By Martin Mawyer
For well over a year now, the NYPD has been embroiled in both a public and legal battle over its program to place undercover informants inside Muslim bookstores, mosques, businesses, restaurants and student groups. Some of these NYPD “plants” have even been placed in Muslim areas outside the Big Apple, such as in Newark, N.J.
Despite the criticism of its surveillance programs branching into New Jersey, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York maintains that his police department can gather intelligence anywhere in the country it wants.
The mayor’s words did nothing to quell the dispute, and the controversial surveillance program has been fiercely debated in the media and opposed by scores of Muslim and civil rights advocacy groups around the nation.
But as controversial as this NYPD program has been, none of its surveillance activities are as shocking as the accusation being made by one undercover informant who says the NYPD has helped set up Muslim terrorist camps overseas – for the purpose of surveillance.
These foreign countries include Egypt, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Trinidad.
The undercover informant’s name is Ali Aziz. He is an Egyptian national who spent eight years in the employ of the NYPD. During that time, he infiltrated an Islamic terrorist network called Jamaat Al Fuqra, which also goes by the name of Muslims of the Americas (MOA).
MOA has dozens of compounds, camps and villages scattered around the United States, some of which engage in Islamic guerilla warfare training. Law enforcement reports that over the past two decades, this Islamic group has been responsible for 10 murders, 17 fire-bombings and a host of other crimes such as drug running, kidnappings, counterfeiting and gun smuggling. All these crimes have taken place inside the United States.
It’s easy to understand, given the rich history of violence and white-collar crime committed by this group, why the NYPD would want to plant an undercover informant directly inside this terrorist network.
Ali was recruited by the NYPD in 2002 while sitting in a Colorado jail awaiting trial for entering the United States on a fake passport. Of course, Colorado is a long way from New York City – 1,629 miles away. The NYPD’s recruitment of Ali from such a long distance confirms Mayor Bloomberg’s statement that the NYPD will gather information anywhere in the country it wants.
But the reason for the NYPD’s presence in Colorado dates back to the early 1990s when state authorities raided a 101-acre compound in Buena Vista operated by this terrorist group. That raid on the MOA camp resulted in numerous arrests, including some on charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
Even though the compound was shut down, MOA continued to maintain its presence in Colorado, and the NYPD sent its own law enforcement agents to monitor their activity and contacts.
Ali Aziz, the NYPD’s undercover informant, came to America wanting to further his training as a judo Olympian at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. While he was in training, he met some members of MOA, who took an interest and liking to him.
“I knew the martial arts, which they liked,” Ali told me, explaining MOA’s quick interest in the Egyptian judo arts. “I could teach them Arabic. I could teach them how to read the Quran. It wasn’t anything formal, just hanging out.”
Ali had barely gotten to know his new friends before he was arrested on charges of entering the United States illegally. Though he was acquitted by the State of Colorado, he soon found himself facing federal charges that seemed certain to send him to prison and then back to Egypt.
The NYPD came to his rescue.
NYPD detectives told Ali they knew of his casual relationship with members of MOA; they promised to help get him out of jail if he would agree to infiltrate the terrorist group by becoming their confidential informant.
Ali agreed, and after spending nearly a decade inside MOA, he eventually climbed the ranks of the Islamic group to become the bodyguard to its North American leader, Barry Adams. (Barry Adams is a convicted Islamic terrorist who spent 12 years in a Canadian prison for attempting to blow up a Hindu Temple and Indian Theater in 1991, an act that would have killed more than 4,000 people if successful.)
Over the years, Ali said, he provided the NYPD with serious crimes being committed by MOA.
“I was providing information to the NYPD about people who committed some very serious crimes,” he told me. “I have evidence. I gave them some very, very serious crimes. I tell them somebody did this and this and this. You know, bad people. And people got hurt very badly.”
“And guess what?” he asked me. “The crimes haven’t been solved. The NYPD can solve these crimes. They could solve them. They have the evidence.”
These crimes range from white-collar crimes, to illegal gun possession, to drug running and worse.
“A lot of the children that grow up there become drug dealers. Some become murderers.”
“The government,” he said, “has enough evidence to put the MOA away by the end of the year.”
Ali even gave both the FBI and NYPD evidence of their military training to wage jihad (holy war) inside America.
“The FBI knows about the training. So does the NYPD. They have tapes. They have videos. They have the audio. They have a lot. They have everything – enough evidence they can close these camps.”
But the government has not closed these camps. That is clear. MOA continues to expand its compounds, villages and camps across the nation – without any apparent government interference.
The question repeatedly is asked, “Why?” Why are these criminal Islamic terrorist camps allowed to exist?
In the case of the NYPD, the answer could be as simple as …
… because they need them.
