Category Archives: Terrorism

Love False Positives – The Day The Bank Said I Bought A Heavy Machine Gun Online

On the 15th November 2013 I made a wire transfer using Permanent TSB Open24. Open24 is an online banking service. For those of you who do not know, Permanent TSB is a retail bank that operates in the Republic of Ireland.

Worthy of note is that retail banking in the Republic is characterised by spectacular systems malfunctionsoutages, IT meltdowns and downright thievery.

But that’s ok because the government of Ireland loves banks and they can really do or not do (as is often the case) what they like – without fear of sanction. Oh, and when they lose their shirts gambling with their customers money then the Irish tax payer gets to pay for it. But I digress.

When Kids Try To Be Adults

I first became aware of my international arms purchasing activities when I received a phone call on my cell phone from a private number. I answered and was greeted by a what sounded like a teenage girl who informed me that an intermediary bank, used by Permanent TSB for payments to South East Asia, had sent an email to the bank requesting information about an international payment that I had made a few days previously.

Before describing the contents of the email, the clearly worried banker (worried because she was talking to an international arms dealer who buys his weapons over the open internet (who needs the Dark Web)), stated that I had bought a heavy machine gun and that I had asked that it be mailed to the address of one of our corporate apartments in Dublin, Ireland. As you do.

The intermediary bank was CitiBank in Frankfurt she informed me. They had contacted the Treasury Department and they in turn were dealing directly with the beneficiary bank in Singapore who were the first to flag the transaction.

The email read:

REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED 

The beneficiary Bank sent the below SWIFT message to our treasury department via CitiBank:

WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED THAT THE BENEFICIARY BANK IS UNABLE TO APPLY THIS PAYMENT AND STATES:

  1. PLEASE CONTACT REMITTER TO OBTAIN BELOW.
    1. WHAT DOES TMG REFER TO PER F70?
    2. WHAT DOES IT STAND FOR?
    3. WHAT IS ITS FULL FORM?
    4. IF IT REFERS TO AN ORGANIZATION, PLS OBTAIN THE FOLLOWING:
      1. FULL NAME.
      2. FULL PHYSICAL ADDRESS AND COUNTRY OF LOCATION.

I trust the above is in order.

Kind Regards,

REDACTED REDACTED

She informed me that the Bank could not facilitate international arms purchases and that law enforcement had been informed including the local police station to the bank branch from which my transaction emanated, the Organised Crime Unit, and of course Security & Intelligence. The latter is the central point of contact for An Garda Síochána with all external agencies – both law enforcement and security/intelligence – with regard to international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and organised crime.

The Very Boring Reality

The transfer that caused this international “counter-terrorism / counter organised crime” flurry of activity between one local bank, two international banks and law enforcement in three countries was made by me to an organisation called SERVCORP.

SERVCORP is a company in SINGAPORE that provide a telephone answering service for my company TMG Corporate Services. The actual mandate for the transfer had been set up months previously by Permanent TSB themselves at the request of TMG Corporate Services Accounts Department. The same payment had been made on several previous occasions.

The transfer they said was for the purchase of an automatic weapon namely a BROWNING M2 Machine Gun TMG F70.

And how had they come to this conclusion? Well, simply because the reference on the payment was TMGF70. The reference was TMGF70 because that was the reference used by SERVCORP on the invoice that they had issued for that months services.

“TMG” being an acronym for The Mediator Group and F70 some internal reference for SERVCORP.

The Browning M2

The Browning M2 is a chain-fed, air-cooled heavy machine gun (TMG) in caliber 12.70 x 99 mm NATO , produced by the American manufacturer Browning at the end of World War II. The rifle has a maximum range of 7,500 meters and an effective range of 1,800 meters and can use different types of ammunition: full sharp, armor, armor fire and tracer.

Here I am proudly modelling a “Ma Deuce” I managed to buy in the duty free shop at Heathrow Airport.

Ma Deuce

Bargain Hunter

What was even more impressive about my purchase was that I acquired this impressive weapon for SGD$70 or EUR€45.25 at todays spot rate on XE.COM.

ENDS

 

State Surveillance in Ireland Part 4: Creeping Extra-Judicial Law Enforcement Powers

The resources of the Irish police force and military intelligence were traditionally focussed squarely oncounter terrorism ops against militant republicans and loyalists. In that respect their expertise in terms of surveillance, intelligence gathering, the use of informants, infiltration methods and technical expertise was sought out by international colleagues during the 80’s and 90’s.

Terrorism, Gangland Violence & Islamic Extremism

During those years specialised law enforcement in ireland were one of very few Western alphabet agencies who possessed hands on domestic counter-terror threat experience.

In the late 80’s and early 90’s momentum gathered for a peace deal to end the “Troubles” which culminated in the Good Friday Agreement signed on 10 April 1998. This led to a massive reduction in direct hostilities and the associated criminal activities used to fund same.

Thereafter, the degree to which these counter terror resources and general counter-extremist expertise were required in Ireland diminished greatly. The main counter-terror focus was now in dealing with small, isolated dissident republican groups involved in internecine feuds. During this time some “dissident” groups branched out into general criminality.

Dublin and Limerick became the focus of a new threat in the form of gangland and drug cartel violence and in the late 90’s the resources previously deployed against terrorist outfits were partly re-deployed against this emerging threat.

Over the course of the next few years specialised law enforcement evolved in response to changes in the nature of offences being tackled in the courts.

A unique set of legal challenges began to appear when investigating especially in terms of covertsurveillance and technical surveillance methods and the ease (or not) with which they could be sanctioned and deployed – especially in time sensitive scenarios.

