Domestic Terror 2.0

Can You Spot the Domestic Terrorist

On January 28, 2020, a Twitter post on the DecolonizeThisPlace account called for a violent uprising in New York City. The message was: 

“The streets are ours. The trains our ours. The walls are ours. This moment is ours. How will you and your crew build and fuck shit up for #FTP3 on #J31 (THIS FRIDAY)? Issa mothafuckin’ movement.”

Three days later, on January 31, swarms of flash mobs carrying Palestinian, anarchist, and Antifa flags flooded several NYC MTA stations. The violence that ensued immobilized several transportation hubs in the city and resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to equipment and forced a large mobilization of NYPD and emergency service resources.

Fuck the Police J13
Image 1: The post from the anonymous masked individual calling for a violent intifada in NYC

The video embedded in the original tweet featured three hooded individuals one of whom delivered a lengthy social justice oration and openly called for violent attacks and a wide scale uprising. 

Fuck The Police J13 Video
Video 1: The DecolonzeThisPlace call for a violent uprising in NYC

On January 3, seventeen days before the violence erupted, the same Twitter account published an extensive political manifesto and a how-to guide titled:

“A report and analysis on the recent mass transit and anti-police #FTP (Fuck The Police) actions across the New York area.”

This detailed how-to primer for waging urban warfare in any large US city focused on targeting emergency service personnel and the transportation infrastructure. The following is an abridged version of the document:

I. The global wave of revolutionary uprisings kicked off last year has finally reached the shores of the USA. This Friday, the third #FTP protest took the streets and trains of New York City, the latest demonstration in an emerging movement fighting to win four demands:

  • Free fare on the NYC transit system,
  • No cops on the trains or in the stations,
  • The end of police harassment of street vendors and performers, and
  • Full accessibility for all

This protest was a clear escalation from #FTP2 on November 22nd, and points to the culmination of years of revolutionary intelligence being built in the city, from Occupy to Black Lives Matter. Young people formed an essential contingent of the demonstration, providing spirit, vitality, and determination unburdened by entrenched activist dogma.

II. The bet of #FTP3’s strategy was correct: the police cannot keep up with a diffuse crowd using the subways to flash mob different locations around the city. Diverse crowds of people stormed train stations, hopped turnstiles by the hundreds, chained open emergency doors and destroyed ticket readers. Train cars full of protesters branched off into multiple directions, creating “freedom trains” where people chanted slogans, dialogued with commuters, and graffitied the subways together.

NYPD’s model of policing relies on them having close contact with marches, flooding the streets with police and to keep protesters on the sidewalk, and making violent arrests whenever protests don’t move fast enough. They rely on following the marches through traffic in police vans, and are unable of predicting where marches will exit the subways. When the marches move through the trains, they can surface back up far from police control, and have ample ammount [sic] of time in the streets before the cops are able to catch up. The speed of these protests is an essential advantage over the police, who rely on bureaucratic chains of command and are thus incapable of making decisions on the fly. ‘Freedom Trains’ are both tactically effective and spiritually liberating, and reflect a core principle of the movement: the journey is the destination.

In concrete terms we see leaderless resistance that stays physically moving and outpacing the cops as a viable tactic. What is lacking most in the crowd is experience, but the momentum from the first #FTP march to #FTP3 is quickly building up the confidence of the protesters. Small subversive acts create trust between people who then feel safe doing even more subversive activities later. This lack of trust within the movement has been one of its biggest obstacles, but luckily #FTP3 proves that this trust can be built especially quickly when the justification and know-how behind these acts of subversion are clearly communicated. This is the subtle art of pushing struggles towards their revolutionary horizons. The more people trust each other to face their fears together, the better chance we have at creating a rich and diverse movement.

In comparison with past demonstrations in New York, this march felt much less determined by activist figureheads or non-profit organizations, and we see this as a sign of growing maturity. We’ve learned our lessons from Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street. The few moments where authority figures were able to seize control – in Grand Central Station, in Restoration Plaza – were also the moments where most arrests occurred. The relative absence of leadership, however, comes with an important caveat, familiar to anarchists : it’s on us to self-organize and to take initiative, and we must share the knowledge of how to do so with as many people as possible.

Compared to #FTP2, there were quantitatively more spontaneous acts of resistance, both during and in the lead up to #FTP3. We suspect that this increase in autonomous direct action is directly linked to the propaganda strategy pushed by various groups online, encouraging people to come prepared with things like lasers, paint, bicycle locks, and umbrellas. With a young crowd, we have to open source the unique skill-sets of sabotage and organization we’ve built up over the years. Spreading instructions manuals and infographics massively on social media resulted in diverse and leaderless affinity groups taking up various levels of subversive activity, from using umbrellas to shield protesters disabling ticket machines, to using laser pointers [that permanently blind ] to keep the cops at a safer distance. This made the crowd’s dynamic much less determined by either specialized activist groups or by isolated militants. Also effective was the social media strategy of posting of a continual and ongoing stream of autonomous actions throughout the day before the demonstration, documenting acts of resistance blossoming all across the city.

III. Coming out of this, we offer the following proposals for a two-pronged strategy for the future of the movement.

Diversity of tactics means diversity of content: we need to produce propaganda from many different angles reaching out to as many different kinds of people as possible. The goal is to create an open source database of anarchist knowledge that doesn’t restrict this knowledge to a specialized group of self-proclaimed ‘activists’ or ‘militants’. We need content that’s humorous, angry, sad, informative, inspiring, all working together to create a wide ecosystem of affects and information. If you can’t go to the march, you should meme it. Everyone has a place in the movement, and both our propaganda and our organizing should reflect this.

Find ways to digitally allow people in metropolitan areas to coordinate with each other on a large scale, both in daily life and especially during the protests. This helps people share their reflections and experiences and create an environment where a visible class consciousness can emerge. It also helps people coordinate in mass to be maximally effective in the constantly changing environment of a mass demonstration. While being leaderless is a clear advantage, the movement at this point lacks the architecture that could synchronize protest actions both in the moment, and over an extended period of time.

The end of the protests present the unique opportunity for uncontrollable action to spread. When the march ends, people should hop the train together in a crowd and flash mob unexpected locations spontaneously. The forumla [sic] s simply: exit the train, graffiti the train station, take the streets, build barricades to prevent the cops from chasing, and march to the next station to do it all over again. The success of #FTP3 shows that the cops can be easily outpaced. Urban geography is a weapon, and we can use it against them just as effectively as they use it against us. We must set the tempo of our demonstrations and never let it be determined for us. Our biggest advantage is the capacity to disperse and regroup before the cops can mount an effective response. In the future, this coordination should be facilitated by digital platforms, which would allow crowds of thousands to people to quickly disseminate the locations of targets to flashmob, and the locations of meet-up points for protesters to re-convene.

When we Breath, we Breath Together

Is This for Real?
Of course, this could all be just my take on it but having been in the business of evaluating threat intelligence for a long time, I tend to take seriously any video that features a masked and Kafia clad individual who uses a software voice modulator to mask their identity in a call for a violent and armed intifada especially, when they have an established track record of delivering the goods.

Amin Husain FTP Composite Amin Husain using epoxy paint to destroy an OMNI terminal
Video 2: R-L Footage from one of the organizer’s phones showing him using epoxy paint to destroy an OMNI payment terminal and several composite clips showing him and others destroying fare card readers and vandalizing MTA rail cars

Regardless of the progressive, apologetic narrative which tries to pass these attacks as a poetic expression of the urban artistic collective, the DecolonzeThisPlace and MTL+ calls and actions to blind NYPD officers with high powered green lasers and to destroy and vandalize trains and MTA infrastructure is sabotage in its purest form. In fact, back in the old days, in the 1940s, when IBF/JOD spent more time doing their job and less on political activism, all these perpetrators would have been promptly arrested as unlawful combatants, court martialed, and most likely executed.

So in the spirit of “see something, say something”, I decided to throw a little time and computational resources at the problem and shine light on the leadership behind this little intifada project.

The Solution Framework
Illustration 1 shows some of the system components and the solution architecture that I’ve used in this project. You can also find more information about similar projects in my posts: Military Romantic Scams – The Theory and Practice, The Fifth Column and the Pro-Iran Movement in the US, and Mechanics of Deception.

