Unofficial Transcript Prepared for Harris Defense, in Mattson v. Harris
“Canadians in Terror Groups” Segment, The Roy Green Show. Broadcast of October 11, 2014.
https://soundcloud.com/theroygreenshow/roy-green-sat-oct-11-canadians-in-terror-groups (accessed 19 November 2014)
Transcribed: November 19-20, 2014
Modified: December 16, 2014
R.G.: Roy Green, Host, The Roy Green Show
D.H.: David Harris, Guest
Z.J.: Zuhdi Jasser, Guest
ph: phonetic spelling
[Time-points are indicated in minutes and seconds, in square brackets]
R.G.: Later on in the hour, we’ll talk to Dr. Caroline Quach. She is the incoming president of the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Canada. We’ll talk to uh microbiologists and doctors – infectious diseases doctors – about the Ebola virus and how they, uh, view what is going on. We spoke, uh – not everybody heard this – but, uh, we spoke with Dr. Tim Jagatik in the last hour. He’s a Canadian member of Médecins Sans Frontières and, uh, he will be going back to west Africa for the third time, third tour, with Doctors Without Borders. Remarkable. Remarkable young man. You can, uh, listen back any time to any segment on this program, at Roy Green Show dot com. That’s all you do. Just go to Roy Green Show dot com and listen back. And you can also listen live online. Now, we want to continue with the Ebola story, and we will today, and tomorrow, with guests and, and your calls. The other international – huge international story, of course – is what’s going on with ISIS. And, in Canada, we had a parliamentary vote on getting this country involved in the air war. What was Justin Trudeau thinking? Was he thinking? Leader of the Liberal Party didn’t get involved in the debate. He let Marc Garneau take the lead for him. Then he rode the coattails of Thomas Mulcair and the NDP and voted against the air strikes. Whether or not you agree with the airstrikes, if you’re a Liberal Party supporter, you didn’t get much out of your leader this week. We’ll get into that a little more with “Beauties and the Beast,” later on. But, what do you do about ISIS? Know, I’ve said this to various guests on the shows, over the last few weeks, it’s not always possible to fight an, an idea, a philosophy, a theory, a belief, with bullets – but then, you can’t let situations continue as they’re, as they’re developing on the ground in the Middle East. The Turkish tanks, um, just parked across – almost literally across the road from Kobani, that town in Syria. Because the Turks have, uh, all sorts of problems with, uh, with ISIS, within their own borders. NATO country. It gets complex. And then, I have to give them credit, CBC reported, this morning, that the RCMP is involved in disruption and intervention – that’s what they call it – disruption and intervention of twenty-eight individuals who are designated as “high-risk travelers” outside Canada. They can’t call them “terrorists”, they call them “travelers”. You know, you’re a “traveler” if you’re going on vacation. You’re not a “traveler” if you’re going overseas to fight with a terrorist group. Anyway. High-risk travelers outside Canada to join terror groups and perhaps fight for them. So, the C – uh, the CBC – the RCMP – the CBC – RCMP is involved in disruption and intervention of twenty-eight individuals who are designated as high-risk travelers, outside Canada, to join terror groups and perhaps fight for them. And “disruption and intervention,” as I understand it, can include interrogation, surveillance and revocation of passports. The Government says apparently some eighty people have left Canada and returned after engaging with militant terror groups abroad, and may have their passports revoked. Ottawa says some people have had their passports taken away, already. But, as usual, they won’t tell us how many. We can’t be trusted with that kind of important information. We’re just the people who pay the bills. They are the leaders. David Harris is the President of INSIGNIS Strategic Research, INSIGNIS Strategic Research. He’s a former CSIS Chief of Strategic Planning. Been talking to David about “travelers” – terrorists – for many years, and, David, over the years we’ve talked, it’s become more complex, more dangerous, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
D.H.: Certainly not. You’re quite right, Roy. The situation is, uh, extremely serious, and, indeed, at a parliamentary committee session, just this past week, the CSIS Director has declared that this is really, really a serious threat. He said so several times, and it’s, in a way, no surprise. We’ve, uh, been seeing, of course, through our immigration system, millions of people coming in, every few years. The biggest per capita intake of the G20, of maybe a good part of the world. And, with that, we’re not really able to screen people effectively, and we get into the complexities, of course, of people who may be influenced by what formerly had been foreign ideologies, and then, perhaps, passing them on to their children or finding their children picking them up from, uh, mosques, or the internet or a combination of all of those.
