Lone Wolf Jihadis on Both Sides of Our Northern Border

by Jerry Gordon (November 2014)

The final weeks of October 2014 were devastating for America. We had lone wolf jihadis in Ottawa and Montreal killing and wounding Canada Forces service personnel. In New York we had a Muslim convert and former US Navy serviceman shot dead in the midst of a deadly hatchet attack on two NYPD officers in Queens. All three appeared to be operating below the radar screen of surveillance inspired by Islamic State jihadist social media imploring Salafist brethren in the West to mount attacks on uniformed military and law enforcement officers. These were so-called ‘Islamikazes’ wreaking havoc against any means of law enforcement stopping them from their spectacular suicidal missions. There is a coming Detroit federal court trial on November 4, 2014 against a naturalized US citizen, Rasmieh Odeh. She was a member of a Palestinian terror group, who lied on her application about a prior conviction and incarceration in Israel for a 1969 bombing in Jerusalem that killed two university students.

To answer questions about what drives lone wolf Jihadis to undertake such murderous acts, The Lisa Benson Show on Sunday, October 26, 2014 heard from three prominent experts: the noted US terrorism expert Steven Emerson, executive director of Washington, DC-based, The Investigative Project, Ottawa-based David B. Harris, a Canadian consultant on Islamic terrorism and former official at Canada’s Security and Intelligence Service, and Dr. Michael Welner, a noted US forensic psychiatrist and founder of the Manhattan based, The Forensic Panel, who is frequently called as a prosecution witness in mass killing and terrorist cases.

Watch video of the attack on the Ottawa Parliament, October 22, 2014.

The Islamic Terror Attacks in Ottawa, Montreal and New York

Canadian Jihadist  Martin Couture-Rouleau
Facebook Screenshot

On Monday, October 20, 2014 Muslim convert, Martin Couture-Rouleau undertook a jihadist attack in his Nissan, running down two Canadian soldiers at a strip mall in the Montreal area at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. He killed 53 year old Warrant Officer, Patrice Vincent, and injured the other serviceman. Quebec local police shot and apprehended him. 25 year-old Couture-Rouleau flouted his newly adopted Islamic Jihadist faith and its doctrine of hatred towards Jews, Christians and other unbelievers in posts on his Facebook page. As a result of his new found faith he succumbed to the excesses of murderous and barbaric ISIS. The anti-terrorism unit of the RCMP had been monitoring his social media and chatter focusing on his intention to leave to join ISIS. That was prompted by his parents’ calls to the police concerned about his newly adopted views espoused at the local mosque he attended near Montreal. Apparently under Canadian law there wasn’t enough evidence to connect him to a terrorist group after his arrest In July, 2014, before boarding a flight to Turkey attempting to join ISIS. He was subsequently released to regularly meet with Police until just before he perpetrated  the vehicular murder.

The late Michael Zehaf – Bibeau
Source:  ISIS Islamic Media

On Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 32 year old Michael Zehaf–Bibeau shot and killed Canada Forces Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, an Honor Guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Then he ran with his Winchester lever action rifle into Parliament where he was killed in a blaze of gunfire at the Parliament Center by the Sergeant at Arms, Kevin Vickers. Zehaf–Bibeau’s father is a Canadian-Libyan who returned in 2011 to fight in against the late strongman, Muammar Gaddafi. His mother Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board was divorced from his father in 1999. Zehaf-Bibeau, his passport denied as a so-called high risk traveler, was intent on leaving to join terrorists in either Libya or Syria. His mother changed that story to say he wanted to go to Saudi Arabia to study Islam. He was known to consort with jihadis at a mosque in Vancouver. 

picture of late Zale Thompson NYC hatchet attacker.jpg
The late Zale Thompson NYC hatchet attack terrorist

On Thursday, October 23, 2014, 32 year old Zale Thompson, a mentally unbalanced Muslim convert and former US Navy serviceman swung a hatchet hitting 25 year old NYPD officer Kenneth Healy in the back of his head splitting his skull. He savagely sliced into the arm of Officer Joseph Meeker accompanying Healey. In the melee that followed Thompson was shot dead by Officer Meeker while an errant bullet hit a 29 year old woman down the block. Thompson, an African American graduate of The College of New Rochelle in Harlem, had Islamic extremist materials on his Facebook page. The New York Post report on the incident noted, “Thompson’s Facebook page includes a passage from the Quran in Arabic script beseeching Allah’s guidance in finding “the straight path” and a black-and-white photograph of a black-scarved militant.” At a news conference the following day in Manhattan, the Los Angeles Times reported NYPD Commissioner William Bratton and John  Miller, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counter Terrorism stated after an initial investigation that Thompson’s hatchet attack was a “terrorist attack.”

