A new Henry Jackson Society (HJS) analysis reveals over two decades of Massachusetts links to al Qaeda-inspired terrorism


The alleged Boston bombers – Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – are the latest in a broader pattern of militancy in the state of Massachusetts. 26 other individuals closely tied to jihadist activity have been based in Massachusetts, including 15 individuals who lived there, with offenses going back over 20 years.

Based on analysis from the new HJS report Al-Qaeda in the United States: A Complete Analysis of Terrorism Offenses, these individuals include:

  • Those who have fought jihad abroad – including a Boston cab driver ‘martyred’ fighting Lebanese forces in 2000
  • Those who have fundraised for jihad via Care International – a Boston-based charity  acting as a front group for the al-Kifah Refugee Center, itself the U.S. branch of Makhtab al-Khidamat – an organisation co-founded by Osama bin Laden and key jihadist ideologue Abdullah Azzam
  • Eleven of the 9/11 hijackers, who hijacked planes leaving from Boston Logan International Airport, used Boston as a base prior to their attack
  • Aafia Siddiqui, a female al-Qaeda associate who attempted to murder U.S. officers and employees in Afghanistan
  • Rezwan Fedarus, who plotted terrorist attacks using explosives on U.S. soil

Robin Simcox, research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and co-author of Al-Qaeda in the United States, has commented:

While not previously the target of a terrorist attack, Boston – and Massachusetts more broadly – has been a hive of militant activity for over two decades. Al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda inspired operatives have used Massachusetts as a base from which to plan, finance and commit acts of terror.

The U.S. has been largely successful in degrading al-Qaeda’s capacity to commit coordinated, mass casualty acts of terrorism. However, there is a clear need to remain vigilant against those who have been radicalized in the U.S. and aspire to smaller – but still deadly – terrorist acts. The al-Qaeda inspired threat is ongoing, and should continue to be treated with the utmost seriousness.

The full analysis, Historical Ties to Jihadism in Massachusetts, can be read here.

Conciliatory FBI policies toward Islam hampered probe into Boston jihad bombers

Robert Spencer from Jihad Watch reports:

Spencer Ackerman, stand up and take a bow. Fatima Khera and John Brennan, you too. Salam al-Marayati, don’t get left out. You’re all responsible for the scrubbing of counter-terror training materials of the truth about Islam and jihad. Stand up and be recognized. But try to wash the blood off your hands first.

“Blind Eye: Conciliatory FBI policies toward Islamism hampered probe into Boston bombers,” by Bill Gertz for The Washington Free Beacon, April 23 states:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s failure to recognize political Islam as a driver of jihadist terrorism is partly to blame for the FBI not identifying one of the Boston Marathon bombers in 2011 as a security risk, according to U.S. officials and private counter-terrorism analysts.The FBI revealed last week that it was warned by a foreign government in 2011 that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed Friday, was tied to “radical Islam” but the FBI was unable to confirm the links.

“The fact is religion has been expunged from counter-terrorism training,” said Sebastian Gorka, a counter-terrorism specialist with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “The FBI can’t talk about Islam and they can’t talk about jihad.”

Added Patrick S. Poole, another counter-terrorism specialist, about FBI policies on Islam: “I have zero doubt it affected their investigation of Tsarnaev.”

A U.S. official said FBI policies of playing down Islamic links to terrorism resulted in the FBI not identifying Tsarnaev, 26, or his brother, Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19, who was charged with last week’s bombing, as Islamist terrorists.

Instead, the FBI is limiting its description of the two men as ethnic Chechens who became “radicalized” prior to the April 15 bombing of the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and more than 200 injured in the attack using two homemade bombs placed in pressure cookers and remotely detonated.

Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R., Mich.), who until he retired in 2011 headed the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said an investigation into the FBI’s questioning of Tamerlan Tsarnaev is needed.

“I think that is one of the things that we’re really going to have to take a closer look at,” Hoekstra told the online intelligence newsletter Lignet….


Boston jihad bombers and their family got Massachusetts welfare benefits

Boston jihad bomber was “angry that the world pictures Islam as a violent religion”

Boston jihad murderer’s name was on classified government watch lists

American Freedom Defense Initiative Announces Platform for Defending Freedom In Wake of Boston Jihad

Boston jihadis’ mother: “I don’t care if my youngest son is going to be killed today. I want the world to hear this. And, I don’t care if I am going to get killed too. And I will say Allahu Akbar!”