It also became clear that gangs and gang members were proving difficult to tackle and gatheringevidence to support trials met with barriers which previous Privacy and security legislation in the Irish statute books made difficult if not downright illegal. (see 2011 Communications (Retention of Data) Act).

The Criminal Justice Act 2006

The Criminal Justice Act 2006, legislated for during the tenure of Michael McDowell as the Irish Minister for Justice, created a new offence of membership of an organised crime gang, or “criminal organisation”, and made it an offence to assist the activities of an organised crime gang.

Evolving this legislation the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act 2009 provided for the use in criminal trials of material obtained during covert surveillance. The Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill further defined membership of a criminal organisation and made it an offence to direct the activities of one.

There were also a host of newly created scheduled offences contained in the legislation which allowed gang members to be tried in the non-jury Special Criminal Court.

The Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act 2009

In Section 8 of the Bill a declaration was made that the ordinary courts were inadequate and were not in a position to effectively administer justice as there was a pervasive threat of jury tampering and intimidation.

Despite this there was no evidence that the ordinary courts had previously failed repeatedly to justify such a sweeping alteration of the normal rules of habeas corpus, the right to silence (removed by the introduction of “inferences”), the right to trial by jury and the fundamental right of the presumption of innocence.

To support this general view that the legislation was ill-conceived and introduced to reduce the workload / evidence required in securing convictions in these cases Central Criminal Court Judge Mr. Justice Paul Carney came on record and stated that when gang members were brought before a jury in his court there were no difficulties in securing convictions.

The Radical Islamist Blindspot

Despite the extensive arsenal of covert surveillance (traditional and technical) powers and the reduction in the “body of proof” requirements to secure convictions under these various new powers, little has been done in Ireland to turn this formidable and questionably legal set of instruments toward tackling Radical Islamism.

Ireland is not overrun with Radical Islamists. Salafi Jihadist preachers are not spouting hate and intolerance in the majority of Ireland’s mosques. Apart from some small pockets in Dublin there is not the same level of Islamic ghettoisation in Ireland as opposed to say sweden where so called no-go areas are widespread and the city of Malmö is infamous for radicalisation and general anti-Western sentiment.

G2 Military Intelligence & the Garda Special Detective Unit’s Middle Eastern Desk

These bodies are tasked with monitoring potential jihadists in Ireland and Irish citizens who fight abroad in war zones – specifically Syria and Iraq – for Muslim extremist organisations such as the self-proclaimed “Islamic State”.

Their activities are obviously covert and their objectives and methods are clearly not publicly available or discussed – and rightly so. However, despite numerous attempts by associates it seems that there is no specific publicly available over-arching and non-compromising strategy document (heavily redacted or otherwise) that is available via the FoI Act.

It would be helpful and indeed, in the public interest, to see such a document to determine what level of significance is given to certain potential threats or what the attitude of these units is to the ramshackle approach to some key issues that the public sees via the Irish Court system.

Recent Developments

Islamic State is suspected to have been using Ireland as easy access to the U.K. The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) suspects will now it seem be prevented from using Irish ports as an easy access to get to Britain after the Irish police decided to crack down on the threat after concerns were expressed by their UK colleagues.

GCHQ has been monitoring Irish Jihadists and the ISIS support structure in Ireland including radicalisation threats, money laundering activities, fund raising and funnelling efforts and the use of Irishdocuments to assist jihadis with international travel.

“Sovereign” Ireland & GCHQ

All Irish internet comms cables and internet traffic is monitored by GCHQ in Cheltenham – without the knowledge of the Irish authorities.

Today in a statement it was reported that ‘Operation Mutiny’ began a number of weeks ago after doubts arose that there might be suspects using Irish ports – due to their weak security and surveillance systems– to penetrate the UK to facilitate attacks there.

Security at Irish ports was considered so porous by U.K. authorities that they intervened to reduce therisk that IS terrorists would use Ireland as a staging point for attacks – as the Battle for Mosul escalated – rather than their preferred previous use of Ireland as a soft backdoor for access to Europe.

Ireland has long been seen by Islamic extremists as a country where their support activities for foreignterrorism were largely ignored by the law enforcement community in Ireland in favour of the more highprofile gangland feuds.

An under-resourced Irish police force and domestic intelligence community with a set of IT systems that were woefully out of date did not present a serious threat to compromising extremist comms over emerging encryption and secure communications tools such as Telegram, Hushmail and Tor – despite the sweeping powers introduced to the Irish statute books in 2006, 2009 and 2011.

END

Kurdish resistance is still strong in the terrorist Islamic Republic of Iran

The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), was founded under the leadership of Qazi Mohammadi, (also known as Peshawa) on August 16, 1945. Peshawa declared the First ever Kurdish Republic the next year, on January 22, 1946, and was elected as its President.

The creation and establishment of this Republic was historic, as it was the first time in the history of our nation that the Kurds were governing themselves in one part of Kurdistan. The Republic was short-lived, its message and objectives, however, continue to live on in our nation’s memory.

The Kurd’s and the PDKi have not given up on their struggle for the liberation of Kurdistan from occupation and the Kurds from oppression. 71-years has since passed, and the Kurd’s resistance is still strong.

The Party has vowed to continue on the struggle for the liberation of Kurdistan and for this, it has had hundreds of its leaders and Peshmargas, paying with their precious lives. The Party has since this year’s Nawroz (Kurdish New Year) announced that it will continue on sending its Forces to be among our people, and it will not stand by while the terrorist Islamic Republic of Iran terrorizes and militarizes Kurdistan any further.

For this, ever since late June, a number of its Peshmargas and cadres have like our leadership made the ultimate sacrifice and have become the symbol of our renewed struggle. Hundreds of others have gone deep inside east Kurdistan to carry out their organizational and political activities.

