The Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy announced on Monday that it would no longer sponsor a course for law enforcement officers which was ostensibly focused on counterterrorism, but which would have been taught by an anti-Muslim activist with a history of spreading conspiracy theories. A brief press release from the academy announces that “[a]fter careful consideration and consultation with other law enforcement agencies and academies, having firsthand knowledge of this training, the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy will no longer be offering Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services in-service training credit for the upcoming seminar ‘Understanding and Investigating Jihadi Networks in America.’”
The training was to be hosted by the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office. Late last week, Sheriff Scott Jenkins said that he does not plan to cancel the training session, despite outcry from civil rights groups that the event features an anti-Islamic speaker. According to a letter from 15 civil rights organizations and religious interest groups, John Guandolo, a former FBI agent and the featured speaker at the training event, “is closely affiliated with ACT! for America, a known anti-Muslim hate group, and he makes baseless, irresponsible and dangerous statements revealing his animus about the American Muslim community” — including claiming that “American Muslims ‘do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.‘”
Though the training may still go on without accreditation, Ibrahim Hooper with the Council on American-Islamic Relations told ThinkProgress that he is satisfied that it will not be attended now that the academy has pulled its sponsorship, adding that law enforcement officers attend these kinds of seminars because they require continuing education credits — but they will no longer receive those credits following the academy’s decision. In Hooper’s words, “why would people show up for three days if they don’t get credit?”
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Guandolo accused Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan of bringing “known Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders into the government and into advisory positions,” and claimed that Brennan did so because he “converted to Islam when he served in an official capacity” in Saudi Arabia. Weeks later, Guandolo expanded this conspiracy to include President Obama, claiming that the president has “made a significant effort to protect known members of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood inside this government.”
In 2009, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Guandolo resigned from the FBI in 2008 before the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility could question him regarding allegations that he had “an intimate relationship with a confidential source.” According to a court filing by the federal government, a “cooperating witness” in the investigation against former Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) told FBI agents that “she had sexual relations with now-former FBI agent John Guandolo during the time that Mr. Guandolo served in an undercover capacity as her driver during the pro-active phase of this investigation.”
On Saturday, the Roanoke Times reported that Sheriff Jenkins plans to move forward with the training regardless of concerns over Guandolo. As of this writing, the Culpeper County Sheriff’s office has not responded to an inquiry from ThinkProgress asking if they have changed their mind.
Antonio Martinez was a punk. The twenty-two-year-old from Baltimore was chunky, with a wide nose and jet-black hair pulled back close to his scalp and tied into long braids that hung past his shoulders. He preferred to be called Muhammad Hussain, the name he gave himself following his conversion to Islam. But his mother still called him Tony, and she couldn’t understand her son’s burning desire to be the Maryland Mujahideen.
As a young man, Martinez had been angry and lost. He’d dropped out of Laurel High School, in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and spent his teens as a small-time thief in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. By the age of sixteen, he’d been charged with armed robbery. In February 2008, at the age of eighteen, he tried to steal a car. Catholic University doctoral student Daniel Tobin was looking out of the window of his apartment one day when he saw a man driving off in his car. Tobin gave chase, running between apartment buildings and finally catching up to the stolen vehicle. He opened the passenger-side door and got in. Martinez, in the driver’s seat, dashed out and ran away on foot. Jumping behind the wheel, Tobin followed the would-be car thief. “You may as well give up running,” he yelled at Martinez. Martinez was apprehended and charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle—he had stolen the vehicle using an extra set of car keys which had gone missing when someone had broken into Tobin’s apartment earlier. However, prosecutors dropped the charges against Martinez after Tobin failed to appear in court.
Despite the close call, Martinez’s petty crimes continued. One month after the car theft, he and a friend approached a cashier at a Safeway grocery store, acting as if they wanted to buy potato chips. When the cashier opened the register, Martinez and his friend grabbed as much money as they could and ran out of the store. The cashier and store manager chased after them, and later identified the pair to police. Martinez pleaded guilty to theft of one hundred dollars and received a ninety-day suspended sentence, plus six months of probation.
Searching for greater meaning in his life, Martinez was baptized and became a Christian when he was twenty-one years old, but he didn’t stick with the religion. “He said he tried the Christian thing. He just really didn’t understand it,” said Alisha Legrand, a former girlfriend. Martinez chose Islam instead. On his Facebook page, Martinez wrote that he was “just a yung brotha from the wrong side of the tracks who embraced Islam.” But for reasons that have never been clear to his family and friends, Martinez drifted toward a violent, extremist brand of Islam. When the FBI discovered him, Martinez was an angry extremist mouthing off on Facebook about violence, with misspelled posts such as, “The sword is cummin the reign of oppression is about 2 cease inshallah.” Based on the Facebook postings alone, an FBI agent gave an informant the “green light” to get to know Martinez and determine if he had a propensity for violence. In other words, to see if he was dangerous.
The government was setting the trap.
On the evening of December 2, 2010, Martinez was in another Muslim’s car as they drove through Baltimore. A hidden device recorded their conversation. His mother had called, and Martinez had just finished talking to her on his cell phone. He was aggravated. “She wants me to be like everybody else, being in school, working,” he told his friend. “For me, it’s different. I have this zeal for deen and she doesn’t understand that.” Martinez’s mother didn’t know that her son had just left a meeting with a purported Afghan-born terrorist who had agreed to provide him with a car bomb. But she wasn’t the only one in the dark that night. Martinez himself didn’t know his new terrorist friend was an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and that the man driving the car—a man he’d met only a few weeks earlier—was a paid informant for federal law enforcement.
Five days later, Martinez met again with the man he believed to be a terrorist. The informant was there, too. They were all, Martinez believed, brothers in arms and in Islam. In a parking lot near the Armed Forces Career Center on Baltimore National Pike, Martinez, the informant, and the undercover FBI agent piled into an SUV, where the undercover agent showed Martinez the device that would detonate the car bomb and how to use it. He then unveiled to the twenty-two-year-old the bomb in the back of the SUV and demonstrated what he’d need to do to activate it. “I’m ready, man,” Martinez said. “It ain’t like you seein’ it on the news. You gonna be there. You gonna hear the bomb go off. You gonna be, uh, shooting, gettin’ shot at. It’s gonna be real. … I’m excited, man.”
That night, Martinez, who had little experience behind the wheel of a car, needed to practice driving the SUV around the empty parking lot. Once he felt comfortable doing what most teenagers can do easily, Martinez and his associates devised a plan: Martinez would park the bomb-on-wheels in the parking lot outside the military recruiting center. One of his associates would then pick him up, and they’d drive together to a vantage point where Martinez could detonate the bomb and delight in the resulting chaos and carnage.
The next morning, the three men put their plan into action. Martinez hopped into the SUV and activated the bomb, as he’d been instructed, and then drove to the military recruiting station. He parked right in front. The informant, trailing in another car, picked up Martinez and drove him to the vantage point, just as planned. Everything was falling into place, and Martinez was about to launch his first attack in what he hoped would be for him a lifetime of jihad against the only nation he had ever known.
Looking out at the military recruiting station, Martinez lifted the detonation device and triggered the bomb. Smiling, he watched expectantly. Nothing happened. Suddenly, FBI agents rushed in and arrested the man they’d later identify in court records as “Antonio Martinez a/k/a Muhammad Hussain.” Federal prosecutors in Maryland charged Martinez with attempted murder of federal officers and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. He faced at least thirty-five years in prison if convicted at trial.
