Homeland Security Implications of the Holy Land Foundation Trial

The on-going Holy Land Foundation trial has established important facts about the resident domestic Islamic jihad threat inside the United States. Although evidence brought forward in documents and testimony has explosive implications for US Homeland Security, the intelligence community, and every American citizen, relatively little media attention has been paid to it.

This information also has serious implications for professionals, military and civilian, involved in homeland security, DoD plans and strategy as well as national agency intelligence analysts and local law enforcement.  The raw documents outlining the strategic goals and activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in America, now exposed for public view, are substantiating the concerns and information long raised by various private sector counterterrorism think-tanks, organizations and blogs such as Stephen Emerson's Investigative Project and Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch among others.

From an intelligence perspective, the first thing in assessing and evaluating these raw, translated documents is that they all passed sufficient legal scrutiny to be entered into evidence in a federal trial.  Secondly, since these are raw, primary sourced documents of the Muslim Brotherhood and not secondarily sourced, they are the equivalent in a tactical or operational sense of key leadership defector, or detainee debriefing statements, or the capturing of the enemy's strategic campaign plan.  Indeed the title of one document is "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America."  Third, the defendants did not challenge in court the authenticity or veracity of the evidentiary documents. All of which immediately speaks to both the credibility and reliability of these reports for intelligence analysis and exploitation.

Civilization Jihad and the Settlement Strategy

The Brotherhood's strategy memo, while published in May 1991, was drafted earlier, upon a
"...general strategic goal of the Group in America which was approved by the Shura Council and the Organizational Conference for the year [I987]."
In other words this strategy has already been operative for at least 20 years in America. The strategic objective of the Brotherhood in America is clear:
"The Ikhwan [The Muslim Brotherhood's name for itself] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah's religion is made victorious over all other religions." 
The primary strategic concept to accomplish the Brotherhood's objective is "civilizational jihad," the usurpation and replacement of American Judeo-Christian and Western liberal social, political and religious foundations by Islam.  The campaign plan is one of colonization, described by the Ikhwan as a "settlement strategy." Explaining this concept they describe it as establishing Islam in America as "stable," "rooted" and "enabled on which the Islamic structure is built and with which the testimony of civilization is achieved."  Recognizing this strategy cannot be carried forward alone by the Brotherhood they recognized the strategy requires that, "They are then to work to employ, direct and unify Muslims' efforts and powers for this process. In order to do that, we must possess a mastery of the art of "coalitions", the art of "absorption" and the principles of "cooperation."

This strategic concept serves to accomplish the clandestine, conspiratorial and ultimate ends and grand strategy of the Ikhwan movement globally and was described this way in a recently published unclassified Pentagon analysis:
"The strategic goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America is multifold:  the destruction of Western civilization through a long-term civilization-killing Jihad from within ("by their [our] hands") and through sabotage ("the hands of the believers") and, secondly; to support the global Islamic movement to establish an Islamic super-state, the caliphate."
The Brotherhood document notes it is their
"...conviction that the success of the settlement of Islam and its Movement in this country [America] is a success to the global Islamic Movement and true support for the sought after state [caliphate] God willing."  
The re-establishment of the Islamic caliphate is likewise the same objective as al- Qaida's, only pursued along different yet reinforcing paths.

Networks, NGOs and Front Organizations

Their strategic concept is oriented on an "organizational" approach, toward building and developing organizations and networks that implement "civilizational jihad" in a gradual and efficient fashion. This organizational and structural approach is what "constitutes the heart and the core" of their strategy.  Following the steady organizational development of Mohamed, beginning with the first mosque, and developed in the modern context by Hassan al-Banna, who resurrected militant Islam by establishing organizations of all types:
"economic, social, media, scouting, professional and even the military ones. We must say that we are in a country which understands no language other than the language of the organizations, and one which does not respect or give weight to any group without effective, functional and strong organizations."
A companion memorandum from the same period provides a shorthand history of the Brotherhood in America beginning in 1962, when the Ikhwan established its first Muslim Student Union which developed through programs of conferences and "camps."

In 1969 the Ikhwan established their separate leadership organization while retaining control and influence over the student unions.  By the 1970s they began to establish affiliated "vocational" and professional organizations, including Muslim Doctors, Social Workers, and Science and Engineers syndicates.  In the mid-70s the Muslim American Youth Association was established under the direction of the Brotherhood, coordinating Muslim youth coming to America from around the world. The Muslim Student Union in the 1980s transformed into the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). In 1981 they founded the Islamic Association of Palestine.  That Association's work is directly tied to the Palestinian Intifada and the establishment and support of the Hamas terror organization [the root basis of the current trial] according to this document.