The Party has stated that it will intensify and increase the number of the Peshmarga Forces, and its activities. The Kurds have welcomed this decision and have pledged their support and assistance to the Forces.

Long live PDKi
Long live Peshmarga
Long live Kurdistan

Is the US drone program overseas, state sponsored terrorism?

Yes it is. By the rules of international law an intervention on foreign soil is an act of war. If there is not a declared war between the two countries then it is a unilateral decision to attack another without the “correct” mandate.

Former CIA and NSA Director, Michael Hayden

In any other case that is referred to as “terrorism” when carried out by a proscribed organization or a nation.

Over 3000 Pakistanis have been killed in US drone strikes targeting a few dozen or so “known” terrorists. Obama has been under heavy scrutiny for authorizing drone campaigns that result in gross mistakes, killing a great number of innocent people while targeting “confirmed terrorists.”

Since 2004, there have been 401 US drone strikes in Afghanistan, alone, killing 3,058 people total. In Pakistan, hundreds, including children, have died in pursuit of a mere two dozen declared terrorists.

In 2014, the former director of both the CIA and NSA, Michael Hayden, proudly claimed they “kill people based on metadata”, using drones – but not the right people in most cases and the source of the information used to determine the “terrorist” classification has been shown to be hopelessly flawed via an NSA program named SKYNET.

The war on extremists is acceptable – the “collateral” casualties as they are called – which demonstrates the lack of value placed on innocent lives – is terrorism – pure and simple.

About SKYNET

SKYNET is a program by the U.S. National Security Agency that performs machine learning analysis on communications data to extract information about possible terror suspects. The tool is used to identify targets, such as al-Qaeda couriers, who move between GSM cellular networks. These couriers often swap SIM cards within phones that have the same ESN, MEID or IMEI number.

The tool uses classification techniques like random forest analysis. Because the data set includes a very large proportion of true negatives and a small training set, there is a risk of overfitting. Bruce Schneier argues that a false positive rate of 0.008% would be low for commercial applications where “if Google makes a mistake, people see an ad for a car they don’t want to buy” but “if the government makes a mistake, they kill innocents.”

The SKYNET project was linked with drone systems, thus creating the potential for false-positives to lead to deaths. Al-Jazeera’s bureau chief in Islamabad, Ahmad Zaidan, was wrongly identified as the most probable member of al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood on their records.

Despite the fact it is improbable to be a member of both groups, he is also widely and publicly known for traveling to meet with radical groups, but was instead identified due to mobile phone surveillance placing him in rural locations.

This has been seen to show the failing of the system, as it has misidentified a journalist conducting legitimate, public business as a potential terrorist, whilst also harming freedom of the press and breaking US law on surveillance of journalists.

Source: SKYNET – Wiki

END.

Ireland is the Global Per Capita Leader for Radical Islamists

Various aspects of national security in Ireland are handled by several different specialist units within the Gardaí including the Emergency Response Unit, the Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau, the Special Detective Unit, Crime & Security Branch as well as G2 Military Intelligence.

However Ireland’s neutrality means that the country does not have the same military and defence budgets, as a percentage of GDP, made available to develop capabilities compared to most other countries.

Irish Intel’s Non-Existent Proactive Track Record

Dubious and bizarre characters of all kinds keep turning up on Irish shores or are in-country having become naturalised Irish citizens or having successfully acquired residency or asylum in Ireland. All of this while involved in various kinds of international military interventions, terrorist fundraising, extremism or as known proponents of radical ideologies.

It would seem that it all falls well below the radar of those who are allegedly overseeing these matters but who assure the Irish public that everything is under control and that there is very little to be concerned about. For instance, after the Paris attacks, the Irish Justice Minister said that “the latest threat assessment to Ireland does not increase… it is low,” and rejected claims that the country’s 9,500 strong Defence Force was inadequately equipped to deal with the terrorist threat. (RTE, November 18, 2015).

This statement betrays the Irish Intel communities blind-spot with respect to Radical Islamism – namely that efforts, if any, are focussed on looking inwards when Ireland has a disproportionate effect on the external activities of Islamic extremists in comparison to the size of its Muslim population.

How can Ireland’s intelligence agencies convince the international community that they are seriously capable of tackling the “jihadi growth industry” in Ireland when spectacular characters such as – Ali-Charaf Damache – The Black Flag or the ISIS recruiter currently resisting deportation or Mahdi al-Harati and his receipt of several million EURO from one of the US alphabet agencies to sponsor rebels in Libya – go completely unnoticed by them until drawn to their attention by externals?

In relation to the Radical Islamist threat we allege that Irish government policy, inertia and ignorance combined with the support and encouragement of ill informed pressure groups, biased refugee support groups and “one size fits all, up for anything” liberals has allowed Ireland to become the soft underbelly for jihadist movement, organisation and support (in particular propagandist social media accounts) in Europe.

Irish Based ISIS Recruiter Fighting Deportation Order 

Mahdi al-Harati (Centre) Irish-Libyan 
Liwaa al-Umma Founder & Alleged US Alphabet Agency Asset 

Three Serious Emerging National Security Threats 

There are three new distinct threats to the Irish State which the Irish State is inadequately equipped to tackle: Islamic Jihadists, Cyber Threats and Espionage.

Cyber Threats and Espionage because of Ireland’s large R&D sector and the massive foreign direct investment Ireland receives while acting as EMEA and in some cases Global HQ’s for many tech and pharmaceutical giants. The Cyber Warfare and Espionage Threats will be the subject of separate blog posts.

There have been arguments that Ireland needs one agency to deal with these three threats alone.

This contrasts sharply with the rhetoric of the Irish government and the downplaying of the threat posed by these newish phenomena in terms of Ireland’s security landscape.

