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15 September 2011

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Cal

Someone needs to ask who in each agency allowed these materials thru.
But I suppose it's to much to ask someone be held
accountable.

J

ContelPro revisited part II?

On a related matter. Didn't Senator Church forewarn to the future (our today) regarding the growing 'unnamed' agency and their surveillance capability that could one day be turned inwards. In this respect I'm not referring to the FBI/DOJ either.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO

Arun

An article on the author of the FBI training material, from July:

http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/meet-william-gawthrop-ictoa-promotes-another-counter-terror-expert/

October will see the Ninth Conference of the International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association take place at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. Among the speakers will be a certain William Gawthrop, billed as ”FBI Senior Intelligence Analyst” and speaking on “ Strategic Themes & Drivers in Islamic Law ” and “Influence of the Shariah on Law Enforcement Investigations”. As with some other speakers that the ICTOA has promoted , there is reason to be concerned about the quality of advice that Gawthrop will bring to the event.

The Twisted Genius

Living just south of Quantico, I see the constant flow of police officers from throughout the country coming to the FBI Academy to drink at the font of all law enforcement knowledge. Imagine the ideas they take back to their local police departments. I hope Lieberman, Collins or somebody stops the flow of vile, hate mongering rubbish quickly... like tomorrow. I would think that any instruction material is vetted by some level of leadership at the Academy before it is presented. That something of this poor quality was approved for use does not speak well for the Academy cadre.

confusedponderer

That material is crap; even I can see that and I'm not remotely an expert: ‘Mainstream’ Muslims Are ‘Violent, Radical’? WTF! How dumb or gullible must one be to not have that activate the BS-meter?

I wonder whether mere bumbling incompetence or bias (religious? ethnic?) motivated the choice of training material and trainer.

In either case, it casts a disturbing light at the staff at the FBI responsible for training. Dumb, gullible, incompetent on the subject matter or simply biased are all disqualifying criteria for anyone serving in federal law enforcement.

jonst

@Cal....it is always too much to ask for someone to be held accountable. That is looking backward Cal. That's history Cal....why do we need to go there? It's the standard response....'I can't comment on that...it is an ongoing investigation'. Followed by 'I will not comment on that...it is part of past, and we are 'into' looking forward'

All I can say America is; when your great hope is Lieberman & Collins, you've told me all about the situation I need to know.

confusedponderer

Cal,
probably it is too much to ask. IMO what should happen is that the FBI weeds out who screwed this up, and make it known that the people in question were fired not for making a mere mistake but for outright incompetence, maybe even misconduct.

But that would generate (well deserved) bad press, and the dictates of institutional interests may override common what good sense and professionalism would mandate.

Naturally, the people touring America's 'Muslim Menace' circuit will brazenly decry this as foul play - clearly the 'Liberal Elites' are dictating political correctness on law enforcement, again. Yes, yes, the persecution off what passes as conservatism nowadays never stops ... dire times indeed!

William R. Cumming

After 9/11/01 the FBI attempted to reinvent itself. That reinvention has failed. Another federal organization that has outlived any potential for contribution to our democratic society.
I believe the fundamental flaw in the Bureau is that it is housed in the Department of Justice, an organization of 150K personnel also in need of reform or reorganization or whatever. That organization should be the premier litigators for the Executive Branch and nothing else. The FBI could well be the premier federal investigatory unit but it will never be the foremost analytic unit for either criminal activity or terrorism as currently constructed. And its collection of uncorroborated evidence for personnel security clearances is still nightmarish as evidenced by post-death release of some of its files.

J

confusedponderer,

Particularly post-911, I don't frankly see D.C. (i.e. DOJ/FBI, etc.) having ANY accountability ANYWHERE when it comes to their own (White House/Executive-Branch/Congress), the FUMU principle applies (f** up move up) as they don't want to admit error/screw-ups/brain-farts/say 'why' the refuse to be held accountable).

What needs to be done, is a whole bunch of ingrates sent to the hoosegow (a.k.a. prison in common vernacular). Instead of holding those who screwed up (those 'responsible' on 911), what did D.C. do, they created a whole new $$$s sank-hole/boondoggle known as DHS/TSA and a half a dozen other acronyms to boot. And to day our National Security is paying for 'their' screw-ups.

DanM

I had to help with the kidnapping of a colleague in a Muslim majority country some years ago. The FBI got involved (victim was a US citizen). The FBI was constantly pushing for us to be threatening, gruff and insulting in our communications with the kidnappers and their fellow travelers (this being the only language "they" understand). We were able to hold off the FBI -- who was whispering in the family's ears -- on this disastrous course, but they added immensely to the risk and family tensions at a dangerous time (the victim was eventually released unharmed). I have ever since privately called them the "federal bureau of ignorance."

jr786

First of all Dr. Silverman, I want to thank you for your work. You're clearly a scholar with good intentions, and that's more than enough. G-d bless you for it.