The Architecture
Illustration 1: System components and solution architecture

To conduct the video analytics and the data analytics, I’ve utilized the following tools:

The Search Strategy
A combination of AI based video, audio, and big data analytics can help identify individuals and discover complex linkages by efficiently performing massive data searches (the FR for example, can scan 2.7 millions facial images per second) and by breaking down the anonymity that comes with swarming crowds, poor quality imagery, and masked faces. Following this approach, my strategy for uncovering the organizers of the MTA riots was to use several cyber techniques such as device fingerprinting, collect some SIGINT, and perform digital forensics. 

Nitasha Dhillon The Many Faces of an Intelligence Asset
Image 2
: Sample AI based cataloging of one person of interest, Nitasha Dhillon, AKA “Snow Leopard”, AKA “Rosa Luxemburg” a globe trotting New York artist and a co-founder of DecolonzeThisPlace and MTL+

Then, to collected all of the footage and video and ran video analytics on it. The widely available social media content of these riots and other related demonstrations allowed me to perform machine learning (ML) on various DecolonzeThisPlace and MTL+related objects such as signs, stickers, banners, art, fashion, flags, keywords, and associated people.

DecolonzeThisPlace Art and Artifacts
Image 3: Sample source images used to train ML model to identify art styles affiliated with DecolonzeThisPlace and MTL+

The large volume of hand written materials and graffiti specimens produced with markers and spray paint also made it possible to train the ML to identify individual writing styles. This in turn was used to create personal dossiers.

Sample content identified
Image 4: Sample content identified by the AI via writing style and calligraphy matches as belonging to the organizers of the riots

Linking these dossiers to articles of clothing and accessories (like glass frames, wrist bands, rings, tattoos, etc.) helped confirm the presence of the individuals at the site and time of the riots.

Mona Love
Image 5: Sampling of the dossier of Moana Love, a leading member of DecolonzeThisPlace and MTL+ collectives and a promoter of suicide bombers and the murder of civilians as the ideal form of ‘resistance’

FTP J31 Training Sets
Image 6
: Sample source images used to train ML model to identify writing styles and calligraphy affiliated with DecolonzeThisPlace

Contracting Art Work for Ilhan Omar
Image 7: Sample art identified by the AI as matching the style generated by DecolonzeThisPlace and MTL+ (artwork by Kyle Goen)

The first step in identifying the perps was to capture IP addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses, and then link them to digital content such as documents and images. Some of the document processing steps included the OCR of images (pictures of written text), and the establishment of writing style, authorship, and the creation of a chain of transmission trees. Finally, I used various image processing techniques to reconstruct the faces of the anonymous activists by removing occlusion such as hoodies, hats, shades, scarfs, pixilation, and masks from the faces. Once this was done, I used face recognition and other fusion techniques to positively identify the individuals. Out of the 63 individuals captured on images and video, the system positively identified 58. Positive identification in this context was a match certainty score of ≥90 percent.

I Think It Means What They Think it Means
Examining the targets affiliated with DecolonzeThisPlace and MTL+ retrieved about 1.3 GB of documents, video (with sound), and imagery. Many of the documents contained dozens of violent action keywords such as “fight”, “uprising”, “kill”, and “sabotage”. The imagery contained edged weapons, firearms, slingshots, and Molotov cocktails. The internal communications also contained links to where activists could purchase FTP (Fuck The Police) branded combat gear such as tactical helmets, face masks, high powered laser pointers, tactical vests, and swarming friendly shoes.

Fuck The Police Gear
Image 8: Weapons and combat gear produced and sold under the FTP (Fuck The Police) label – retrieved from the storage of Amin Husain, co-founder and leader of DecolonzeThisPlace and MTL+

The documents also included a large cache of Arabic language insurgency literature that was translated and used to create some of the derivative content that was distributed by the organizers prior to the events. Some of the publications included best practices on how to defeat the police and security services, which suggests that the authors had structured insurgency training overseas and hands-on sabotage experience.  

A Guide to Becoming Ungovernable
Image 9: “A Guide to Becoming Ungovernable”, one of several how-to combat and sabotage guides published by Amin Husain and widely distributed via a number of messaging, email, and social media platforms

Some of the briefing materials that were distributed included a detailed urban combat manual with details on:

  • How to conduct detailed reconnaissance about a target
  • Pre activity briefings
  • Review of police tactics and their weaknesses
  • Transpiration and movement maps
  • Methods to uncover government informants and how to spread false information
  • Tactical attack details
  • Backup plans and retread routes
  • A detailed schedule
  • A communication plan
  • Street hand-to-hand combat guides

Several publications were in Arabic and were sourced from Palestinians groups like Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, and Fatah. These manuals contained instructions on how to utilize techniques such as killing with knifes, kidnaping, using burning tires and garbage bins for street barricades, and the most effective techniques for throwing projectiles like bricks and stones at the enemy. 

Amin Husain Stab Stab Stab
Image 10: Samples of terror manuals and related imagery used by DecolonzeThisPlace and MTL+

The Stab Video
Video 3: “Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab Stab!”, Sample video content distributed by the DecolonzeThisPlace activist network

The Search Results
I expected that search to run for some time but surprisingly, it was complete in about 12 minutes. It turns out that the mysterious masked leadership of the MTA riots was easier to parse than I had expected. The team was made up of the following individuals:

  1. Amin Husain – The leader
  2. Nitasha Dhillon – The artistic director
  3. Marz Saffore – The muscle and interface to a host of other organization such as BLM and other black militant groups
  4. Amar Husain – An organizer and sister of Amin Husain

Marz Saffore Fuck The Police
Image 11: Example of using AI based image reconstruction to remove facial occlusions and image fusion techniques to match an individual using facial features (teeth structure), body geometry, object classifiers (missing ring indentation on finger), reconstruction of synthesized voice, skin color, and hand geometry

The Unholy Trinity
Image 12: The Unholy Trinity: Amin Husain, Nitash Dhillon, and Marz Saffore

From the communications (text, email, telegram, etc.), it became clear that Amin Husain was the official ‘leader’ of the movement (that is how he referred to himself in several communications). He was the one who decided on the time/place/form of the activity. He also controlled the budget and defined the scope and best methods to achieve the maximum impact.

The $$$ Printing Budget
Image 13
: Sampling of the bottomless budget used by DecolonzeThisPlace and MTL+ for international travel, accommodations, transportation, and supplies

Husain maintained close electronic communications and meetings with a number of foreign agents overseas informing them about his plans and soliciting their ‘technical’ advice. Some of these contacts included multiple briefings and debriefing calls via Telegram and Skype.

Amin Husain and Yossef Habshe Intel Linkage
Image 14: Amin Husain in 2018 meeting in Copenhagen with Palestinian intelligence services

He was also given access to financial and logistics resources during face-to-face meetings (in Mexico, Denmark, and England) with his Palestinian intelligence handlers.

Samer Tamimi Palastinian Intelligance Services
Image 15: Amin Husain’s handler, Major Sameer Tamimi, from the Palestinian Intelligence Services

Even though individuals like Marz Saffore and Nitash Dhillon are active participants and contributors to the cause, it seems from all material evidence that Amin Husain is the commander of this ‘resistance cell’. So for the sake of brevity, the remaining analysis will focus on him and when relevant will show his linkage to the other members.

Amin Husain Leading the FTP13 Uprising
Image 16: Amin Husain with his deputy Marz Saffore leading the armed struggle against American colonialism and occupation of indigenous people in the US

Amin Husain, The Profile of a Domestic Terrorist
Amin Husain, AKA Amene Husain, Amene, Amin Husen, and Ameme Hussain, was born in 1975 in al-Bireh, a city close to Ramallah in Israel. Husain and his family have a long history of militant acitvisem. In 2016 he spoke at the rally describing his participation in the First Intifada:

“Living 18 years in Palestine, I was fighting in the first uprising, I was throwing rocks, molotov cocktails, the like.”

