Thursday, 4 August 2016

Trinidad and Tobago Govt Building Profile On Those Going To Syria

Source: Trinidad Guardian

Published: Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Intelligence agencies are building profiles—based on geographical areas—of people who may be going to Syria to join the Islamic State (ISIS) terror network and who might be behind it locally, says National Security Minister Edmund Dillon

Dillon fielded questions on the issue at a media briefing at his Portof- Spain ministry yesterday, where he also spoke about the crime situation. The briefing followed a meeting of law enforcement top brass and US officials who were seen leaving the ministry.

Dillon said Government was concerned about the overall national security environment which he said was “very dynamic and evolving.”

Among the landscape, he noted the issue of the “recent emergence of T&T nationals interested in participating in conflict overseas,” a reference to recent reports of nine suspected nationals held in Turkey en route to Syria to join ISIS.

He was also asked about an article in ISIS’ Dabiq July publication featuring a T&T terrorist fighter Abu Sa’d al-Trinidadi. The latter, as well as FTFs from other countries, called on sympathisers to launch home turf attacks on Christians.

Dillon said there had not yet been confirmation on the nine detained in Turkey but noted he had asked the Foreign Affairs Minister to follow up the matter through diplomatic channels in Turkey to ascertain if those detained were nationals. Other sources said they were still in Turkey.

He said Government was also probing the Dabiq article, adding efforts will be made to clear up all of the issues and confirm the accuracy and authenticity (of the article).

He said Government was looking into the instances of nationals who have gone to ISIS, as well as those who intended to go, and resources were being put into intelligence- gathering capacity to deal with this speedily.

While saying profiles were being built on those who may have gone to join ISIS, he declined to answer whether a local network was behind the situation.

He conceded the various developments could damage T&T’s reputation, especially if the nine held in Turkey and those in the article were indeed T&T nationals. However, he said the necessary action would be taken to show T&T did not stand for its nationals doing what was described in the Dabiq article, for instance.

But Dillon admitted it was not easy to say if people were going to Syria to access ISIS, since there were no direct flights there and they may be taking certain routes and heading for different locations.

He noted statements by the Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi yesterday on how Government proposed to deal with returning foreign fighters (FTFs)

Protest outside embassy

Islamic Front leader Umar Abdullah yesterday staged a brief demonstration in front of the Venezuelan Embassy with several relatives of the five T&T nationals detained in Venezuela since March 2014.

A female member of the group protested the reports of nine suspected T&T nationals held in Turkey en route to ISIS. They questioned proof of that and dismissed Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi’s statements “due process” would be used in matters on returning foreign terrorist fighters.

Abdullah said they were still awaiting word from Government on the detained men who were held in 2014 on terrorism charges which were recently changed to intent to commit espionage.

No doubt, those US officials seen leaving the meeting at the National Security Ministry on Tuesday could not have been satisfied with the Trinidad and Tobago government's pussyfooting around the deadly seriousness of the DAESH threat and its failure to recognize the radical Islamic movement as the greatest modern day threat to world peace.

They could not have been pleased either with the piss poor performance of our bumbling national security intelligence gathering apparatus that failed to recognize the red flags that have billowed for some time over those Muslim communities in Central and South Trinidad that have been canvassing and screening local Muslim butchers for the DAESH slaughterhouse.

Given global recognition of the DAESH threat, and US/Coalition resolve to defeat, crush and eradicate that Islamic scourge, we could imagine the discomfort at that meeting of Ministers Dillon and Al-Rawi over the Rowley Administration's ineffectual response to the established presence of the terrorist Islamic group in Trinidad and its recruitment, indoctrination and radicalization of our citizens.

Dillon and Al-Rawi had to have felt great embarrassment over their respective utterances on the DAESH threat with the one (Dillon) having declared that DAESH is not a threat to Trinidad or Tobago and that our nationals who have gone to Syria to join DAESH (to kill on behalf of the Islamic slaughterhouse) "are still citizens of Trinidad and Tobago after all" and must be treated as such, while the other, (Al-Rawi) stated that there is very little that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago can do to stop locals from traveling to Syria (to kill innocent people, because that is what they do when they join DAESH) and even less to prevent them from returning to this country, (after their murderous, radical Islamic forays in foreign jurisdictions) the parenthesized being the essence of their words.

One must wonder whether our Minister of National Security and our Attorney General would have repeated that nonsense and pursued those embarrassing and untenable positions in that meeting. What we are sure of is that those US officials would have told them in no uncertain terms that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago must stop the mollycoddling of radical Muslims and take an uncompromising, hard-line approach to Islamic fundamentalism, notwithstanding Al-Rawi's self professed direct lineage to the Prophet Mohamed.

We are also sure that the US officials would have expressed their lack of confidence in the ability of our intelligence gathering and surveillance agencies to efficiently monitor the clandestine activities of returning DAESH butchers on a sustained basis, given their poor track record which the Government is well aware of.

Case in point: Shane Crawford.