RG: And then we got, uh, kids who come from multigenerational – as somebody said on the air, not long ago – white families who are also found engaged with militants and terrorists and we saw it in the attack on the gas plant – the Algerian gas plant – in, in the Sahara.
D.H.: That’s right, and elsewhere, as well. Uh, one individual who is understood to have been killed, fits that description, beautifully – I think from Timmins, Ontario. So, this is, uh, an expanding, a proliferating threat. And the figures, of course, back that up. We’ve seen 130 people go abroad to fight with terrorist organizations of, I believe, the Islamic extremist stripe. But, of course, there are other threats, as well, and these would all, collectively, be, really, putting us at risk to overwhelm our domestic police and security elements.
R.G.: Dr. Zuhdi Jasser is the founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, former Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy, and author of Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith. Dr. Jasser, it’s good to have you back on the program. I understand that you know David Harris, quite well. I watched you, um, on FOX television, last night, an’ I – I don’t know, some people just born cement-heads, I guess. But, uh, but you tried to make your point as best you could. Would you explain to us, please, from your perspective, what the issue, what the challenge, is with – and I’ll use the word that they use, the politically correct, “the travelers”, who head overseas, join terror groups, and get involved in the, in the fight with, on the side of the terrorists, and then return to, uh, in your case, to the United States, and, in our case, to Canada.
Z.J.: Thanks for having me back, Roy. And, David, it’s nice to talk to you, again. You know, I think, it’s just amazing how much backwards – I mean we’re not even in a nine-ten-oh-one mentality. We’re backwards into the ’nineties. Insufferably, it’s becoming worse, because, when you say “travelers”, ultimately – we had a guy, here, in Phoenix, a Syrian-origin gentleman, who once ended up connecting with Jabhat Al-Nusra, which is an al-Qaeda group, came back and, ultimately, because they couldn’t prove that he was part of that group, he was released and, apparently, was identified as inappropriately targeted by the Bureau and Homeland Security. Because it’s not just about traveling, it’s not just about engaging with groups designated as terrorism, it’s about the ideology, it’s about jihadism. Are they going there as Islamo-patriots who, these are people if they’re feeling a patriotic pull for the Islamist State, for the jihad movement, these are not American or Canadian patriots. They’ve clearly, ah, ah, um, disposed of their own citizenship and are becoming members of an Islamic state if not the Islamic State. So, the ideology that’s pulling them, if we continue to call them “travelers”, we’re going to miss the process of radicalization. And, Roy, let me put it in a perspective for you: nine-eleven was nineteen foreigners, Fort Hood was one guy, Boston bombers were two guys. Now we’re talking about hundreds. There are thousands serving from Europe, Canada and America. We had known there was over a hundred. Now the FBI Director is saying it was just, maybe twelve, fourteen. That’s still a lot, compared to folks that have committed acts of terrorism on our homeland. So, if we get this wrong, and we miss it, the, the risks are even higher than they’ve ever been.
R.G.: I’m going to take a quick break. We’ll come back with David Harris and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, and I’ll ask them for their thoughts on the RCMP engaged with watching, maybe interrogating, individuals who’ve returned to Canada, after participating with a government-designated terrorist group overseas, and are considering going back. Uh, how dangerous are these people and what is the responsibility of our governments to protect, uh, the people of Canada, and, Dr. Jasser’s case, the United States. NBC had a report that they kinda back-pedalled on, a little bit, that, uh, Canadian officials were aware of, uh, either ISIS members or imitators, having plans to commit atrocities in shopping centres or in, uh, populous, populated areas, in a Canadian city. What do we do, what do you do, as a country? What do you do, as a society? How do you respond? And you have to stop calling them “travellers”, you really do. We’ll come right back.
