BREAKING NOW: Florida Shooter’s Brother Taken Into Custody

And the plot thickens! We are now getting reports that the younger brother of the Parkland Valentine’s day high school shooter Nikolas Cruz was committed to a mental Institution.

Local area media are saying authorities have removed someone Friday afternoon from the home of Rocxanne Deschamps. Who is said to be a longtime family friend of the Cruz brothers and took them in after their adoptive mother died of pneumonia in November of 2017,

Under the Baker Act, you can have anyone held against their will for up to 12 hours for a psychiatric exam. It’s not clear at this point in time if he was released or not.

Via The New York Post:

The younger brother of deranged school shooter Nikolas Cruz was committed to a mental health facility, according to reports.

Authorities removed someone Friday from the home of Rocxanne Deschamps, a longtime family friend of the Cruz brothers who took them in after their adoptive mother died of pneumonia in November, The Palm Beach Post reported.

A friend of Deschamps confirmed Zachary Cruz, who turns 18 next week, was the person removed from the home.

The younger Cruz brother was involuntarily committed under Florida’s Baker Act, under which he can be held involuntarily for up to 12 hours for an involuntary psychiatric exam. It’s unclear if he’s been released.

Nikolas Cruz left Deschamps’ Lantana, FL mobile home around Thanksgiving after he and Deschamps squared off over a gun.

“He bought a gun and wanted to bring it into my house,” she said in comments that have since been wiped from her Facebook page, the paper reported.

Florida Baker Act Explained:

The Florida Mental Health Act of 1971, also referred to as the Florida Baker Act, is a Florida statute found under Chapter 394 that allows for the involuntary examination though of an individual through involuntary or emergency commitment. The Florida Baker act was named after a Maxine Baker, a state representative, who had a very strong interest and much involvement in mental health issues, and served as House Committee on mental health’s chair. She was also the sponsor of the Florida Baker Act.

The nickname of the legislation, Baker act, has led to the phrase “Baker Act” being used as a transitive verb, and the phrase “Baker Acted” being used as a passive-voice verb, in order to invoke the Florida Baker Act to force the commitment on an individual. Although the Baker Act Florida is only a statute for Florida, the use of the term “Baker Acting” has become very prevalent as a slang term in other parts of the United States for involuntary commitment.

Initiating the Florida Baker Act

The Florida Baker Act can be initiated by law enforcement officials, court judges, mental health professionals, or physicians. In order for any of these officials to enact the Baker Act Florida, there must be substantial evidence that an individual has a mental illness as explained in the Baker act, or there is intent to harm oneself, others, or be self-neglectful as described in the Baker act. These examinations can occur in over 115 different designated receiving facilities under the Florida Baker act.

There are many different possible outcomes after an examination of the patient under the Baker Act Florida. Some of the possible conclusions include releasing the individual into the community or some form of community placement, petitioning for civil commitment or involuntary inpatient placement (which must result in a hearing within 5 days), requesting assisted treatment orders or involuntary outpatient placement or outpatient commitment, or having the competent individual consent to voluntary treatment. The option of involuntary outpatient placement was added in the Florida Baker Act 2005.

Admission under the Florida Baker Act

A voluntary admission under the Florida Baker Act happens when a person who is 18 years or older, or a guardian or parent of a minor, applies for the individual’s admission to a facility for observation, treatment, or diagnosis.

An involuntary admission under the Florida Baker Act happens after a court finds that either an individual is mentally ill resulting in him or her refusing voluntary placement for medical treatment or if the individual cannot determine by him or herself whether placement is necessary. An involuntary admission can also occur under the Baker Act Florida if the individual is not capable of living either alone or with help, and going without treatment will most likely result suffering due to the refusal to care or neglect or self-infliction of bodily harm as shown by evidence of his or her recent behavior. Lastly, if there are no other appropriate treatment alternatives that are less restrictive, the Baker law allows for involuntary treatment.

In a later interview, Chad Bennett, a family friend of the Deschamps, confirmed Deschamp and Nicholas Cruz had a falling out when she didn’t want the gun Cruz bought inside a home which she owned. She then gave him an ultimatum and Cruz took the gun and left. Although it’s not known if the gun he had bought is the same one which he used to kill those 17 innocent people.