Myriad Weaknesses in Irish Government Policy

In particular, when it comes to tackling Islamic extremism there are myriad weaknesses in the Irish system and the approaches used have not changed much since The Troubles, despite the modern challenges and vastly different methods being used by jihadists.

The Irish government’s assessment is that the Irish security services, despite their small size, have an extremely competent counter-terrorism wing, honed over decades of tackling Irish republican militancy.

The question, however, is to what extent this expertise can now be repurposed towards dealing with militant Islamism, especially given that the threat is rapidly growing and evolving and is culturally, structurally and ideologically at complete odds with what the alleged past experience of the Irish security services has been – from which officialdom in Ireland draws comfort.

Counter Terrorism International (CTI)

Last year the Garda established the Counter Terrorism International (CTI) unit to target groups supporting extremist operations in other countries. The unit it is said works closely with its counterparts throughout the EU, with the CIA, and the National Security Agency in the United States.

Nóirín O’Sullivan is the current Commissioner of the Garda Síochána

Despite this progress, the Irish security services – even this allegedly specialized Islamist-focused unit – face significant resourcing and expertise shortfalls. Irish media recently reported the Gardai lack key counterterrorism tactics such as knowledge of the Arabic-language skills, a dedicated unit tracking jihadist social media and a de-radicalization strategy to rehabilitate returning foreign fighters (Irish Examiner, November 21, 2015).

A source told the Sunday Independent late in 2015 that: “What you have is small groups of jihadis who cannot travel directly to Turkey, for access to Syria, arriving here, receiving support and money and then transiting through Ireland to the war zones. There is quite an elaborate support network based in Dublin and other major Leinster towns which is attracting the attention of security agencies in the rest of Europe and further afield.”

As the above instances demonstrate, Irish jihadists’ alleged use of the country as a logistical and transport hub where false passports can be procured poses potential risks not only to Ireland but also abroad. Uniquely, Irish citizens do not need passports to travel to the UK, and the country is part of the EU and enjoys easy travel to the US under the latter’s visa waiver system. As a result, Islamist radicalization in Ireland does not just pose a threat within Ireland’s borders, but also to countries further afield, and Ireland has failed utterly in its responsibilities in that regard with its laissez-faire attitude to the problem.

That paper also reported that foreign intelligence agencies believe that extremists have been holding training camps in remote areas of Leinster – a province in the East of Ireland.

A Garda spokesperson recently told The Journal Dot IE, that: “In line with best international practice, we seek to promote engagement with communities to counter the threat of radicalisation and devote appropriate resources to investigate individuals who are assessed to pose a threat. A close working relationship is maintained with police and security partners in the EU and other countries in respect of developing threats and ongoing, international efforts to counter terrorism generally. It would be inappropriate, in view of ongoing operations and enquiries, to comment further on specific strategies or methodologies.”

The Islamic Jihadist Threat in Ireland 

Since 2012, it is claimed by official sources that up to 60 Irish citizens have traveled to Syria to fight for a number of different Sunni rebel groups including ISIS. The government in Ireland insisted as recently as January of 2016 that the figure was between 25 and 30. The government of Ireland often states that three of these war zone tourists have been killed. Yet a cursory trawl of records online shows at least five casualties.

  1. Irish citizen, 22-year old Hudhaifa ElSayed, who was of Egyptian origin but raised in Ireland’s County Louth, was killed with Liwaa al-Umma during a clash with Syrian government forces in Idlib province in northern Syria in December 2012 (The Journal, December 20, 2012).
  2. Another individual, 16-year old Shamseddin Gaidan, a Dublin resident of Libyan origin, was killed in Syria in February 2013 fighting with an unknown rebel group, having crossed into the country from Turkey the previous year (Independent [Ireland], February 23, 2013). 
  3. Hisham Habbash (29), a Libyan-born man who grew up in Ireland was been killed during fighting between rebels and regime forces near the northeastern town of Raqqa. (Irish Times, June 24, 2013).
  4. Jordanian-born Palestinian, 22-year old Alaa Ciymeh, who had been brought up in Ireland before returning to Jordan in 2008. He was killed while fighting for the group in April 2013 (Irish Times, May 3, 2013; Herald [Ireland], June 27, 2014).
  5. Muthenna Abu Taubah, 24, an Irish jihadi who defended the beheading of western hostages by IS blew himself up in a bomb-making factory. He died in an accident along with his best friend in the terror group’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, Syria. (The Irish Sun, June 25, 2015)

Although details of Irish involvement in more hardline groups such as the Islamic State or al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate, Jahbat al-Nusra, are scarce, there is evidence that Irish citizens are active with these groups. In August 2014, Irish media reported that a self-described “Irish-Nigerian” convert to Islam had been trying to recruit individuals to come to Syria via the ask.fm internet forum, an approach used by other Islamic State recruiters (Independent, August 21, 2014). In one exchange, the individual – whose online name was “Muthenna ibn Abu” – defended IS’s beheading of British aid worker, David Haines (Independent, September 14, 2014). His identity and current whereabouts are unknown.

TMGCS Counter Theory on Radical Islam in Ireland

Over the course of the last twenty four months TMGCS carried out research that commenced after the publication of our blog post Precision Guided Message (23rd July 2014). The investigation sought to provide a detailed assessment of the actual jihadi culture in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Various methods were used to collect the information that informed the conclusions drawn below including information from sources who participated in relevant events, participation in and observation of certain relevant groups, information from sources in agencies and organisations external to the Irish State, information from sources from the Middle East region living elsewhere in Europe who have been on the ground in Syria, Libya & Iraq, interviews and discussions with associates of known jihadists, observations at a number of student group gatherings as well as input from a number of other methods and OSINT.