Florida legislature passes ethics and campaign finance reform bills

Dan Krassner, executive director of the independent government watchdog group Integrity Florida issued the below statement on the passage of historic ethics reform and campaign finance reform bills by the Florida Legislature:

“Lawmakers are beginning the process of cleaning up the government and restoring trust with Floridians. Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford promised sweeping ethics and campaign finance reform and they have delivered. After a 36-year drought, Florida lawmakers should be commended for advancing good government reforms in our state Capitol. Integrity Florida is grateful to see most of our research recommendations included in the ethics and campaign finance legislation that has been passed. While there is still more work to do to make ethics laws stronger and to fix a broken campaign finance system, Florida is finally moving in the right direction on these issues.”

Integrity Florida wishes to thank Phil Claypool, the retried executive director of the Florida Commission on Ethics for his contributions to our research and expert legal analysis throughout the legislative process. We greatly appreciate our ethics reform coalition partners, including Progress Florida, The Tea Party Network and Common Cause Florida for their great work to improve the ethics reform bill. Former State Senator Paula Dockery paved the wave for ethics reform to be realized by advocating for the issue for many years and we are honored for her guidance and contributions to the cause,” stated Krassner.

Highlights of the ethics reform legislation (SB 2 and SB 4):

  • The public would have four new ways to start ethics complaints through U.S. Attorneys, State Attorneys, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Governor’s Office. Those four entities could refer credible complaints to the Florida Commission on Ethics. While not the full self-initiation of investigations that the ethics commission should have, this process is a good step to fight corruption and reduce frivolous complaints since these agencies would provide an additional vetting process for higher quality complaints to reach the ethics commission. Integrity Florida encourages U.S. Attorneys, State Attorneys, FDLE and the Governor to create “report corruption hotlines” via phone, web and email to collect anonymous tips from the public to address public corruption.
  • Financial disclosure forms will be posted online in a searchable database for the public to access.
  • The Florida Commission on Ethics will begin moving towards an electronic filing system for financial disclosure to make the process smoother for filers and to provide better quality information for the public to access in an easier to read format.
  • More ethics training for public officials will be required.
  • Fine enforcement will be enhanced by allowing the ethics commission to garnish wages of officials owing fines to the commission and it extends the collection period from five to twenty years.
  • Voting conflict standards and disclosures have been strengthened.
  • Expands ethics code restrictions on gifts from vendors to state officials.
  • Strengthens revolving door rules to limit legislators from lobbying for two years after they leave office.
  • Creates new restrictions to prohibit officials from obtaining crony jobs based on their public office.

Highlights of the campaign finance legislation (HB 569):  

  • Raises contribution limits to $3,000 for statewide candidates and $1,000 for legislative and local candidates.
  • Requires 24-hour disclosure of contributions and expenditures in the final days of state-level campaigns and a more rapid filing schedule for campaign reports year-round for candidates and committees.
  • Streamlines independent committees by eliminating committees of continuous existence.
  • Directs the Florida Division of Elections towards creation of an enhanced statewide campaign finance database. 

Related Integrity Florida research:

Corruption Risk Report: Florida Ethics Laws
June 6, 2012

Corruption Risk Report: Financial Disclosure
July 30, 2012

Florida’s Broken Campaign Finance System – Integrity Florida Report to the Florida House of Representatives Ethics & Elections Subcommittee
January 16, 2013

Florida doctor loses license in botched abortion

Esther Rachwal in an email to WDW states, “Here is the story of a Florida doctor that loses his license over a botched abortion. Ironically people are led to believe that abortion is safe and legal, but there have been dozens of women who have either died or developed severe medical problems from so called “legal” abortions. This information is rarely reported.”

“Even now with the Gosnell trial going on 5 weeks, with gruesome details, there is very little reporting. Yet in today’s paper (Monday), a Wildlife Sanctuary of NW Florida held a baby shower for young animals, as reported in the Pensacola News Journal. About 700 visitors brought various things and food donations to help care for the animals. And on April 7th, a large article reported on the abuses of farm animals which were video taped by animal rights activists. These tapes drew swift response from Federal prosecutors in Tennessee. Local authorities in Wyoming charged farm employees with cruelty to animals. So, can you imagine how media would have covered this Gosnell story if it were animals beheaded, and their spinal cords severed while alive?” notes Rachwal.

Cheryl Sullenger | Tallahassee, FL | | 4/22/13 3:11 PM

The Florida Board of Medicine took action to suspend the medical license of late-term abortionist James Scott Pendergraft, IV on Friday after he failed to pay the board fines from a previous disciplinary action that totaled over $120,000.