“This is not Tony,” a woman identifying herself as Martinez’s mother told a reporter after the arrest. “I think he was brainwashed with that Islam crap.” Joseph Balter, a federal public defender, told the court during a detention hearing that FBI agents had entrapped Martinez, whom he referred to by his chosen name. The terrorist plot was, Balter said, “the creation of the government—a creation which was implanted into Mr. Hussain’s mind.” He added: “There was nothing provided which showed that Mr. Hussain had any ability whatsoever to carry out any kind of plan.”
Despite Balter’s claims, a little more than a year after his indictment, Martinez chose not to challenge the government’s charges in court. On January 26, 2012, Martinez dropped his entrapment defense and pleaded guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction under a deal that will require him to serve twenty-five years in prison—more years than he’s been alive. Neither Martinez nor Balter would comment on the reasons they chose a plea agreement, though in a sentencing hearing, Balter told the judge he believed the entire case could have been avoided had the FBI counseled, rather than encouraged, Martinez.
The U.S. Department of Justice touted the conviction as another example of the government keeping citizens safe from terrorists. “We are catching dangerous suspects before they strike, and we are investigating them in a way that maximizes the liberty and security of law-abiding citizens,” U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement announcing Martinez’s plea agreement. “That is what the American people expect of the Justice Department, and that is what we aim to deliver.”
Indeed, that is exactly what the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been delivering throughout the decade since the attacks of September 11, 2001. But whether it’s what the American people expect is questionable, because most Americans today have no idea that since 9/11, one single organization has been responsible for hatching and financing more terrorist plots in the United States than any other. That organization isn’t Al Qaeda, the terrorist network founded by Osama bin Laden and responsible for the spectacular 2001 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. And it isn’t Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Al-Shabaab, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any of the other more than forty U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations. No, the organization responsible for more terrorist plots over the last decade than any other is the FBI. Through elaborate and expensive sting operations involving informants and undercover agents posing as terrorists, the FBI has arrested and the Justice Department has prosecuted dozens of men government officials say posed direct—but by no means immediate or credible—threats to the United States.
Following an acid bomb being hurled at a Muslim school in the Chicago suburb of Lombard, a spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) told Raw Story that the number of attacks on American Muslims has escalated recently due in part to the Republican Party’s “Islamophobia machine” encouraging a tiny minority of extremists toward increasingly violent behaviors.
About 50 people were inside the Lombard school building for Ramadan prayers when the acid bomb exploded, according to area media. The unknown attacker reportedly filled a 7-Up bottle with acid and other materials, then threw it at a window. Nobody was injured, but worshipers said they heard a loud explosion when the bomb went off. CAIR asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Tuesday morning to immediately begin searching for the individual responsible.
For Illinois Muslims, Monday night’s acid bombing marks the second attack on a Muslim-affiliated installation in less than a week. Police arrested 51-year-old David Conrad last weekend after he allegedly opened fire on a mosque in Morton Grove, Illinois, narrowly missing a security guard as worshipers prayed inside. The FBI said it would leave the investigation of the mosque shooting to local law enforcement.
“I don’t know what’s going on, other than it being the month of Ramadan with heightened activity at mosques nationwide,” Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for CAIR, told Raw Story. “I think most of these things are related to the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in our society, generated by a well financed Islamophobia machine… The same kind of people cited by [Norway mass murderer] Anders Breivik in his manifesto.”
The shooting incident occurred just hours after Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), a tea party favorite, told an audience that Muslims are “much more” of a threat to Americans than ever before, adding that people of the Islamic faith are “trying to kill Americans every week.” His comments followed a conspiracy theory spun by Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), who called for an investigation into whether Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is secretly controlling an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a Democratic member of Congress.
In the wake of these events, CAIR advised Muslim-American communities to begin taking their security more seriously. The group recommended installing video surveillance at mosques and schools, asking for additional police patrols, meeting with elected officials, documenting suspicious people and making off-side backups of important records.
“Whenever you have people with some measure of respect in society smearing Muslims and Islam, it’s going to have a negative impact in terms of these kinds of incidents,” Hooper concluded. “[They should] act responsibly and tone down this anti-Muslim rhetoric. Unfortunately, it seems that Islamophobia is now a plank of the Republican Party’s political platform. It’s really disturbing. When I get a call about another incident of anti-Muslim hatred by an elected official, I don’t even have to ask what party they’re from. It’s always the Republican Party.”
In May of 2010, Douglas Story‘s vehicle was photographed containing anti-Islam slogans and neo-Nazi symbols:
Is this the back of some neo-nazi’s truck, or the cover of Robert Spencer’s next book?
CAIR filed a complaint with the Virginia Department of Transportation about the “license plate of Douglas Story” claiming that the numbers “14″ and “88″ were symbolic neo-Nazi code.
As Loonwatch contributor Rousseau reported at the time,
CAIR picked up on this loony truck driver’s mural and then apparently noticed his license plate number, which read “14CV88.” Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of CAIR, argued that this number was code for neo-Nazi white supremacist ideas; Hooper explained: “…Among neo-Nazis, 88 refers to ‘Heil Hitler,’ because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. White supremacists sometimes use the number 14 as shorthand for the 14-word motto, ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.’”
Story denied being a neo-Nazi, saying instead that the numbers on his license plate referred to his favorite NASCAR racers. This turned out to be a lie…more anti-Muslim so-called taqiyyah if you will.
CAIR was correct that Story was a White Supremacist. The Washington Post’s Brigid Schulte reported just a couple of days later that Douglas Story’s Facebook page was replete with white supremacist associations:
Arguing that his license plate was purely about NASCAR and had nothing to do with race, Story told me that he had a Jewish sister-in-law and had attended his niece’s bat mitzvah. He denied being anti-Semitic.
But here’s how he describes himself on Facebook:
“100% WHITE MAN, 100% ARYAN, 100% PRO-LIFE (Children are innocent), 100% PRO DEATH PENALTY (Criminal Scum aren’t innocent).
Over the past 28 years; I, like David Duke, have had an Awakening.”
Note to self: In these days of social media, Twitter and personal oversharing on the web, always check Facebook…
When I called Story to ask about the Facebook page, he continued to maintain that his license plate message had nothing to with racism. He stuck by his NASCAR story. “Southern white men. Southern white sport. What else needs to be said?” he said.
Story acknowledged that he thinks of himself as 100 percent Aryan. “Aryan is a Sanskrit word that means noble,” he said, “no matter what spin the liberal media tries to put on it as being a racist, hate word.”
He said he is an admirer of David Duke, who, he said was “reamed by the media because of his Klan affiliations.” “I am a white nationalist,” Story said. “I am in favor of the whites having their own homeland.” When I asked him where that homeland would be, he said he didn’t know. “The Pacific Northwest maybe. Alaska. Denmark. Greenland. Iceland.”
I asked if he really thought that the Holocaust was a hoax. “I don’t know what to think,” he said.
Rather than condemn Story, Spencer offered this initial defense,
Hamas-linked CAIR smears anti-jihad Virginia driver as Neo-Nazi
…CAIR’s whole story was false in the first place: the driver in question, Douglas Story, is not a neo-Nazi at all, but a racing fan. The alleged code numbers for neo-Nazi slogans were actually favorite race car drivers’ numbers.
Will Honest Ibe Hooper apologize to Douglas Story? Come on, Ibe! It would be the decent thing to do!
