Sunday, October 30, 2011

Train in Vain

In the past few weeks, Muslim Brotherhood fronts in the U.S. and their friends have significantly stepped up efforts to eradicate all references to Islam from federal agencies charged with investigating terrorism. Groups like Muslim Advocates and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the ACLU, and media helpers like Wired and TPM Muckraker have teamed up on the narrative that the FBI is training its agents in Islamophobia. The only cure, naturally, is an all-out ban on any training that correlates extremist violence with Islam. Oh, and “a new ‘interagency task force’ to review the training materials — a task force including representatives of the Islamist organizations the FBI is tasked with monitoring.”

Wired magazine’s Danger Room blog writer Spencer Ackerman kicked it all off with a bomb-throwing exposé of FBI counterterrorism training:

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.” (“FBI Teaches Agents: ‘Mainstream’ Muslims Are ‘Violent, Radical’”).

Ackerman, who discloses that his wife works for the ACLU, previously criticized an intelligence analyst’s presentation to a Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney’s Office that “warns of a ‘Civilizational Jihad’ stretching back from the dawn of Islam and waged today in the U.S. by ‘civilians, juries, lawyers, media, academia and charities’ who threaten ‘our values.’” (“Justice Department Official: Muslim ‘Juries’ Threaten ‘Our Values’”).

Ackerman never bothered to report that the “Civilizational Jihad” phrase is taken directly from a Muslim Brotherhood memorandum obtained by the FBI and presented in the Holy Land Foundation trial in 2007.  If the phrase looks familiar, that’s because it’s anchored on our blog sidebar at the upper right.

The day after Ackerman’s Wired piece, Farhana Y. Khera of Muslim Advocates fired off a letter to the Acting Inspector General of the Justice Department demanding an investigation. Muslim Advocates has previously joined forces with the ADC, CAIR, and MPAC to counter government efforts to address homegrown Islamic terrorism. Khera has also posted advice on her Website “that tells Muslims not to speak with the FBI or other law enforcement personnel unless a lawyer is present.” Khera was also spokesman for a coalition of groups trying to stop Rep. Peter T. King’s House Homeland Security Committee hearings on Muslim extremism last spring. "Our first preference is for him to kibosh the whole thing," Khera said. (“Coalition urges halt to House hearings on Muslim radicalization”)

In her September letter to the acting inspector general, Khera cited Ackerman’s piece in Wired to demand an “immediate investigation into the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) use of grossly inaccurate, inflammatory, and highly offensive counterterrorism training materials about Muslims and Islam used to train its agents and other law enforcement.” Her letter then dishonestly co-opted a September 12th letter from Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins to Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan, completely mischaracterizing the senators’ letter as a “call for the administration to stop the funding of anti-Muslim trainers.” More on this letter below.

Next, MPAC president Salam Al-Marayati used Ackerman’s articles as a basis for an op-ed in the LA Times complaining about the “bigoted and inflammatory” views FBI agents were exposed to at Quantico. (“The wrong way to fight terrorism”). Claiming that the training “reveals a deep anti-Muslim sentiment within the U.S. government,” Al-Marayati threatened that if it isn’t “immediately addressed, it will undermine the relationship between law enforcement and the Muslim American community.” MPAC’s links to the Muslim Brotherhood are well documented, and, as reported at the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, “has opposed virtually every counter-terror initiative undertaken or proposed by the U.S. government.” 

Aside from giving one another awards, there is no productive relationship between law enforcement and the Muslim American community.

But the most disgusting thing I’ve seen is the bizarrely misleading article by writer Ryan J. Reilly at TPMMuckraker, (“DOJ Official: Holder ‘Firmly Committed’ To Eliminating Anti-Muslim Training”). Perhaps in hopes of a fait accompli, Reilly attempted to credit the most extreme views of one of the DOJ’s dhimmi lawyers as the official policy of the Attorney General himself.

Beneath a gigantic head shot of Eric Holder, Reilly’s lead described Holder as “’firmly committed’ to nixing anti-Muslim material from law enforcement training,” and then makes use of quotations along this line:

“I want to be perfectly clear about this: training materials that portray Islam as a religion of violence or with a tendency towards violence are wrong, they are offensive, and they are contrary to everything that this president, this attorney general and Department of Justice stands for,” Holton said. “They will not be tolerated.”

But notice it wasn’t Holder who said, this, but Holton.  It’s almost too cute.  In fact, Reilly’s article doesn’t contain a single syllable directly quoting the guy whose big head is in the picture, Eric Holder. (Reilly also uses Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez to put words in his boss’s mouth, confirming that the Attorney General “is upset.”)  No matter how weak Holder is on counterjihad, at the moment he’s preoccupied battling mounting calls for his resignation over the “Fast and Furious” debacle. I don’t believe Holder’s really that enthusiastic about launching a new counterterrorism policy premised on Islamic jihad having nothing to do with Islam.

Anyway, you ask, just who in the hell is Holton?