The settlement agreement reached between the board and Pendergraft orders that his medical license “shall be indefinitely suspended until such time as [Pendergraft] complies” with the order to pay his fines.

This is the fifth time that Pendergraft’s medical license has been suspended by the Florida Board of Medicine. He continues to operate five abortion clinics in Florida, primarily in the Orlando area.

The fines resulted from a 2010 case where Pendergraft was heavily fined and placed on suspension related to a 2006 botched elective 19-week abortion.

Patient S.B went to Pendergraft for the second trimester abortion on Feb. 3, 2006. He prescribed doses of Cytotec, a drug that is known to cause severe and unpredictable uterine contractions and sent her home for three days to take the medication on her own. Pendergraft did not have a valid DEA number at the time.

When S.B. returned to the clinic, he further illegally administered doses of Cytotec, Demerol, and Phenergan. He attempted the abortion before the patient was adequately dilated, lacerating her cervix and sending her to the hospital where she underwent an emergency hysterectomy.

At the hospital, staff delivered the remains of S.B.’s baby and found that it was missing a lower limb. Efforts were made to locate the limb in the abdominal cavity to no avail. There were no indications on the patient’s chart. Later, it was discovered that the limb had been removed at the clinic. This lack of documentation caused issues in providing the patient with proper emergency care.

Pendergraft was suspended and ordered to pay fines in excess of $122,000. Pendergraft failed to pay, resulting in another disciplinary case attempting to seek payment. Finally, Friday’s action suspended his license until further notice.

Pendergraft has a long history of abortion abuses. An Operation Rescue undercover investigation discovered that he was working illegally in Maryland with another abortionist Harold O. Alexander, to offer late-term abortions while his license was under suspension in Florida and filed complaints. Alexander was later disciplined for destroying patient records related to his business with Pendergraft, closing down Pendergraft’s Maryland operation.

In 2011, Pendergraft was hit with a whopping civil medical malpractice judgment of $36,737,660.16 in compensatory and punitive damages in a case involving a botched 20 week abortion that resulted in the live birth of a child physically damaged by Pendergraft’s incompetent abortion process amid what was described as “third world conditions” with virtually no counseling.

Kermit Gosnell

“Pendergraft is a prime example of how an abortionist operating outside the law in a manner that is reminiscent of the Kermit Gosnell murder case. He is proof that Gosnell is not an outlier, but is a snapshot of degenerate nature of the abortion cartel in America today,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Pendergraft belongs in prison just as much as Kermit Gosnell, but the reticence of the Board to revoke his license means he will be back to wrecking more havoc on women. People wonder how Gosnell continues to operate for so long, but the Pendergraft case explains it. Oversight agencies are just too slow to revoke abortion offenders.”

More about Pendergraft’s sordid background can be found at Note: Cheryl Sullenger is a leader of Operation Rescue, a Kansas-based pro-life that monitors abortion practitioners and exposes their illegal and unethical practices. The group is known for serving as a watchdog of Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses.

Florida’s Senators far apart on recent gun legislation

According to Senators Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R) are polar opposites when it comes to votes on gun legislation. The following is a list of bills recently considered in the US Senate and how Florida’s Senators voted on each.

Legislation – Concealed-Carry Reciprocity Amendment – Vote Rejected (57-43)

This proposal from Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas would allow someone with a permit to carry a concealed weapon the right to carry it in any state which has a concealed-carry law. The amendment states that permit holders from other states must abide by the laws of states in which they are located, though it would prohibit states from placing restrictions on individuals with out-of-state permits, treating such individuals as if they carried an “unrestricted” permit. The remainder of the failed amendments included proposals to reinstate and expand a ban on so-called assault weapons; to ban ammunition magazines holding more than ten rounds; and to prevent veter ans from being deemed “mental defectives” – thus losing their ability to own firearms – without a court decision. Two amendments did pass muster. The first, offered by Wyoming Republican John Barrasso, would penalize states and localities for publicizing gun ownership data. The second, from HELP committee leaders Tom Harkin, D-Iowa and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., would overhaul the nation’s mental health system. (Roll Calls 100-105)

Sen. Bill Nelson voted NO
Sen. Marco Rubio voted YES

Firearms Legislation – Background Checks Amendment – Vote Rejected (54-46)

The Senate voted on a flurry of amendments to the first major legislative response to last December’s massacre in Newtown, CT. In a sign of the difficulty facing proponents of stronger gun laws, most of the amendments were defeated, beginning with a proposal by pro-gun senators Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. to strengthen background checks. The Toomey-Manchin amendment would have expanded the current system to include all sales at gun shows and on the Internet. Though initially hailed as a critical breakthrough, the amendment’s prospects died a slow death in the days leading up to the actual vote, as fence-sitting senators from both parties declared their oppos ition one by one. Ultimately five Democrats opposed the amendment – Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. (Reid voted “no” for procedural reasons which would allow him to call up the amendment for a vote at a later date.) Baucus, Begich and Pryor all face difficult re-elections next year in states that favored Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential contest. Four Republicans supported the amendment – Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John McCain of Arizona, and co-sponsor Toomey.