R.G.: United Nations warns that a massacre could, uh, take place in Kobani if IS forces, uh, take over the town. You know, things are moving so fast, it could have happened in the last couple of minutes, while I’ve been talking to you. Ah, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. He’s the author of the Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith, former United States Navy Lieutenant Commander. David Harris, President of INSIGNIS Strategic Research, former CSIS Chief of Strategic Planning. Alright, gentlemen, so now the RCMP is engaged with watching, maybe interrogating, individuals who’ve returned to Canada after participating with a government-designated terror group, overseas, and may be considering going back. And, uh, they’re also looking at individuals in this country sympathetic to groups like ISIS who may be ready to join them, physically. So, we know what the RCMP is doing, or we know what we’re told they’re doing. What needs to be done? What has to be done? How do you combat an idea, a philosophy, a belief? How do you, how do, how do you diffuse the situation internally, David, in this country, in Canada? Is it possible?
D.H.: Well, one of the things you’ve got to do is speak in very plain language in defining the problem, and we are really rather invincibly refusing to do that. If you look at the 2014 Public Report on the threat of terrorism to Canada, this, issued by the Government of Canada – this is the big, defining document – it self-censors. It avoids referring to, ah, the, eh, the, the name of the source of terrorism. So, it doesn’t use the term “Islamism”, which is ordinarily used by moderate Muslims and non-Muslims, to identify the ideology of this particular group – as Dr. Jasser knows full well, of course. And, as a result, you get absurdities. The – nowhere in the Report, other than in the name of the terrorist organization that might happen to have the word “Islam” in it – like the “Islamic State” –do you see a reference to the fact that it is Islamists who are the ones they may otherwise be talking about. And so you get these absurd concoctions to which you’ve referred, where you have about forty uses of the term, uh, “extremist travelers”, and nobody has a clue, of course, about – inside the government or outside it – what exactly that’s supposed to mean. And then that prevents us, really, from coming to understand the ideological background – the combatant doctrine and so on, upon which these terror groups rely. And something that would help us as a public better understand that what we are seeing now, uh, in terms of the horrors being perpetrated on women and children and men in Syria and Iraq are precisely the kinds of things that the outright terrorists have in mind for us, here, and it also, of course, moves us all the farther away from an understanding of the more subtle but subversive organizations that are operating – whether it’s Muslim [Brotherhood] front organizations in this country or ones that are even more pointed than that.
R.G.: Zuhdi, how do you feel about that, when you hear David Harris say what he’s just said? How do you feel about that? And then I’ll add this rider: um, interviews were done with Harvard University students, and the question that I’m paraphrasing was, who, who’s the more dangerous, who’s the more, uh, the terrorist? Is it ISIS or the United States and its policies? And Harvard University students – I don’t know if it was by majority, but in significant numbers, that’s two words – said the United States. How do you deal with that?
Z.J.: Well, you know, first, to address David’s comments, I’ll tell you that the end result, as much as the, the naïve governmental officials that put together this report, the 2014 report on terrorist threat in Canada, may be trying to protect Muslims from ourselves, or protect Islam, and do it from political correctness perspective, they are actually marginalizing the forces for reform because they make it seem like Islam is monolithic, like we’re not diverse. And by not using terms like “jihad” and “Islamism”, they are actually feeding the bigotry that says that, well, if there’s then there must be a problem within the Muslim community, so it has to be all of Islam. So, if you don’t want to target all of Islam, you have to give us an ability to have this debate, but as long as the language is about violent extremism and some generic ideological thing, and they don’t identify what it is, it’s like trying to treat drunk driving and saying, “well, we caught the drivers, and we got the travelers,” but not dealing with the alcoholism. And, and they’re not dealing with political Islam and Islamism, so you’re gonna, you’re gonna continue to chase your tail from a whack-a-mole program. And, you know, the stats you gave on the Harvard issue, this is the issue, is that traveling along with the pro-Islamist advisers like CAIR and these imams that are advising the groups, like Zaid Shakir and Ingrid Mattson and, and, eh, um, Siraj Wahhaj, all of these people that are advisors to this report, are, are along with the far-left and others that want to blame America, blame the West, that this is somehow our fault, and it’s a grievance narrative that prevents treatment of the primary cause, which is Islamism.