The evidence that Ireland, as well as a key exporter of jihadists, is home to a number of Islamic State supporters who are actively providing financial and other forms of support, using the country not only as a recruiting centre, but as a logistical hub is compelling.

The headline outcome of the process is that TMGCS estimate that the actual figure of travelling Irish jihadists is closer to 125 and that, conservatively, there are 20 plus active ISIS supporters providing logistical assistance to that group from within the Irish State.

In November 2015, independent cyber security analysts used leaked details of Islamic State-supporting Twitter accounts to establish that between 20 and 50, active Islamic State online-based supporters were residing in Ireland (The Journal, November 23).

In another indicator of latent support for the Islamic State in Ireland, Irish Muslims responsible for organizing a ‘Not in Our Name’ protest against the terrorist group in July 2015 claimed that they were assaulted by two self-identified Islamic State supporters in an unnamed mosque in Dublin (Irish Times, July 27).

At present, the Irish government is seeking to deport a 52-year old individual (who cannot be named for legal reasons) to a Middle Eastern country (The Journal, December 29). The government has described him as “the foremost organizer and facilitator of travel by extremists prepared to undertake violent action” on behalf of Islamic State in Ireland, and of having also recruited for jihadist groups in Afghanistan (Ibid).

In a potentially related development, in November 2015, citing a security service source, Irish media reported that “a small number of Irish-based Muslim extremists” with a “central group consisting of around 12 radicals” had been sheltering British and European jihadists, including supplying them with fake passports for travel (Irish Independent, November 1, 2015). The source additionally said that Ireland was being used as a stop-off point for jihadists en route to Turkey, in order to confuse security services watching for jihadists travelling to Turkey directly (Ibid).

Excluded Groups

The research process did not include a review or conclusions drawn from the elements of Irish society who are Muslim converts, are non-Muslim or have no direct links to the Middle East but who nonetheless support certain Radical Islamist ideals and groups.

“Taliban Terry” aka Muslim Convert Khalid Kelly

This section of the jihadist infrastructure in Ireland – North and South – mainly draws support from former members or supporters of certain paramilitary organisations, other extremist groups, certain left wing independent politicians, the usual array of the psychologically challenged and a small number of official as well as un-registered “political” parties.

Derry man Eamon Bradley 
Irish fighter in Syrian civil war after arrest in Northern Ireland
and subsequently charged with terror offences
Eamon Bradley in the Middle East with a number of weapons

The Official vs the Unofficial Extremist Per Capita Statistics

At first glance, it would appear that the official and even the increased TMGCS estimates are insignificant compared to other European countries’ jihadist cultures, in particular France and Germany, and minuscule when compared to say active participants in the Syrian conflict from North African countries such as Tunisia and Morocco.

But that is the danger of stand alone numbers versus the value of statistics and analysis.

Countries with relatively small Muslim populations have sent a disproportionately large numbers of jihadis abroad. Finland and Ireland according to reports have the highest number of foreign fighters per capita – nearly one per 1,400 Muslims living in those countries have gone to Syria.

Britain and France have comparable percentages of local Muslims going to fight in Syria – just over one in 6,000 British Muslims and one in 6,666 French Muslims have gone to Syria, governments say. The figures in the Netherlands are not far off, around one in 7,700. American Muslims are going to Syria at a much lower rate, closer to one in 25,000.

CNN recently conducted a study based on data provided by twenty five national governments, from Pew Research Center and a number of other sources. That study concluded that Ireland had the second highest per capita rate of Muslims going to fight in Syria of the twenty five countries surveyed.

Percentage of Local Muslims Who Have Gone to Fight (CNN Study)

The CNN Study put the figure of Irish Jihadists at 0.07% of the overall number of Muslims in Ireland. Out of a Muslim population of around 43,000 only 25 to 30 individuals have gone to fight in Syria according to the information CNN received from the Irish government. Globally, even these incorrect figures still put Ireland in second place in terms of per capita rate of Muslims going to fight in Syria.

  1. Finland: 0.071% – 42,000 Muslims call Finland home. Roughly 30 of them have left to engage in jihadist battles in Syria;
  2. Ireland: 0.070% – Out of a Muslim population of around 43,000, 25 to 30 individuals have gone to fight in Syria according to official Irish government figures; 
  3. France: 0.0175% – Over 700 Muslims have gone from France to fight in Syria out of a population of over four million;
  4. Tunisia: 0.0319% – Out of a population of over 10 million Muslims, there are around 3,000 jihadis;
  5. Indonesia: 0.000370% – A population of over 200 million, has only seen between 30 and 60 Muslims going to fight in the conflict in Syria; 

Ireland Has An Abnormally High Per Capita Rate of Radical Islamists

Ireland is estimated to have a total Muslim population of between 45,000 and 60,000. For the purposes of developing the TMGCS statistics the median figure of 52,500 was chosen.

The result of the CNN study based on government figures was (as outlined above):

Ireland: 0.070% – Out of a Muslim population of around 43,000, 25 to 30 individuals have gone to fight in Syria according to official Irish government figures. Approximating to roughly one in 1400 Irish Muslims;   

The result of the TMGCS study based on the methods we described above is:
Ireland: 0.2761% – Out of a Muslim population of 52,500 (median value), 125 plus individuals have gone to fight in Syria and the radical Islamist process is directly supported by 20 facilitators in Ireland for a total figure of 145. One in every 362 Irish Muslims;     
If the Muslim population estimate of Ireland of 43,000 is used as per the CNN study then the figures are:
Ireland: 0.3372% – Out of a Muslim population of 43,000 (CNN Study Benchmark Figure), 125 plus individuals have gone to fight in Syria and the radical Islamist process is directly supported by 20 facilitators in Ireland for a total figure of 145. One in 297 Irish Muslims;   
Why So Many Radicalized Irish Resident Muslims?
(Excerpted & Referenced from Articles by The Jamestown Foundation)
One potential causes of Irish Muslim radicalization is the range of Islamist groups from the Arab world with strong ideological commitments to “sharia law” and to creating an “Islamic state” that are strongly entrenched in Irish Muslim communities.