Sen. Bill Nelson voted YES
Sen. Marco Rubio voted NO

Firearms Legislation – Republican Substitute Amendment – Vote Rejected (52-48)

The second failed amendment was a Republican substitute offered by Judiciary committee ranking member Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Most Republicans have decried Democratic proposals for reducing gun violence as threatening to Americans’ Second Amendment rights and have emphasized in their own proposals a “law and order” approach. This is reflected in the Republican alternative, which would make it a federal crime to purchase guns on behalf of those legally barred from owning them; expand the scope of mental illnesses barring some individuals from owning firearms; and create a special task force focused on attempted firearms purchases by felons and fugitives. Nine Democ rats supported the Republican proposal, while two Republicans opposed it.

Sen. Bill Nelson voted NO
Sen. Marco Rubio voted YES

Firearms Legislation – Straw Purchases Amendment – Vote Rejected (58-42)

Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt. co-sponsored an amendment that would make it a federal crime to buy guns on behalf of someone legally barred from possessing them, a practice called straw purchasing. The amendment fell just two votes short of adoption. (In a concession to the reality of a likely Republican filibuster, Majority Leader Reid agreed to raise the threshold for adoption of all amendments to 60 votes instead of the usual 51.)

Sen. Bill Nelson voted YES
Sen. Marco Rubio voted NO

Senator Nelson has a mixed record in support of the Second Amendment. The Political Guide reports:

In 2004, Senator Nelson supported the Assault Weapons Ban and stated that AK-47s and assault rifles are for killing, not for hunting. He asserted that law enforcement at every level of government is against terminating the assault weapons ban. He also stated that he was a defender of the constitutional right to bear arms and a defender of the right to have guns of all kinds except when getting to the common sense that it is not worth it in our society to be able to purchase AK-47s. In addition to supporting the Assault Weapons Ban, Senator Nelson voted in favor of the Protection in Lawful Commerce Act.”

This issue is not going away according to President Obama. Let us see how Florida’s Senators vote on future Second Amendment related legislation.

Rubio: The Boston bombing has a bearing on the immigration debate

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued the following statement regarding comments by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy that it’s “cruel” to use the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing to halt immigration reform, as well as comments by those who say this attack should derail entirely the current effort underway to fix our immigration system:

“I disagree with those who say that the terrorist attack in Boston has no bearing on the immigration debate. Any immigration reform we pursue should make our country safer and more secure. If there are flaws in our immigration system that were exposed by the attack in Boston, any immigration reform passed by Congress this year should address those flaws. Congress needs time to conduct more hearings and investigate how our immigration and national security systems could be improved going forward.

“The attack reinforces why immigration reform should be a lengthy, open and transparent process, so that we can ask and answer important questions surrounding every facet of the bill. But we still have a broken system that needs to be fixed.”

SB 58 American Laws for American Courts is in jeopardy

According to the Florida Family Association, “SB 58, American Laws for American Courts, did not make it on the agenda for the Senate Rules Committee for Monday, April 22, 2013.  This is the last Rules Committee meeting for the 2013 Florida Legislative Session.”

The Florida House of Representatives passed American Laws for American Courts (HB 351) by a vote of 79 – 39 on April 18, 2013. SB 58 has passed all other Florida Senate Committees.

David Caton of FFA notes, “The failure of SB 58 to be heard in the Committee on Rules was unexpected.  There are enough votes in the Florida Senate to pass SB 58.  Additionally, Governor Rick Scott has said that he will sign the legislation. So why is the bill not going to be heard there?”

One Senate leader is reported to have received 300 phone calls in opposition to SB 58 during the week of April 15, 2013.  The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Florida web site is devoted almost entirely to defeating the American Laws for America Courts legislation (SB 58, HB 351). 

“It would appear that those who advocate (CAIR) for Sharia law are influencing top Florida Senators to derail legislation that would prohibit Islamic law from being considered in Florida Courts,” states FFA.