R.G.: Um, as – and I, I – Ingrid Mattson has been on this program, but not for quite a few years, but she was on the show, eh, before we ever got to the point that we are, even close to the point where we are, now, where we are discussing, um, things that we’re talking about. And it’s confusing me sometimes for me, as a host, when I, when I look at terms like “travelers”, you know, I’m still trying to wrap my head around who came up with that? And, and then I, you know what it is? It’s a sanitized language that, that governments use when they don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. Well –
D.H.: Roy, Roy, may I just help with something, here? To give you an insight into how embedded this difficulty is in our own Canadian government and its security forces, um, eh, Dr. Jasser was referring, of course, to the 2014 Public Report on terrorism, but, at the end, when he talked about the, uh, problem of commending radicals like Dr. Ingrid Mattson and Siraj Wahhaj, as experts or Islamic scholars of use in counter-radicalization, he was referring to “United Against Terrorism,” which was a booklet put out by the RCMP in concert with the National Council of Canadian Muslims, which is really just the renamed Canadian chapter of a US unindicted co-conspirator organization –
R.G.: Now, David, I want to, I want to be fair to people, and I have to be fair to people who may take exception to what you’re saying about them, and say to them, if they wish to appear on this program and, and speak to the issues, I’ll be more than happy to give them airtime.
D.H.: Oh, of course, but – and this has been publicly documented in district courts, in the United States, in light of the Holy Land Foundation prosecution, a very successful prosecution, as Dr. Jasser will know. So, it’s, uh, very important that we get the terminology straight and that we know that when –
R.G.: But, we don’t. But, David, David, we, we’re, we don’t get terminology straight in so many different arenas. We don’t say what we think, we don’t say what we feel, any longer. And I’m being generic, now, and I know that I’m going to be criticized for saying that, but one of the points that I’ve been making is, as ISIS advances and succeeds, and, Dr. Jasser, you’ve heard me say this, I’ve said it to you, as ISIS advances and succeeds, despite the air coalition attacks, ah, they’re going to just create more opportunity for recruits to join them, simply because of their success and the constant, uh, news coverage they’re getting for their military successes, despite the attacks against them.
Z.J.: Absolutely, and, and if you want to counter this, you have to engage with Muslims that are against not only that Islamic state, but all – you have this coalition, the Islamic – ISIS, is a natural outgrowth of the Saudi Wahabbi ideology, so the Saudi government may be against ISIS, but they beheaded twenty people, in their country, in the last sixty days. And you don’t find the Ingrid Mattsons and the Siraj Wahhaj – in my book, I talk about how Siraj Wahhaj, in the ’nineties, in front of me and fifteen thousand Muslims, held up the Koran and said it is our goal to replace the US Constitution with this book –
R.G.: OK, hold on, hold on, Dr. Jasser, hold on, please. David Harris, hold on. We’re going to take a break. We’ll come back and talk to you, some more. Stay with us.
R.G.: See, one of the things that, um, too many people in my business do is they, uh, don’t say anything. They talk a lot, but they don’t say anything. I’ve been accused of that, too. I try not to do that – I try to say something when I’m talking, but, um, I just go back to the word “traveler”. It’s just irritating me so much, that, you know, we’re talking about people who are leaving this country, who may be Canadian citizens, are Canadian citizens, have some sort of emotional, psychological, religious affiliation with a, with a group like ISIS. They go over and they fight for ISIS, and we call them “travelers”. They would never call themselves “travelers”. But that’s the word that we’ve designed and, and it’s supposed to be OK. Well, it isn’t. But, the fact is, the people are asking themselves, how do we resolve this issue that is currently facing the world? What do you do? What do you do? What’s the answer? What’s the answer to, uh, young people leaving this country and going overseas, or having an emotional attachment to a group like ISIS? What’s the answer? That’s what people want to know. We’re not getting the answers from our politicians, and, um, we’re not. David Harris is President of INSIGNIS Strategic Research. You could have chosen an easier word.