Not that it would have made much of a difference since the FBI was so busy trying to overthrow President Trump to actually do its job, but why didn’t Deschamps notify the authorities that there was a deranged individual packing an AR-15 who decided to be homeless rather than giving up his firearm? Who knows, maybe one more report would have made a difference and the FBI would have taken a break from working for the Democrat Party and actually done their jobs, which is to protect the US Citizen.

This all was a screw up of epic proportions. Let’s hope that at least something good is able to come out of it and maybe the FBI is replaced by an organization which is non-partisan and actually does the job us taxpayers pay it to do. Don’t you agree?

Source: New York Post,

When Shooter Opens Fire, Witness Doesn’t Have a Gun to Fight Back — So He Uses His Car Instead

Two regular guys took heroic action to stop a man shooting an AR-15 rifle at a Dollar General store near Buffalo, New York, on Tuesday afternoon — with one of them hopping in his car and running over the suspect to prevent him from firing another round.

What went down?

  • Mark Pinnavaia owns Darylls Car Audio across the street from the Dollar General in Cheektowaga and told WGRZ-TV his employee Chris Kaufmann yelled “shots fired.”
  • Pinnavaia told the station they saw a man “shooting at the front” of the Dollar General.
  • He told WGRZ Kaufmann picked up the phone to call 911.
  • Pinnavaia grabbed his cellphone and keys, and hopped into his Ford Focus in the parking lot so he could gain a good vantage point and be “the best witness that I could possibly be,” the Buffalo News reported.

What did Pinnavaia do when the shooter momentarily put down the rifle?

  • Pinnavaia — who’s a reserve deputy for the Erie County Sheriff’s Office but didn’t have a gun on him when the bullets started flying, the Buffalo News said — saw a chance to stop the shooter.
  • “I proceeded to drive as fast as I possibly could to hit the individual,” he told the paper. “I had full intentions to hit him if that’s what it would take to stop him.”
  • Pinnavaia gunned his car across a side lawn and aimed it right at the shooter, who was running toward a Dollar General back door, WGRZ said.
  • “I caught him as he was jumping up over the roof of my car … there’s actually a foot print on my vehicle where he hit,” Pinnavaia told the station. “At that point he ran, and I jumped out of my vehicle and began a foot pursuit.”
  • Kaufmann joined the chase, and they both ran after the man until police caught up with him, WGRZ said.
  • “I was about five feet behind him when he jumped over a guard rail, and I saw officers with weapons drawn intercept him,” Pinnavaia told the station. “I broke off my pursuit and put my own hands up in the air.”

What did police have to say about the pair?

  • Cheektowaga Police Chief David Zack told WGRZ that Pinnavaia and Kaufmann  are “heroes” who likely prevented deaths: “It’s a miracle I am not reading off the names of deceased.”
  • “There was just incredible bravery on this part of these individuals,” Zack added to the station. “They were not going to be victims. They fought back, and they took this guy out, and they put a stop to it. No words could describe their courage.”

What else did Pinnavaia and Kaufmann say?

  • “This is not about being a hero,” Kaufmann told WGRZ. “This was about doing what you think you need to do and just doing it.”
  • “Some people have it in them to fight first, and I instinctively had that feeling to do whatever I could do,” Pinnavaia told the Buffalo News, adding that there was no fear, only “adrenaline.”

What’s up with the suspect?

  • Police identified the shooter as Travis J. Green, 29, the Buffalo News said.
  • He walked into the Dollar General around 2:30 p.m. and asked for an application, WKBW-TV reported, citing the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.
  • The suspect got angry and left the store, investigators told WKBW, and then fired 20 rounds with an AR-15 rifle at the store from the parking lot. He was wearing body armor and camouflage, the station added.
  • Green — who was in possession of two rifles and 800 rounds of ammunition, police told WGRZ — was arraigned on felonies including attempted murder, assault and criminal use of a firearm and was held without bail.
  • A 53-year-old Cheektowaga man was shot in the shoulder but was released from a hospital and is home with his family and recovering, WKBW-TV reported.Here’s a news report with more information on the suspect:

Biden Says Texas Shooter’s Killing Spree Shouldn’t Have Been Stopped – Here’s Disgusting Reason Why

The political debate over second amendment rights in America has heated up over the past few months. Because of our recent record-breaking mass shootings, gun control seems to be the first thing on everyone’s minds, especially politicians’. Living up to their bleeding heart reputation, the Democrats in Washington are even willing that more hearts should bleed, just so long as we don’t let the law abiding people have any more guns.