FFA notes, “Time is running out. The 2013 Florida Legislative Session ends May 2, 2013.”

If Florida courts accept provisions of Islamic Sharia law or other foreign laws and legal codes which are inconsistent with American laws it will undermine public policies enacted by our representative form of government and change our value system,” states FFA.

Constitution Doesn’t Apply to Boston Bombing Suspect

Joe Miller from Restoring Liberty reports:

By Jeremy Herb and Mike Lillis from The Hill. Two powerful GOP senators are calling on the Obama administration to treat the captured suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings as an “enemy combatant” and deny him counsel even though he is reportedly an American citizen.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, captured Friday night outside Boston after a tense daylong manhunt, should be questioned for intelligence purposes and not read his Miranda rights.


With Tsarnaev in custody, the lawmakers said, “the last thing we should want is for him to remain silent.”


The Department of Justice indicated Friday that the administration would not read 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights, citing a public safety exception.

But Anthony Romero, the ACLU’s executive director, said Saturday that the immediate threat is over and that Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen who became a naturalized U.S. citizen last year, should now be treated like any other suspected criminal.

Read more.

Pinellas County politicians wasting money defending themselves in lawsuit to limit their terms

Philip Blumel from Florida Term Limits Blog reports:

May 2nd is approaching and four Pinellas County commissioners are worried. In December, a circuit court judge refused to dismiss the suit against them for violating their legal term limits. Now they face a judge again on May 2 in the final hearing of the case.

In 1996, 73% of Pinellas voters passed 8-year term limits but these renegade commissioners refused to insert the term limits amendment language into the charter as required by law. Then when term limits went into effect 8 years later, they refused to step down.  After all, the language isn’t in the charter!

Citizens were outraged and, after friendly court decisions around the state including a unanimous Florida Supreme Court decision that term limits are constitutional, they filed suit. The three plaintiffs on the people’s side represent diverse political, ethnic, professional and geographical faces of Pinellas County. This is appropriate as term limits are not a Republican versus Democrat issue but one of the people versus unchecked political power.

Shortly after the adverse decision in December, the commissioners doubled their legal team adding four additional lawyers. Yes, that’s right, they spending an enormous amount of the people’s money to fight the clearly expressed will of the people. And why? To directly benefit themselves.

In addition to lawyering up, commissioner Ken Welch publicly declared in February that he is seeking another position in local government and may not serve his full term. One of the reasons, he said, is that the judge may decide he cannot serve his full term. The plaintiffs hope part of the reason also is that he knows resigning is the right thing to do. Fellow scofflaws Karen Seel, John Morroni and Susan Latvala should follow Welch’s lead.

Citizens may attend the hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 2nd at the Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court Street, Courtroom C, Clearwater.For more detail on the case, go here.

Of Florida’s 20 charter, or “home rule” counties, 12 have term limits. Miami-Dade voters just approved 8-year limits last November. In all but one of the dozen, the popular term limits laws are respected and enforced. It is hoped that on May 2 the citizens will triumph and a decade of political corruption in this beautiful county will be swept away.

(Pictured, the three plaintiffs Maria Scruggs, H. Patrick Wheeler and Beverley Billiris.)

Russia warned US about Chechen immigrants

Russia Today reports:

The US may be shocked that the terrorist suspects behind the Boston bombings are Chechen natives, but Russia has long cautioned Washington about giving asylum to Islamists from the North Caucasus, political analyst Dmitry Babich told RT.

Two bombs exploded in Boston during the city’s Marathon on April 15, killing 3 people and injuring 176 others.

The suspects in the attack were identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother Dzhokhar, 19, Chechen natives, who lived in the US for some time. The elder brother was killed in a stand-off with police on Thursday, while the younger one is still at large.

The Voice of Russia radio station’s political analyst, Dmitry Babich, believes that it’s time for the West to understand that the Islamist activity in the North Caucasus is a threat not only to Russia, but the US and Europe as well.

RT: Much is being made of the links of those men to the Caucasus where they briefly lived. How important a factor might this be?

Dmitry Babich: Well, I think that indeed it’s a surprise for many people that these two men happened to be out of North Caucasus. But I think it’s not very surprising because, actually, the Russian government has warned a lot about the kind of refugees, about the kind of immigrants that the US and Western European countries are ready to accept. I mean I didn’t interview these people in Europe or in the US, but read a lot of reports from Russian reporters and from Western reporters actually interviewing those people. And a lot of them didn’t change their convictions. A lot of them are die-hard Islamists. They didn’t change after leaving Russia and I can easily imagine that a lot of them consider both Russia and the US parts of the same western decadent civilization. In this situation they can wage their jihad not necessarily in a place like Syria or Iraq, but also in the US.