R.G.: Too many syllables.
R.G.: Too many syllables for a simple guy like me.
D.H.: Happens to the best of us.
R.G.: INSIGNIS Strategic Research. Former CSIS Chief of Strategic Planning. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, author of Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith. Zuhdi, you have me at a huge disadvantage when you talk about things that happened fifteen or twenty years ago. Uh, I don’t know. And, eh, but, but I want to look at what’s happening, today, and how, how we move forward. What needs to happen? What needs to be done? We’ve said that ISIS advances and succeeds despite the air coalition attacks, and, and so, what that does, is generate – they get tremendous coverage, media coverage – and that generates just an opportunity for more support for ISIS from people who may already be emotionally somewhat, ah, linked with them. What do we do to resolve the situation as it currently exists? Is there a way to do it? You heard what’s happening in Kobani – you know that. You’ve got Turkish tanks sitting across the road, virtually, from, from Kobani, doing nothing. The airstrikes are not having the effect that – to stop ISIS. What do you do to resolve this issue? Dr. Jasser, what do you do?
Z.J.: Well, I mean, the reason I was talking about back then is, is these same individuals, now, uh, recently they wrote a letter to Baghdadi and you can look at that website, letters to Baghdadi, and these are ISNA, CAIR, imams of the North American Imams Federation, and it’s been heralded, it’s been heralded by the uh, uh, mainstream media, as being this Islamic anti-ISIS document. And, if you look at it, it still endorses the caliphate, it endorses jihad, it endorses sharia in government, and, basically, all it says is ISIS is doing it the wrong way, in a barbaric way. So our allies –
R.G.: I haven’t seen that. So you have me at a disadvantage. I haven’t seen it. I don’t know the document. But how do you move forward, Zuhdi?
Z.J.: So, so you engage with Muslims who are against these ideologies, who are, who are courageous enough to say, you know what, we’re not only against ISIS’s jihad, we’re against all jihad. We believe in the secular state. We believe in liberalism. We are against sharia in government, we believe sharia should be a personal decision, not for the state or the local or, or, or regional governments to make. We reject the caliphate. These are barometers that are simple to make. Our American Islamic Forum and our coalition of anti-Brotherhood, anti-Islamist groups, has such litmus tests that are easy to make, and we can tell who an Islamist is by those litmus tests. And you can tell who is a jihadist and who’s not. And –
R.G.: So is it, so is it, then – so is it media and government who are failing to do what you’re suggesting needs to be done?
Z.J.: Exactly. They don’t even want to talk about Islam.
Z.J.: They want to call it, “traveling” and “violent extremism”, and all these things –
R.G.: Well, well, Zuhdi, is it, why is that happening? Is it because, uh, they’re, we’re not educating ourselves, enough? Is it because, er, somebody’s taken sides? Why is it?
Z.J.: Because, the primary thing is that O[rganisation of]I[slamic]C[ooperation] countries, the advisers to our governments, here, are primarily part of that Islamist lobby. They will do anything to shield the West, which is the only counter-argument to what they’re trying to do, because, in the Middle East, it’s a battle between Arab fascists and Islamists.
R.G.: What’s the objective?
Z.J.: Here –
R.G.: What’s the objective?
Z.J.: Their objective is to get America and the West out of influence in the Middle East, so that they can fill the vacuum of the Arab Awakening with Islamic theocracy. And –
Z.J.: What they want is our ideas of moderate, liberal Islam to be suffocated and removed, and the best way to do that is to stop us at the free-speech element and in the counterterrorism element of the anti-jihadist movement.
R.G.: OK, now, I’ve talked to you many times, and you had a debate with a representative, uh, from CAIR, on, on this show. Uh, it was probably about two years ago that that happened. Do you see – uh, is there enough support for the position that, that you’re taking, and, and advocating and explaining – is there enough support for that position, within the Muslim community of the United States, and I’ll extend it into Canada?