Gun control proponents logic is very simple: fewer guns = less gun violence. In other words, we outlaw guns just like we outlaw drugs and anyone caught with a firearm can have it confiscated. In the liberal mind that makes the world will be a safer place. There are a couple of problems with that logic, not the least of which being that the Founding Fathers didn’t guarantee us life, liberty, and the pursuit of class 3 narcotics. It did, however, guarantee us the right to defend ourselves.

Originally, when gun control became a hot topic, it was made very clear that the control was meant to apply to those who would misuse the firearms, which is the same reason that convicted felons aren’t allowed to own guns. They were innocent, then they were proven guilty, hence no guns. However, former Vice president Joe Biden seems to be speaking for the entire Democratic party when he says that he doesn’t think anyone should have the type of weapon that was used to stop the shooting in Sutherland Springs earlier this month.

Breitbart News reports on Biden’s recent interview where he explains that it doesn’t matter what the gun was used for, the man should never have had it:

“During a November 13 appearance on NBC’s Today, former Vice President Joe Biden answered a question on Texas church attack hero Stephen Willeford by saying, ‘Well, first of all, the kind of gun being carried he shouldn’t be carrying.’

His response came in response to an audience member who was asking how Democrats can justify pushing gun control when it was clearly the presence of a gun in the hands of Willeford that ended the attack.”

This is in reference to the fact that law enforcement has credited a card-carrying member of the NRA with stopping the already deadly attack in Texas. The man who was outside the church saw what was happening, and just like in every country song ever, pulled his rifle, propped it up on the back of his truck and did what needed to be done. That is the kind of gun control that is taught in Texas; the control to know when to use the gun, and hit what you’re aiming at.

“Willeford, who is a former NRA instructor and current NRA member, ran out of his house barefoot with an AR-15 in hand, took cover behind a vehicle and shot killer Devin Kelley when he walked out of the church. Kelley then fled the scene, only to crash and die roughly 15 minutes later. Breitbart News reported that Senate Democrats responded by introducing a ban on the type of gun Willeford used to end the attack.

On Today, audience member Brianna asked, ‘How do you justify the Democrat view on gun control when the shooter was stopped by a man who was legally licensed to carry a gun?’

Biden replied, ‘Well, first of all, the kind of gun being carried he shouldn’t be carrying.’ He then specifically mentioned ‘assault weapons’ and said, ‘I wrote the last serious gun control law that was written, it was law for 10 years. And it outlawed assault weapons and it outlawed weapons with magazines that had a whole lot of bullets, as you can kill a whole lot of people more quickly.’

He added, ‘Number two, it’s just rational to say certain people shouldn’t have guns. Now the fact that some people with guns are legally able to acquire a gun and they turn out to be crazy after the fact, that’s life. There’s nothing you can do about that.’

Again, Brianna was asking how Democrats can justify pushing more gun control in light of the fact that an armed citizen used a gun, an AR-15 in this case, to stop the Texas church attack.

Essentially the Democratic party wants to say that we’re all guilty until proven innocent. They have decided, in their infinite wisdom, that since it’s their job to control us and keep us from acting like children and killing one another, they’re going to lock up all the guns and make sure that we stay safe. Except that we’re not their children, and their job isn’t to keep us from doing anything. It’s only to intervene if someone proves themselves unfit to function in society. That’s how freedom works; you get to keep it until you prove you don’t deserve it.

If someone demonstrating, unequivocally, that a gun can be used for good, and to keep people safe, isn’t enough proof for Democrats that we shouldn’t be taking the guns away, nothing ever will be. This is a problem of power, not of gun control, because whoever controls the guns, controls the nation.

Source: Breitbart News,

WATCH: Joe Biden Says Man Who Stopped Texas Church Shooter Never Should Have Had That Gun

Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared on NBC’s “Today” on Monday where he said the hero who shot the Texas church gunman should not have had the weapon he used to stop the murder spree.

Biden’s remark came as a response to a question from someone in the audience who asked him to justify the Democrat’s call for more gun control — even though the shooter was stopped by a good guy with a gun.

“Well, first of all, the kind of gun being carried he shouldn’t be carrying,” Biden said. “Assault weapons are . . . I wrote the last serious gun control law that was written and was law for 10 years, and it outlawed assault weapons and it outlawed weapons with magazines that had a whole lot of bullets and so you can kill a whole lot of people a lot more quickly.”