RT:Why would these men turn on a country which gave them asylum?

DB:Unfortunately, it happened in many countries that people, who got asylum in the West later turned against their hosts and against their benefactors. It’s enough to remember that Ayatollah Khamenei, the founder of modern Iran, was a political refugee in France before he came back as a victor to Iran. If you expect any kind of gratitude and thankful thinking from these people you’re dead wrong. Most of the jihadists are egotists in their convictions. They think that they have the right to ascertain their convictions, they have the right to commit violence acts if they feed their cause. And their cause is the creation of this Islamic State. Maybe it could be an Islamic State in the North Caucasus. It could be a universal Islamic Caliphate. But that’s their thinking and I’m afraid in Boston they are dealing with exactly that kind of thinking.

RT:How would you assess levels of home-grown terrorism in the US right now?

DB: It’s very hard for me to speak from Russia about the level of terrorism in the US, but I think that for many years it was clear that the foreign policy was, at least, strange. Although Russia never made any hostile moves towards the US since 1987, probably – since Gorbachev came to power – the US continues suspecting Russia of having different values. And it always supported groups, sometimes militant Islamic groups, which challenged Russia. I mean, of course, president Clinton didn’t support the Chechen separatists, but then if you read the American press of the time and if you read even certain articles, which appeared on the website of the New York Times today, you can see a lot of simplistic thinking about the so-called Chechen Uprising and the Islamist groups in the North Caucasus.

The American newspapers say that Russia is to blame for all of these terrorist activities. Well, I don’t agree with that. I think that Russia was actually fighting a genuine international Islamism threat in the North Caucasus, at least, during the second Chechen War (in 1999-2000). Obviously, this Islamist activity in the North Caucasus is not only a threat to Russia. It’s also a threat to the US. It’s also a threat to Europe, but somehow the Western countries just refuse to recognize it.


USA needs refuge from refugees

Boston’s Jihadi Terrorists & The Chechen Connection

Jihad comes to Boston

Rubio: Leaving immigration the way it is, it’s amnesty (+ video)

Senator Marco Rubio’s comments on the US Senate floor:

Excerpts from Senator Rubio’s floor speech: “As far as the economy of the United States, a couple points. First of all, you can’t compare this bill to nothing, you have to compare it to what we have now. And what we have now is worse. What we have now is costing our economy. You have people in this country illegally, they get sick, they go to the emergency room, and the tax payer pays for it. You have people in this country that are having children, who are U.S. citizens and they go to our schools. They are driving in our streets without a driver’s license, which means they have no car insurance – which means all of us have to pay more in car insurance as a result. This is not good for us, it’s obviously not good for them, but it’s not good for us. What we have today is devastating and horrible for our economy. We can’t continue to have this, we have to fix this problem, and we have to fix it in a way that is fair to the people that have done it the right way, and fix it in a way that makes sure that this never ever happens again. And I believe that the bill we are working on does that. And I look forward to the input that my colleagues have.

“One more criticism I hear, ‘It’s being rushed through.’ That’s just not true. Just yesterday we voted on a series of amendments that I had less than twelve hours to review. And these amendments dealt with a fundamental right, the Second Amendment constitutional right. This bill has been online already for 48 hours. The Committee on Judiciary won’t even begin to consider amendments to this bill until next month. People are going to have three to four weeks to review it. It’s posted on my website, people can go on there now and see it. And beyond that, it will be available all these weeks, then it is going to go through an extensive committee process, then it will be brought here – hopefully to the floor – where we can debate it openly as well. Look, I am not claiming the bill is perfect – I am sure it can be improved. And I hope my 92 other colleagues will work hard to improve it, because we have an opportunity to do something important.

“My last point I address to many of my fellow Americans who share my deep commitment to upholding the Constitution of the United States, to limiting the size and scope of government, to encouraging the free enterprise system as the best way to create economic opportunity. America is a nation of immigrants, but both Republicans and Democrats have failed to enforce our immigration laws, and as a result we have millions of people here illegally. We are not going to deport them. So let’s secure the border, and let’s identify these people – let’s undergo a background check, get in the back of the line, pay a fine, pay taxes, no federal benefits. We all wish we didn’t have this problem, but leaving it the way it is, it’s amnesty. We have to solve this problem, and I hope we will.”