I was throwing rocks, molotov cocktails, the like
Video 4
: Al-Quds Day 2016 NYC with ‘commander brother’ Husain

Husain Amin Profiles
Image 17: Two SM profiles of Amin Husain, the co-founder and leader of DecolonzeThisPlace and MTL+ 

Amin Husain Back in Ramallah
Image 18: Amin Husain and family back in the old stomping ground of al-Bireh and Ramallah honing the art of stone and Molotov cocktail throwing

Husain’s family immigrated to the US in 1993 and settled in Ohio and New York. In 1998 he graduated from Valparaiso University in Indiana with a degree in Philosophy and Political Science. He attended and graduated from Indiana University Law School (IU) in 2001. In 2004, he received an LLM from Columbia University (Columbia). Husain also studied at the School of the International Center of Photography (where he hooked up with his future collaborator Nitash Dhillon) and in the Whitney Independent Study Program.

Amar Mamoun Husain
Image 19: One apple doesn’t fall far from other apples, Amar Husain, Amin Husain’s little sister.  The secret life of a Brooklyn psychologist, Arab activist, and promoter of domestic terrorism

The NGO Assembly Line
Husain is a founding member of NYC Solidarity with Palestine,which describes itself as ‘’seeking to broaden the work being done on Palestine by opening up more expansive spaces of resistances.’’ He is a supporter of New York City Students for Justice in Palestine (NYC SJP).

Husain is also a founding member of Global Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.), a direct action wing of Gulf Labor Coalition—a self-organized group of artists, writers, architects, curators, and other cultural workers trying to “ensure worker’s rights are protected when art, labor and global capital intersect.”

Husain is an organizer for DecolonizeThisPlace (DTP) and co-founder of MTL+ he is also one of the leaders of the Abolish ICE movement and the Managing Co-Editor at TIDAL Magazine.

Husain Amin on This Land
Image 20: Nitasha Dhillon, Amin Husain’s domestic partner in action ‘telling ICE what to do’ and some of the SM media content she is promoting via the On_This_Land  Twitter account

Promoting Domestic Terrorism
On February 23, 2017, Husain posted as his Facebook cover photo a hand-drawn poster with the title:

“How to shut down the City.” The center of the poster featured speech bubbles containing words like ‘nails,’ ’tires,’ ‘glass bottles,’ ‘fire,’ ‘bricks,’’ ‘nails,’ ‘tires,’’ ‘glass bottles’ and ‘masks.’

Underneath these speech bubbles was a step-by-step guide, showing a person being head-butted, kicked in the groin, kicked in the face, elbowed in the back, kicked to the ground and then kicked again. Text on the right hand side of the poster urged:

’WALKOUT EVERYWHERE’’, ‘’STRIKE EVERYWHERE’’, “BOYCOTT EVERYWHERE’’, BASH EVERYWHERE’’, ‘’DECOLONIZE EVERYWHERE’’, ‘’SABOTAGE EVERYWHERE.’’

Becoming Ungovernable
Image 21: Sample of the operational guides that were distributed prior the attacks on the MTA subway stations. Note the section titled “HOW TO SHUT DOWN THE CITY”

Publicly Endorsing Terrorism
On July 1, 2016, Husain helped lead a pro-BDS “International Day of Al Quds” rally in Times Square, New York City. The event was hosted by Free Al-Quds and endorsed by a number of anti-Israel organizations including NYC SJP.

In several speeches, Husain promoted BDS and praised it as a tool to blur the distinction “between violence and nonviolence,” which he said “no one should judge each other on.” Husain advocated fighting for “justice in* all* the ways possible — and yes, Jihadis — Jihadis in all the ways possible …”, Husain stated that:

“It is our moment to fight, and don’t let anyone tell you that you need to renounce your brother or sister because they are fighting in a way that is unacceptable.”

Calling for a US Intifada
On October 6, 2015, Husain participated in a rally at the Israeli consulate in New York City. The rally was co-sponsored by NYC SJP—and other America and Israel hating organizations, including NY4Palestine and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). The rally urged support for a “Day of Rage” in the US.

The so-called “Days of Rage” were created by Hamas as the launching pad of the new Intifada. It featured the murder of Israeli civilians by shootings, stabbings and car rammings. Husain and the protesters at the rally alternately screamed: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free, “Long Live the Intifada! Intifada! Intifada!” and “Settler settler go back home, Palestine is ours alone!”

The same day, NYC SJP posted a “statement of solidarity” with the “Day of Rage” rally that featured the image of a rock-throwing Palestinian (imager was produced by Husain’s collective), with the caption: “Let the Intifada pave the way for People’s war! [sic.]”

Images Taken by Amin Husain
Image 22
: Amin Husain personally participating in the attacks. The metadata in the files show that he was at the place and the time of the riots and that he personally engaged in some of the action.  Some of these attacks show anti-Semitic motives and intent to commit a hate crime

Promoting Criminal Behavior
In an interview dated July 29, 2016, Husain recounted an ‘intervention’ that he masterminded against the Guggenheim Art Museum. Husain said:

‘’we made our own art that named the trustees and placed it on the walls. We had to get into the space undetected and break up into groups, and people put media they’d created themselves on the walls. It was a transgression; it caused harm to the museum and simultaneously allowed everyone to make their own art.’’

Husain and Dhillon and the Gulf Labor Coalition
Image 23: Amin Husain and his domestic partner, Nitasha Dhillon, running the Qatari sponsored GULF Labor Coalition to sabotage the Guggenheim plan to open an extension in Abu-Dhabi

Husain went on to describe another one of his public acts of vandalism:

Another example that emphasizes action more so than art and organizing would be the dropping of a 90 ft. x 45 ft. banner off of the Manhattan bridge that said ‘’Gaza in our hearts/Boycott/Divest/Sanction/Israel” . We bought all of the pieces without credit cards and worked day and night for about 20 days, studying the NYPD and researching laws around federal terrorism charges. Then we did a successful action—and never got caught.’’

Amin Husain and His Little Flags in NYC
Image 24
: The illegal flags of Amin Husain and the NYPD’s consistent inability to find out who is behind these acts

Meeting and Supporting Islamic Jihad Terrorist
Husain worked on a film titled “The Coming Intifada.” On November 15, 2015, images from the production were posted on the film’s Facebook page, that showed Husain meeting with Khader Adnan, a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). PIJ is dedicated to the violent destruction of Israel and the establishment of a sovereign, Islamic Palestinian state in place of the state of Israel. PIJ does not use social nor information welfare; it concentrates on attacks against Israeli civilians and military forces, sometimes using women and children as suicide bombers.

Like Husain, Adnan was arrested by Israel for “activities that threaten regional security.” A 2007 YouTube video showed Adnan praising and encouraging suicide bombings: “Who among you will carry the next explosive belt? Who among you will fire the next bullets? Who among you will have his body parts blown all over?” Husain cited his meeting with Adnan in an article recounting Husain’s interview by Israeli airport security before he was barred from entering Israel.

Banned from Israel
In 2015, Husain announced on Facebook that he had been “banned from going to Palestine for one year because the Israeli Authorities determined I pose a security threat to the State of Israel.” On December 8, 2016, Husain announced on Facebook that the ban had been rescinded.

Meeting With Convicted Palestinian Terrorist Bassem Tamimi
On January 19, 2017, Husain posted photos from his visit to Bethlehem during which he met with Bassem Tamimi. Bassem Tamimi  is known for exploiting young children as political props in staged confrontations with Israeli soldiers. In 2011, he was jailed for organizing violent rallies and inciting minors to commit violent crimes such as rock-throwing.

Tamimi’s United States visa was revoked in 2016 for his failure to disclose his prior arrest and terror related conviction. Prior to the revocation of his U.S. visa, Tamimi delivered a pro-Arab terrorist presentation to third-graders in Ithaca, New York. The presentation was geared to foster hatred of Israel and Jews. Tamimi concluded it by encouraging [00:11:29] the children to become “freedom fighters for Palestine.”

Bassem Tamimi Visa
Image 25: Bassem Tamim’s revoked US visa

The Gang Back Home
Image 26: Husain’s ‘freedom fighter’ network back home

Glorifying and Calling for Active Terror in the US
On March 10, 2017, Husain posted on Facebook a video of “Palestinian women that led, fought, and sacrificed dearly.” One of the women featured in the video is Leila Khaled.

Khaled was a leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and participated in the hijacking of TWA Flight 840 in 1969 and El Al Flight 219 in 1970. Khaled has said that the second intifada failed because it was not violent enough. She advocates for the use of children in terror attacks and compares Zionists to Nazis.