These groups have prepared the ground for recruitment and re-inforced the previously slick ISIS propaganda machine while hampering attempts to combat it. Most notably, the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI), based in a mosque in Clonskeagh, Dublin has positioned itself as a representative of all Muslims in Ireland and consequently enjoys privileged access to the Irish government.

This group is closely tied to the hardline European Council for Fatwa and Research, run by Muslim Brotherhood figurehead Yusuf al-Qaradawi, which has sought to promote highly conservative interpretations of Islam to European Muslims.

Even today, ICCI’s website openly offers PDFs of books calling for adulterers to be flogged or stoned to death, thereby directly promoting the same core Islamist ideologies as the Islamic State itself, even while remaining a key partner of the Irish government.

As with other Islamist-influenced organisations in the West, the ICCI has also consistently denied that any radicalization is taking place in Ireland, greatly hampering the attempts to understand domestic radicalization or gain the support of Muslim communities.

For instance, following the November 2015 Paris attacks, the ICCI’s spokesman, Ali Selim, told Irish media that while he condemned the attacks, Irish Muslims “have not been entertaining the ideas [the Islamic State] has been trying to sell them” (RTE, November 14, 2015).

The ICCI has also sought to publicly undermine other Muslim group’s anti-Islamic State protests, for instance, refusing to join an anti-Islamic State march organized by a non-Islamist Sufi Muslim group, further undermining Irish efforts to combat Islamist radicalization (Irish Independent, July 5, 2015).

Irish Government Reaction – Withdrawal of Passports
To counter this issue the most radical action that the Irish government has taken was when it decided last year (2015) that the passports of those involved in illegal jihadi activity in Iraq or Syria would be withdrawn. Pure lip service. 
Additionally, nearly a year earlier when the UK considered introducing similar measures Nick Clegg said it was not obvious how the UK could withdraw passports from British jihadis and remain inside international law. The then deputy prime minister indicated that the idea was unlikely to work, saying that the UK would not do anything illegal. 
The British government had been examining the possibility of withdrawing citizenship from suspected jihadis returning from Iraq and Syria. However, David Cameron acknowledged that there were legal difficulties and omitted it from his package of measures to deal with the problem. 
David Anderson, an independent reviewer of terrorism, said there were significant difficulties with giving police the powers to withdraw passports from UK citizens, in effect leaving them stateless.
In Ireland, we have failed to find any instances of the policy being put into action and the most recent case running through the Irish Courts is ample evidence of the inability of the Irish judiciary to tackle what seems to amount to an open and shut case in terms of an ISIS recruiter operating openly in Dublin, Ireland.  
ISIS Recruiter Fighting Deportation Order 
Before publication we contacted a number of Islamic institutions in Ireland for comment on the findings and assertions in this article and offered them an opportunity to counter our thesis and respond with corrections or suggestions. We received no responses.
References & Sources 

The Jamestown Foundation
James Brandon, Political & Security Risk Analyst
Terrorism Monitor Volume: 14 Issue: 1 January 7, 2016
Global Research & Analysis – EURASIA:Terrorism
Michael Sheils McNamee @michaelonassis michaelsm@thejournal.ie
Michelle Hennessy @michellehtweet michelle@thejournal.ie
The Journal Dot IE
Vocativ
Die Welt
France 24
El Mundo
VICE News
RT.com
The Syrian Human Rights Observatory
The Irish Times
The Foreign Policy Institute
War on the Rocks Blog
The Long War Journal
The Irish Sun
The Independent
The Guardian
The Daily Mail

The Growth of Disharmony & Social Chaos in Ireland

The Republic of Ireland is a small country with a population less than that of the metropolitan areas of Manchester & Liverpool combined. The next Irish general election will take place in 16 days from now on Friday, 26 February 2016 for the 32nd Dáil (Irish Parliament).

 

After economic meltdown in the late noughties, the subsequent bank bailouts, the collapse of the housing market, the widespread personal debt crisis, rampant homelessness, endemic poverty and the imposition of radical austerity on the ordinary citizens of Ireland by the European troika*, the country has splintered economically, socially and politically.

* European troika, the tripartite committee led by the European Commission with the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, that organised loans to the governments of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Cyprus in return for saving the bond holders

In the centenary year of the 1916 Uprising, Ireland in 2016 looks very like it did a century ago. Consider the events of the last week along a range of social issues including the erosion of civil liberties, organised crime, extremism, xenophobia, republicanism, the refugee crisis and law & order.

The Erosion of Civil Liberties – Two Special Criminal Courts 

The recent extreme rise in violent crime nationally and gun violence between organised criminal gangs has been used by the Fine Gael party to ridicule legitimate opposition to the illegal practises of the non-jury Special Criminal Court apparatus.

Fine Gael attacked Sinn Fein for their plans to abolish it if ever elected, Fine Gael on the other hand have pledged, if reelected, to institute a second such court to clear up the backlog of cases currently before it.

Article 38, 3.1 of the constitution states “Special courts may be established by law for the trial of offences in cases where it may be determined in accordance with such law that the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice, and the preservation of public peace and order.” hence the legal basis for a court that flies in the face of normal practise whereby one is tried in front of a jury of one’s peers.

Primarily used in the past for dealing with Republicans, since the Good Friday Agreement the court has been used more and more for organised crime, while still trying dissident Republicans for their various misdeeds. Fine Gael are linking Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy’s conviction at the court to Sinn Fein’s desire to get rid of it.

