Friday, July 29, 2011

Inside the 3rd King Hearing

A Report from the Hill

Round 3: House Homeland Security Committee Hearing
“Al Shabaab: Recruitment and Radicalization within the Muslim
American Community and the Threat to the Homeland”

by Lisa Piraneo, Director of Government Relations
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Yesterday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter T. King (R-NY) continued to follow through on the promise he made at the start of the 112th Congress—to address the threat of radical Islam in America. Yesterday, he held his third in a series of hearings on Muslim-American radicalization, this one entitled: “Al Shabaab: Recruitment and Radicalization within the Muslim American Community and the Threat to the Homeland.” I attended the hearing so that I could offer you a first-hand report.

As I noted after Chairman King’s second hearing (covering radicalization within the U.S. prison system), we didn’t see the full-blown circus that attended his first discussion on radical Islam. However, I have to say that the behavior of some congressional members of the Committee was appalling. This is a serious subject that demands serious examination, and it is deeply disappointing to watch some of the members of the Committee act with the disrespect they showed yesterday.

The discussion yesterday was based on the result of what Chairman King called a “lengthy investigation the Committee has conducted into the threat the U.S. homeland faces from al-Shabaab, the Somalia affiliate of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and Anwar al-Aulaqi’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).” The report found, among other concerning things, that over 40 Muslim-Americans and 20 Canadians have been recruited and radicalized by al-Shabaab. Click HERE to read the Committee’s full report.

The purpose of yesterday’s hearing by Chairman King was clear: We see a problem developing that has severe implications for our national security; we take this seriously; we need to address it NOW.

The witnesses for this particular hearing had varied but formidable backgrounds:

Mr. Ahmed Hussen – National President, Canadian Somali Congress. Mr. Hussen stated that his group is a “national advocacy organization that advocates on issues of importance to the 200,000 strong Canadian Somali community.” He told the Committee that as a Canadian Muslim he is “proud of his heritage” and thanked Chairman King for holding a hearing on this critical issue as, he said, it helps the Somali community, both in the U.S. and Canada, fight against those who wish to do either nation harm. Further, he said that it is important that the leaders in the Somali-Canadian and Somali-American communities “emphasize integration and the adherence to and respect for American and Canadian values and not those that promote separation, extremism and victimology.” See Mr. Hussen’s full testimony HERE.

Mr. Thomas Joscelyn – Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Mr. Joscelyn noted that a majority of Somali-Americans do not support al-Shabaab, nor its agenda. That said, he believes that there is a serious danger to our nation from al-Shabaab and though there is “great confusion here in the U.S. as to whether or not Shabaab is really a part of al Qaeda’s international terrorist network…my view is that the link is much stronger than some counterterrorism analysts realize.” See Mr. Joscelyn’s full testimony HERE.

Mr. William Anders Folk – Former Assistant United States Attorney, District of Minnesota. Mr. Folk agreed with the other witnesses that al-Shabaab is a serious threat to the United States and that to fight them and their supporters, the U.S. “must engage in a multi-faceted approach that utilizes all of the United States’ abilities, including military, intelligence, law enforcement and diplomatic options. Further, this effort must be carried out in Somalia, the Horn of Africa, and the United States.” See Mr. Folk’s full testimony HERE.

Mr. Tom Smith – Chief of Police, Saint Paul, Minnesota. Chief Smith updated the Committee about efforts taking place in St. Paul to combat al-Shabaab’s impact on the Somali-American community there. During his testimony, he noted another problem with which they are dealing: Somali girls not only in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, but also in Tennessee and other states are being sexually trafficked. See Chief Smith’s full testimony HERE.

The discussion during yesterday’s hearing was a critical one. Again, what was tremendously disappointing to me was the recurring rude and disrespectful behavior (both to the Chairman and the witnesses) by certain Members of the Committee. This has happened at each of Mr. King’s hearings on Islamic radicalization. Though national security should be a non-partisan issue, once again, the perpetrators were all Democrats. To me, it demonstrated a serious problem: how unknowledgeable, disconnected and disinterested some Members of Congress are about a very real and dangerous threat to our nation.

Some examples:

Rep. Shiela Jackson-Lee (D-TX) – as usual, was bent on making a show out of her comments instead of adding substance to the dialogue and learning from the experience of the witnesses. As during prior hearings, she made formal requests that the Chairman instead hold hearings on right-wing extremist organizations, as well as one on Rupert Murdoch. When her comment period expired and the Chairman informed her that it had, she continued speaking over him. It took several attempts of “the gentle lady’s time has expired” to get her to settle down. The cameras were rolling and she knew it.

Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA) – commented that the scope of the Chairman’s series of hearings is discriminatory.

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) – argued that radicalization is “cross-cultural, cross-religious, and cross-ethnic” and that if we focus on only one group we open ourselves up to “the disdain of others.”

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) – noted to Chairman King that this was his third hearing on the issue of Islamic radicalization within the U.S. and said “point made. Let’s move on.”

But the most outrageous comments during the hearing, came from Rep. Al Green (D-TX), who does not serve on the Committee but asked (and was granted) time to speak. [NOTE: The Chairman did not grant the same, this time, for Rep. Keith Ellison, another legislative showman, who dramatically broke down in tears during King’s first hearing.] Early in his comments, Mr. Green asked all of the witnesses if they had ever heard of Jihad Jane. When they replied that they had, he continued his line of questioning, asking them what her hair color was, her eye color, her height, and finally, her complexion. He asked the witnesses if acknowledging that she was “as she is called in America, a white woman” took them “out of their comfort zone.” Clearly, he was insinuating that the Chairman and the committee were racist by focusing on Somali-Americans. When Chairman King responded that the questions had absolutely no basis and made no sense to him, Rep. Green shot back, “I didn’t expect it to make sense to you.”

I do think it is worthwhile to watch the full hearing, so you can see how the issue was taken seriously by the witnesses and some Members of Congress, such as Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) and Rep. Dan Lundgren (R-CA), as well as those I mention above, who were only interested in distractions. This hearing took place at the courtesy of your tax dollars and you have a right to know what your elected officials are doing on Capitol Hill. You can view the full hearing
HERE or by going to the House Homeland Security website HERE and clicking on “Webcast.” If you like what your Member of Congress is doing remember to let him or her know—and the very same if you don’t.

As the Chairman noted in his Opening Statement, which we sent out to our full membership shortly after it was released (click HERE to view it in its entirety) “I will not back down from holding these hearings. I will continue to hold these hearings so long as I am the Chairman of this Committee. I…owe it to all the friends, neighbors, and constituents I lost on September 11th. I will not back down.

We need to be appreciative of Mr. King’s past and future efforts in the U.S. Congress on identifying and addressing radical Islam within the U.S. Contrary to what some Members of the Committee claim, he never has and never will focus on the peaceful Muslims living in America. This is not about them and, frankly, these hearings will benefit them. These discussions are about identifying and immobilizing those individuals who follow an ideology that is contrary and dangerous to the freedoms afforded by our U.S. Constitution—those who strive to do harm to our nation and our citizens.

Finally, we need to let Chairman King and all other Members of Congress who continue to speak out about this issue know that a grateful nation—certainly including the 170,000 members of ACT! for America—is behind them 100 percent.

As for those Members of Congress who do not take this seriously, who seem intent only on making a mockery of these hearings, they need to hear from their constituents too. They need to be told that they took an oath to defend the Constitution and they need to start taking these discussions about Islamic radicalization seriously.


ACT for America
P.O. Box 12765
Pensacola, FL 32591

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Your Simple Help Needed

John Droz JrBy John Droz, Jr.

A US federal agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, is currently debating whether or not there will be national wildlife rules for industrial wind energy, and if yes, what they will be.

At stake is this: if they adopt strict mandatory rules, it could severely restrict wind energy in every state in the country.

For the first time, this agency is asking for public input.

Send your comments in a simple email to "".     They will only be accepted until August 4, 2011. 

If you want to wade through the technical details (not necessary) look at <<>>.
The gist of the debate is that AWEA and the wind industry want loose, voluntary, guidelines. Citizens concerned about the environment are asking for tight, mandatory, rules

We are also advocating that a wind developer make a substantial upfront payment ($5000± per turbine) for the state/federal government to hire independent experts to assess wildlife impacts. (Right now the developer hires his own experts, so you can guess what they conclude.) 

Please submit something to the USF&W on this most important issue — and pass this request on to your email list contacts.

If we could get 1000+ people sending in sensible comments, that could have a powerful impact.

So this is something free, simple, and could be influential in your community. Please do it today!


john droz, jr.
physicist and environmental advocate

Rep. King’s Amazing Opening Statement at Today’s Congressional Hearing on al Shabaab

Rep. Peter King’s opening statement at today’s (Wed, 27 Jul 2011) House Committee on Homeland Security hearing (highlights added) underscores why ACT! for America presented him our highest legislative award at this year’s National Conference and Legislative Briefing.