Biden continued by saying that it is rational that some people not own guns but that there is nothing that can be done if a crazy person obtains a gun legally.


Tucker Carlson REVEALED: Texas Shooter Wasn’t NRA Member But…

Tucker Carlson explained the liberals why the NRA is not the one responsible for the massacre in the Texas Church.

While on air on his show Tucker Carlson TonightCarlson brought up the fact that Devin Kelley was not a member of the NRA, instead of the man who stopped the massacre was not just a member of the NRA but also he was trained by them.

On the killer’s history, he commented: “Kelley had been convicted of brutally abusing his wife and infant stepson and received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force for doing it. Even before that–before his conviction–Kelley had escaped from a mental hospital.”

After that, he shut up for good all the liberals who were saying “the NRA has too much power”by saying: “But wait, Devin Kelley wasn’t an NRA member. But the armed citizen who stopped him was.”

Then he mentioned the hero Stephen Willeford, saying that he “had been trained by the NRA in marksmanship and gun safety, and thank God for that.”

Tucker Carlson completed the show opening with the following statement:

Maybe there’s another lesson here. At every turn, the people who claim they will protect you, failed. They didn’t stop Devin Kelley, they let him buy a gun. Instead, the hero of this story is a middle-aged plumber named Stephen Willeford. He ignored basic human instinct and ran toward the sound of gunfire to save people. He was armed with an AR-15, that’s exactly the sort of rifle we’ve been told must be banned to keep us safe. Yet Willeford shot the murderer twice with that rifle and later chased him in a car, until Kelley ran off the road. Only after the rampage was over did the police arrive, and at that point, Kelley was dead.” 

Tucker Carlson just showed dump liberals that what they were saying all along was jibberish.

Seconds After Church Shooter Opened Fire, One Man Did the Incredible to Send Him TO HELL

After Devin Patrick Kelly opened fire in a Texas church and slaughtered over 20 innocent people, one man stepped up big time.

Johnnie Langendorff is a hero.

Langendorff saw Kelly flee the scene like the coward he was and he proceeded to track him down in his vehicle.


From KSAT:

Langendorff then told [his girlfriend Summer] Caddel the suspect — identified as Devin Patrick Kelley — then got into an SUV and drove away, and the two gave chase.

While on the phone with 911, Langendorff told his girlfriend the chase came to an end near a sharp curve near country roads 307 and 539.

Caddel understood that to mean the Kelley crashed. Moments later law enforcement officers arrived, she said.


And to think, it took a good guy with a gun to take down a bad guy with a gun. Where have we heard that before?

What a sad day.

Keep the deceased and all those affected by this act of cowardice in your prayers.


BREAKING: Vegas Shooter’s Brother Just ARRESTED On MAJOR Charges And It’s WORSE Than We Thought

It’s been eerily silent on the front of the biggest mass shooting in modern history that took place in Las Vegas on October 1, as nearly an entire month has gone by. This discombobulated investigation into the shooter’s motive, if he worked with anyone else, and how this all happened seemed to be swept under the rug as if Americans would soon forget. It was suspicious in the least and a lot of theories have derived from why authorities have been so secretive. Now a big arrest has been made of shooter Stephen Paddock’s brother, who was just taken into custody on major charges and it’s way worse than we thought.

TMZ reports:

The brother of Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock has been arrested for child porn … TMZ has learned.

Bruce Paddock was taken into custody moments ago in North Hollywood, CA at an assisted living home.

Law enforcement sources tell us … cops were tipped that there was child porn on his computer and they got a search warrant. Our sources say the investigation began before his brother, Stephen, shot up the Vegas music festival earlier this month.

Our sources say before the shooting cops were trying to locate Bruce without success, but after his brother committed his heinous act a tip came in Bruce was living at an assisted living facility.

Cops say they found child porn images on his computer.

The arrest was made by a joint task force that included the FBI and LAPD.

This comes after yet another timeline change in the mystery case that Americans may feel will never be solved. However, this family is a lot stranger than we were led to believe and there’s probably more damning secrets hidden behind the Paddock’s walls.

CNN reports of the latest revelations in the seemingly ever-evolving timeline:

Las Vegas authorities have revised the timeline of the mass shooting, saying Stephen Paddock shot a hotel security guard around the time he began firing on the crowd, not six minutes earlier.