The Special Criminal Court in Ireland has been criticised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Amnesty International and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, for its procedures and for being a special court, which ordinarily should not be used against civilians.

Among the criticisms are the lack of a jury, and the increasing use of the court to try organised “ordinary” crimes rather than the terrorist cases it was originally set up to handle. Critics also argue that the court is now obsolete since there is no longer a serious terrorist threat to the State. Under the law, the court is authorised to accept the opinion of a Garda Síochána chief-superintendent as evidence that a suspect is a member of an illegal organisation. The Sinn Féin political party have been critical of the Special Criminal Court.

The Impact of Immigration, the Refugee Crisis & Rising Islamophobia

Pegida, which stands for Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West, began in Germany last year, largely in response to the European refugee crisis. Pegida attempted to hold a rally at the GPO in Dublin on the 9th Feb. 2016. Similar marches were held in Warsaw, Prague & Dresden – the one in Dublin turned violent:

“All-Out War” between Rival Criminal Gangs 

The deadly feud between the Christy Kinahan cartel (Spain) and associates of Gary Hutch started when Gary Hutch was shot dead in Spain last September. After months of simmering underworld tension, the feud exploded when a north inner city gang (6 men – 3 in SWAT uniforms with AK-47s) connected to Gary Hutch opened fire in the Regency Hotel, Dublin. The Kinahan cartel held a war council in a south inner city pub over the weekend and struck back quickly.

Despite a massive Garda presence in the city they murdered Eddie Hutch last Monday the 8th Feb, 2016 in a revenge attack. Yesterday, it emerged that just hours after Hutch was murdered, Gardai arrested ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson and his cousin Liam Roe after a short car chase that started in Crumlin and ended in Cork Street. Thompson had his clothes seized by Gardai after they spotted blood on his tracksuit and runners.

The Rise of Far Right Groups & Reactionaries

Members of Identity Ireland were attacked in Dublin last week while travelling on the Luas (light rail system).

A group of men dressed in black masks armed with baseball bats and iron bars attacked several members of the group.

  

Spokesman for the group Peter O’Loughlin said ““The most worrying aspect was some tweets sent out by some politicians.

A Labour councillor, I think she was a councillor, sent out a tweet saying ‘ha ha ha…Karma is a bitch’. That is a Government party you are talking about. I haven’t heard anything from the likes of Joan Burton. Fianna Fáil nothing. Sinn Féin – nothing.” The attack received little coverage in the MSM.

Anger at Politicians Favouring the Elite & Imposing Additional Taxes on the Poorest 

Richard Bruton, Fine Gael politician and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in the current Irish coalition government came to Kilmore, Coolock in Dublin to canvass last year. Bruton has been knee deep in scandals involving state corruption (IBRC, TTIP), illegal assistance to businessmen (Siteserv / Denis O’Brien) and presided over swingeing cuts to benefits for those most in need (cuts to single mothers’ allowances). His reaction to legitimate questioning demonstrates the contempt in which Irish politicians hold their constituents.

General Increase in Extreme Crime – The Kearns Assassination / Kenneth O’Brien Dismemberment 

Detectives suspect the “professional hit team” who murdered Darren Kearns last month received a phone call from an associate who had been stalking him and described it as a highly organised murder that involved the use of two cars at very short notice.

 

Kenneth O’Brien’s torso was recovered from the Grand Canal last month and was originally connected to a dispute with Eastern European gang members.

Strained Relations with the EU over US Tax Arrangements 
(lifted in its entirety from David McWilliams article)

There are two Irelands: commercial Ireland and bureaucratic Ireland. For many years, their interests were aligned. The commercial angle revolved around Ireland having trade links with the EU but with Anglo/American tax policies for capital; the bureaucratic angle involved being pro-European.

They complemented each other. Bureaucratic Ireland wanted to curry favour amongst Europeans at the top table, while never really standing up for the citizens of the country. So when, for example, the citizens voted against EU treaties, we were admonished by bureaucratic Ireland to vote again. This is not the stuff that democracies are made of.

But now, for the first time in years, a conflict exists between commercial Ireland and bureaucratic Ireland.

Commercial Ireland, the Ireland of business, might have to, very quickly, exercise some critical thinking and restraint over bureaucratic Ireland. Commercial Ireland lives in the real economy, the one that buys and sells, makes profit, employs people, pays wages and is largely held in some way responsible for what it does.

Bureaucratic Ireland inhabits the never-never land of the Dublin-Brussels corridor, which is entirely populated by civil servants and technocrats who have no reason to worry about commercial Ireland because their wages don’t depend on commerce. There is no relationship between competence and reward in bureaucratic Ireland.

Consider the Central Bankers, Department of Finance heads and regulators whose incompetence helped destroy this economy. Who lost their job? Did anyone lose pensions? No, they were largely rewarded for their failures. At least the politicians were voted out, but the top civil servants remain unscathed.

The Centenary Year 

In 2016, in these complex times, the politicians of Ireland would do well to remember the words of Jim Larkin – “You may succeed in your policy and ensure your own damnation, by your victory”

   

The "good Dr." Ali Selim – Muslim Brotherhood Mouthpiece & Arrogant Pedant

Wahhabi Salafi Islam was the “mainstream” Irish Muslim view according to “Dr.” Ali Selim in an interview given in August 2010. Selim has always been strident in promoting the Muslim Brotherhood’s fundamentalist Salafi interpretation of Islam. An assertion that the majority of Irish Muslims subscribe to this interpretation is simply not true but mirrors a model that has been replicated time and again in other European countries where the “Brotherhood” has infiltrated Muslim communities.