Spencer also argued the entire episode was a ploy by CAIR to link “anti-jihadists” like Spencer to neo-Nazi white supremacists,
The implication of the story, of course, was that anti-jihadists are neo-Nazis — which, despite the febrile fantasies of libelblogger Charles Johnson and his cohort, CAIR’s amiable stomach-stapled beekeeper Honest Ibe Hooper, flies in the face of the facts…
Spencer never apologized for being so horribly wrong about his “anti-Jihadist” buddy being a White Supremacist. Instead he posted a one sentence update saying, “The Washington Post has uncovered evidence that Douglas Story is indeed a white supremacist racist. In that case, he deserves whatever he gets from the DMV.”
In a new twist to this story, yesterday, Douglas Story was arrested by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force “after allegedly receiving a fully automatic AK-47 from an undercover agent.”
A Manassas man accused of being a white supremacist was arrested Wednesday by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force after allegedly receiving a fully automatic AK-47 from an undercover agent.
Court records show Douglas Howard Story, 48, of the Manassas area, allegedly provided a semi-automatic AK-47, along with $120, to an undercover law enforcement agent with the intent that it be modified to become fully automatic. He then allegedly received the modified weapon from an undercover agent and was subsequently arrested, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride and FBI Assistant Director for the Washington Field Office announced Story’s arrest Wednesday. He has been charged with a violation of the National Firearms Act – a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
I’m not a fan of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, as they have been deeply involved in abusing constitutional rights, through profiling, secret surveillance and entrapment activities. Story’s arrest however does, once again, bring to surface the fact that the so-called “anti-Jihad/counter-jihad” movement is filled with neo-Nazis, fascists, and racists of one stripe or another.
It is also another opportunity to point out Spencer’s hypocrisy. He asked Ibrahim Hooper to apologize for “defaming” Douglas Story, but cannot and will not bring himself to apologize for supporting a “White supremacist” and defaming Ibrahim Hooper.
Robert Spencer will you finally apologize for defending a neo-Nazi “White Supremacist” even after the above image of his car, replete with neo-Nazi symbolism, the Confederate flag, and anti-Islam propaganda were evident? Do you, Spencer, agree with the neo-Nazi Story that “all we need to know about Islam we learned on 9/11?”
Something tells me Spencer’s apologies and answer will not be forthcoming.
But untangling the Islamophobic thread woven into the FBI’s counterterrorism training culture won’t be easy. In addition to inflammatory seminars which likened Islam to the Death Star and Mohammed to a “cult leader,” Danger Room has obtained more material showing just how wide the anti-Islam meme has spread throughout the Bureau.
The FBI library at Quantico currently stacks books from authors who claim that “Islam and democracy are totally incompatible.” The Bureau’s private intranet recently featured presentations that claimed to demonstrate the “inherently violent nature of Islam,” according to multiple sources. Earlier this year, the Bureau’s Washington Field Office welcomed a speaker who claimed Islamic law prevents Muslims from being truly loyal Americans. And as recently as last week, the online orientation material for the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces included claims that Sunni Islam seeks “domination of the world,” according to a law enforcement source.
“I don’t think anyone with half a brain would paint 1.2 billion people of any ethnic or religious persuasion with a single brushstroke,” Mike Rolince, an FBI counterterrorism veteran who started Boston’s JTTF, tells Danger Room. “Who did they run that curriculum by — either an internal or outside expert — to get some balance?”
The FBI declined to respond directly to such questions from Danger Room. But what’s clear is that the anti-Islam sentiment in the FBI’s training and orientation isn’t the marginal problem that the Bureau portrayed in its previous public statements and press releases. It’s not a historical problem, it’s ongoing. And it will require substantial effort to root out. Not even a July warning from the office of a powerful senator was able to spur the Bureau to purge itself of its anti-Islam material.
One example is found in the mandatory orientation material for the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces, or JTTFs. Those task forces are a nationwide partnership between the FBI, intelligence analysts and state and local police. As of late last week, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the program, new members or those needing a belated orientation saw this description of Sunnism — the largest branch of Islam — as part of their online training course:
Sunni Muslims have been prolific in spawning numerous and varied fundamentalist extremist terrorist organizations. Sunni core doctrine and end state have remained the same and they continue to strive for Sunni Islamic domination of the world to prove a key Quranic assertion that no system of government or religion on earth can match the Quran’s purity and effectiveness for paving the road to God.
That paragraph is contained in orientation material, known as the Joint Terrorism Task Force Orientation v2 course, distributed online through a secure intranet for every member of the JTTFs. That’s approximately 4,400 officials, according to FBI figures, all charged with stopping terrorism. The orientation course is mandatory for every member of the task force.
The passage is especially odd because most of the orientation consists of practical, mundane information, such as the proper forms to fill out during an inquiry or FBI standards for investigations, according to the source. It consists of five sections, one of which is about Islam, Muslims and Arab culture. The supervisor of each JTTF has to certify that all his or her personnel have completed the online orientation course, and then must pass that certification up to FBI Headquarters’ Counterterrorism Division.
The FBI would neither confirm nor deny the existence of the JTTF orientation material.
The excerpt from the JTTF orientation material was provided to Danger Room by a concerned law enforcement official, who says the material contains 20 paragraphs about Islam in a similar vein. Several Bureau and law enforcement officials who spoke to Danger Room on condition of anonymity believe that such instructions are detrimental to uncovering and thwarting terrorist plots, and that the FBI continues to be less than forthright with the press and the public about the extent of its teaching that Islam is at the root of the menace of terrorism. Evidence for this continuing belief can be found in Quantico, Virginia, at the FBI’s elite training academy.
Within the sprawling campus of that academy, Quantico maintains a library befitting the FBI’s status as America’s most important law enforcement agency. It stacks thousands of books, from heavy tomes containing the U.S. criminal code to forensics reference material that could be out of CSI, across three unclassified floors. The library is open to all FBI agents, plus intelligence officials and police from across the country, for a single purpose: to provide background material for cases, guidance material for intelligence analysis and other tools meant directly to aid law enforcement. In other words, it’s not your public library.
There’s a section on religion — in which Islam, perhaps understandably, predominates. A law enforcement source provided Danger Room with a photographic catalog, compiled in late August, of approximately 100 books on Islam out of around 150 stacked at Quantico. Many of them are innocuous or contain unquestioned scholarship, ranging from authors like Fawaz Gerges of the London School of Economics, Juan Cole of the University of Michigan and Thomas Hegghammer, a terrorism expert at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment.
But, significantly, the library also contains books by anti-Islam authors that portray the religion as devoted to murder and world domination.
The FBI’s dalliance with Robert Spencer is not limited to the stacks of Quantico. In July 2010, Spencer presented what he described as “two two-hour seminars on the belief-system of Islamic jihadists” to the JTTF in Tidewater, Virginia. He presented a similar lecture to the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, which is co-hosted by the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office. When a coalition of civil rights groups sent a letter protesting the FBI’s embrace of Spencer, the Special Agent in Charge of the Norfolk FBI, Alex J. Turner, replied, “Seeking broad knowledge on a wide range of topics is essential in understanding today’s terrorist environment, and helps us to defeat ignorance and strengthen relationships with the diverse communities we serve.”
Spencer was only one of an array of self-anointed experts delivering similar messages about Islam to Bureau audiences.