Speaking at a Friday news conference, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo didn’t offer any new information about what motivated Paddock to open fire on a country music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, leaving 58 people dead.

He said the number of wounded and injured is now 546, with 45 people still hospitalized, some of them in critical condition.

An autopsy was performed and the medical examiner’s visual inspection found no abnormalities on Paddock’s brain, Lombardo said. The brain has been shipped to another facility for “microscopic evaluation,” he said.

The new timeline means police no longer think there was a six-minute gap between the shooting of the guard and the barrage on the concert crowd.

Lombardo said the sequence of events has changed as more information has been obtained. “This is a very dynamic event,” he said, adding that more new facts may be reported.

Initially, police said security guard Jesus Campos approached Paddock’s room as the October 1 shooting was underway, diverting the gunman’s attention. Paddock then shot Campos through the door and quit firing at concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival from his hotel room on the 32nd floor, the timeline said.

Lombardo’s timeline from Monday — that Campos was shot at 9:59 p.m. and the shooting on the crowd started six minutes later — raised questions about why police didn’t make it to Paddock’s room sooner to break down the door.

On Friday, Lombardo said Campos arrived near Paddock’s suite at 9:59 p.m., but was not shot then. Police Sgt. Joshua Bitsko told CNN that Paddock had screwed shut the stairwell door to the hallway near his room. The security guard went to an upper floor and came back down to the 32nd floor by another door, the sheriff said.

Paddock shot Campos through the door about 10:05 p.m. and began firing on the crowd around then, Lombardo said.

Lombardo’s latest timeline essentially agrees with one put forth Thursday by MGM Resorts International, owner of Mandalay Bay, which disputed the times earlier provided by police. MGM said Paddock was shooting at concertgoers “at the same time as, or within 40 seconds after,” Campos first reported shots.

Why the confusion about what happened at 9:59 p.m.?

Lombardo said the time came from “human entry” in a security log.

“I still stand by the time of 9:59,” Lombardo said Friday. “It wasn’t inaccurate when I provided it to you. The circumstances associated with it is inaccurate.”

MGM said that time “was derived from a Mandalay Bay report manually created after the fact without the benefit of information we now have. We are now confident that the time stated in this report is not accurate.”

There is more that has yet to be released and more arrests that probably still need to be made, but this arrest of the shooter’s brother, even if unrelated to the killing spree, certainly puts a new wrinkle in the strangest investigation in decades.

BREAKING: Authorities Tried To Hide Who Was In The Room Directly Above Vegas Shooter – Here’s Why

It looks like it’s 9/11 all over again!

As we reach the two-week mark in the Las Vegas shooting mystery. Americans find themselves still asking, even more, questions as to what happened on that tragic night where 58 people lost their lives and over 500 were injured. In the midst of a range of theories and conspiracies, this week multiple internet sleuths noted the proximity between a United States ally’s government during both this terrorist attack and the 9/11 attacks. Saudi Arabia!

For who knows what reason Saudi Arabia is still being considered a close United States ally and friend. Although they are notorious for their human rights violations and hatred towards the west.

But this is where the story gets even more interesting, in 2007 Saudi’s Kingdom Holding Company actually bought 45 percent of the stock in the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts which owns the Mandalay Bay Casino and Resorts. And to add to the mystery, 45 percent of additional stock is owned by Cascade Investment Management. Which is a company controlled by none other than the extreme far leftist, Bill Gates. And interestingly enough both these companies teamed up in 2010 to work together in order to make the Four Seasons a privately held company.

The Free Thought Project reported:

In Las Vegas, the top six floors of the Mandalay Bay Hotel are owned by the Four Seasons. This hotel became the subject of a deadly terror attack when suspect Stephen Paddock reportedly opened fire out of the windows of his suite on the 32nd floor, sending a spree of bullets down to a crowd of around 22,000 people at a music festival across the street.

While it may have been pure coincidence that a man intent on carrying out a massacre, happened to rent a hotel room near a floor owned by the Saudi Royal Family, there is one important factor: When the Saudi Air Force visited Las Vegas recently, they did not stay at Mandalay Bay—the hotel in which they own 45 percent of the top six floors.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that a “Middle East Air Force” booked the entire W Las Vegas hotel for the month of August, and sources noted that it was the Royal Saudi Air Force. This raises the question of why the members did not stay at the Four Seasons at Mandalay Bay, when half of the stock is owned by the kingdom, and it is typically their location of choice.