In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in 2003, Richard Clarke said
"...the issue of terrorist financing in the United States is a fundamental example of the shared infrastructure levered by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda, all of which enjoy a significant degree of cooperation and coordination within our borders. The common link here is the extremist Muslim Brotherhood - all these organizations are descendants of the membership and ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood."
A third important document is a transcription of a tape-recorded address by Zeid al-Noman in the early 1980s in which he discusses various 5-year phases of the history of Brotherhood activity in America. According to the Investigative Project,
"If there are any questions about what sort of American jihad is envisioned by the Brotherhood, Zeid al-Noman (aka Zaid Naman) lays it out for us. Al-Noman (listed in the personal phone books of both convicted PIJ leader Sami al-Arian and Hamas deputy political bureau chief Musa Abu Marzook), was introduced as Masul or "official" of the Executive Office of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood before a speech he gave in the early 1980s on the Brotherhood in America somewhere in Missouri -- likely in Kansas City. In this fascinating speech, al-Noman explained the history of the Movement, going into detail about its roots in the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and the establishment of other front-organizations."
Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News, who has been covering the Holy Land Foundation trial, cites Husain Haqqani, the head of Boston University's Center for International Relations (and himself a former Islamic radical) whose testimony corroborates that the Muslim Brotherhood "has run most significant Muslim organizations in the U.S. as part of the plan outlined in the strategy paper."  Dreher notes that the Brotherhood
"operates as a self-conscious revolutionary vanguard in the United States. The court documents indicate that many leading Muslim-American organizations -- including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim American Society -- are an integral part of the Brotherhood's efforts to wage jihad against America by nonviolent means." 
However, analysts should also focus on the Q&A where Noman discusses various activities of the group.  Noman clarifies that the term "special work" refers to "military work" and training as opposed to "securing work", which deals with safeguarding the organization from penetration and monitoring by US security agencies or law enforcement -- in other words, their own counterintelligence activities.

In terms of military training, Noman highlights a distinct advantage in America because "there is weapons training in many of the Ikhwan's camps" whereas in other countries that training would have to be conducted secretly or at great risk.  It is likely that the Ikhwan in America has been and is conducting military training for contingencies in America, and to support Brotherhood activities in jihad combat in foreign lands. It should be inferred there are latent military capabilities in US Ikhwan organizations.

Another important concept of the Civilizational-Jihad is
"[u]understanding the role and the nature of work of ‘The Islamic Center' in every city with [how it] achieves the goal of the process of settlement."  
According to the Brotherhood's strategic concept, Islamic religious and educational centers are what,
"[constitute] the "axis" of our Movement, the "perimeter" of the circle of our work.. .the ‘base' for our rise ... to educate us, prepare us and supply our battalions in addition to being the "niche" of our prayers." 
The Centers constitute the hub "for a small Islamic society" which is a reflection and a mirror to our central organizations." 

The Islamic center would serve the interests of all aspects of the Muslim community, at both the individual and family levels, and be
"a place for study, family, battalion, course, seminar, visit, sport, school, social club, women gathering, kindergarten for male and female youngsters, the office of the domestic political resolution, and the center for distributing our newspapers, magazines, books and our audio and visual tapes."
In other words, the Islamic Center serves as a settlement enclave for raising battalions of Muslims and
"...as much as we [the Muslim Brotherhood] own and direct these centers at the continent level, we can say we are marching successfully towards the settlement of Dawa' in this country."
Key Judgments on the Ikhwan in America

  • The Muslim Brotherhood in America is a latent insurgency.
According to the new US counterinsurgency manual, FM 3-24, an insurgency is defined
"as an organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict (JP 1-02)." 
What the Brotherhood in America has explained to us, in somewhat lofty but stark terms, is clear.  They exist in America to overthrow our American civilization, our Constitutional order and replace it with an Islamic civilizational model.  As an individual "citizen" that sort of activity constitutes sedition.  As an organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, its adherents and its enablers, should be considered part of a latent insurgency, engaging in protracted mobilization with clear potential of military capabilities.  

Again FM 3-24:
"Stated another way, an insurgency is an organized, protracted politico-military struggle designed to weaken the control and legitimacy of an established government, occupying power, or other political authority while increasing insurgent control."
Their campaign plan describes the structure and organizations of its network, its subversive intent and reflects its political and colonization activism to "increase insurgent control."

  • The Muslim Brotherhood and affiliated and derivative organizations should be considered a single entity for purposes of analysis and law enforcement.
The Muslim Brotherhood ideology and human network is the thread binding their macro organization together in terms of leadership and direction, while the affiliated and spin-off organizations serve as nodes and perform functional and specialized roles in line with the general strategic concept of building enclave Islamic communities and performing jihad-oriented tasks.  Consider the way law enforcement treats organized crime. Individuals and subordinate organizations of known mafias are not viewed and treated as separate and independent entities of the mafia organization. Why should the Brotherhood be treated any differently?
  • The Muslim Brotherhood's strategic information warfare program seeks to, shape, influence, transform and ultimately destroy America's foundations, in order to leverage and Islamize American global influence for the establishment of a restored caliphate.
In this colonization approach the "Dawa" [the strategic communication messages] of the Brotherhood, serves to influence both national and local American culture, society, policies, and programs, while proselytizing and growing their jihad community in support of the grand strategic objective of a restored caliphate.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood meets the foreign intelligence threshold requirements of DoD Directive 5240.1-R, the "procedures governing the activities of DoD intelligence components that affect United States persons"
This executive branch directive allows for the collection and retention by DoD of foreign intelligence information on US persons defined as US citizens, green card holders or legal aliens with legitimate visas.