On January 11, the FBI’s Washington, D.C. Field Office held a seminar on Islamic extremism. In the conference room of its Judiciary Square offices, about 60 of the Field Office’s agents and intelligence analysts spent the morning hearing two presentations — one from terrorism expert Sebastian Gorka, a fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and another from a self-identified expert on Islamic law, Stephen Coughlin, a former consultant to the military’s Joint Staff. The takeaway of Coughlin’s presentation, according to an attendee: Islam is out to take over the world and there is no such thing as a loyal American Muslim.
Coughlin was described to Danger Room as presenting a far more extreme take on Islam than Gorka, who spoke separately on the subject of “Core Texts of Salafi Jihad.” But Coughlin allegedly told the agents that Muslims believe Islamic law to be all-encompassing, preventing an either/or choice to U.S. Muslims: either reject the U.S. Constitution or fall into apostasy. Sharia law, Coughlin instructed in the tone of a neutral reporter, was a threat to the agents in the room. He explored an obscure Islamic concept known as “abrogation,” the supposition that some Koranic verses supersede others, to argue that the Koran’s non-violent passages are overtaken in Muslim eyes by commands to wage war against “non-believers.”
It’s a line Coughlin has long pushed. During a presentation at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2010 — in which he shared a stage with Spencer and Geller — Coughlin asserted that the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the geopolitical organization of Muslim nations, has a “ten-year plan” to make “defamation of Islam a crime” worldwide. One of his briefing slides read, “The SILENCE in the mainstream media on this DIRECT ASSAULT is DEAFENING! — not just on speech — but on thought itself!!” Coughlin’s 2007 master’s thesis at the National Defense Intelligence College claimed that President George W. Bush’s reassurance that the U.S. was not at war with Islam had a “a chilling effect on those tasked to define the enemy’s doctrine by effectively placing a policy bar on the unconstrained analysis of Islamic doctrine as a basis for this threat.” (.pdf) In 2008, his Joint Staff contract wasn’t renewed after a staffer for Gordon England, then the deputy secretary of defense, raised concerns about his work. (Through a spokesman, England declined to comment.)
Coughlin did not respond to requests for comment.
The presentation to the Washington Field Office wasn’t mandated by FBI Headquarters. It was set up on the initiative of a well-intentioned agent. But not everyone was comfortable with the presentation. Some walked out in boredom or disgust, according to the source. Others made fun of it.
But some voiced worries that the presentation sent an implicit message to agents that they should be targeting Muslims in the name of stopping terrorism. And in the past few years, the FBI hasaccelerated its monitoring of mosques, community centers, businesses and other organizations run by Muslims. Several observers suspect that the persistence of training materials that casts Islam in a threatening light helps explain the increased surveillance. Others — including many counterterrorism professionals within the FBI who say they are disgusted by the bigoted material they’ve received — fear that the presentations will drive a wedge between the Bureau and the U.S. Muslim communities whose assistance it needs to prevent terrorism.
“Inappropriately enlarging the characterization of the threat to include all of Islam,” says Rick “Ozzie” Nelson, a former official with the National Counterterrorism Center, “may inadvertently increase al Qaida’s ideological resonance and could facilitate recruitment of would-be terrorists.”
Books in a library and presentations in a field office will only reach the agents who visit the library or work in the field office. A Joint Terrorism Task Force orientation will only reach JTTF members. But every FBI agent can access the bureau’s intranet. And until Danger Room’s expose, that network hosted material purporting to demonstrate “the inherently violent nature of Islam.”
Two law enforcement sources with access to the intranet — sections of which are classified — described to Danger Room its page on “Islamic Law.” FBI intranet users type in “Islamic Law” or “Islam” into a Google-like search function. Up pops what’s called a Subject Matter Expert page, or SME, pronounced “Smee.” Usually, an agent seeking a SME will be searching for material directly relevant to an ongoing investigation or a timely intelligence product. But the SME for “Islamic Law” recently featured uploaded documents stretching all the way back to the 19th century, with titles like “The Personal Law of The Mahommedans.”
One such document is a text from 1915, titled “Mohammed Or Christ: An Account Of The Rapid Spread of Islam In All Parts of The Globe, The Methods Employed to Obtain Proselytes, Its Immense Press, Its Strongholds, & Suggested Means to be Adopted to Counteract the Evil.” That explicitly religious and archaic tome instructs that its purpose is “to set forth the appeal of that [Muslim] world for the Gospel. It is a decisive hour!”
Another is a Regent University master’s thesis called “Devoutly Violent or Nominally Peaceful? The Justification for Violence in Islam.” It asks: “[S]eeing as the foremost goal of Islam (which literally means ’submission’) is to subject the entire world to Shari’a law and Allah’s guidance, can a devout Muslim who witnesses to a Christian (who rejects his invitation to Islam) really not become violent? … In conclusion, this thesis demonstrates the inherently violent nature of Islam.”
In the image above, formerly available on the FBI’s “Islamic Law” SME, a thermometer represents a correlation between the Muslim population of a country and its “violence level.” As Muslims accumulate in a given place, they incline toward “grievance fabrication,” then “chronic terror attacks,” and even “state-run ethnic cleansing.” The final stage is “peace” — in an all-Muslim state.
Two law enforcement sources told Danger Room that after our coverage of the FBI’s training materials ran, the “Islamic Law” SME and similar FBI intranet sites were scrubbed of such material. Danger Room was able to acquire some of these documents before they were removed.
Asked to reconcile that statement with the 2006 assessment, FBI spokesman Christopher Allen replied, “The assessment you cite includes a series of indicators of radicalization. These indicators do not conflict with our statement that strong religious beliefs should never be confused with violent extremism.”
The FBI is now in damage-control mode. On Thursday afternoon, the FBI held a conference call with Muslim civil rights groups to apologize for its offensive training materials and admit that they were more extensive than it previously acknowledged. The FBI did not make any commitments on which outside experts or organizations it would consult for an updated training curriculum. But according to one participant, the FBI representative on the call said that many people within the Bureau disapproved of the anti-Islamic rhetoric. The FBI’s Allen declined to comment.
“We are glad that this very serious issue has finally received the attention of FBI leadership,” says Farhana Khera, executive director of the San Francisco-based civil rights group Muslim Advocates, “but an internal review is insufficient at this stage. In the last year, the FBI has either defended its use of bigoted trainers or emphatically assured the public that the various trainings were one-time, isolated incidents. Each time those assurances were later revealed to be false.”
Muslim Advocates sent a letter to the Justice Department Inspector General last week seeking an investigation. It has yet to receive a reply. However, the chairs of the Senate’s homeland security and intelligence committees have separately told Danger Room they will subject the FBI’s counterterrorism training to scrutiny.
For months, in fact, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), has raised concerns that law enforcement at all levels lacks “meaningful standards” for counterterrorism training. In the course of his ongoing inquiry on the subject, Lieberman’s staff became aware of a particularly problematic individual: an FBI intelligence analyst named William Gawthrop.
In April, Gawthrop presented a three-day briefing at the FBI’s Quantico training facility to counterterrorism agents in which he equated “mainstream” Islam with terrorism. In earlier interviews, he mused about triggering a “deteriorating cascade effect” upon Islam, convincing Muslims to abandon their religion by attacking “soft spots” in the Islamic faith. And he has lectured widely about the “threat” of Islam, ostensibly as a private citizen.
Lieberman staffers were appalled by the “inappropriate materials being used by Mr. Gawthrop and notified the FBI in mid-July of their concerns,” says Leslie Phillips, Communications Director of the Homeland Security Committee.