Sen. Diaz de la Portilla preparing dual attack on Florida’s American Laws for American Courts legislation

Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla

Florida Family Association reports it, “Has learned from several sources that Republican Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla is planning two attacks to derail SB 58 Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases.  Senator Diaz de la Portilla plans to offer a hostile amendment when the bill is heard in the Florida Senate Committee on Rules AND when the legislation is considered on the floor by the full senate.”

Senator Diaz de la Portilla pushed the same hostile amendment in the 2012 Florida Legislative Session.  The senator also voted against SB 58 during the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs meeting on April 8, 2013.  Senator Diaz de la Portilla is the only Florida Republican that has voted against the legislation which is intended to prohibit Florida courts from considering certain provisions of foreign laws including Islamic Sharia law.

Ahmed Bedier, former CAIR Tampa Executive Director who now heads The United Voices for America, sent an email dated April 12, 2013 to supporters, which praised their group’s influence on Senator Diaz de la Portilla’s vote “1. This week, Florida Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla became the first Republican lawmaker to vote against the bill. Which tells us our campaign, the emails, phone calls and lobbying, is making a difference.” 

Bedier defended former University of South Florida professor Sami Al Arian, who was indicted and pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to provide funding to the terrorist organization the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).  He also defended two University of South Florida students who were arrested for allegedly carrying explosives near the Goose Creek, S.C naval base.

FFC asks, “Is it possible the most ardent adversary of SB 58 in the Florida Legislature, Senator Diaz de la Portilla, is waging battle against Florida’s American Laws for American Courts legislation without communicating or corroborating with the most fervent Islamic activist and adversary of SB 58 in Florida, Ahmed Bedier?”

Bedier sits on the Tampa human rights council.

Here is an investigative video done by The United West on Bedier at the Muslim Capitol Day 2012:

Research shows school choice a “Win” for kids in Florida

Greg Forster, Ph.D., from the Friedman Foundation, in the report A Win-Win Solution states, “This report surveys the empirical research on school choice. It provides a thorough overview of what the research has found on five key topics: Academic outcomes of choice participants; Academic outcomes of public schools; Fiscal impact on taxpayers; Racial segregation in schools; [and] Civic values and practices.”

“The evidence points clearly in one direction. Opponents frequently claim school choice does not benefit participants, hurts public schools, costs taxpayers, facilitates segregation, and even undermines democracy. However, the empirical evidence consistently shows that choice improves academic outcomes for participants and public schools, saves taxpayer money, moves students into more integrated classrooms, and strengthens the shared civic values and practices essential to American democracy,” writes Dr. Forster.

The report found in Florida, “A 2003 study by Jay Greene and Greg Forster found that disabled students using Florida’s voucher program for children with special needs got better services and had better outcomes in private schools than those same students had received in public schools. This method is much better for purposes of measuring the impact of vouchers on those students. However, it limits the generalizability of the finding to others.”

The report notes:

Eleven empirical studies have been conducted on how two voucher programs and one tax-credit scholarship program in Florida have affected academic outcomes at public schools. All 11 unanimously find that choice has improved Florida public schools. One of these programs made all students at under performing schools eligible for vouchers, so researchers were able to measure the impact of vouchers in two ways: comparing performance at the same school before and after voucher eligibility, and comparing very similar schools that were just over or just under the threshold for voucher eligibility. [My emphasis]

Researchers also were able to measure the impact of “voucher threat” at low performing schools that were in danger of becoming eligible for vouchers. For the other two programs (a voucher program for students with special needs and a tax-credit scholarship program for low-income students) researchers used methods similar to those used in Milwaukee.

Dr. Forster wrote, “[N]ine studies of Florida’s voucher program targeting under performing schools show that it improved those schools simply by threatening them with vouchers. It is also worth noting that a number of studies have tracked the achievement of individual students rather than whole schools and still found that school choice improves outcomes for students who remain in public schools.”

Under Alternative Theories the report found:

Two alternative theories focus on voucher programs targeting under performing schools in Florida and Ohio. One speculates that these programs produce
a “stigma effect”—schools assigned failing grades by the state improve to remove the stigma of being labeled as failing, rather than responding to vouchers. But stigma cannot explain the positive findings for Milwaukee, Florida’s two other programs, or the century-old “town tuitioning” voucher systems in Maine and Vermont. Also, seven studies have used various methods to check for the possibility of a stigma effect. All found that vouchers had a positive impact independent of any stigma effect. (See Table 2)

“Fiscal analyses are not just conducted by academic social scientists; states conduct them for a variety of purposes. The first of two publicly available fiscal analyses of school choice programs conducted by a state was released in 2008 by Florida’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. It found that Florida’s tax-credit scholarship program saved the state $39 million in fiscal year 2007-08 because reduced education costs were greater than foregone tax revenue by $1.49 per student,” notes the report.