Prep for day of rage
Image 27: Samples of Amin Husain’s published calls for terror attacks against targets in NYC and some other militant literature that includes a guide for “Preparing In Advance for Action” and instructions “If You Are Arrested” and detailed how-to instructions for attack, target selection, target prioritization, and recommended combat techniques (e.g. using Molotov cocktails vs. street barricades).

Amin Husain and Decolonize
Image 28: Sample of Amin Husain’s militant projects in the US. Husain’s terror activity started shortly after he arrived in the US. In 2012, he was one of the organizers of the Occupy Wall Street movement 

On August 3, 2016, Husain posted on Facebook calling Hamas-affiliated terrorist Mohammed Faqih – who murdered Rabbi Michael Mark as he was driving with his family on Route 60 in July 1, 2016 – a “Palestinian resistance fighter.”

Demonizing Israel
Husain, as part of his teaching position with NYC, claimed that ‘’In 1967, there was barely any Jews in Jerusalem and to the extent that there were Jews, they considered themselves Palestinians.’’

On August 5, 2016, Husain shared on Facebook “Important thoughts by Professor Steven Salaita on #BlackLivesMatter endorsement of #BDS,” in which Salaita described Israel as a “normative emblem of racism, inequality, and plutocracy masquerading as the apotheosis of liberal democracy.”

In 2014, The University of Illinois (U of I) withdrew an offer of employment to Salaita after becoming aware of his anti-Semitic tweets. One tweet, posted on June 19, 2014, shortly after Hamas kidnapped three teenage Israeli high school students, read: “You may be too refined to say it, but I’m not: I wish all the f**king West Bank settlers would go missing.” The bodies of abducted boys were found buried in Palestinian-controlled territory on June 30, 2014.

On May 15, 2016, Husain posted on Facebook a graphic featuring a series of maps that presented lands once controlled by Britain, Egypt and Jordan as autonomous “Palestine,” purportedly stolen by Israel. The description under the maps called Israelis “ fascist Zionist invading occupiers.”

Amin Husain Sample Map Shwing no such place as Israel
Image 29
: Amin Husain and his network distributing maps showing the elimination of the State of Israel

The maps claim that lands once controlled by Britain, Egypt and Jordan as autonomous “Palestinian land,” were purportedly stolen by Israel. In February 2016, publisher McGraw-Hill Education recalled copies of a college-level textbook that contained the fraudulent maps. In October 2015, the United States cable news network MSNBC apologized for airing a similar series of maps and retracted them.

Demonizing America
In 2012, Husain was a featured speaker at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration on ‘’Al-Quds Day.’’ In his speech, videoed and published by Oppression TV on November 19, 2012, Husain stated:

”I grew up in Palestine, and I was there during the first Palestinian uprising, and I was a member of Fatah and part of the resistance movement. Then I came over here, searching for an American Dream that has never existed.’’

Amin Husain and Stop the Pigs
Image 30: Images circulated by Husain in his calls for attacks against the police

Husain stated on a number of public occasions:

‘’The oppression is here. And it’s ok it say we that live in a police state, that’s repressive, with surveillance on us because of the color of our skin and what we believe in. And we have to put our bodies at risk and that we can’t rely on governments, on NGO’s, on charities.’’

Husain continued:

” Who does the government serve? And who do they protect? We’ve been in the shadows of 911 for too long. We didn’t do it. This did it [gesturing towards the surrounding buildings on Wall Street]. And who owns this? Who controls this? Because I‘ll tell you what. I’m fighting for Palestine by fighting here.”

Amin Husain's Urban Blitz
Image 31
: Sampling of some of the operational documents that detail various procedures such attack target selection, target prioritization, recommended combat techniques (e.g. using Molotov cocktails), pre activity preparation checklists, and a guide on how to resist police interrogation

The Leadership Team
Image 32: Amin Husain with the urban revolt leadership team

In 2019, Amin led the weekly protest at the Whitney Museum in New York called the “Nine Weeks of Art and Action” to protest Warren B. Kanders’ position as the vice-chair of Whitney’s board of directors. At the end of the protest on May 17, 2019, he led the protestors to Kanders’ home. Due to the ongoing harassment and for fear for his and his family’s safety, Kanders eventually resigned from the museum board.

Amin Husain's Attacks on Warren Kanders
Image 33
: Amin Husain organizing the attacks and harassment of Warren Kanders and the board members of other New York city museums

Amin Husain Calling for a Day or Rage Across the US
Image 34: Sampling of reference materials Amin Husain is distributing through his artist collective calling for a “Day or Rage” and an armed uprising across the US

Amin Husain Attacking Jews
Video 5: Amin Husain, Nitasha Dhillon (AKA “Snow Leopard”, AKA “Rosa Luxemburg”), Marz Saffore, and Shellyne Rodriguez (AKA “Shellmicar Cabral”) assaulting a Jewish reporter who is covering one of the BDS events

Amin Husain’s Secret Powers
Husain is no starry-eyed, amateur justice warrior. He is a professionally trained and financed Palestinian terrorist and saboteur. Between 2004-2009 he worked as an attorney for the international law firm King & Spalding LLP, so he knows exactly how to leverage his legal expertise to avoid persecution. His formula so far has been a combination of obfuscating and anonymizing his direct involvement in the activity and the leverage of very powerful network of political supporters in NYC.

It is important to note that beside running the US web of ‘revolutionary’ organizations, he is also deeply involved in other domestic and international armed resistance movements such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Maxican Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), and the Islamic State Jammu & Kashmir.  

Laurie Arbeiter Iove You so Much
Image 35: Amin Husain’s immediate influence network of US and foreign organizations and leading progressive militant activists such as Laurie Arbeiter (who has been arrested multiple times but somehow managed to walk away each time without any charges)

Amin Husain with the Zapatista National Liberation Army
Image 36: Amin Husain providing strategic and material support to the Zapatista National Liberation Army during his 2019 visit to Mexico. 

TW Collins The Leni Riefenstahl of the Progressive Movement
Image 37: Sample showing the progressive influence network in action and some of its political linkages

From the documents retrieved during this search, it appears that Husain’s ability to walk through walls and magically resist prosecution can be traced to powerful NYC political figures such as Linda Sarsour and Mayor Bill de Blasio. As can be seen from the linkage below, de Balsio received large portions of his funding and electoral support from NYC Muslim Brotherhood affiliated organizations and socialist groups like PSL and the ANSWER coalition.

de Blasio and his Muslim Brotherhood Network Support
Image 38: New York City mayor de Blasio and his little Muslim brotherhood shindig and bottomless election funding source

When asked why the NYPD failed to identify and persecute the leaders of the MTA riots, New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea (who is a former Chief of Detectives and quite familiar with investigative work) just sheepishly defended de Blasio. When asked why de Blasio remained silent for 24 hours before tweeting his “disapproval of the protests”, Shea said:

“I won’t even call that a protest. That was criminal activity… I’ve spoken to the mayor personally. I know he’s spoken publicly about it. I think quite honestly it’s not the mayor. It’s other people, it’s many other people.”

Eventualy, after some public backlash, de Blasio also came around and said that he was “repulsed by the hooliganism”, but he still refused to classify these attacks as illegal or take any enforcement actions against the perpetrators.

The Big Question
What should puzzle everyone about the Amin Husain story is that despite all evidence, he is the still toast of the New York progressive intelligentsia. The New York Times adores him and promotes him as one of the leading urban artists on the scene. He gets unlimited PR and access to New York state resources and museums. Lucrative academic teaching positions just magically fall at his feet. He is an adjunct professor at the Pratt Institute (Pratt), New York University (NYU) and The New School for Social Research (New School) specializing in ‘urban resistance’. Husain also teaches at New York University’s (NYU) Gallatin School of Individualized Study in the Media Culture and Communication Department and has taught at the New School’s Media Studies Department.

His social and professional network is fully aware that he is involved in domestic terrorism and engages in the vilest forms of anti-Semitism, but none of the moral compasses of the New York artistic establishment seems to care. They all just sit silently on the sideline watching and sipping their venti skim triple shot macchiatos, waiting restlessly for the next installment of blood and gore. Not a word of protest nor rebuke. 