The FBI wouldn’t directly comment on the committee’s warning, instead reiterating the Bureau’s new commitment to a wide-ranging review — one that will stretch from Quantico to the FBI’s many field offices to the J. Edgar Hoover Building, its Washington headquarters.
“The senator hopes the FBI will take appropriate action to prohibit these and any other inaccurate training materials from being used in the future,” Phillips adds.
In the meantime, Gawthrop is, as of this writing, still an FBI counterterrorism analyst. And the message he helped inculcate in the Bureau lingers.
My work…has never been against Muslims in the aggregate or any people as such, but rather against an ideology that denies the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people.
Yet, statement after statement, and post after post on his website talks about “Muslims” and “Islam” as just that: an aggregate. Take this latest post:
The fact that Muslims do not like Jews and Israel, I know, because many of my correspondents, Islamic leaders, Emirs, the heads of armed groups and ordinary Mujahideen talked about this at every meeting and every interview with me.
The fact that Islam is a nation and that Muslims have no other nationality is what I also heard from religious leaders supporting the Jihad.
The fact that Muslims can adapt and play by the political process more than once I saw myself.
They know how to do represent themselves as the victims of inhumane aggression through the media. And the same information is transmitted to the Islamic world in a different manner — as a victory for Jihad and death for the sake of Allah.
No nuance, no teasing out the particular…no, rather ”Muslims do not like Jews and Israel.” That is a general statement. That is what Spencer and his minions do again, and again, and again.
A World Public Opinion (WPO) survey done in collaboration at that time with the University of Maryland reported that 51 percent of Americans believe “bombings and other types of attacks intentionally aimed at civilians are sometimes justified,” while only 13 percent of American Muslims hold a similar view, with a full 81 percent saying violence against civilians is never justified.
A recent Gallup survey (2011) asks the same question separately — first for a “military attacks against civilians” and then “individuals and small groups attacking civilians.” Muslim Americans came out as the staunchest opponents of both overwhelmingly as compared to their neighbors.
In response to military attacks against civilians, 78 percent of Muslim Americans said such attacks are never justified as compared to 39 percent of Christians and 43 percent of Jews. Only 21 percent Muslim Americans approve of it “sometimes” as compared to 58 percent of Christians and 52 percent of Jews.
Eighty-nine percent of Muslim Americans surveyed by Gallup rejected violent individual attacks on civilians as compared to 71 percent of Christians and 75 percent of Jews. Muslims are the least likely to justify attacks on civilians. Only 11 percent of Muslims justified that sometimes such attacks are acceptable as compared to 27 percent of Christians and 22 percent of Jews.
The same is true when it comes to opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Muslim Americans are way ahead in their opposition to wars as compared to their neighbors.
However, when the Pew survey first came out in 2007, it did not provide any relief for Muslim Americans from Islamophobic media frenzy. Most reporters used it as an opportunity to fan hatred against Muslim Americans, focusing on the smaller number of Muslim Americans who justified attacks on civilians without comparing it to Christian Americans, who did the same even in a larger numbers.
Right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin proclaimed in the National Review that the poll “should be a wake-up call.” Mark Steyn said it demonstrated the existence in America of “a huge comfort zone for the jihad to operate in,” and on CNN, Anderson Cooper was horrified — just horrified — that “so many” American Muslims would support such violence.
Well, I was also horrified myself until I checked what our neighbors are saying about intentionally targeting civilians. As a peacemaker, I will only be satisfied fully when all Muslims and people of other faiths oppose killing civilians fully, whether that is by a military or a terrorist group. But these statistics do offer me comparative relief.
The same evidence of a peaceful Muslim community was provided by Michael E. Rolince, former FBI Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism, D.C. Field Office. He said the FBI conducted about 500,000 interviews without finding a single lead which could have helped the agency prevent the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
That number means that almost 40 percent of all Muslim households in the United States were probably touched by this investigation. Here is what this presidential award recipient with 30 years of counterterrorism and counterintelligence experience said on Dec. 17, 2005, one month after his retirement, at the Muslim Public Affairs Committee’s annual convention in a panel titled, “Muslim Americans & Law Enforcement Partnership” (Here is an mp3 of his speech. His statement appears in the Q & A section):
“We conducted about a half a million interviews post 9/11 relative to the attacks of 9/11, and this is important because your community gets painted as not doing enough and you could have helped. I’m not aware — and I know 9/11 about as well as anybody in the FBI knows 9/11 and that’s not bragging that’s just the reality — I’m not aware of any single person in your community who, had they stepped forward, could have provided a clue to help us get out in front of this. The reality of that attack is that 19 people came here with what they needed. They spoke the language well enough to order meals and rent cars and hotel rooms. They had money coming in from overseas. Four people knew how to fly planes and 15 others were willing to be the muscle. They didn’t need any witting help from anyone to do what they did. And thus far, and I’m not saying this is conclusive because 10 years from now someone might find something that changes it, we’ve not found a sitting single witting individual in your community, and that’s a fact that gets overlooked because you get painted and that’s why I’m so committed and remain committed to projects like this because what we are in the business of is facts and the truth.”Anxiety about Muslim Americans is at an all-time high thanks to a well-funded campaign of Islamophobia.
Rand Corporation Findings
A 2010 Rand Corporation report rightfully states that “The volume of domestic terrorist activity was much greater in the 1970s than it is today. It is important to note that Rand is mostly a Defense Department-funded think-tank. This report has a whole section called “The 1970s Saw Greater Terrorist Violence.” The report asserts that, “Thus far, there has been no sustained jihadist terrorist campaign in the United States.” And one possible reason for this, according to this Rand report, is, “The local Muslim community rejected al Qaeda’s appeals and actively intervened to dissuade those with radical tendencies from violence.”
But, facts mean very little to “Police Blotter Bob”…
The complete failure of our law enforcement agencies to protect us from real threats of terrorism was confirmed on September 11, 2001, when – in spite of plentifulwarnings, including from fieldoffices of the Federal Bureau of Idiocy Investigation – nineteen hijackers armed only with box cutters commandeered three airliners and drove them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
No one paid the price for this – except, of course, the victims of the attacks. No high-ranking US government official, including the head of the FBI, was fired or even called on the carpet.
The first, but far from only, targets of this massive escalation of spying were Americans of the Muslim faith – and, while the neocon media salivated at the prospect, mosques, religious leaders, and ordinary people were put in the government’s sights. The wholesale targeting of Muslims has become so egregious that agents inside the FBI rebelled, and leaked documents to Wired.com’s Spencer Ackerman which reveal the craziness that has not abated since 9/11.
The documents are dozens of pages out of “training” manuals which posit that Islam, per se, is inherently and inescapably violent and subversive. As Ackerman reports:
“The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that ‘main stream’ [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a ‘cult leader’; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a ‘funding mechanism for combat.’
“At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more ‘devout’ a Muslim, the more likely he is to be ‘violent.’ Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: ‘Any war against non-believers is justified’ under Muslim law; a ‘moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.’”
This is craziness, and it’s not the craziness of the Bush era, either – Ackerman reports that the last “training session” that utilized these nut-job materials was in March of this year. Yes, folks, it’s all about hope and change – from bad to worse.
Go here and feast your eyes on the actual materials used to “train” FBI agents involved in “counterterrorism” operations in the US: Mohammed, according to the FBI, was a “cult leader,” and torture is part of the Muslim religion, mandated by the Prophet – a weird accusation coming from the US government, which infamously institutionalized torture techniques borrowed from the Communists and the Nazis. Much space is given over to characterizing the prophet Mohammed as psychopath who “heard voices,” “contemplated suicide,” and plotted heinous murders. In short, he’s a medieval version of David Koresh – another FBI target – whose followers presumably deserve the same fate.