Florida’s Legislative Office of Economic and Demographic Research produced the second state published fiscal analysis of a school choice program in 2012. The results of the analysis were published with only a sparse supporting narrative explaining the method, which limits the reader’s ability to assess its methodological quality. However, it is still worth noting. The office found that Florida’s tax-credit scholarship program was saving the state $23 million per year as of 2011-12. (See Table 3)

The report concludes, “Given the remarkably unanimous research on the impact of choice everywhere it is allowed to affect public schools, it is clear it is having a positive effect.”

Florida law to arm teachers advances

Florida Representative Greg Stube

On February 27th , Florida Representative W. Gregory “Greg” Steube, filed HB 1097 – School Safety, which takes a hard look at safety in Florida’s schools. Rep. Steube, an Army paratrooper and Iraq War combat veteran, states, “The safety of our school children and the dedicated teachers and personnel who educate them is a paramount concern to all communities.”

“We are all deeply concerned about the well-being of our children and we must come to a consensus on how to prevent violent crimes from occurring on school grounds. As a father and a son of a teacher, I feel a responsibility to my community and my state to address the safety of our students and teaching personnel. With this bill, schools will be better equipped to protect their faculty and students,” notes Rep. Steube.

HB 1097 would allow a school principal to designate one or more members of school personnel to carry a concealed firearm or weapon while performing his or her official duties. 

Joe Saunders from BizPac Review reports:

Armed teachers could be on their way to Florida school campuses.

A bill to allow school principals  to designate school employees to carry concealed weapons for security passed the Florida House Judiciary Committee Tuesday to provide what its sponsor called a way to protect children from school violence when police aren’t able to.

“This is not something that’s a foreign concept to the defense of our children,” Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, told the committee.

Steube cited numerous other states that allow arms on campus, including Democratic bastions such as California and Hawaii.

The bill passed on a party-line vote, with Democrats opposing it after testimony from the Florida School Boards Association, the Florida Association of School Administrators, Florida PTA and other groups.

“This bill sends the wrong message … to our young people,” SBA Executive Director Wayne Blanton said. Allowing authority figures such as coaches, principals and teachers to be armed on school grounds would encourage students to want to be armed themselves,” he said.

Read more.

Below, you can find more information regarding HB 1097.

HB 1097

HB 1097 Press Release

Legislative Tracking System

The “Border Security, Economic Opportunity & Immigration Modernization Act of 2013” introduced

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today joined Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL),  Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) to introduce S. 744, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.” The bill’s introduction marks a first step toward achieving the strongest border security and enforcement measures in U.S. history, modernizing the legal immigration system to encourage economic growth and job creation, and ending today’s de facto amnesty by dealing with the undocumented immigrant population in a tough but fair way that is directly linked to achieving several security triggers.

The legislation can be read here. A one page summary of the bill is available here. A frequently asked questions (FAQ) document is available here.

Following the bill’s introduction, Rubio issued the following statement:

“Our immigration system is broken, and the status quo of having 11 million undocumented people living under de facto amnesty will only continue if we do nothing to solve this problem. This bill marks the beginning of an important debate, and I believe it will fix our broken system by securing our borders, improving interior enforcement, modernizing our legal immigration to help create jobs and protect American workers, and dealing with our undocumented population in a tough but humane way that is fair to those trying to come here the right way and linked to achieving several security triggers.

“While I believe this legislation is a strong conservative effort that will accomplish all these things and tries to make the best of the imperfect reality we face, it’s not perfect. But I am also confident that an open and transparent process that welcomes public input is going to make it even better.

“This debate must engage the American people and every senator through open hearings, mark-ups and floor debate, as well as a robust, well-informed debate outside the walls of Congress through all the mediums available to us today. This kind of open debate will help the American people understand what’s in the bill, what it means for them and what it means for our future.

“I encourage people to read this bill and tell us what we can do to make it better. To ensure that immigration remains a source of America’s strength and exceptionalism, I invite Floridians and other interested parties to share their thoughts about it with me and submit ideas on ways we can improve it – through our websiteFacebook and Twitter pages.”