The question of whether Saudi Arabia could be involved stems from President Trump’s leniency towards the U.S. ally, and from the questions of Saudi Kingdom involvement that arose after 9/11.

As The Free Thought Project reported, in July, a federal judge in Miami reversed her decision to push for the release of crucial documents revealing information on the funding of the 9/11 attacks. The information, which stemmed from a 2002 FBI report, is said to have included evidence of “many connections” between the Saudi family and “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.”

It was also revealed last year, after the infamous 28-pages were declassified, that the Saudi government aided the 9/11 terrorists.

Couple all this with the fact that two weeks later the mystery of this shooting is nowhere near being explained this whole episode starts to reak of a conspiracy. What is even more concerning is how Saudi Arabia always seems to be in the middle of messes like this, just like in 9/11 where that nation trained and partially funded the 9/11 hijackers while the official word from the “Kindom” was that they had nothing whatsoever to do with it. Maybe we should have invaded Saudi Arabia instead of Iraq!

Here’s more on Saudi Arabia and the nation’s ties to terror.

The Foreign Policy Initiative reports:


This month, Saudi Arabia launched massive military exercises that underscore its recent offer to send ground forces to fight against ISIS as part of a U.S.-led coalition. While Riyadh and Washington share the objective of destroying ISIS, our counterterrorism priorities are not always aligned. Therefore, Riyadh’s recent moves justify a re-examination of whether and when the Saudis can serve as reliable partners in combating violent Islamic extremism. Despite allegations that the monarchy has directly supported violent extremists such as al-Qaeda, there is no public evidence supporting this charge. However, Saudi Arabia’s mixed record on combating terrorist financing over the past 15 years reveals that Riyadh is more concerned with its domestic security and regional feuds than it is focused on combating global terrorism.

U.S.-Saudi Mistrust After 9/11

After it was revealed that 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11, 2001 were Saudis, the Saudi government and royal family were the targets of multiple lawsuits by employers and families of the victims. Prominent U.S. lawmakers also indicated concerns about Saudi Arabia. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) observed that the United States “in some ways, have had a good relationship with [the Saudis] over the years, and in other ways, it appears as if they’re funding our enemies.” Amid legislative proposals to compel Saudi cooperation, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) criticized Riyadh for a “well-documented history of suborning terrorist financing and ignoring the evidence when it comes to investigating terrorist attacks on Americans.” A December 2002 report by the House and Senate intelligence committees investigated these issues, but 28 still-classified pages related to Saudi Arabia resulted in controversy over whether Washington protectedSaudi government figures.

Despite such controversy, the 9/11 Commission Report “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded [al Qaeda].” However, the Commission also noted that “Saudi Arabia has been a problematic ally in combating Islamic extremism. At the level of high policy, Saudi Arabia’s leaders cooperated with American initiatives aimed at the Taliban or Pakistan before 9/11. At the same time, Saudi Arabia’s society was a place where al Qaeda raised money directly from individuals and through charities.” The Report states that although it did not find evidence to incriminate Riyadh, “This conclusion does not exclude the likelihood that charities with significant Saudi government sponsorship diverted funds to al Qaeda.”

Before the 9/11 attacks, the Saudi royal family had long shied away from cracking down on private donors and foundations linked to terrorist financing, primarily to avoid confrontation with the powerful ultra-conservative clerics in the kingdom and their followers. After 9/11, Riyadh remained reluctant to help the U.S. Treasury Department dismantle international terror funding networks with links to donors and foundations in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia Steps Up After New Terror Threats in the Kingdom

Saudi Arabia’s complacency was rocked in 2003-2006 after a series of significant attacks within the kingdom claimed dozens of lives and demonstrated to Saudi citizens and rulers that al Qaeda posed a direct threat to Saudi Arabia’s stability. This development propelled Riyadh to dramatically strengthen its policies and enforcement to stop terrorist financing stemming from within the kingdom. Testifying before the Senate in 2005, U.S. Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel L. Glaser stated, “Today, Saudi Arabia is actively countering the threat of terrorism. This is a key success, unfortunately catalyzed by the May 2003 terrorist attacks in Riyadh, which alerted the kingdom that terrorism was not only a theoretical global problem, but very much a local one.”