The “good Dr.” Ali Selim – MB Mouthpiece & Arrogant Pedant 

Ali Selim meanwhile is also known for his infamous comments on Bin Laden in a RTE Prime Time programme on Radical Islam in 2006 in which he declined to judge the now dead criminal as he had not personally met the terrorist mastermind. This was only a prelude to other disturbing views repeatedly expressed by the oh so “intellectual” and “reasonable” Selim that have shocked Irish society.

A file photograph of Ali Selim at the Centre for Islamic Studies in Clonskeagh

In 2003 on the Late Late Show on a program on violence in the name of Islam when asked Selim was hesitant in condemning the 9/11 attacks and gave a qualified answer.

In 2009 Selim on RTE’s “Does God Hate…?” series when asked about the practice of stoning women who have committed adultery in Islamic countries he was loathe to condemn the barbaric practice outright and instead declared that it was symbolic; small comfort to those in Iran and Somalia and elsewhere who have suffered this horrific fate and at total odds with the opinions of civilised society.

Yet he continues to be hauled out for comment by the main stream Irish media for a trite sound bite whenever Muslim matters are being discussed.

The Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland 

The Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (the Clonskeagh mosque in Dublin and the largest mosque in Ireland) is a reactionary, conservative mosque that is apparently linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. It seems to be the main Muslim Brotherhood centre in Ireland, and one of the main Muslim Brotherhood centres in Europe.

The Muslim Brotherhood is an extremist organisation devoted to the ideology of Radical Islamism. The Clonskeagh mosque will clearly be of no help in the struggle against this twisted interpretation of Islam.

The Dubious Opinions of Sheikh Hussein Halawa

The “Centre” is run by Sheikh Hussein Halawa (who will not speak English when interviewed (18 years in Ireland)), wants Sharia law, insists on Halal food in all Irish schools and separate buildings and gymnasiums for his followers.

Because he can’t speak English, allegedly, it is always very hard to cross-examine him and interpret his normally evasive answers. He claims to condemn terror, but does not condemn Palestinian terror as he does not consider it to be terror. He also seems vague on whether Muslims carried out 9/11 and other acts. He revealed his anti-Israel prejudice when he criticised Obama for allegedly supporting Israel (If only that was true).

When asked about attacks against journalists and cartoonists who have allegedly demeaned Allah he stated that these people should be “held accountable” – in some vague, but threatening way – for their actions.

When interviewed he never condemns the application of Sharia Law in Pakistan, Iran, Gaza, Sudan, Saudi Arabia or Egypt.

He was quoted by Eoghan Harris in the Sunday Independent on 17 Oct 2004, as saying that he would like to see Ireland as an Islamic state. Halawa wrote a letter on 31 Oct 2004 denying that he ever said this. But “I have never made such a statement” is not much of a denial. I would like to see him go further and state clearly that he is opposed to an Islamic state because he believes in freedom of religion for all.

Hussein Halawa was invited to read from the Koran at the Nov 2004 Irish presidential inauguration in yet another example of mis-guided and mis-informed Irish liberal fools setting the agenda for the nation.

A US diplomatic cable in 2005 is sceptical about Halawa it “welcomes Halawa’s public statement condemning the 7/7 attacks and terrorism in general, but remains unconvinced that Halawa will take strong steps to fight extremism. Despite Halawa’s statement, and the center’s reputation as a moderate mosque in Dublin, we retain some suspicions about his activities and can confirm that there are known extremists that frequent ICCI”.

Hussein Halawa says homosexuality is a disease, June 2011, and does not oppose the death penalty for activist gays.

The Arrest of Ibrahim Halawa at al-Fateh during the “Day of Rage” MB Protests 

The Sheikh is the father of Ibrahim Halawa, who was 17 when he was arrested along with two of his sisters in 2013 for attending a protest in Cairo. His sisters were later released, but despite campaigns calling for his freedom, he remains in prison today. The young man was arrested by the Egyptian army as he took refuge in the Cairo al-Fateh mosque while Muslim Brotherhood protesters staged a “Day of Rage” outside.

Demonstrators took to the streets after their elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted from power in a military “coup”, leading to a crackdown ordered by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, now the country’s president.

It is feared young Halawa, who it is alleged was on his summer holidays in the Egyptian capital when violence flared, will face the death penalty. It has always been puzzling as to why the young man and his two sisters chose to travel for a “holiday” to Egypt at one of the worst periods of civil unrest in the country in recent history.

The legal proceedings against the young man have been repeatedly delayed since 2013. Campaigners seeking the release of young Ibrahim and other advocacy groups including Amnesty International claim the teenager has described “experimental torture techniques” to his family in messages sent from jail, where he recently spent his 20th birthday.

The young man is a victim of the extremist ideologies of his father the Sheikh and Selim – who both remain in very comfortable surroundings in Ireland – far from the filth, degradation and torture – being endured by young Ibrahim. A classic Muslim Brotherhood model and outcome.

Sheikh Halawa is an extremist and has hosted and continually seeks to host a leading Muslim cleric, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has stated that pregnant Israeli women and children were “legitimate” targets, that suicide-bombing attacks on Israelis are ‘martyrdom in the name of God’, advocates the death penalty for homosexuals and supports “honour” killings of women and children.

Mainstream Media Blinkers

Again and again on the front pages of the Irish “media” we see his family (never his father but his sisters) complaining that their brother is still held by the Egyptian authorities and threatening to sue the Irish government for not securing his release.

And time and again we see TV air time devoted to the basic fact of his incarceration but without any of the context that led to that event. Selective PC informed reporting typical of the Irish main stream media.

Acknowledgements

Dialogue Ireland
The Irish Times
Lucinda Creighton 
The Irish Independent
Jihad Watch
Amnesty International