The violent attack in Dallas which claimed the lives of five police officers, and wounded additional officers and civilians was the largest single day death toll for America’s law enforcement since 9/11.
According to reports from the Dallas police department, a gunman opened fire on police officers from an elevated position while officers were providing security for an anti-police/Pro-Black Lives Matter protest. Videos of the event show at least one tactically proficient shooter aggressively engaging police officers with rifle fire.
At least one suspect was killed by police in the ensuing battle, identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, a former Army Reservist. While police have indicated that there was only one shooter, Johnson, they have not yet publicly identified whether he had accomplices.
Media pundits have struggled whether to identify the shooting as an act of terror.
Social Media accounts in Johnson’s name showed his ideological support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, as well as numerous Black Separatist organizations and websites, notably the Huey P. Newton Gun Club and the New Black Panther Party.
Both groups are descendants of the original Black Panther Party, which waged its own war on police officers in accordance with its Marxist-Leninist principles and with the support of Communist nations more than four decades ago. The FBI has previously warned that NBPP supporters were engaged in inciting violence against police officers during the Ferguson protests.
Nor is Dallas the first case where New Black Panther Party supporters have engaged in anti-police violence. In New York, Zale Thompson was shot dead by police after attacking two NYPD officers with a hatchet.
While both Dallas shooter Micah Johnson and Zale Thompson have the New Black Panther Party in common, they differ in other elements of their beliefs. Johnson appears to have been either agnostic or atheist, according to his social media, while Thompson was known to be a Muslim supporter of African American Islamist Imam Jamil Abdullah Amin.
Amin, himself a convicted cop-killer and ex-Black Panther formerly known as H. Rap Brown, was the leader of a domestic jihadist group known as “The National Ummah”, which the FBI warned was engaged in criminal acts to furtherance of an effort to impose Sharia law within U.S. communities.
Amin himself was strongly connected to U.S.-based jihadist efforts, including serving as vice-president for the American Muslim Council (AMC), run by now convicted Al Qaeda financier and self-identified Muslim Brotherhood member Adurrahman Alamoudi. Amin also served on the Alamoudi-linked American Taskforce for Bosnia which former intelligence officer and Eastern European history specialist John Schindler identified as a front for Al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden.
Nor is Thompson alone. Jaleel Abdul-Jabbar, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, and Edward Archer, were all African American jihadists who targeted law enforcement for criminal threats (in the case of Abdul-Jabbar) or actual violence.
As noted elsewhere, Islamist organizations in the West, including leaders from Muslim Brotherhood groups like The Council on American Islamic Relations, and the Muslim American Society have repeatedly engaged in rhetoric bordering on incitement to violence in their endorsement of the Black Lives Matter movement. Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab and other jihadist groups have also weighed in in favor of the anti-police campaign.
The point of noting the Islamist element of the noxious mix that is represented within the Black Lives Matter Movement is not to imply that the Dallas attack was somehow motivated by jihadist sentiment; which does not presently appear to be the case.
Rather it is to highlight the animus, some of it Marxist-Leninist, some of it racial separatist, and some of it Islamist, that undergirds the current violent trend. All of these disparate political movements have separate end-states, but each seeks the toppling and replacing of the American system with their preferred revolutionary outcomes. Cooperation, even alliances among these movements, and hybridization at the fringes of them, should be expected as the situation develops.
The currently flawed U.S. strategy known as Countering Violent Extremism chooses to ignore the interplay of ideology under the notion that the only thing which matters is violent outcome. But National Security and Law Enforcement practitioners need to be able to examine and differentiate the various threat doctrines of these movements, as well as differentiate genuine threats from legitimate dissent and political expression.
Only by doing so can one determine the extent a movement, foreign or domestic, represents a substantial threat to the U.S. constitutional order, and what separates madness or violent irrationality from cold and decisive terror or criminal subversion and act accordingly.
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