Dwight C. Holton is an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Oregon in charge of – well, nothing.  Thanks to district office “musical chairs” arising from the prior U.S. Attorney’s departure after appointment to the federal bench, Holton happened to be serving as the second of two acting U.S. Attorneys presiding over the Oregon district at the time of the Christmas-tree lighting plot of Mohamed Osman Mohamud in Portland last year. Before that, Holton’s specialty was prosecuting environmental and white-collar crimes. The extent of his contribution on the Mohamud case was that “[i]n the 37-page complaint that laid out the allegations against Mohamed Mohamud, he is never once identified as a Muslim.” This would be the prosecutorial equivalent of rewriting The Godfather without once identifying Don Corleone as a Mafioso.

Holton called the outreach he did with the Muslim community over the course of his tour as U.S. Attorney for Oregon the most important work of his career, joking that he put on “10 pounds in lamb weight” and recalling having 15 to 20 imams over at his house for a halal meal that went until 2 a.m.

As soon as the new U.S. Attorney – not Holton, but the actual nominee -- was commissioned on October 5, Holton resumed being a line attorney – and a self-appointed spokesman for the Attorney General and the Ikhwan.

As for TPM’s Reilly, based on what I’ve seen here the guy is a shamelessly dishonest reporter. Before he decided to use Holton to channel hearsay from the Attorney General, he was falsely reporting that Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins – both reliable counterjihadists – were upset about federal dollars “flowing to anti-Muslim terrorism training.”   (This is the lie Farhana Khera exploited in her letter to the assistant IG).  His headline even falsely quotes them saying, “If Obama won’t do something about anti-Muslim counterterrorism training, we will.”  (“Lieberman, Collins: If Obama Won’t Do Something About Anti-Muslim Counterterrorism Training, We Will”).

Reilly cast a false light on Lieberman’s and Collins’s September 12, 2011 letter to the disastrous John Brennan, Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security, claiming that their concerns about “trainers spewing . . . bigoted information” was the crux of their complaint “that agencies providing grants to state and local law enforcement lack meaningful standards for counter-terrorism curriculum and an adequate vetting process for individual trainers.”

This is nearly the direct opposite of the letter’s purpose.  First of all, Brennan is a disaster in national security, who has publicly referred to Jerusalem by its Arabic name, “Al-Quds,” described jihad as “a legitimate tenet of Islam,” and is rumored to have earned the Secret Service codename, Nakba.”  The Lieberman-Collins letter is a public rebuke of Brennan for a half-assed “Framework” he offered for countering domestic radicalization: “Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States.” Lieberman and Collins express their extreme disappointment with Brennan’s lack of effort on the Framework, noting, among other things, his failure to develop “rigorous counterterrorism training standards,” and failing to “explicitly identify the enemy as violent Islamist extremism”:

Our enemy has a distinct ideology, and that ideology has a name – violent Islamist extremism. The Framework, however, refuses to state this clearly. First, it says that we are at war with “al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents” and later more generally talks about countering “violent extremism.”

The first term is too narrow – and the second, too broad . . . .

. . . . Violent Islamist extremism has a particular – if twisted – message that must be understood and countered. The clearly stated goal of the Islamists is to establish a caliphate, or empire, within the Arab and Muslim world that would overthrow existing governments and impose upon the people a harsh and radical interpretation of Shari’ah (Islamic religious law).

If the senators talked this way at a Quantico briefing, they’d be banned for using grossly inaccurate, inflammatory, and highly offensive counterterrorism training materials.

At any rate, the senators did indeed call for training standards, but their focus wasn’t on alleged anti-Muslim trainers, but on a lack of rigor in defining and confronting violent Islamic extremism. In fact, the example they offer to Brennan of training failure wasn’t one of some innocent victim of FBI Islamophobic heavy-handedness, but the case of Major Nidal Hasan, “who was allowed to continue through his Army service in part because his commanding officers and fellow soldiers were not trained in the distinct difference between the religion of Islam and the violent political ideology of violent Islamist extremism.” Lieberman and Collins knew perfectly well that the failure to intervene with Hasan wasn’t caused by any “deep anti-Muslim sentiment within the U.S. government,” but by a culture of political correctness towards Muslims in the military that terrified officers away from reporting Hasan’s extremist behavior.

If anything, individuals facing  future Hasans will have even more to be afraid of if they report him, not less.

Since this media campaign commenced around September 12th, there have been these related developments:

  • October 13 – MPAC posts an “Action Alert” opposing creation of a Department of Homeland Security office “to ‘counter homegrown violent Islamist extremism,’ particularly focusing on the ‘ideology’ of violent extremists such as Al-Qaeda inside the US,” because MPAC claims “religiously laden terminology such as “Islamist” bolsters violent extremists and alienates mainstream Muslims.”
  • October 19 -- Obama administration confirms “pulling back all training materials used for the law enforcement and national security communities, in order to eliminate all references to Islam that some Muslim groups have claimed are offensive.”
  • October 19 –Assistant AG for Civil Rights Tom Perez expresses enthusiasm for Islamists’ demands for DOJ civil rights lawyers to “come up with a way to redefine” criticism of Islam as illegal “racial discrimination.”
  • October 20 -- the ACLU released its "Mapping the FBI" initiative, accusing the FBI of "mapping American communities around the country based on crude stereotypes about which groups commit different types of crimes."
  • October 25 – For the 10th anniversary of the Patriot Act, Muslim Advocates releases a 56-page report accusing “the FBI and other federal agencies of “’bad policing’ and flaunting the Constitution.” 



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