With aggressive arrests and widespread crackdowns on financing and operating of terrorist cells, as well as efforts to better train police and monitor mosques as part of a wide-ranging counterterrorism program, the Saudi government subdued the internal threat from al Qaeda. Riyadh also began to cooperate with efforts by the U.S Treasury Department to sanction charitable foundations that were financing al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Saudi government also instituted new financial restrictions on charities, such as limits on cash transactions, foreign transactions, and multiple accounts.

Today, Saudi Arabia likely sees the battle against al Qaeda within the kingdom to be past its violent peak, but not yet over, argues The Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Lori Plotkin Boghardt. Since 2008, a special Saudi terrorism court has prosecuted thousands of suspects charged with playing a role in the al Qaeda attacks of 2003-2006. In January 2016, the Saudis executed 43 men charged with supporting al Qaeda plots from a decade ago. (Regrettably, the court has also tried Saudi human rights activists, including female drivers, whose activities the kingdom has defined as terrorism.) The individual most responsible for the kingdom’s aggressive approach to terrorism in recent years is the recently anointed crown prince, Muhammad bin Nayef, who built his reputation by leading the kingdom’s campaign against al Qaeda and surviving a 2009 attack on his person. The efforts of the crown prince and others demonstrate a new seriousness of purpose, although loopholes remain as Saudi Arabia turns its attention to the threat posed by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh).

Funding Loopholes Remain

Saudi Arabia’s position on ISIS parallels the kingdom’s hostility towards al Qaeda. ISIS leader Abu Bakr- al-Baghdadi has branded Saudi royalty as apostates. His calls for attacks on the kingdom have resulted in a wave of suicide bombings and other attacks. In 2014, the Saudis designated the Islamic State as a terrorist organization, which rendered any financial support illegal. Saudi Arabia has also arrested ISIS cells in the kingdom. Nonetheless, Saudi citizens who support the Islamic State and other extremists in Syria are finding ways to provide those groups with funding.

”There is no credible evidence that the Saudi government is financially supporting ISIS,” writes Lori Plotkin Boghardt, since “Riyadh views [ISIS] as a terrorist organization that poses a direct threat to the kingdom’s security.” Yet she notes, “Riyadh could do much more to limit private funding,” especially via other Gulf States that offer more permissive financial networks.

Senior U.S. officials have publically stated their concerns about terror-financing contributions routed through third parties. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a 2012 speech about combating ISIS, said, “the Saudis, the Qataris, and others need to stop their citizens from directly funding extremist organizations, as well as the schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path to radicalization.” Speaking in March 2014, Treasury Under-Secretary David Cohen revealed, “A number of fundraisers operating in more permissive jurisdictions – particularly in Kuwait and Qatar – are soliciting donations to fund extremist insurgents, not to meet legitimate humanitarian needs.” He explains, “Fundraisers aggressively solicit donations online from supporters in other countries, notably Saudi Arabia, which have banned unauthorized fundraising campaigns for Syria.”  The recipients of these funds include al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, as well as ISIS, Cohen said.

David Weinberg of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies laments that “Saudi authorities have also declined to take punitive measures against local preachers … [who] advised donors to circumvent local restrictions by sending their donations to accounts in Qatar and Kuwait.” Social media and crowd funding technologies have particularly made it easier for smaller donations to circumvent Riyadh’s policing of the formal financial sector. Cash transfers across state borders also easily escape detection. Boghardt concludes that “a combination of politics, logistics, and limited capabilities have impeded more effective Saudi efforts to counter terrorism financing.”

Incentivizing Saudi Cooperation

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry admitted in January 2015, “We all know that massive private funding goes to the extremist groups,” and governments must step up their programs to stop this. But it may be difficult to compel Saudi Arabia to more comprehensively combat the outflow of money to extremists abroad, since this goes beyond Saudi Arabia’s own concerns of domestic stability, which have been its key incentive to combat terrorism over the past decade. Moreover, many Saudis view Sunni extremists abroad as a bulwark against the influence of the kingdom’s rival, Iran. So as long as Saudi Arabia senses that the United States is seeking rapprochement with Tehran, it may resist pressure to more aggressively assist with Washington’s global counterterrorism efforts. While maintaining pressure on Riyadh to fight terrorist financing, the United States can also work to reassure Saudi Arabia that we will not ignore Iran’s regional aggression. Steps for doing so would include firm responses to such Iranian provocations as ballistic missile launches, as well as renewing Washington’s faltering commitment to the ouster of Bashar al-Assad, Tehran’s most important client in the region.

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