Resmieh Odeh.jpg
Resmieh Odeh, naturalized US Citizen and PFLP bombing terrorist

The Odeh case

On Monday, October 27, 2014  Steve Emerson ‘s IPT released the first in a five part series, “Spinning a Terrorist into a Victim. Resmiah Odeh a Chicago area Palestinian activist is the subject that report. She was arrested by the FBI for not reporting on her application for US citizenship her previous incarceration in Israel for her participation in a 1969 bombing by the terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). They bombed a supermarket in Jerusalem that killed two Hebrew University students, injuring several others. A second bomb planted at the British consulate did not explode. Odeh was sentenced by an Israeli military court in 1970 to life in prison for her participation in the bombing. Odeh was released in 1979 as part of a group of 76 PFLP terrorist prisoners in exchange for an IDF soldier captured in Lebanon. Odeh came to the US in 1994 from Jordan, settling in Evergreen Park, a suburb of Chicago. She received her US citizenship in 2004. Odeh was arrested on October 22, 2013 under a Federal indictment for not disclosing her prior Israeli conviction, sentencing and incarceration for the PFLP terror bombing. If convicted, Odeh, now 66, may face a 10 year prison sentence and deportation. Odeh has been vigorously defended by the Council on American Islamic Relations, Students for Justice in Palestine and other so-called human rights groups. Emerson pointed out that Odeh defended her misrepresentations on her application for citizenship on the grounds that she had been tortured while incarcerated in Israel. The IPT team, Emerson said, had interviewed a number of the relatives and friends of the students killed and injured in the PFLP bombing, many now in their 50’s and 60’s. 

Dan Greenfield in a recent Front Page Magazine report on the Odeh case noted her Chicago connections, “’Activist’ for Anti-Israel Group with Ties to Obama Exposed as Terrorist.” Odeh is listed as the associate director of the Arab American Action Network of Chicago whose executive director, Hatem Abudayyeh is a prominent defender of Palestinian and immigrant rights. In September 2010, he and 22 other anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis were the subject of an FBI raid on terrorist supporters seeking information on activities of the PFLP and the Columbia terror group, FARC. Earlier that year, on April 22, 2010, he attended a White House Briefing on Arab American community concerns. When the US Attorney for Eastern Michigan handed down an indictment against Odeh in October 2013 the Illinois Department of Insurance revoked her license as an Obamacare personal navigator the following month.

A pre-trial hearing on October 27, 2014 in the Eastern District Court in Detroit Michigan basically “destroyed”   the defense’s case leaving only one thin reed, “the prosecution’ cannot use the terms, “terrorism” or “terrorist.” According to William A Jacobson, Cornell University Professor of Clinical Law, in an evaluation of the Odeh case on the blog, Legal Insurrection:

All in all, these rulings are devastating to the defense. The government now only needs to introduce evidence of her convictions in Israel and her application in which those convictions were not disclosed. The defense cannot counter with claims that the convictions were wrongful, or that she suffered any form of PTSD as a result of her alleged coercion.

Couple this with protections the Court has put in place to protect jurors from influence by pro-Palestinian activists, and there doesn’t seem to be any viable defense.

United Against Terrorism.png

Canada’s exposure to Islamic terrorism

David B. Harris told about appearing before a US Congressional Committee with Steve Emerson in 1999. He told the Committee that Canada had perhaps the largest number of foreign terrorist groups in the West, surpassed only by the US. That is reflected in the rapid growth of Canada’s Muslim population, a reflection of the ruling governments’ multi-cultural agenda of aiding immigration. This conscious policy is reflected in the following figures he cited. In 1981 Canada had 98,000 Muslim citizens. By 2001, that had risen to about 580,000 and in 2017 projections are that the number will reach 1.4 million. In two decades it is reported that 1 in 13 Canadians will be Muslim and by 2031, 2.9 million Canadians will be Muslim. In 1981, Jews in Canada outnumbered Muslims by two or three to one. In less than sixteen years, Muslims in Canada will outnumber Jews by almost seven to one. Canada’s estimated current Jewish population is 380,000. So we are seeing the result of laws and policies that have brought about a substantial liberalizing of immigration access, over the last three or four decades. 

Against the backdrop of the mushrooming Muslim population, Harris cited a 2007 Environics poll showing that approximately 12 percent of Muslims in Canada would be willing to support a plot in Canada to undertake simultaneous mass casualty attacks. That could include bombing and invading certain government and media premises, including the parliament buildings of Canada. That would translate into at least 49,000 Canadians – which should concern reasonable Muslim and non-Muslim Canadians alike.

Referring to the two Canadian lone wolf jihadis, he said that in the case of Martin Couture-Rouleau there is evidence the mosque he attended was frequented by an extremist Imam who cited Shariah law mandating both mutilation and beheading as appropriate punishments for alleged crimes under Sharia. In the instance of the late Michael Zehaf-Bibeau there are indications that he may have been applying for Libyan citizenship to supplant his Canadian passport that was withheld in view of his “high risk traveller” designation. Denial of passports may have been a motivating factor for both of these individuals coupled with the broadcast of ISIS social media calling for attacks on military and law enforcement in Canada.