Crawford admits to committing a murder that was recorded on State surveillance cameras. The police arrested him and three others then released them pending further inquiries into the murder. In the meantime Crawford was charged with other offenses involving illegal arms and ammunition, yet all three were able to leave the country one by one through legal ports of departure even though they were all under law enforcement suspicion and scrutiny for very serious crimes. Crawford is today killing innocent people in the Middle East by his own admission and urging his friends in Trinidad and Tobago to do the same here.

Obviously, these agencies cannot be depended on to protect the people of this country from the evils of DAESH; they cannot even be depended on to detect blatant and brazen criminal acts committed in broad daylight under the watchful eyes of video cameras.

The solution therefore lies in barring the return of these Muslim butchers to this country, obviating the need to monitor them and their families for the rest of their lives. The State has the constitutional power to cancel or revoke the passport of any of its citizens. Having a passport is not a right or an entitlement; It is a privilege that can be withdrawn at any time without notice if the national security of the State is under proven threat. Revoking a passport does not render the holder stateless or without nationality It simply means that he/she cannot undertake international travel from wherever they may be.

That is the option the Government should be pursuing as an immediate measure while legislation is brought to the Parliament to strip these murdering DAESH butchers of their Trinidad and Tobago nationality


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. former national security minister Gary Griffith maintains any T&T born Isis fighters or those seeking to join Isis should not be allowed back in T&T.

    “Let them stay there until they die,” Griffith said.

    The National Security Ministry was unable to say if Turkey was a party to the UN resolution on terrorism that would mandate Turkey to give T&T information on the detained nine. Griffith had expressed concern about that.

    Griffith, however, said even if Turkey was not party to the resolution and did not give T&T information on when the nine may be sent back, the UK or authorities of other states they might pass through would give T&T that information, as those states were party to the UN information-sharing resolution.

    He added: “Some of these persons who try to join Isis are simply mercenaries who see it as a step up from being gang members. We need to put systems in place to prevent their return.

    “Let them remain in Syria like Shane Crawford. If they return they will have access to other people so they must be avoided like the plague. Let them remain there and never set foot back here.”

  3. Opposition Leader
    PNM clueless about terrorism

    Friday, August 5, 2016

    As law enforcement officials await the return of nine Trinis who were deported from Turkey after they were caught trying to join terrorist fighters in Syria, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says she is not satisfied with how the Government is tackling terrorism threats in T&T.

    Persad-Bissessar, who called a state of emergency in 2011 after an alleged plot to kill her and her Cabinet was exposed, said she was not happy with how Isis threats were being handled by the Dr Keith Rowley administration.

    Saying under her tenure there was political will to tackle terrorism, she said that was one of the reasons her government decided to co-sponsor in September 2014 the UN Security Council resolution on foreign terrorist fighters.

    Admitting she got a lot of “flak” for her decision, Persad-Bissessar said they were well aware of the grave threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters to peace, law and order and the need to combat the scourge of terrorism.

    Asked whether she had seen results from the signing of the UN agreement, Persad-Bissessar said: “It was the right thing to do then and it remains totally correct now.

    “I am not of the view that the present government is doing sufficient. We have heard absolutely nothing about their plans. Every time a noise arises they say more police on the streets, more security. It is just more and more talk without any action.”

    She said crime was also at an all-time high.

    “I am of the view that they are not doing enough on the international or national front. We need leadership that is permitted with devising a proper plan,” she said.

    During her address to party supporters at the formal opening of the new UNC headquarters on Wednesday, Persad-Bissessar said under the Rowley Government crime had become worse.

    “This Government has no clue how to defeat criminals, gangsters and international terrorists. While blood is flowing across the land with an ever growing terrorist threat, instead of developing a plan to fight crime, the PM is taking off on a holiday again,” Persad-Bissessar said.

    Saying T&T is in crisis, Persad-Bissessar said in “one year the PNM has brought a booming, productive and happy country to a state of hopelessness and fear.”

  4. While I am no supporter of the PNM and I agree that they are clueless about how they should respond to the DAESH threat in particular and to crime and terrorism generally, Persad -Bissessar should be the last person to talk about being clueless because she herself was absolutely clueless about about how a government of honesty and integrity should have functioned. She was also absolutely clueless about standards of appropriate behaviour in her personal life even as she held the highest office in the land.

  5. Why you have to bring in the Lady's personal life?

    1. Because she is public property and no longer has a private personal life, not as long as she continues to hold public office or is seeking to regain her former position at the expense of taxpayers.

    2. I disagree Blog Admin. All citizens from the highest to the lowest, with no exceptions, are entitled to their privacy. Nowhere in the Constitution is it stated or even contemplated, that a prime minister or any high office holder is proscribed from these rights. That position is simply nonsense. I am surprised that so many citizens, a lot of them educated, your self included, continue to support that foolish view.

    3. LadyBird,

      You are talking about the Constitution and the Law and ultimately the law courts. I am speaking about public opinion and the only court that truly matters in politics is the Court of Public Opinion because it is that court of public opinion that put Kamla Persad Bissessar where she is today in opposition. And I guess it is that same court that will put Keith Rowley there also in five years time if he decides to play the ass as well.

      That has always been the problem with the UNC. They have always put legality over legitimacy and it has always resulted in their governments' demise.

      Its time UNC supporters understand a legal position is not always a legitimate or ethical position.


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