most of the cases are referred to the Marshals Service from the DEA, ATF, Secret Service, the FBI and Homeland Security. So you get all the federal cases, but on the state and local level it is almost twice as many cases. These will be your murderers, your sex offenders, your child abductors, your kidnappers, your high-profile drug fugitives, and your cartel and gang members – the worst-of- the- worst. Federal agencies and state and local agencies are involved in the regional task forces and they bring their worst cases into the task force. Most the fugitives have fled the area and they are off the grid. The Marshals Service can use their nation-wide network to bring all of the resources together to go hunt down that murderer or that serial bank robber. It is a smart system that is a force multiplier, because you have all of the agencies involved and it brings all of the Marshals Services’ resources to bear on the bad guys. IACSP: In your book you wrote about “Operation FALCON.” Can you tell us about that operation? EARP: FALCON stands for Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally. In mid-2000 we had our fugitive task forces just about up and running nation-wide and what we noticed was various districts and various task forces conducting a one-week operation at different times throughout the year, concentrating on the worst- of-the-worst. We decided to take this nationally. We put it all together during one week in the course of a year. All of the districts and task forces were involved and we brought on many state and locals for that one week

who were not only the regular participants in the task forces, and we brought on others. We swore them in as Deputy U.S. Marshals for that week so they had authority outside of their jurisdictions and nationwide. And we concentrated on the worst-of-the-worst. The last one I was involved with was in 2010 and during that one week we arrested over 30,000 fugitives. And that was over 1,000 murderers taken off the street. When you put those bad guys in jail that murderer is not going to murder somebody else. IACSP: Can you give us an overview of your life and career? EARP: I was going to Florida State University back in the late 1970s, studying criminology, and a neighbor of my parents was a supervisor in the U.S. Marshals’ office in Tallahassee. They had a new program called Special Deputy U.S. Marshal, which was like a part time Deputy Marshal. So I applied for it and while I was a junior and senior in college I worked in the Marshals’ office in Tallahassee. I graduated in 1979 and in 1980 I applied for the Marshals Service, but they put a freeze on hiring, so I joined the Tallahassee Police Department. I worked there for three years. I was on the SWAT team and I was a training officer. I got a lot of experience and then in 1983 I applied for the Marshals again and I became a Deputy U.S. Marshal in the Northern District of Florida, which is Tallahassee and the panhandle. In 1990 I got promoted to what was then the Enforcement Division in headquarters. I moved up here with the plan of being here for four years and then I would go back home. Twenty-four years later I retired out of headquarters, so I didn’t follow my plan. IACSP: You became a Deputy U.S. Marshal at the time of the violent drug cowboys in Florida, right? EARP: At first the marijuana smugglers we arrested were not dangerous or violent. They were

just fishermen who primarily used their boats to hit the motherload smuggling marijuana. But we started seeing the violence when cocaine started coming in to South Florida. A lot of drug rip-offs and turf battles, then crack cocaine increased the violence even more. It is completely different today from when I started in law enforcement. Every day it is violence and it is dangerous and God bless those who are Deputy U.S. Marshals today. IACSP: What was your high point of your career and the low point? EARP: The high point was ending my career as the Associate Director, where I got to oversee all of the operations, both domestically and internationally. I was a young Deputy U.S. Marshal when I started in a four-man office in Tallassee, so I was very fortunate with all of my mentors to get to that level, and I was honored to become the Associate Director. Probably the lowest point of my career was on my last year on the job. It was our most devastating year, as we lost two Deputy U.S. Marshals that year and we lost six task force officers who were Special Deputy U.S. Marshals. We also lost two canine officers. We had numerous other ones who were shot. We had not lost anybody on a fugitive operation since 1992, so it was tragic. They gave the ultimate sacrifice for the country. IACSP: Who was the most dangerous and most difficult criminal you tracked down and arrested? EARP: In 1997 and 1998 I took a bunch of deputies with me down to Puerto Rico and we formed a task force. We brought in all of the state and local agencies to work with us and we told them to bring their worst-of-the-worst cases. Their worst were criminals who killed three people and above. You’re kidding me, I said. We were told they had hundreds of those cases. A lot of the criminals we tracked down controlled the projects and they controlled their drug points. The police did not go in there, but we had to go in there because that’s where our wanted guys were. So we had a lot of very difficult situations down there, but within a couple of months we were able to take over and win back those areas. We put those people away and reduced a lot of the violence down there. IACSP: In your book you note that being a U.S. Deputy Marshal is the most dangerous law enforcement job and they have more gun battles than any other law enforcement agency. How many Marshalls have been killed or injured on the job?