NYT Pimping Amin Husain as a Wonderfully Creative Urban Artist
Image 39: The New York Times promoting Amin Husain as a social justice urban artist

This whole domestic intifada also raises some serious questions about the New York City sanctuary practices and the lawlessness that it promotes. From the counter intelligence point of view, it is very unlikely that Amin Husain hasn’t blipped on the NYPD radar. In 2015 he was barred by the Israeli authorities from entering the country on the grounds that he was involved in supporting terrorism. This information was communicated back to Obama’s State department, the department of HLS, and the NYPD but for some reason, Husain—in the style of Agent Smith—manages to dodge all bullets and continues to operate his little ‘resistance cell’ unaffected.

Even the lack of action by the social media police is puzzling. Many of the inflammatory and militant materials Husain and his cell posted in the open on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and websites took place weeks before the January 31 attacks. Yet none of this content was flagged nor blocked. This is despite the fact that it can be identified with the identical stop words and image that would trip any violence filters used by the SM platforms. Additionally, the NYC broadcast media the likes of CNBC and MSNBC were fully aware of the ongoing preparations for the MTA attacks, as some of the emails and messages from the DecolonizeThisPlace organizers clearly indicate that they counted on favorable MSM coverage.

Considering all of the virtue signaling that the likes of Facebook and Twitter do about removing ‘extremist’ speech and the lightning speed in which they de-platform conservative users and content, it’s noteworthy that they allow and even encourage the circulation of these types of anti-American and violent Anti-Semitic materials on their platforms.

Conclusion
In 1809, on the thirty-second anniversary of the Battle of Bennington, Vermont state officials invited John Stark, the American commander of the battle and one of the heroes of Bunker Hill, to deliver a speech. Stark, at that point, was suffering from painful rheumatism and could not travel to Bennington so he responded with a letter. He recalled the men he’d served with in Bunker Hill and Bennington and said:

“I am the enemy of all foreign influence, for all foreign influence is the influence of tyranny. This [the US] is the only chosen spot of liberty—this the only republic on earth.”

He noted that America’s biggest enemies during the Revolutionary War came from within in the form of subversive factions. He wrote that “by having good sentinels at our outposts we were apprised of the danger.” and that without these sentinels, American liberty may have perished without a fight or resistance. Stark continued, “These are my orders now, and will be my last orders to all my volunteers.” He commanded those who were to carry on the responsibility of safeguarding liberty to maintain vigilance, to stay alert, and always maintain sentries. Stark concluded his letter with a toast to as a tribute to his soldiers, Live free or die—Death is not the worst of evils.

From the unchecked spiraling lawlessness and violence of DecolonzeThisPlace and its many affiliated anarchist organizations, it is evident that NYC law enforcement and the DA are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute these terror cells. The reasons for this are unclear. It is very unlikely that Husain is a high value US intelligence asset but if he is, then my prediction is that he is another ticking Omar Mateen and so is anyone affiliated with his movement. In the future, if not checked, their violence as art will only escalate and is likely to end up a mass casualty incident.

Fighting domestic radicalization and terrorism can’t be left in the hands of politicians like de Blasio whose financial support base and constituency is made up of a large number of Muslim Brotherhood members and despotic middle eastern interests. 

There are plenty of laws on the books to deal with these acts of terror, hate crimes, hate speech, and destructive foreign influence. We don’t need to legislate new ones, we just need to be consistent in enforcing the existing laws. The million dollar question for the DOJ shouldn’t be ‘under what statute should these people be charged?’, but rather ‘why aren’t they being charged in the first place?’ And who exactly are these mysterious “many other people” that are preventing the NYPD from doing its job?

Foreigners like Amin Husain and Nitasha Dhillon hate everything about America and everything it stands for. These types of individuals shouldn’t be here; they should be striped of their citizenship and deported back to where they came from. I am certain that INS won’t have any difficulty replacing them with law abiding and productive immigrants that will be grateful to take advantage of what the “only chosen spot of liberty—this the only republic on earth”  has to offer.

To the rest of us, lets heed Stark’s advice:  Keep sentinels. Be alert. Be vigilant.

 

Sources and References
Stark, Memoir and Official Correspondence, 312-313
The Canary Mission – Portions of this post are based on the research published by TCM

FTP3 Operations Manual – The DecoloinzeThisPlace Fuck the Police Operations Manual
The Casbah – The DecoloinzeThisPlace urban guerrilla primer
Chinatown Not for Sale – The DecolonizeThisPlace literature on fighting landlords in Chinatown
NYCNot4Sale – DecolonizeThisPlace brochure on the elimination of private housing in NYC
Decolonize This Place – About the organization brochure
Cultures of Accountability – A DecolonizeThisPlace pamphlet for school distribution
Palestine BLM Boycott Arts – A DecolonizeThisPlace ideological liberation guidebook

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS)
On February 18, 2015, Husain co-wrote an article titled “Against Amnesia: The Cultural Boycott of Israel Matters” in which he claimed that Israel “intentionally targeted homes and the infrastructure of living, such as factories and schools” during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and accused Israel of “apartheid”, “racism”, “military experimentation on people” and “open-air prisons.” Husain’s article omitted that multiple news sources had exposed Hamas’ calculated exploitation of civilian infrastructure to attack Israel and Hamas’ use of human shields to frustrate Israel’s efforts to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza.

The BDS movement was founded by Omar Barghouti with massive Qatari investment in 2005 as an allegedly “Palestinian-led movement” to challenge “international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.”

In 2015, Barghouti was quoted saying that “BDS aims to turn Israel into a pariah state, as South Africa once was, and to isolate its regime of oppression in order to achieve our UN-stipulated rights.” The dominant organization in the BDS Movement is the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Campaign National Committee (BNC), founded by Barghouti in 2007, during the First Palestinian Conference for the Boycott of Israel. The movement has been linked to numerous terrorist organizations and received a public endorsement from Hamas. BDS initiatives include calling on institutions and individuals to divest from Israeli-affiliated companies, promoting academic and cultural boycotts of Israel and anti-Israel rallies and protests.

The movement’s most notable achievement has been the infiltration of university campuses through lobbying for “BDS resolutions.” In these cases, student governments, backed by anti-Israel affiliates, have proposed resolutions on some form of boycott of – or divestment from – Israel and Israeli-affiliated entities. These boycott resolutions, although non-binding, have been passed by student governments on numerous North American campuses. BDS activity is often violent and disruptive. It has been noted that universities that pass BDS resolutions see a marked increase in anti-Semitic and anti-conservative incidents on campus. In 2013, when the student government of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) debated a BDS resolution, reports emerged of violent threats and the spitting on a student wearing a Star of David necklace.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)
SJP was co-founded in 2001 at the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) by Professors Hatem Bazian and Snehal Shingavi. Bazian served as president of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) while studying at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and headed the Muslim Students Association (MSA) while earning his M.A. at UC Berkeley. In 2004, while the second intifada was already winding down in Israel, he called for an intifada in the United States. Shingavi, an activist tied to the International Socialist Organization (ISO), has been criticized for using his literature course as a vehicle for promoting anti-Israel propaganda. SJP has grown to become the primary student movement advancing the Palestinian national agenda on North American campuses and is the primary force behind BDS campaigns at most schools.

SJP activists frequently intimidate and harass Jewish and pro-Israel students. SJP members have physically assaulted Jewish students, aggressively disrupted pro-Israel events and vandalized communal property. SJP rallies regularly include hate-speech and chants such as “Long Live The Intifada” and “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be Free” – calls for killing Jews and for the destruction of the Jewish state. SJP chapters frequently run inflammatory campaigns against Israel and the US, including BDS resolutions, rallies, Israel-Apartheid initiatives, propaganda comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, mock checkpoints and “die-ins.” SJP chapters regularly host individuals linked to terrorist activity and speakers who use language considered anti-Semitic by the U.S. State Department.

Calling for the Annihilation of Israel
On October 4, 2015, NYC SJP wrote a statement titled “the BDS Ceiling” that conveyed the organization’s view of BDS’s ultimate purpose – to “confront and defeat Zionism” – with the goal of “the eventual establishment of a single Palestinian national state covering all of historic Palestine.”