Make sure you scroll down to the end to read what he says about the New York Times.

King Opens Third Committee on Homeland Security Hearing on Radicalization, Focusing on al Shabaab

Washington, D.C. (Wednesday, July 27, 2011) – This morning, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, convenes the hearing entitledAl Shabaab: Recruitment and Radicalization within the Muslim American Community and the Threat to the Homeland.” The prepared opening statement of Chairman King follows:

“Good morning. Today, we hold the third in a series of hearings on radicalization in the Muslim-American community.

Our focus is the result of a lengthy investigation the Committee has conducted into the threat the U.S. homeland faces from al-Shabaab, the Somalia affiliate of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and Anwar al-Aulaqi’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The Committee has been briefed by intelligence agencies and we have interviewed dozens of experts on al-Shabaab.

I welcome our distinguished panel of witnesses. They have some of the most extensive insights into the problems uncovered by our Committee’s investigation and we are grateful they are sharing their knowledge.

You will hear how al-Shabaab, who bin Laden called “One of the most important armies” of Islam, is engaged in an ongoing, successful effort to recruit and radicalize dozens of Muslim-American jihadis, who pose a direct threat to the U.S.

Some argue that al-Shabaab is only a Somali problem, and that the group will never strike outside of the Horn of Africa region.

That kind of thinking is a glaring example of what the 9/11 Commission called a failure of imagination.

With al-Shabaab’s large cadre of American jihadis and unquestionable ties to al-Qaeda, particularly its alliance with AQAP, we must face the reality that al-Shabaab is a growing threat to our homeland.

Our investigation into this threat has led to alarming findings: Notably, that al-Shabaab has successfully recruited and radicalized more than 40 Muslim-Americans and 20 Canadians, who have joined the terror group inside Somalia.

Of those, at least 15 Americans and 3 Canadians are believed to have been killed fighting with al-Shabaab, the Committee has learned.

Not al-Qaeda, nor any of its other affiliates, have come close to drawing so many Muslim-Americans and Westerners to jihad.

Three Muslim-Americans became suicide bombers, such as Shirwa Ahmed from Minneapolis -- the first confirmed American suicide bomber in our history.

There also are radicalized converts like al-Shabaab commander Omar Hammami who was raised a Baptist in Alabama, and who has repeatedly threatened the U.S. homeland.

Three American al-Shabaab fighters have been arrested after returning home and one was collared in the Netherlands.

Other radicalized Muslims have been arrested in the U.S. and Canada before they reached Somalia, which is now much easier to get to for jihad than Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan or Yemen.

But as many as two-dozen Muslim-Americans with al-Shabaab -- who in many cases were trained by top al-Qaeda leaders -- remain unaccounted for.

The Committee found that al-Shabaab-related federal prosecutions for funding, recruiting and attempting to join al-Shabaab are the largest number and most significant upward trend in homegrown terror cases filed by the Justice Department over the past two years.

At least 38 cases have been unsealed since 2009 in Minnesota, Ohio, California, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Virginia and Texas.

Al-Shabaab is recruiting inside American mosques in Somali communities like Minneapolis and San Diego, according to the Justice Department.

This month, an al-Shabaab recruiter pleaded guilty to recruiting a large group of Muslims in Minneapolis, “At mosques,” and without any known protest by mosque leaders. A top al-Shabaab leader in Somalia supervised this recruiting.

One Minnesotan recruited was suicide bomber Shirwa Ahmed whose 2008 attack in northern Somalia sent a shockwave of alarm through U.S. homeland security agencies, because of its implications.

Another would-be bomber from Minneapolis was shot and killed in Mogadishu by peacekeeping troops on May 30, moments before detonating his suicide vest.

When one cleric spoke out against al-Shabaab inside the Minneapolis mosque where many of the missing young Somali-American men had once worshipped, he was physically assaulted, according to police.

For those still skeptical that there are still jihadi sympathizers inside that community, it’s worth mentioning that the Committee learned of the mosque assault when an audiotape of the incident was posted on overseas jihadi Internet forums before authorities in Minneapolis even knew about the incident.

There is an enormous amount of travel by Somali-Americans between U.S. cities and East Africa. While most of this travel is legitimate senior U.S. counterterror officials have told the Committee they are very concerned about individuals they have not identified who have fallen in with al-Shabaab during trips to Somalia, who could return to the U.S. undetected.