EARP: We lost over 200 Deputy U.S. Marshals killed in the line of duty since the beginning. When I was on the SWAT team the most dangerous thing you did was high-risk entry. You had to breach the doors and get in to arrest them. IACSP: There are a good number of great stories in the book. Do you have a favorite story or one that best illustrates the work of the Marshals? EARP: There are so many of them. One of them is when a Deputy U.S. Marshal was chosen by the U.S. Attorney General to arrest General Manual Noriega in Panama. IACSP: I thought the DEA arrested Noriega. EARP: It was Tony Perez, a Deputy U.S. Marshal at the time. They had to secure the airport to be able to get Noriega out. We had a couple of roles down there. Today if you see a drug cartel member being arrested, the Marshals Service probably tracked him and pinpointed his location. IACSP: One of the things I’ve learned from covering cops and federal agents over the years is that they are usually funny, like the cop characters you find in Joseph Wambaugh’s books. There is a lot of cop humor in your book, which I like. Does having a good sense of humor help a Deputy U.S. Marshal deal with the unpleasantness of the job? EARP: Absolutely. And I think you are exactly right. Almost all cops have that sense of humor. When these men and women get up early in the morning and go to work, they don’t know when they are coming home. It may not be that day; it may be two days later. They may go across the country chasing somebody. So when you finally slow down and stop, yeah, there is a lot of humor. IACSP: In your book you mostly cover court work and chasing bad guys, but you don’t write much about the Witness Security Program. I understand there are security concerns, but can you give us an overview of the program? EARP: The program was founded in the late 1970s. The Marshals Service was chosen to put the program together with the Department of Justice. We did judicial security, but this was a little different. I think we’ve had about 17,000 participants and their families. We relocated them and tried to assimilate them back into society and all that, but they have to testify in what is called the “danger zone.” You brought them back to where they lived or their crime area. You have to protect

Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

them 24/7 until they return to where they now reside. The Marshals Service takes pride in that they never lost one single protected witness. IACSP: You had characters like Henry Hill and “Sammy the Bull” Gravano who violated the program by becoming criminals again and were kicked out. EARP: Absolutely. They were always scheming, scamming and trying to get over. That was their life; a lot of them can’t leave that behind. Therefore you have to scrub them from the program. It is a difficult program to run. IACSP: One of the interesting things about your book is your famous name. How are you related to Wyatt Earp? EARP: I don’t exactly know. I was told by my dad that we were related to the Virgil Earp side of the family, because Wyatt did not have any children. I was called Wyatt as much as I was called Mike during my career in the Marshals Service. IACSP: Do you have a favorite film or book about Wyatt Earp and his brother and fellow lawman Virgil Earp? EARP: I liked “Tombstone” and “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.” IACSP: What do you think of fictional U.S. Marshals like Matt Dillon, Rooster Cogburn and today on TV, Raylan Givins? EARP: We have at least one, maybe two, retired U.S. Deputy Marshals who are technical advisors on TV’s “Justified.” I saw a story on “Justified” where a one-legged guy escapes out a window. This was based on a true story, which is in my book. On one of the Marshals Services’ anniversaries back in the 1990s I got to meet James Arness from “Gunsmoke.” We all told him we grew up watching him. IACSP: How was it working with your coauthor David Fisher? What did he bring to the table? EARP: David has written over 70 books. His interest is so diverse. I could have not written this book without him. I told him that this was not going to be a book about Mike Earp. It was going to be a book about the Marshals Service. IACSP: Thank you for your service and thanks for speaking to us.

Vol. 20, No.4

Homeland Security Bookshelf By Dr. Joshua Sinai

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul. Recently black clad ISIL fighters have seized Iraq’s second biggest city Mosul and Tikrit, home town of former dictator Saddam Hussein, as well as other towns and cities north of Baghdad. They continued their lightning advance, moving into towns just an hour’s drive from the capital. Picture taken June 11, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer


MY LIFE INSIDE AL QAEDA AND THE CIA By Morten Storm with Paul Cruickshank & Tim Lister New York, NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, $26.00, 404 pages, illustrated. In the 1949 book “The God That Failed: A Confession,” prominent ex-communist intellectuals recounted their disillusionment with and abandonment of communism. What also made that book noteworthy was its running concept of “Kronstadt” as the defining moment in which these ex-communists decided not merely to leave the Communist Party, but to actively oppose it as anti-communists. “Agent Storm: My Life Inside Al Qaeda and the CIA” is Morten Storm’s authoritative account of how he was radicalized as a young Danish convert to Islam into ultimately becoming a trusted member of al Qaeda’s inner circles and how his subsequent disillusionment with its genocidal ideology and violent tactics led to his own “Kronstadt” moment, in which he decided to become a double agent on behalf of the Danish, British and American intelligence services. Although there are other examples of European Muslim extremists who lost faith with jihadi Islam and al Qaeda and its affiliates and became prominent critics of radical Islam, Mr. Storm’s is the most recent case. Moreover, while the others were at the margins of al Qaeda’s operations, Mr. Storm represents the most high-level Western intelligence penetration of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) — considered al Qaeda’s most dangerous affiliate, as well as other al Qaeda affiliates, such as al Shabaab. His assistance to American intelligence, according to his account, helped lead to the targeted killing in late September 2011 of Anwar