A fascinating exchange referred to a long term outreach effort by the RCMP to Muslim groups and leaders tied to the Muslim Brotherhood that began in 2005 following the events of 9/11 in the US. On September 29, 2014,  two Canadian Muslim groups, Islamic Social Services, Inc. (ISS) and the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), published a so-called de-radicalization manual, “United Against Terrorism: A Collaborative Effort towards a Secure, Inclusive Canada.” The manual was supposed to be a collaborative effort among the RCMP and the two Canadian Muslim groups. NCCM is the renamed Canadian branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations, a Muslim Brotherhood Front and unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Dallas Federal Holy Land Foundation trial. The objective of the 21-page document was to dissuade Canadian Muslim youths from joining Islamists. Instead, the manual suggested that “terrorists were not Jihadists” and Jihad was a “noble” cause. The RCMP immediately dropped it like the proverbial hot potato calling it “adversarial” and not distributing it to its officers.

Harris noted that the US State Department tweeted a message mindlessly endorsing the manual. The State Department was in the process of issuing its own messaging manual developed in conjunction with “moderate Islamists.” Moreover, the Administration’s National Security Council had a meeting with a leading Muslim Brotherhood scholar, Muhammed Bin Bayyah, whose writings against both Boko Haram and the Islamic State had been extolled by President Obama in his September 2014 address before the UN General Assembly in New York. Harris noted that the de-radicalization manual like those of the FBI, DHS and the State Department have redacted terms like “Islamist,” ”Jihad,” “Jihadist” and even the term “moderate Muslim.” The later was excluded to convey the sense that doctrinal Islam was seamless. To quote Islamist Turkish President, Recep Erdogan, “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

Harris cited the Muslim Brotherhood groups, scholars and Imams involved in the myopic RCMP de-radicalization manual project in consultation with ISS and NCCM. A number of those consulted were leaders of Muslim Brotherhood front groups cited as unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center federal bombing  case in New York and the successful 1998 federal prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation in Dallas. Harris said that following criticism of the de-radicalization manual, legal action has not yet been brought to force the withdrawal of it from circulation.

At the conclusion, when prompted by a question on how vulnerable our Northern border is, Harris commented that there are not enough agents to cover likely crossings. As one indication, he cited the example of the Millennium Plot by an Al Qaeda operative who came to Canada as a refugee and was caught by an inquisitive US border agent. He noted that on December 14, 1999, Ahmed Ressam, an Al-Qaeda trained Algerian Jihadi and resident of Montreal, was arrested in Port Angeles, Washington after he drove off a ferry from Canada with a trunk load of explosives. Thus began the unraveling of the Millennium Plot, an attempt by al Qaeda using sleeper cells in the US and Canada, to conduct an attack on the Los Angeles International Airport. For more comments about Canada’s Islamist threats, see our August 2012 New English Review interview with him, “A Self-Inflicted Injury: Immigration, Infiltration and Canada’s Growing Islamist Threat.

Are There Lone Wolves?

Dr. Michael Welner addressed the question of whether there are so-called lone wolves who undertake actions influenced by, yet not part of terrorist groups. His research into mass killing and terrorist cases has evolved a paradigm as to how these should be viewed professionally. First are instances involving attacks directly planned and organized by designated terror groups like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Islamic State using specifically trained recruits for these missions. The second are attacks that are undertaken by foreign affiliates of terror group such Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al Shabaab and Boko Haram. The third are what he termed “dead enders,” recent converts who are susceptible to undertaking spectacular planned attacks using weapons at their disposal to gain celebrity as jihadist terrorists. They may be motivated by doctrinal influences and social media exhortations to demonstrate fealty to their new found faith of Islam by committing deadly jihad against innocent unbelievers. In the October 2014 New English Review interview regarding the Oklahoma beheading by Alton Nolen or Jah’ Keem Israel, Dr. Welner said:

In my professional experience, murder that reflects an ideological influence, which is what I would call this, is committed far more frequently by recent converts or recruits. It is an expression of bonafides by someone seeking greater prestige among the admired group. And it may be someone who is nominally affiliated or unaffiliated altogether. Leaders and more hard core adherents are content to rely upon such individuals as cannon fodder to set an example for others. 

There is clearly an unspecified segment of the American Muslim population that deeply identifies with ISIS. Some identify enough to travel overseas and to fight for ISIS when they would not do so for the United States military. Others would send their children to do the same. Still others admire them and support their missions and actions. To the end that ISIS has encouraged export of sectarian attacks on non-believers here, there are and will continue to be those who answer that call as a spiritual imperative.

That would explain a host of recent and historic Islamic extremist actions in America. The list would prominently include Maj. Nidal Hassan’s jihad against fellow US Army personnel at Fort Hood, Texas and the killing of US Army Private Andy Long at a Little Rock, Arkansas recruiting office by Muslim convert Carlos Bledsoe (Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad).  


What this discussion illustrates is the fatal myopic mindset of counterterrorism agencies, in both Canada and the US, which reflect the prevailing multi-culturalism. In order to secure both countries, a revitalized effort has to be made to understand the threat of Islamic Jihad. Further this may require intrusive community and social media surveillance and targeting of potential jihadists in our midst.

Listen to the October 26, 2014 Lisa Benson Show with Steve Emerson, David B. Harris and Dr. Michael Welner.




Also see Jerry Gordon’s collection of interviews, The West Speaks.


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