Intelligence "may be collected by a DoD intelligence component only if it is necessary to the conduct of a function assigned the collecting component...." DoD can collect information freely given by consent, information publicly available and information deemed to be "foreign intelligence" if the US person meets any of these "foreign intelligence" criteria:
"a.  individuals reasonably believed to be officers or employees, or otherwise acting for or on behalf, of a foreign power;   b.  an organization reasonably believed to be owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a foreign power;  c.  persons or organizations reasonably believed to be engaged or about to engage, in international terrorist or international narcotics activities."
In its own documents, the Ikhwan in America has defined itself as a hostile threat to the American constitutional order. It has identified itself as a "foreign agent" of the greater global jihad, and exists as part of the transnational "Ikhwan Movement." The Holy Land Foundation trial has established evidence of material support to terrorism by Brotherhood entities and ties to international terrorism, namely Hamas and likely other jihad terrorist organizations in the Middle East. Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood in America meets all three criteria of DoD Directive 5240.1-R.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood in America crosses the Law Enforcement Agency "criminal predicate" threshold for the purpose of intelligence-led policing.
The Muslim Brotherhood by virtue of its activities constitutes a current and continuing "threat to public safety." Law enforcement intelligence is a distinct category from national security intelligence.  Law enforcement intelligence requires a "criminal predicate" or expectation of a violation of domestic laws commensurate with the protection of civil liberties.  The Muslim Brotherhood as a latent insurgency, as part of the global jihad espousing the ideology of jihadism to destroy American civilization, with objectives overlapping al-Qaida's and a history of material support to terrorism, should be presumed to be a current and continuing criminal racketeering activity.  They should be targeted just like the mafia.

No one talks about a "moderate" mafia.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood in America is part of the radicalization infrastructure that supports the "phases of radicalization" described in the recently published NYPD Report, Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat.
The NYPD Report states,
"We now believe that it is critical to identify the al-Qaeda inspired threat at the point where radicalization begins."
By definition the Ikhwan in America came to these shores expressly identified with its religious roots and strategic objectives, and did not arrive here aiming to assimilate into America. In fact their stated goal is quite the opposite: to assimilate America into the Caliphate.  

The NYPD report continues,
"Despite the economic opportunities in the United States, the powerful gravitational pull of individuals' religious roots and identity sometimes supersedes the assimilating nature of American society which includes pursuit of a professional career, financial stability and material comforts." 
According to the Brotherhood strategy,
"It is a Muslim's destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny..."
It should be inferred that Muslim Brotherhood dominated or influenced Islamic Centers and front groups are the start point for phased Islamic radicalization and may also serve as the projection platform for radicalized, jihad-oriented American Muslims.
  • Naturalized American citizens identified as members of the Muslim Brotherhood have violated their oath of citizenship and deceived the US government as to foreign allegiances and intent. The oath reads:
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion." [hyperlinks added.]
Finally, the unclassified analyst's memo published in the Pentagon's J-2 intelligence staff on the implications of these Brotherhood strategy documents and as reported by Bill Gertz of the Washington Times and Doug Farah of the Counterterrorism Blog listed several critical conclusions of the Brotherhood's strategic plan for America:  
"The HLF Trial is turning up primary source threat documentation and information that provides new insights into global jihad organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood.   

  • "These documents are beginning to define the structure and outline of domestic jihad threat entities, associated non-governmental organizations and potential terrorist or insurgent support systems.
  • "The Memorandum also describes aspects of the global jihad's strategic information warfare campaign and indications of its structure, reach and activities.
  • "Consequently, outreach strategies must be adjusted in the face of credible information that seeming Islamic humanitarian or professional non-governmental organizations may be part of the global jihad with potential for being part of the terrorist or insurgent support system."
The bottom-line conclusion on that J-2 analyst's memo is that the above assessment is accurate and consistent with the "intelligence reporting" from the Holy Land Foundation Trial.  
Those Homeland Security, Intelligence and military officials involved in future plans, strategy and operations must recognize too they are more than 20 years behind on this threat.  

Donald J. Reed critiqued the 2002 National Strategy for Homeland Security. He wrote,
"Much of what it prescribes for homeland security... conforms to Clausewitz's definition of preparations for war instead of the conduct of war proper. It does not provide an objective or a strategy for offensive actions to counter terrorism, to preempt it at United States borders, or for taking the strategic offensive in the war on terror."
It is now up to the strategic leadership within the US Homeland Security, military and intelligence communities to begin to demonstrate they have strategic comprehension of the resident and latent terrorist and insurgent threat in the United States and take appropriate steps to mitigate and defeat those threats.

Joseph Myers previously served at the Defense Intelligence Agency as both the Chief of the South America Division and Senior Military Analyst for Colombia.  He writes and speaks on national security, irregular warfare and terrorism issues
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