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al-Awlaki, one of al Qaeda’s top spiritual and operational leaders in Yemen, who had inspired many Western jihadi terrorists, such as Maj. Nidal Hassan (the November 2009 Fort Hood murderer), Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the unsuccessful 2009 Christmas Day airliner underwear bomber), and the Tsarnaev brothers (who conducted the Boston Marathon bombings in mid-April 2013). The book is filled with many dramatic accounts of Mr. Storm’s involvement in numerous Western intelligence penetrations of al Qaeda and its affiliates, whether in Yemen or Somalia, as well as with its extremist adherents in Europe, especially in Denmark, Sweden, and Britain. Written by Mr. Storm and his two collaborators, Paul Cruickshank, a top CNN investigative journalist on al Qaeda, and Tim Lister, who has worked for CNN and the BBC in the Middle East, the book reads like a first-rate spy thriller, but it is in fact a stunning and true inside account of the workings, personalities and mindsets of the leaders and operatives of al Qaeda, its worldwide operations, and extremist Islamist constituencies. In one of the book’s most dramatic segments, in September 2009, Mr. Storm was asked by al-Awlaki, his “mentor” — who had a history of procuring prostitutes while earlier living in America and at the time in Yemen was married to two wives, one older and the second much younger — “to find him a wife in the West.” Mr. Storm, who had divorced his first Muslim wife and was living in England with his second, found in a radical Muslim Facebook forum a suitable potential bride for al-Awlaki: a beautiful, blonde 32-year old Muslim convert from Croatia named Aminah, who was willing to travel to Yemen to meet and marry the already married al-Awlaki, whom she had greatly idolized. At this point, no one in Mr. Storm’s family knew about his double-agent status. What neither Aminah (real name Irena Horak) nor al-Awlaki knew was that this “matchmaking” was being orchestrated and financed by the British and American intelligence services who had planted tracking devices in her suitcase and an electronic Arabic pocket dictionary that they hoped would lead them to al-Awlaki’s whereabouts in Yemen’s lawless tribal areas. The details of how Mr. Storm arranged for Aminah’s travel to meet al-Awlaki, how American intelligence eventually located al-Awlaki’s whereabouts (this time via a different courier in a later meeting arranged by Mr. Storm) to kill him, and her ultimate fate in Yemen (she was unaware of Mr. Storm’s involvement in setting the trap for al-Awlaki) are riveting. These accounts are backed up by extensive evidence in the form of travel and financial documents and videos Mr. Storm provided his co-authors, including the actual video of al-Awlaki proposing marriage to his prospective Croatian bride. Aside from bringing readers close to the workings of high-stake intelligence operations, Mr. Storm’s book is important for other reasons. It is a first-rate account of how a troubled young Danish Christian, with a history of petty criminality, incarceration and drug use was drawn to convert to Islam and was radicalized into its most extremist jihadi circles in Denmark and Britain. It illustrates how recruiters in such jihadi circles in Europe identify and send their promising convert adherents to “study” at jihadist religious schools such as the extremist Dammaj Institute in Yemen, where, upon their return to their countries of origin, they are expected to further radicalize others into pro-al Qaeda violent extremism and martyrdom terrorist operations. In what is the book’s most telling and hopeful segment, Mr. Storm discusses his “Kronstadt” moment in early 2007, when he rejected radical Islam’s “justifications made for the murder and maiming of civilians,” and the steps he took to contact PET, the Danish intelligence service, to offer his services to counter and betray his former comrades in European jihadi circles and al Qaeda around the world because, as he writes, “I knew the murderous worldview of al Qaeda, and I wanted to play a part in stopping them.” While today Mr. Storm is relieved to have given up jihadism (as well as Islam) and is proud of his previous work in support of Western intelligence in fighting al Qaeda and its sympathizers, these undercover activities took a toll on him and his family. He currently resides in undisclosed whereabouts in England under the protection of British authorities (or others in the private sector operating on their behalf) because of constant death threats against him by his former jihadi comrades. The drama of “Agent Storm” will no doubt attract Hollywood’s attention (it’s already an hourlong CNN documentary), but bright lights aside, the book is an indispensable guide to how the West can counter the appeal of violent jihadism and its al Qaeda terrorist groupings. Today, when so many young Western Muslims are flocking to Syria and Iraq to join the ranks of genocidal insurgents, this book’s insights could not be more important. This is a slightly revised version of the author’s review that was published in The Washington Times. Reprinted by permission.

About the Reviewer Dr. Joshua Sinai, a Washington, DC-based consultant on counterterrorism studies, is the author of “Active Shooter – A Handbook on Prevention” (ASIS International, 2013). He can be reached at:

Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

Vol. 20, No.4

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Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International

Vol. 20, No.4

The IACSP’s Counter-Terrorism Journal V20N4  

The International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals (IACSP) was founded in 1992 to meet security challenges facing t...

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