The theme of this material is simple: Islam is not a religion but a military-political formation whose goal is world conquest, whose methods are utterly ruthless, and whose followers are mad dogs who can only be shot down with relentless ferocity.
As Ackerman points out, al-Qaeda couldn’t agree more.
The lunacy doesn’t end there, however: a document entitled “Militancy Considerations” has a graph that charts the violent tendencies of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. According to this work of graphical genius, Judaism underwent a very brief period of orienting toward violence that began to be ameliorated starting in 1400 B.C. – a factoid the Palestinians will be thrilled to hear about. Christianity, in contrast, started out pretty violently – which should be news to fans of the Sermon the Mount – and only started to approximate the relative peacefulness of Judaism around the year 1900, where the two lines on the graph representing the two religions meet and merge.
Islam, however, is an entirely different story: here the line goes up very briefly, charting the course of what the FBI describes as the “Meccan period,” but then goes sideways – toward increasing violence – in a straight line, after entering what is termed the “Medina period.”
We have heard all this before, of course – in the ravings of Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and David Horowitz. Indeed, the author of at least one of the FBI “presentations,” one William Gawthrop, was interviewed by WorldNutDaily – birther headquarters – in which he attributed radical Islamist terrorism to the prophet Mohammed’s “mindset.” In the interview, Gawthrop is described as someone “who until recent months headed a key counterintelligence and counterterrorism program set up at the Pentagon after 9/11.” Islam isn’t really a religion, according to Gawthrop, but a “military doctrine.” The Koran is not only a sacred text but also a manual for world conquest:
“’Today the United States and an increasing number of other governments are beleaguered by an expanding array of states, groups and individuals whose goals, actions and norms are animated by Islamic values,’ Gawthrop said. ‘This places the defenders in the unenviable position of having to fight, at the strategic level, against an idea.’
“How do you attack an idea? By hitting ‘soft spots’ in the Islamic faith that, once exploited, ‘may induce a deteriorating cascade effect upon the target,’ Gawthrop says.”
“’Critical vulnerabilities of the Quran, for example, are that it was uttered by a mortal,’ Gawthrop said. ‘Similar vulnerabilities may be found in Muhammad’s character.’”
This reads like a rationale for the worst sort of hate-mongering of the kind one sees on far-right-wing blogs, and the obscene excesses of wackos like Pamela Geller, who ascribe every sort of moral and sexual perversion to the most revered figure of one of the world’s three great Abrahamic faiths. The idea is not to win over Muslims, at home and abroad, to the anti-terrorist cause, but to insult and provoke them to higher levels of violence.
Somewhere close to the lowest rung of Hell, Osama bin Laden is smiling.
Gawthrop criticizes the Pentagon for lacking his own “strategic” understanding of Islam, and predicts that:
“As the jihad spreads … the government eventually will have to get involved in a such a controversial national education campaign, politically incorrect as it may be. ‘If the United States, moderate Muslim governments and the non-Muslim world seek to engage ideological adversaries on their own ground,’ he said, ‘they will have to develop, use and maintain the full range of capabilities in the ideological component of national power, and address Islam’s strategic themes directly.’”
In other words: hire him to direct a national – nay, international – hate campaign directed at Islam, per se, and the memory and image of the Prophet Mohammed.
See here, here, here, and here for reports on the growing infiltration of Washington’s “counter-terrorism” efforts by Anders Breivik look-alikes. As Dana Priest pointed out in her comprehensive series on the gargantuan “anti-terrorist” bureaucracy that has mushroomed since 9/11:
“In their desire to learn more about terrorism, many departments are hiring their own trainers. Some are self-described experts whose extremist views are considered inaccurate and harmful by the FBI and others in the intelligence community.”
This is the inevitable result of any government program designed to “study” a religio-ideological phenomenon – an entire industry grows up in the lush atmosphere of plentiful and lucrative government contracts, flowering into the likes of Hawthrop and other crackpots who pose as “experts.” It happened during the cold war, with neoconservative “experts” arising to push their extremist policies – and the same thing is happening today in our endless “war on terrorism.”
These snake oil salesmen gain surface credibility on account of their background in government and the military, or due to their association with a whole sub-universe of fringe “thinktanks,” such as Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy (CSP). Gaffney’s CSP is a key node in the nut-job network, and one indication of their credibility level is the fact that Gaffney has endorsed the laughable “intelligence” expertise of Walid Shoebat, who claims Obama is a Muslim. Gaffney and Shoebat once appeared on a panel together discussing the question of whether – or when – Obama became a Muslim. Gaffney, for his part, along with David Horowitz, is convinced that the Republican party – and the US government – have been infiltrated by Islamists due to the efforts of Grover Norquist! Shoebat is also a favorite of the International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association (ICTOA), which publishes Hawthrop’s drivel in their journal: he appeared, with Robert Spencer and William Boykin — the “crusader” General — at a “Ft. Hood Memorial” hate-fest. The wacko circle-jerk of cross-endorsements and interlocking organizations serves to buttress the “credentials” of these “experts.”
That they have infiltrated law enforcement at the local, state, and federal level, is horrifying – and unsurprising. They’re just going where the federal dollars flow, springing up like weeds in a sparsely-grown patch of ground. Tax dollars spread generously around breed these phonies like flies after a summer rain: it’s a built-in feature of our bureaucratic approach to “fighting terrorism.”
What’s scary is that the FBI is supposed to be protecting us from “terrorism” – but who will protect us from our protectors? These lazy dolts have nothing better to do than sneak around “investigating” Americans who have broken no law, accusing even this web site – and this columnist – of being “a threat to National Security” and in all probability an “agent of a foreign power.”
The foreign power is in Washington, D.C., where parasites like Hawthrop & Co. feed at the public trough. It’s more than past time to clean the Augean stables of our “counterterrorism” bureaucracy and start defending the nation in a credible way.
Recently a case regarding a 19 year old Somali-American accused of attempting to blow up a Christmas event in Oregon has garnered national attention. The arrest fits a familiar pattern in which individuals are encouraged, supported and financed by the FBI to detonate bombs. Did the FBI stay within their limits when pursuing the Somali-American, or did they cross over the boundary into entrapment?
Glenn Greenwald has an excellent piece that questions this arrest and highlights for the umpteenth time the motive behind these “attacks,” a motive that is obfuscated quite often by politicians, the media and anti-Muslim activists.
These individuals aren’t, (as the Robert Spencer’s of the world proclaim) randomly convinced to blow up things because of some religious prescription/motivation, they are motivated by “occupations” and aggression against Muslims and Muslim countries! (Note to the FBI: Spencer is not going to tell you that when he is training your gumshoe detectives)
Time and time again the statements of these misguided individuals speak towards the reality that “It’s the occupation stupid!” but the Cassandra cries of Glenn Greenwald and those like him are willfully ignored and marginalized and so the fear-mongering, exploitation and violence against innocents continues unabated.
The FBI is obviously quite pleased with itself over its arrest of a 19-year-old Somali-American, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who — with months of encouragement, support and money from the FBI’s own undercover agents — allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb at a crowded Christmas event in Portland, Oregon. Media accounts are almost uniformly trumpeting this event exactly as the FBI describes it. Loyalists of both parties are doing the same, with Democratic Party commentators proclaiming that this proves how great and effective Democrats are at stopping The Evil Terrorists, while right-wing polemicists point to this arrest as yet more proof that those menacing Muslims sure are violent and dangerous.