They fear an al-Shabaab fighter operating under law enforcement’s radar – someone like a Zazi, a Shahzad, an Abdulmutallab – may attempt an attack here.

It is deeply troubling that from the very beginning, the Muslim-Americans in Somalia were trained by top al-Qaeda operatives, including several who were tied to Yemen’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is now generally considered our biggest homeland threat.

Al-Shabaab operative Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame was charged this month for doing weapons deals and explosives training with AQAP in Yemen, and to, “Provide AQAP with material support including... personnel.”

Al-Shabaab has long harbored top al-Qaeda leaders, such as the mastermind of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, who was gunned down this month in Somalia after a 13-year manhunt.

Al-Shabaab has paraded in Somalia in support of AQAP and sent fighters to battle the weakened Yemeni government this year -- as well as flying the battle flag of al-Qaeda-in-IRAQ.

Finally, an al-Shabaab bombing in neighboring Uganda one year ago that targeted Westerners killed 74 people including one American.

President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has said the Administration remains, quote, “Vigilant that al-Shabaab may expand its focus from fighting to control Somalia to plotting to attack the U.S. homeland.”

That convinced me of the necessity to launch a careful examination of that threat.

Dozens of experts the Committee interviewed agreed this threat is real, and that al-Shabaab leaders’ public calls for attacks against America -- including in retaliation for killing bin Laden -- must be taken seriously.

With a large group of Muslim-Americans willing to die as “martyrs,” and a strong operational partnership with al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and in Yemen, al-Shabaab now has more capability than ever to strike the U.S. homeland.

We look forwarding to hearing more about the rising al-Shabaab threat from our exceptional witnesses, as well as the Minority’s distinguished witness.

Finally, I note that certain elements of the politically correct media—most egregiously the vacuous ideologues at the New York Times—are shamelessly attempting to exploit the horrific tragedy in Norway to cause me to refocus these hearings away from Muslim-American radicalization.

If they had even a semblance of intellectual honesty the Times and the others would know and admit that there is no equivalency in the threat to our homeland from a deranged gunman and the international terror apparatus of al-Qaeda and its affiliates who are recruiting people in this country and have murdered thousands of Americans in their jihad attacks.

Let me make this clear to the New York Times and their acolytes in the politically correct, moral equivalency media--I will not back down from holding these hearings. I will continue to hold these hearings so long as I am the Chairman of this Committee.

Apart from all the strategic and moral reasons why these hearings are vital to our security, they are liberating and empowering to the many Muslim-Americans who have been intimidated by leaders in their own communities and are now able to come forward.

I also owe it to all the friends, neighbors, and constituents I lost on September 11th. I will not back down.”


ACT for America
P.O. Box 12765
Pensacola, FL 32591

ACT for America is an issues advocacy organization dedicated to effectively organizing and mobilizing the most powerful grassroots citizen action network in America, a grassroots network committed to informed and coordinated civic action that will lead to public policies that promote America’s national security and the defense of American democratic values against the assault of radical Islam. We are only as strong as our supporters, and your volunteer and financial support is essential to our success. Thank you for helping us make America safer and more secure.

The news items, blogs, educational materials and other information in our emails and on our website are only intended to provide information, news and commentary on events and issues related to the threat of radical Islam. Much of this information is based upon media sources, such as the AP wire services, newspapers, magazines, books, online news blog and news services, and radio and television, which we deem to be reliable. However, we have undertaken no independent investigation to verify the accuracy of the information reported by these media sources. We therefore disclaim all liability for false or inaccurate information from these media sources. We also disclaim all liability for the third-party information that may be accessed through the material referenced in our emails or posted on our website.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Voted Best Obama Speech

Even his critics say that this is Obama's best speech ever!

Voted Best Obama Speech, posted with vodpod

UN To Airlift Food To African Famine Zone

Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Jul 26, 2011

The United Nations has agreed to airlift food to help some of the 12 million people affected by drought in the Horn of Africa. Aid agencies say one in three Somalis is now at risk from famine.

The move follows Monday's emergency meeting with aid agencies and charities in Rome.

The UN says it's so far received $1bn, but needs the international community to donate a billion more by the end of the year to stave off widespread starvation.

The World Bank has promised 500-million-dollars for the region. However, $12m will be immediately released for relief projects for those worst hit by the drought.

Al Jazeera's Jamal ElShayyal reports on the crisis.

UN To Airlift Food To African Famine Zone, posted with vodpod