Z.J.: Well, this has not been tried. You know. We have – absolutely. We have twenty different organizations in our coalition. In Canada, you have Muslims Facing Tomorrow. You have folks like Tarek Fatah, the Muslim Canadian Congress and others that are trying to get attention. But if they continue to be marginalized and ignored, they are not going to get the platforms and the support to be realized as being part of the solution. So, you know, sort of like, which came first? If we are marginalized, we can’t get the support – Number one. Number two: if you used the identification of Muslim groups through Google – whoever calls themselves “Islamic” – you’re going to get Islamists. If you say, you know what, let’s find Muslim leaders that happen to be engineers and lawyers and politicians and, and regular part of civic society, that’ll give you a whole different constituency, which is what the government hasn’t tried to do.
R.G.: And, I’ll tell you why governments don’t do that: they’re not smart enough. The people in government are not smart enough. I, I, I don’t mean – I’m not trying to be disrespectful. They’re just not. They’re just not.
D.H.: Some of, some of, some of the people in, in government are now –
R.G.: Maybe I’m not being fair, David, by saying
R.G.: I don’t want to tar them all –
D.H.: It’s a mixed thing. It’s a mixed thing. And, look, as Zuhdi has said, there is no shortage of organizations in Canada to look to. I’m on the advisory board, as a non-Muslim, of the Muslims Facing Tomorrow organization, led by Ms. Raheel Raza. And, as, uh, Zuhdi mentioned, there is, of course, the Muslim Canadian Congress, founded by Tarek Fatah, among others. Uh, these people should be looked to. They are heroes in our midst. They –
R.G.: So, David, David, tell me this, we have two minutes left – two-and-a-half minutes left. Why are they not being looked to? Why are they not being sought out by media? Why are they not being sought out by government leaders? Why?
D.H.: I think there’s a lot of confusion and, often those who represent a more radical tendency, are much, much better funded, often from abroad and better organized, as zealots, of course, tend to be. So, the good guys tend to live normal, everyday lives. Now, I don’t only differ with Dr. Jasser in the idea that if you, by merely looking at, uh, say, professions of people, you might be on the right track. Unfortunately, in Canada, we’ve got a number of lawyers who are actually at the centre of radicalism. But, beyond that, uh, if, if we look to these moderates – genuine moderates – and do our homework, we’ll be alright. One of the problems that I think we’ve found in government is, as one senior official with the RCMP outreach unit said years ago, we cannot pick and choose between Muslim groups. Well, if you cannot pick and choose between Muslim groups, between radicals and moderates, you’re going to wind up precisely where you are, today, and that is a very dangerous place to be in –
R.G.: Well –
R.G.: David Harris, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, I thank you both for coming on the program. If the people, if anybody you have taken to task on the show feel that they would like to have, uh, equal time on the show, I’m, I’m going to offer them that, and, if they wish to debate you, I guess you’d both be willing to do that?
D.H.: Very good.
Z.J.: Any time. Any time.
R.G.: Uh, Zuhdi, thank-you, uh, as always, for participating, and David, you, as well. I appreciate the time, gentlemen, thanks.
Z.J.: Thank-you, Roy.
R.G.: It’s the Roy Green Show on the Corus Radio Network. This is a – this is such a hugely significant issue, and such a hugely important matter for us to educate ourselves on. You know, we’re talking about – to bring this back to the beginning of our discussion – we’re talking about young people, young, in many cases, young Canadians, who, um, go overseas, and they join ISIS, and they fight for ISIS. The question is, why? Why? Em, I said, as well, it’s, it’s tough to fight ideas and philosophies and beliefs with bullets, but sometimes, you must. And, um, ah, we’ll be getting into the issue of the vote in Parliament a little bit in the 4:30, sorry, 4:30 Eastern Time, wherever you are – the last segment of the show, with Catherine [ph] and Linda [ph] and Michelle Simpson [ph], who’s a former Liberal MP. And I don’t think Mr. Trudeau distinguished himself over the last couple of days. We will come back and will be talking to, uh, the incoming President of the Association of Me – Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Canada. The other huge issue, globally, is the Ebola virus struggle. Stay with us.
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