What’s missing from all of these celebrations is an iota of questioning or skepticism. All of the information about this episode — all of it — comes exclusively from an FBI affidavit filed in connection with a Criminal Complaint against Mohamud. As shocking and upsetting as this may be to some, FBI claims are sometimes one-sided, unreliable and even untrue, especially when such claims — as here — are uncorroborated and unexamined. That’s why we have what we call “trials” before assuming guilt or even before believing that we know what happened: because the government doesn’t always tell the complete truth, because they often skew reality, because things often look much different once the accused is permitted to present his own facts and subject the government’s claims to scrutiny. The FBI affidavit — as well as whatever its agents are whispering into the ears of reporters — contains only those facts the FBI chose to include, but omits the ones it chose to exclude. And even the “facts” that are included are merely assertions at this point and thus may not be facts at all.
It may very well be that the FBI successfully and within legal limits arrested a dangerous criminal intent on carrying out a serious Terrorist plot that would have killed many innocent people, in which case they deserve praise. Court-approved surveillance and use of undercover agents to infiltrate terrorist plots are legitimate tactics when used in accordance with the law.
But it may also just as easily be the case that the FBI — as they’ve done many times in the past — found some very young, impressionable, disaffected, hapless, aimless, inept loner; created a plot it then persuaded/manipulated/entrapped him to join, essentially turning him into a Terrorist; and then patted itself on the back once it arrested him for having thwarted a “Terrorist plot” which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI’s own concoction. Having stopped a plot which it itself manufactured, the FBI then publicly touts — and an uncritical media amplifies — its “success” to the world, thus proving both that domestic Terrorism from Muslims is a serious threat and the Government’s vast surveillance powers — current and future new ones — are necessary.
There are numerous claims here that merit further scrutiny and questioning. First, the FBI was monitoring the email communications of this American citizen on U.S. soil for months (at least) with what appears to be the flimsiest basis: namely, that he was in email communication with someone in Northwest Pakistan, “an area known to harbor terrorists” (para. 5 of the FBI Affidavit). Is that enough to obtain court approval to eavesdrop on someone’s calls and emails? I’m glad the FBI is only eavesdropping with court approval, if that’s true, but certainly more should be required for judicial authorization than that. Communicating with someone in Northwest Pakistan is hardly reasonable grounds for suspicion.
Second, in order not to be found to have entrapped someone into committing a crime, law enforcement agents want to be able to prove that, in the 1992 words of the Supreme Court, the accused was “was independently predisposed to commit the crime for which he was arrested.” To prove that, undercover agents are often careful to stress that the accused has multiple choices, and they then induce him into choosing with his own volition to commit the crime. In this case, that was achieved by the undercover FBI agent’s allegedly advising Mohamud that there were at least five ways he could serve the cause of Islam (including by praying, studying engineering, raising funds to send overseas, or becoming “operational”), and Mohamud replied he wanted to “be operational” by using exploding a bomb (para. 35-37).
But strangely, while all other conversations with Mohamud which the FBI summarizes were (according to the affidavit) recorded by numerous recording devices, this conversation — the crucial one for negating Mohamud’s entrapment defense — was not. That’s because, according to the FBI, the undercover agent “was equipped with audio equipment to record the meeting. However, due to technical problems, the meeting was not recorded” (para. 37).
Thus, we have only the FBI’s word, and only its version, for what was said during this crucial — potentially dispositive — conversation. Also strangely: the original New York Times article on this story described this conversation at some length and reported the fact that “that meeting was not recorded due to a technical difficulty,” but the final version omitted that, instead simply repeating the FBI’s story as though it were fact: “undercover agents in Mr. Mohamud’s case offered him several nonfatal ways to serve his cause, including mere prayer. But he told the agents he wanted to be ‘operational,’ and perhaps execute a car bombing.”
Third, there are ample facts that call into question whether Mohamud’s actions were driven by the FBI’s manipulation and pressure rather than his own predisposition to commit a crime. In June, he attempted to fly to Alaska in order to work on a fishing job he obtained through a friend, but he was on the Government’s no-fly list. That caused the FBI to question him at the airport and then bar him from flying to Alaska, and thus prevented him from earning income with this job (para. 25). Having prevented him from working, the money the FBI then pumped him with — including almost $3,000 in cash for him to rent his own apartment (para. 61) — surely helped make him receptive to their suggestions and influence. And every other step taken to perpetrate this plot — from planning its placement to assembling the materials to constructing the bomb — was all done at the FBI’s behest and with its indispensable support and direction.
It’s impossible to conceive of Mohamud having achieved anything on his own. Before being ensnared by the FBI, the only tangible action he had taken was to write three articles on “fitness and jihad” for the online magazine Jihad Recollections. At least based on what is known, he had no history of violence, no apparent criminal record, had never been to a training camp in Afghanistan, Pakistan or anywhere else, and — before meeting the FBI — had never taken a single step toward harming anyone. Does that sound like some menacing sleeper Terrorist to you?
Finally, there is, as usual, no discussion whatsoever in media accounts of motive. There are several statements attributed to Mohamud by the Affidavit that should be repellent to any decent person, including complete apathy — even delight — at the prospect that this bomb would kill innocent people, including children. What would drive a 19-year-old American citizen — living in the U.S. since the age of 3 — to that level of sociopathic indifference? He explained it himself in several passages quoted by the FBI, and — if it weren’t for the virtual media blackout of this issue — this line of reasoning would be extremely familiar to Americans by now (para. 45):
Undercover FBI Agent: You know there’s gonna be a lot of children there?
Mohamud: Yeah, I know, that’s what I’m looking for.
Undercover FBI Agent: For kids?
Mohamud: No, just for, in general a huge mass that will, like for them you know to be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays. And then for later to be saying, this was them for you to refrain from killing our children, women . . . . so when they hear all these families were killed in such a city, they’ll say you know what your actions, you know they will stop, you know. And it’s not fair that they should do that to people and not feeling it.
And here’s what he allegedly said in a video he made shortly before he thought he would be detonating the bomb (para. 80):
We hear the same exact thing over and over and over from accused Terrorists — that they are attempting to carry out plots in retaliation for past and ongoing American violence against Muslim civilians and to deter such future acts. Here we find one of the great mysteries in American political culture: that the U.S. Government dispatches its military all over the world — invading, occupying, and bombing multiple Muslim countries — torturing them, imprisoning them without charges, shooting them up at checkpoints, sending remote-controlled drones to explode their homes, imposing sanctions that starve hundreds of thousands of children to death — and Americans are then baffled when some Muslims — an amazingly small percentage — harbor anger and vengeance toward them and want to return the violence. And here we also find the greatest myth in American political discourse: that engaging in all of that military aggression somehow constitutes Staying Safe and combating Terrorism — rather than doing more than any single other cause to provoke, sustain and fuel Terrorism.
UPDATE: A very similar thing happened last month when the FBI announced that it had arrested someone who was planning to bomb the DC Metro system when, in reality, “the only plotting he did was in response to instructions from federal agents he thought were accomplices.” That concocted FBI plot then led to the Metro Police announcing a new policy of random searches of passengers’ bags.
Meanwhile, in Oregon, the mosque sometimes attended by Mohamud was victimized today by arson. So the FBI did not stop any actual Terrorist plots, but they may have helped inspire one.