The statement concluded that: “SJP… cannot be divorced from a larger, off-campus movement that organizes for the progressive demands of the people, regardless if those demands are related to the university.”  NYC SJP then clarified in its statement on BDS, that the movement “is not only fighting to drop israeli investments, but is fighting to change the content of the Zionist, imperialist education itself, by engaging in a struggle to liberate the university and democratically administer it to serve the oppressed communities from New York City to Palestine.”

On April 26, 2016, NYC SJP tweeted a graphic showing the map of Israel overlaid entirely with the colors of the Palestinian Flag and superimposed with the text “Je Suis One State.” The comment on the graphic read “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free.  ✊ #1948″ .

On March 1, 2015, NYC SJP members Atika Al-Bashir, Dan Cione, Nerdeen Kiswani and Leena Widdi were panel speakers in an event titled: “Revitalizing the One-State Solution.”

Supporting PFLP Terrorists
On October 18, 2015, Husain posted on Facebook an article titled “Israel, the Media and the Anatomy of a Sick Society,” which excused a then-current wave of stabbing attacks against Israelis and claimed that child terrorist Ahmed Manasra (sometimes spelled Mansara) was shot and left to die. That posting followed on a video that Husain shared on October 13, 2015, on Facebook, titled “Jewish Settlers execute 3 school children.” The description under that video claimed: “Another assassination in #Jerusalem… The Palestinian youth was shot in the head and left to bleed to death..”

Ahmed Manasra (sometimes spelled Mansara) was wounded on October 12, 2015, while he and his 15-year-old cousin, Hassan, were engaged in a stabbing spree in Jerusalem, critically wounding a 13-year-old Israeli boy and moderately wounding a 25-year-old man. The Manasras’ stabbing spree was interrupted when police shot Hassan and a passing Israeli motorist hit Ahmed, who was thereupon surrounded by enraged onlookers. Ahmed was not killed but instead taken by Israeli police for treatment at an Israeli hospital. Manasra, who admitted to investigators “I went there to stab Jews,” was later tried and convicted on two counts of attempted murder.

On July 21, 2016, NYC SJP posted on Facebook in support of Bilal Kayed. Kayed is a military operative with the the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an internationally designated terrorist organization. Kayed was incarcerated for 14 years for terrorist operations committed during the Second Intifada, in 2002.

The PFLP pioneered aircraft hijackings as a high-profile means of drawing attention to their movement, most notably with the capture of an Air France plane in 1976. The hijackers flew the plane to Entebbe, Uganda where they separated nearly 100 Jewish passengers from the others – and threatened to execute one per hour. Israel, however, launched a successful commando raid to rescue the hostages. The PFLP also claimed “credit” for the November 18, 2014 Har Nof synagogue massacre – where PFLP operatives murdered six people in a Jerusalem Synagogue with a gun, axes and a butcher knife, during morning prayers. PFLP Gaza leader, Hani Thawbta, stated: “We declare full responsibility of the PFLP for the execution of this heroic operation…”

Praised by a Terrorist Organization
On January 10, 2017, Husain posted on Facebook a photograph of passenger vehicles moving down an Israeli Highway and two Palestinians standing above. Husain commented: “Two Palestinian youth targeting an Israeli army jeep with rocks today. Resistance is everyday. #decolonizethisplace”

On October 9, 2015, the Progressive Student Labor Front (PSLF) in Gaza – an organization politically linked to the PLFP – issued a statement via the PFLP website showing solidarity with their “comrades,” NYC SJP.

The statement praised NYC SJP for leading “a march through the streets of New York calling for ‘Intifada’ and the liberation of Palestine…” The statement went on to say: ” We urge the development and escalation of BDS campaigns at an international level just as we urge the escalation of resistance in all forms and all means here in Palestine ….” and ended with an affirmation that the PSLF is “proud to call them [NYC SJP]…comrades in the struggle for the liberation of Palestine.”

Condemning Interfaith Dialogue
On January 10, 2016, Husain posted on Facebook an article titled “The Hidden Dangers of Interfaith Discussions on Palestine and Israel” (which has now mysteriously disappeared from the Huffington Post website) condemning the Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI), sponsored by the Shalom Hartman Institute. MLI was founded by Imam Abdullah Antepli, the first Muslim chaplain at Duke University, as an educational program for Muslim Americans to “understand why Jews believe what they believe, how Jews see their history, why Jews are so attached to this contested strip of land (Israel) – and thus to better engage with American Jews.” According to Antepli, MLI aimed “to put mainstream North American Jewry in conversation with their Muslim counterparts.”

In August 2013, Husain signed a statement hosted on the Al-Awda NY website to express “firm opposition to the resumption of bilateral Israeli/Palestinian negotiations under U.S. auspices in Washington DC, today, July 29.”

Copyright 2020 Yaacov Apelbaum, All Rights Reserved.

In God We Trust

In God We Trust Signs

One of the pervasive proofs for the strong affinity between Judeo-Christian ethics and the role that these principles played in the formation of American political consciousness is the national motto “In God We Trust”. This inscription is engraved on our currency. It’s inscribed on the pediment above the Speaker’s podium in Congress. It’s featured on dozens of public buildings and schools across the country. It’s printed on police cars and stamps. It’s on official state documents and generously sprinkled throughout historical speeches. It’s placed over the judge’s bench in many of our courts and it’s even featured on license plates in several states. A 2016 Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans support this motto, with close to 90% of those surveyed saying they also approve of the inscription on our currency.

In God We Trust in Congress
Image 1: The “In God We Trust” motto in congress

Despite its ubiquity and popularity, this motto has been under attack and the subject of repeated challenges in court for the past 40 years. The leading argument has been that its use violates the first amendment clause of the constitution. The use of the motto has also been actively opposed by the majority of progressive civil liberties groups on ideological grounds.

Another leading contemporary argument against the use of the “In God We Trust” is the proposition that the founders were secularists who deliberately chose the Latin phrase E pluribus unum (from many to one) because they were political inclusivists who wanted to extract religious language and symbolism from state affairs. In this post, I’ll briefly review the history of the motto, it’s deep connection to the American psyche, and refute the secularist founders argument.

A Brief History of the ‘…Trust in God’ Phraseology  
More than two thousand years before the term made its way into our political iconography and phraseology it was already in wide circulation. The primary source for the phrase and its permutations is the Hebrew Bible. The term appears in a number of books including:

Psalm 40:4
And He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God; many shall see, and fear, and shall trust in GOD.
וַיִּתֵּן בְּפִי, שִׁיר חָדָשׁ–תְּהִלָּה לֵאלֹהֵינוּ:יִרְאוּ רַבִּים וְיִירָאוּ;יִבְטְחוּ, בַּיהוָה

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in GOD with all your heart, and lean not upon your own understanding.
בְּטַח אֶל-יְהוָה, בְּכָל-לִבֶּךָ;וְאֶל-בִּינָתְךָ, אַל-תִּשָּׁעֵן

Proverbs 29:25
The fear of man brings a snare; but who so putt his trust in GOD shall be set up on high.
חֶרְדַּת אָדָם, יִתֵּן מוֹקֵשׁ;וּבוֹטֵחַ בַּיהוָה יְשֻׂגָּב

Psalm 40:5
Happy is the man that has made GOD his trust, and has not turned unto the arrogant, nor unto such as fall away treacherously.
 אַשְׁרֵי הַגֶּבֶר–אֲשֶׁר-שָׂם יְהוָה, מִבְטַחוֹ;וְלֹא-פָנָה אֶל-רְהָבִים, וְשָׂטֵי כָזָב

Psalm 73:28
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all Thy works. 
 וַאֲנִי, קִרְבַת אֱלֹהִים–לִי-טוֹב:שַׁתִּי, בַּאדֹנָי יְהוִה מַחְסִי;לְסַפֵּר, כָּל-מַלְאֲכוֹתֶיךָ

Psalm 118:8
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
טוֹב, לַחֲסוֹת בַּיהוָה–מִבְּטֹחַ, בָּאָדָם 

In God We Trust Up-Biblum God Cambridge 1663 & 1661 Early Bible Printing
Image 2: Early American bible titled “In God We Trust” printed in Cambridge in 1663

Prior to the American revolution, there were a number of hymns and manuscripts that used this and similar terms. One example is the 1770 The New England Psalm Singer songbook which contained an hymn titled “Chester” by William Billings. In 1778, Billings wrote a second version of the hymn in his The Singing Master’s Assistant . This version was sung during the American Revolutionary War.