Though it is now evident that the NYPD has a presence throughout the United States, and even enjoys a small police branch in Israel, a little known secret is that the NYPD also has a presence in not-so-friendly foreign countries such as Venezuela, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, according to Ali.
These countries, of course, did not extend an open invitation to the NYPD to come set up a counter-terrorism branch. Nor would they. The only way into these nations was to ride piggy-back on an organization that could get them into their country – the MOA.
Ali explained: “They (the NYPD) kinda were like, ‘We want to start going to other countries, like Venezuela and Egypt. We want you to help establish camps.’ ”
“I was being paid to establish these camps,” he told me. Even after the passing of many years, Ali still seemed astonished that the NYPD had paid him to help expand an Islamic criminal – even terrorist – organization into other countries.
“The NYPD wanted to follow MOA overseas,” Ali said. “They wanted to know their members, their contacts. They wanted to have information about them, what they were doing there, why they wanted to be there.”
Perhaps it’s one thing to follow MOA and its members overseas to gather intelligence about their connections, but to actually help MOA set up overseas terrorist camps?
“They paid for everything,” Ali said of NYPD funneling money to MOA to set up overseas camps.
Paying for “everything” meant the NYPD gave the money to Ali to pass along to MOA for the cost of establishing its overseas operations. MOA believed the source of Ali’s money came from his boxing meets and his used car dealership – both of which were financially aided by the NYPD as a means to get funds to Ali without raising the suspicion of MOA members.
“I was fighting and I sold cars on the side,” is how Ali explained the money he gave to the MOA. “The cars were just to maintain my cover. They (the NYPD) told me go start a car dealership. They told me to start fighting in fights, you know? I’d make a minimum $30,000 in the fights.”
The money given to Ali was to help MOA with travel costs and the expense of setting up its overseas camps.
“I had to get immigration documents for MOA members to travel to these countries,” he said. “About 15 went to Egypt. I got their visas. I would give the NYPD a copy of their passports and addresses. I would let the NYPD know who is going and who is coming. Everything was under their supervision.”
Because Ali was an Egyptian national, it helped open doors, not only in Egypt, but also in other countries.
“To them, I’m the Egyptian guy,” he said of people overseas who might be suspicious of Americans. “I speak Arabic. I can get an apartment in Venezuela. I can get a car. I can establish a business. I don’t have to say I’m from America. I can just be Ali, understand?”
To this day, Ali says, MOA members travel back and forth from Venezuela.
“There’s a very big figure right now living in Venezuela,” he told me.
Two years ago, Ali quit his “job” as an undercover informant for the NYPD.
He explained he left his job because he was fed up with the NYPD and FBI’s refusal to shut down the terrorist group, despite the evidence he had provided law enforcement of the organization’s criminal activity. He was also tired of watching the abuse suffered by women and children on these Islamic compounds at the hands of their ruthless leaders.
But to shut down these terrorist camps in America would also mean the NYPD would lose all connections to MOA’s overseas operations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Trinidad.
The NYPD has obviously put itself in a difficult moral conundrum: Either allow MOA to continue its criminal operations inside America – operations which include gun-running, drug running, the physical abuse of its own members, murder and even training its members to wage a holy war against America — and it can continue to maintain its listening posts overseas in countries where it could not otherwise gain access or …
… it can help shut down these American camps and lose its overseas surveillance programs.
Regardless of the NYPD’s actions or inactions on these Islamic terrorist camps, the purpose of MOA remains clear.
“The ultimate purpose is to be ready when the time is right,” Ali said of MOA’s ultimate goal to harm America.
“You got all these young kids here. You walk up to them and ask them, ‘What do you want to do?’ ‘I want to fight for Gilani (their leader).’ It’s not good,” Ali said.
“They are a bomb,” he added. “Here is the scariest part of MOA. Anything can happen with MOA at any time.”
And, apparently, the NYPD and FBI can shut them down at anytime. But who is going to act first?
Martin Mawyer is the Founder and President of Christian Action Network, a non-profit public advocacy and education group based in Lynchburg, Virginia. He began his career as a freelance journalist and has authored several books, including “Silent Shame,” “The Pro-Family Contract With America,” “Pathways to Success,” and his most recent, “Twilight in America: The Untold Story of Islamic Terrorist Training Camps Inside America.” He has produced a number of documentary films, including Homegrown Jihad, Islam Rising, Sacrificed Survivors and America’s Islamic Threat. Mawyer has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, Larry King Live, Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, NBC’s Today Show, Entertainment Tonight and Fox and Friends. His latest book, “Twilight in America,” co-authored by Patti A. Pierucci, details the activities of Islamic terrorist training camps scattered throughout the United States. It can be purchased at TwilightInAmerica.com or Amazon.com in book or Kindle version