“Police BlotterScholar” Robert Spencer is always on top of the “Muslim Problem,” to quote Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. Robert Spencer is always on top of telling us what is going wrong within the Muslim community, keeping us up to date on all of the criminal activity within the Muslim community, just like a…police blotter!
One of his latest entries on the blotter is the disturbing story about the naturalized American citizen who was arrested for an alleged plot to attack the nation’s second busiest subway system. Spencer introduces his post thus:
At least one accomplice — he may have had more. So many Misunderstanders of Islam! Why is the Muslim community worldwide such an abysmal failure at communicating the peaceful nature of its religion to its own people?
Funny guy that Spencer, eh? What “Scholar” Robert Spencer did not mention, to no surprise, was that the tip that led the FBI to survey this wacko and monitor his every move, eventually leading to his arrest, came from within the Muslim community itself:
The tip that led to the FBI’s subway bombing sting came from a source in the Muslim community…
So, it was the Muslim community which helped lead the FBI to the alleged subway attacker, the so-called (by Spencer) “D.C. jihadist.” Isn’t that interesting? In fact, the same holds true for the five men from Virginia who were arrested in Pakistan for plotting terrorist attacks. It was their own families who alerted authorities:
The story of the five men became public when the council got their families in touch with the FBI after they left the United States shortly after Thanksgiving without telling their parents. That triggered an international missing persons case. The men were arrested Dec. 8 at the home of Chaudhry’s father, Khalid Farooq Chaudhry, and the terror allegations began immediately.
Now, Spencer asked: “Why is the Muslim community worldwide such an abysmal failure at communicating the peaceful nature of its religion to its own people?”
Clearly, the “scholar” has no idea what he is talking about, because, by turning in one of its own who chose the path of religiously motivated criminality, the Muslim community communicated loudly and clearly to the rest of the world that it is indeed a peaceful, loyal community dedicated to the security of its homeland.
But, of course, “Scholar” Robert Spencer won’t tell you that.
Many times, we have commented on Robert Spencer’s “scholarship” and his “scholarly ways.” Yet, when one really looks at his operation and his alleged “exposure” of the radical jihadists in Islam, it is really nothing more than a “Police blotter.” A police blotter is a listing of the police investigations, calls, and actions in a particular city or town. It is public record. Here is an example of one from Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Now, Colorado Springs is a nice town. In fact, in 2006 it was listed as one of the Best Places to Live in America. Yet, if you only judged the town of Colorado Springs by its police blotter, a much different picture would emerge in one’s mind:
Thursday, October 14, 2010 4:30 PM [RELEASE AT WILL]:
As was previously reported, on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at around 1:15 AM, the Colorado Springs Police Department was notified of a possible dead body at 1248 Potter Dr, the Rustic Hills Park Apartments. A security officer was checking the parking lot area of the apartments when he located an unresponsive male inside of a parked vehicle. Officers and medical personnel were dispatched and upon arrival they located a male party with an apparent head trauma inside of a vehicle in the northern parking lot. The male was transported to Memorial Hospital by ambulance where he was pronounced dead.
The El Paso County Coroner’s Office has completed an autopsy on the man and determined he died from a gunshot wound to the head, and the manner of death was determined to be a homicide. The victim is identified as 37 year old Martique Webster of Colorado Springs. This is the 23rd homicide is Colorado Springs this year. There were 17 this time last year.
As was previously reported, at approximately 3:15 PM on 10-12-2010 Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) Tactical Enforcement Officers were transporting 20 year old John R. Winkler after he was arrested on two felony warrants to the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center. Mr. Winkler was handcuffed behind his back and seat belted in an unmarked police vehicle. Mr. Winkler managed to unbuckle his seatbelt, open the door and jump out of the moving police vehicle. After recovering from his fall he began to run across the lanes of the interstate when he was struck by a southbound vehicle. John R. Winkler succumbed to the injuries he received in the crash last night at an area hospital.
Today, 10-14-2010 CSPD received information that John R. Winkler’s father, 43 year old John P. Winkler of Oklahoma, was on his way to Colorado Springs to kill the police officers that were transporting his son when his son jumped from the car. Mr. Winkler is on parole for drug and weapons violations in Oklahoma. CSPD confirmed that Mr. Winkler was in Colorado Springs and additional information was obtained that Winkler intended on carrying out the threat.
Due to the threat, CSPD locked down all the police divisions to include the Police Operations Center (POC) and put two officers in every patrol car. The parking lots of all divisions were being monitored by police and medical was staged at all divisions. A command post was established at the POC to coordinate regional law enforcement efforts. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO), FBI, ATF, DEA and the Colorado Springs Fire Department assisted with resources to assist us in our attempts to locate Mr. Winkler before he could carry out any alleged threats.
Mr. Winkler was located in the Rockrimmon area of Colorado Springs and was taken into custody without incident for parole violations and questioning reference the alleged threats. Mr. Winkler was near, but outside of his vehicle when he was contacted, and it was determined after the contact that he did not have a weapon on his person. The investigation into the threats is ongoing and a search warrant is being sought for the vehicle Mr. Winkler was driving.
The CSPD takes all threats to the public or police officers very seriously and will take every precaution to insure their safety. At this point Mr. Winkler has not been charged for the threats, but that is still a possibility pending the outcome of the investigation.
On 10/13/10 Officers were dispatched to a possible stabbing in the 1700 block of Woodburn St. Officers contacted a female who stated she was stabbed by an identified male. She was taken to the hospital, treated and released for a possible stab wound to the hand.
My Lord, judging by the police blotter, Colorado Springs looks like an awful place to live. Is this a fair way by which a town such as Colorado Springs is judged?
What about the United States? Most people around the world would jump at any chance to get to live and raise their families in the United States. This is truly a wonderful country, full of freedom, and opportunity, and tolerance. It is a place that Robert Spencer and his other Islam-hater friends want to fundamentally change with their hate speech and rhetoric.
Yet, if the only thing by which America would be judged is her crime statistics, a very different picture would emerge:
In 2009, there were 1,318,398 violent crimes in the United States; 15,241 murders; 88,097 forcible rapes; 408,217 robberies; 806,843 aggravated assaults; 9,320,971 property crimes; 2,199,125 burglaries; 6,327,230 larcenies; and 794,616 motor vehicle thefts.
This is according to the FBI. Is this an accurate picture of the reality of America? Is America reflected in the actions of her criminals? Of course not. In fact, looking at the numbers is actually deceiving, because, in reality, violent and property crimes are actually down in the United States last year. But, one wouldn’t realize that if he or she solely focused on the numbers.
This is exactly what Robert Spencer does: he judges the 1.5 billion people who profess the Islamic faith by the actions of their criminals. And the “jihadists” are just that: criminals who cloak their brutal and horrific crimes in the garb of religious piety. And the clerics who use Islamic sources to justify acts of un-Islamic barbarity are accessories to those crimes.
The site goes on, and on, and on, and on. He cherry picks outrageous stories from the Muslim world and wants his readers (and the rest of the public) to conclude that Islam and Muslims are like the criminals who act in their name. And when it is proven that his assertions are incorrect, he does not acknowledge this at all, because he is well on his way to blog about another crime committed by some Muslim somewhere; or about some crazy thing said by some cleric somewhere; or about the truly horrific things that the “Islamic jihadists” do around the world.
His site is basically a “Police blotter.” Is this the way to judge a people? Is this true “scholarship”?