Two big wins for the skillful team from our national security apparatus to bring justice to those who have or wish to do our citizens harm, at home and abroad. The USA sent a strong and clear message to terrorists, homegrown or foreign bred: “Not in our house, not to our people!”
Muhammad Emwazi, the Briton known as “Jihadi John” is dead. A ring leader known as part of the “Beatles,” a group within ISIL that handled some of our American citizens while they were hostages and eventually participated in their death. Jihadi John was front and center for many of the beheading videos, including the horrific video where he personally beheaded American journalist James Foley. He is “believed to have participated in the executions of Steven Sotloff, another American journalist; Abdul-Rahman Kassig, an American aid worker; David Haines and Alan Henning, both British aid workers; and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.” He has also been alleged to be involved in the horrific mistreatment of American Kayla Mueller prior to her death.
Muhammad Emwazi is now worm food and has finally rapped his last verse as an Islamic terrorist. He was likely killed Thursday in an American airstrike in vicinity of Raqqah, Syria after over a year of hunting him down. A Brit in Syria participating in the execution of American, British, and Japanese citizens serves as a staunch and somber reminder that the war against ISIL is a global one, not just a localized group of bored thugs hanging out in a village in the middle of nowhere playing the jihadi version of euchre. They mean business, and they are seeking to export it, including America.
Need a reminder? Look no further than Akron, Ohio:
Terrence J. McNeil, a 25-year-old Akron man was charged with soliciting the murder of members of the military by disseminating ISIL’s violent rhetoric, circulating detailed U.S. military personnel information, and explicitly calling for the killing of American service members in their homes and communities.”
Kudos to the work of our local law enforcement and the JTTF in Cleveland from the FBI for tracking him down and bringing him to justice. When asked for comment, Special Agent in Charge Anthony commented, “While we aggressively defend First Amendment rights, the individual arrested went far beyond free speech by reposting names and addresses of 100 U.S. service members, all with the intent to have them killed,” said. “We will remain vigilant in our efforts to stop those who wish to support these despicable acts.”
McNeil’s biggest transgression was posting a .gif file designed to circulate photos and addresses of US service members. “The final image looped is a picture of a handgun and a knife with text that reads ‘…and kill them wherever you find them…’” While free speech is certainly protected under the first amendment, clearly this was an act of yet another American citizen going too far to recruit for an overseas terrorist group through the use of social media.
While we are far from a perfect country, it feels good to celebrate small victories every once in a while, especially when it comes to dealing death to our most deserving enemies. More often than not, much of the works to accomplish these feats are unobserved by the greater civilian population. While the Islamic State means business, today showed our citizens and those abroad wishing to do us harm that we do as well. Let this be a lesson to you kids. While the “JV team” may have graduated to the big leagues of the global arena, we are still a force to be reckoned with. Not in our house, not to our people.