The first stanza of this hymn contained a verse similar to the motto we use today:

Let tyrants shake their iron rod,
And Slav’ry clank her galling chains,
We fear them not,
we trust in God,
New England’s God forever reigns.

Howe and Burgoyne and Clinton too,
With Prescot and
Cornwallis join’d,
Together plot our Overthrow,
In one Infernal league combin’d.

When God inspir’d us for the fight,
Their ranks were broke, their lines were forc’d,
Their ships were Shatter’d in our sight,
Or swiftly driven from our Coast.

The Foe comes on with haughty Stride;
Our troops advance with martial noise,
Their Vet’rans flee before our Youth,
And Gen’rals yield to beardless Boys.

What grateful Off’ring shall we bring?
What shall we render to the Lord?
Loud Halleluiahs let us Sing,
And praise his name on ev’ry Chord.

An example of a pre-revolutionary era manuscript that illustrates the co-dependency of the pre-republic on G-d is the July 1774 Draft of Instructions to the Virginia Delegates in the Continental Congress written by the future president Thomas Jefferson which contained the following lines:

“The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time”  and ”Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are of God?”

A similar phrase “In God is Our Trust” can also be found in the 4th stanza of the 1812 broadside the “Defence of Fort M’Henry“, a poem that later became our national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

Defence of Fort M'Henry
Image 3
: Francis Scott Key’s poem the “Defence of Fort M’Henry”

The Need for a Religious National Motto
In 1776, work began on the design of the official seals for the new nation. The seal was to be used to formalize legal documents and international treaties. When John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson—the committee of three appointed to the task by the Continental Congress—submitted a design for the seal it included three mottos.

One of these three Annuit coeptis (G-d favors our undertakings) had an unmistakable religious tone. The other two: E pluribus unum (from many to one) and Novus ordo seclorum (new order of the ages) emphasized the republican aspects of the new nation. 

The motto “In God We Trust” began its rise to prominence as both a religious and political device during the Civil War. This was in response to the war’s carnage and horror following the terrible losses in the war’s first few months. According to US treasury documents, the genealogy of the motto on our currency can be traced back to an appeal written to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase by Rev. Mark R. Watkinson, a Baptist minister from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania. In the letter dated November 13, 1861 Watkinson expressed concern about the absence of any reference to G-d on the country’s currency. He wrote:

Ridleyville, Pennsylvania, to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase:

You are about to submit your annual report to Congress respecting the affairs of the national finances. One fact touching our currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form in our coins. You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic were now shattered beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation?

What I propose is that instead of the goddess of liberty we shall have next inside the 13 stars a ring inscribed with the words ” perpetual union” ; within this ring the all seeing eye, crowned with a halo; beneath this eye the American flag, bearing in its field stars equal to the number of the States united; in the folds of the bars the words “God, liberty, law.” This would make a beautiful coin, to which no possible citizen could object.

This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my heart I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters. To you first I address a subject that must be agitated.

In January 1862, Rev. Watkinson followed with a second letter stating:

“Dear Sir:
Will you allow a few suggestions respecting the devices upon our American coins? Is it not a burning shame that this far in our national history our coins have been so thoroughly heathenish?

Suppose our governmental fabric were now dissolved [due to the civil war]; suppose in a future era some antiquary searching among the ruins of our public edifices, even of our churches, would alight upon the corner stone memorials of them; would he not justly pronounce us an idolatrous people, worshipping [sic] the “goddess of liberty;” and perchance pantheistic also, so far as to worship eagles?

Can God, the eternal arbiter of national destiny, have been pleased with this displacement and superseding of Himself?

As a result of a nationwide campaign and the appeals from clergy and multitudes of individuals, Secretary Chase instructed James Pollock, Director of the mint at Philadelphia, to prepare a befitting motto.

Rev. Watkinson second letter to the Secretary of the treasury Chase
Image 4
: Rev. Watkinson’s second letter to Secretary of the Treasury Chase

Finalizing the Motto’s Verbiage
In November 20, 1861, Chase addressed the following letter to James Pollock, Director of the Mint in Philadelphia:

Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.

You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition.

And on that with the shield, it should be changed so as to read: IN GOD WE TRUST.”

In December 1863, the mint Director Pollock submitted designs for new one-cent, two-cent, and three-cent coins to Secretary Chase for approval. Pollock proposed the following two motto variations:

“Our Country; Our God” and “God Our Trust”, which he took from a line (“And this be our motto: In God is our trust”) from the fourth stanza of the “Star-Spangled Banner”.  Interestingly, Pollock referred to the poem as “our National Hymn”. In a December 9, 1863 letter to Mint Director Pollock, Secretary Chase replied:

I approve your mottos, only suggesting that on that with the Washington obverse the motto should begin with the word Our, so as to read Our God and Our Country”

After some additional back-and-forth, the phrase was eventually finalized as “In God We Trust”. Legislation for adding the motto was passed in April 22, 1864, and US coinage widely adopted the motto in 1865.

The Ideology Behind the Motto
Creating the new motto was an exercise in religious nationalism. The war rekindled the flame of a religious revival in the North and South armies with both sides calling on G-d for guidance. When the Confederate States of America wrote their own constitution, its preamble read as follows:

“We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity—invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God—do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.”

Constitution of the Confederate States of America
Image 5: The preamble to the confederate constitution

Many northern clergy reacted to the confederate constitution by calling for the federal leaders in DC to make a similar religious statement.

The Steady Growth in the Motto’s Popularity
The motto was intended to deliver the message that the United States was a nation of believers, and it that spirit, it appeared on some of the coins in 1864, about a year before the end of the war.

But, not everyone celebrated the new phrase. The New York Times, in true character to its MO, campaigned against it calling it a “new form of national worship”, describing “such tract-printing by the government as “always improper” and asking Americans “to carry our religion—such as it is—in our hearts and not in our pockets”.

Five years after the war, the motto was added to other denominations and with the increased circulation it gained more popularity and made its way into everyday use. By the 1870s, many Americans were already referring to “In God We Trust” as “our nation’s motto”. Moreover, it quickly became associated not only with the country’s currency, but also with our political culture. By the 1880s, the slogan was adopted by many groups such as Masonic orders in decorating their lodges.

IN GOD WE TRUSTon the 1864 Two-cent piece
Image 6: First appearance of “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the 1864 two-cent piece

Further, Prohibitionists embraced it as an unofficial motto for their movement. Activists across the political spectrum from pacifists to nativists made use of it. Political parties utilized it to lend credence to their case. In the election of 1896, for example, with the free silver political debate, Bryan Democrats charged their Republican opponents with seeking to change “In God We Trust” to “In Gold We Trust”, while McKinley Republicans responded that if Bryan won, “In God We Trust” would mean only that the coin holder could “trust in God for the balance due”.

1896 McKinley & Hobart In Gold We Trust Badge
Image 7: 1896 McKinley & Hobart “In Gold We Trust” Badge

By the close of the nineteenth century, “In God We Trust” had taken on universal religious and political meanings. The motto’s character was embraced by all religious streams, Protestant,  Catholic and Jewish alike. In 1883, the Reverend William Harris of Garrison Avenue Congregational Church in St. Louis told a multi-congregation Thanksgiving Day service how “In God we Trust” was “stamped on the coins of our country” and how he “hoped to God the same motto was stamped upon the hearts of the American people”.

In the Reconstruction era, “In God We Trust” emerged as the common ground for national reconciliation. In less than fifty years since its creation, the new motto was as revered as the American flag and became the core of the American civil religion

In 1893, Boston’s Congregation Ohavei Sholom (the Lovers of Peace) marked its fiftieth anniversary with a celebration attended by the Mayor of Boston and the Governor of Massachusetts, featuring a sermon by Rabbi Joseph Silverman on America’s “liberty and good will” toward the Jewish people and the singing of a special hymn, titled “In God We Trust”, written for the occasion.

Removing the Motto from the Currency
Interestingly, the biggest challenge to the motto came not from atheists or a progressives but rather from a religious statesmen who had given several speeches urging the American public to read the Bible regularly. Theodore Roosevelt had long felt that placing G-d’s name on the currency was a sacrilege because it was an object of greed and materialism.

Roosevelt saw his opportunity in 1907 when a new coin was being designed. He directed the mint’s artist to omit the motto which had been on coins for over fifty years by that time. His decision would evoke heated debates across the country, uniting preachers, rabbis, politicians, and ordinary citizens around the meaning of the motto and its status as a sacred and secular symbol.

The debate only lasted a few months but in the process, Roosevelt become the the first and last national political leader to question the use of the motto. Roosevelt, attempting to emulate the elegance of European coins, instructed sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create new designs for the new ten- and twenty-dollar dollar currency. Saint-Gaudens suggested that extraneous inscriptions including “In God We Trust” be removed, and Roosevelt agreed. He then authorized the Director of the Mint to issue the coins without the motto. The first of these coins went into circulation in 1907, only to be met by immediate criticism.

Roosevelt tried to defend his action by releasing a letter in which he described “In God We Trust” as a sacred symbol, a “solemn” statement of faith that “should be treated and uttered only with that fine reverence which necessarily implies a certain exaltation of spirit.” He argued that it was appropriate to place the motto on the nation’s monuments and public buildings but not on anything as common as its currency. To “leave it on [the currency] would be nothing less than “irreverence, which comes dangerously close to sacrilege”. But that was too late, the flood gates of national consensus around the motto were wide open.

Among the first to take on Roosevelt were Presbyterian leaders who denounced the design of the new coin and condemned the President’s actions and called on “all Christian ministers” to join the “fight to the bitter end for the restoration of the old motto”. In Chicago, Catholic clergy were united in their stand against removing the motto. In Baltimore, a minister preaching a sermon opposing the change convinced his congregation to petition Congress to restore the inscription. In the South, Methodist conferences passed resolutions calling on the President to rescind his order and maintain the motto on the country’s coins. Most arguments for reinstating the motto were that it was a religious statement, a clear expression of America’s belief in G-d. To strip it represented forgetting and repudiating G-d and attacking American embrace of religion.

In demanding the motto’s return, many argued that its purpose on currency was to provide a spiritual disinfectant to the otherwise corruptible worlds of investment, commerce, and trade. Boston’s Rabbi M. M. Eichler wrote that the motto should be seen as a means to overcome the growing gap between “the domain of God and the domain of gold” by reminding everyone “that all blessings come from God”.

As the debates raged on, the motto gained the support of the general public. Its promoters became more emboldened as congregants began to express strong opposition to the President’s decision. Faith-based organizations such as the Gideons mobilized in support of the motto and were joined by an coalition of civic, patriotic, and veterans groups that included chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Finally, by 1908, Roosevelt realized his defeat and performed a strategic retreat, announcing that he would not veto any bill in congress to reestablish the motto on American currency.

At that point, the motto was set in stone. A House committee wrote a bill recommending that it be restored to the country’s coins. Charles G. Edwards (D-GA) wrote “the Methodist, the Baptist, the Presbyterian, the Catholic, the Hebrews, the Episcopal, in fact all churches, all creeds, who have a belief in God, are as one in the opinion that it was a great mistake to ever have removed this motto from our coins”. Washington Gardner (R-MI) spoke about the motto’s importance for national reconciliation. He wrote “We of the North join hands with you of the South and say, your God is our God, as your people are our people”.

In 1956, after 48 years of uninterrupted use, and two years after incorporating the phrase “under God” into the pledge of allegiance, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the nation’s official motto. The law, P.L. 84-140, also mandated that the phrase be now printed on all American paper currency.

Since the 1960, in spite of numerous challenges, the Supreme Court uphold the motto, which remains the official expression of US government to this day.

The Motto in the Post Modern Era
Through extensive litigation over recent years, the progressive movement has been promoting the argument that “In God We Trust” should not be our national motto because we have now become a pluralistic society.  

To all of you post modernists/revisionist cauldron stirrers hard at work boiling hedonistic atheism as the nourishment for the new American Socialist Democracy, you may want to go back and examine the primary sources from the Revolutionary era. These days, much is being said about the separation of church and state and the removal of G-d from all public life. But as is abundantly clear from the writings of our founding fathers, there was never a doubt in their mind as to the role that G-d played in the formation of the American republic and his continued involvement in its future welfare. Let’s pray that future generations will remember our dependency on the divine. Or as George Washington wrote in 1792:

To John Armstrong

(Private)

Dear Sir,Philad. March 11th 1792

“…I am sure there never was a people who had more reason to acknowledge a divine interposition in their affairs than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency which was so often manifested during our Revolution—or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.

Your friendly wishes for my happiness and prosperity are received with gratitude—and are sincerely reciprocated by Dear Sir, Your affectionate & obed. Servt

Go: Washington

LB, DLC:GW.

From George Washington to John Armstrong, 11 March 1792
Image 8
: George Washington to John Armstrong, March 11, 1792 in regards to G-d’s role in the establishment of the Untied States and its future welfare

Sources and References:
George Washington to John Armstrong, March 11, 1792George Washington Papers
From George Washington to John Armstrong, 11 March 1792 – National Archives
The Eagle and the Shield – A History of the Great Seal of the United States – page 514
Defence of Fort M’Henry – The poem that became the “The Star-Spangled Banner”
The U.S. National Motto & the Contested Concept of Civil Religion – Michael Lienesch

The Complex Personality of Rev. Watkinson – by Roger W. Burdette 
“On November 25, 1860, in a sermon from his pulpit, Rev. Watkinson let his people know where he stood. He declared himself forthrightly in favor of the course of the South, and in opposition to the views of abolitionists. The sermon created a sensation; many people were overjoyed and called for a church conference that evening to request a copy of the sermon”

“When the Virginia Legislature passed a secession bill in April 1861, rioting and violence
threatened Portsmouth. The United States flag was torn down on April 20, 1861. Ships were burnt in the Gosport Navy Yard in nearby Norfolk – the region seemed in open rebellion. Apparently, some of the violence was directed at Rev. Watkinson and his family due to his position in the community. His family was in danger and he quickly sent his wife and children northward by steamer.”

“As the last boat was about to leave for the North on April 23, 1861, he stepped aboard leaving behind his church and congregation. There were many harsh words about his disloyalty to Virginia, and the inconsistency of his sermon versus his act of abandoning Portsmouth.”

“The next Sunday afternoon 19-year Annie M. Cox [one of Watkinson parishioners] wrote in her diary:

1861 – APRIL 28TH Sabbath afternoon. I did not go to church this morning as it commenced raining just about church time. Pa went down but there was no preaching. Alas! We are now left without a pastor. Mr. Watkinson has taken his departure, gone north & sent a letter of resignation to the church. I think it would have been much more manly & better for him if he had resigned before he left. I am very sorry that he has acted thus & that is after preaching and talking so much against abolitionists to go right among them. But we cannot judge him. God alone knoweth the heart.

1890 Director Edward Leach “In God We Trust” Letter – Based on research by Roger W. Burdette

“1890 letter from Director Edward Leech responding to a congressman’s inquiry on the origin of “In God We Trust” on U.S. coinage. The motto first appeared on the two-cent piece in 1864, although pattern pieces dated 1863 alternately employed GOD AND COUNTRY, GOD OUR TRUST, and IN GOD WE TRUST. The adoption of “In God We Trust” is one of the better documented design changes within United States coinage and is traced back to a November 13, 1861 letter from Rev. Mark Watkinson of Ridleyville, PA to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase, urging acknowledgement of Almighty God on American coinage.

Watkinson’s original proposal was much different than that eventually adopted: “What I propose is that instead of the goddess of Liberty we shall have next inside the thirteen stars, a ring inscribed with the words perpetual union. Within this ring the all-seeing eye, crowned with a halo. Beneath this eye the American flag, bearing in its fields stars equal to the number of the States United. In the fields of the bars the words God, liberty, law.”

1890 letter from Director Edward Leech responding to a congressman’s inquiry on the origin of “In God We Trust
Image 9
: Mint Director Leech’s letter to Alabama congressman Joseph Wheeler, 6/12/1890

Copyright 2020 Yaacov Apelbaum, All Rights Reserved.