I'm working on my 4th year out here, as an American Muslim with frustratingly poor linguistic skills trying to do anything that comes near the right thing. I see things like this FBI stuff and in terms of effect it's ten times worse than my Pashtun barber's screeds about the American war against Islam.

Sigh. All-hu Ahlam.

Green Zone Cafe

WR Cummings - I disagree that the FBI should be taken out of the DOJ. The lawyers of the DOJ are some brake on the FBI, and where would the FBI go? Homeland Security? Now, that would be a nightmare.

I suspect this comes from FBI agents probably being somewhat authoritarian by nature, like most cops, and therefore gravitating to right-wing authoritarian news sources and the ideas promulgated by them. We've all seen a lot of those over the last ten years, I'm sure.

walrus

I fail to understand why this is even newsworthy. It is obvious that a persistent campaign to demonise Islam has been going on for at least the last Eleven years. The campaign goes right across society, and it has been highly effective.

William R. Cumming

GZC! Have you read "Black Mass" concerning the Boston FBI ops and "Whitey" Bulger?

Green Zone Cafe

WRC, I know all about the FBI and Whitey. There is no question that the FBI and federal prosecutors are guilty of abuses and general overreaching in criminal prosecutions. They need their wings clipped, no doubt.

But what Connolly and fellow agents did for Bulger seems kind of quaint compared to the prospect of large scale violations of civil liberties committed by a mukhabarat or Gehiemestaatspolizei FBI with the mission of "homeland security" rather than "justice."

xyz

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/tapping-the-israeli-embassy/

William R. Cumming

GXC! In last four decades the crimes that terrorists may commit have added over 100 provisions to the US Code defining those crimes largely in Title 18 of the US Code the so-called criminal code. Few understand the variations in definitions of "Terrorism" in those provisions with the result that many can be investigated by the FBI for various reasons but few can understand exactly what has been the trigger for that investigation. Provision of financial assistance to terrorists is one federal crime and wondering if that includes [because in my mind it could given the definitions in the statute or lack thereof] Saudis or Israelis and wondering why few prosecutions or investigations.

Macgupta123

FBI response, from the New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/17/us/fbi-chided-for-training-that-was-critical-of-islam.html

"In a statement posted on its Web site on Friday, the F.B.I. said the training material “does not reflect the views of the F.B.I. and is not consistent with the overall instruction provided to F.B.I. personnel.”

The material was presented only once, in April, to an audience of 37 agents at the Northern Virginia Resident Agency, according to the F.B.I., “and was quickly discontinued because it was inconsistent with F.B.I. standards on this topic.”

In the statement, the agency said that “as of August 2011, the individual who delivered the presentation no longer provides training on behalf of the F.B.I.” "

----

The FBI statement can be found here:
http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/response-to-media-reporting-regarding-counterterrorism-training

J

With all the crap we're having to deal with on a weekly basis with all the boneheadedness (like the FBI's errant program), calls for a little comedy relief. Here's a Chechen short - a different way to look at the world. Enjoy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUer-RN1pkY

Arun

The FBI responds:
http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/response-to-media-reporting-regarding-counterterrorism-training

Arun

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2037998/UK-immigration-Polygamy-welfare-benefits-insidious-silence.html

Baroness Flather, about the UK:

"Nor should we tolerate the acceptance of Sharia law in areas of this country (as some militants minorities have been calling for) since an extreme interpretation of the Islamic code treats women as second-class citizens, stripping them of their rights on practically everything from property to divorce, which they have under British law.

Indeed, there is some evidence that the Department for Work and Pensions, which is responsible for running the welfare system, has turned a blind eye to the incidence of polygamy in Muslim communities.

In 2007, the Ministry of Justice admitted it had no exact figure on the number of polygamous couples living in Britain, and my fellow peer Baroness Warsi more recently warned that the Government shies away from discussing the issue because of ‘cultural sensitivity’.

Two years ago, ministers proposed a change to the law to tackle the issue — only to back down after being warned this could contravene human rights legislation.

Furthermore, we are also allowing the culture of benefit dependency to have a very unhappy effect on our children."

J

Adam,

Here's a boneheaded FBI agent with his head up his backsides concerning terrorism and Islam. This boneheaded FBI trainer says forget 'irrelevant al-Qaida, Target Islam'. Yup the FBI boneheaded FBI’s William Gawthrop is caught on video saying such garbage.

Do you think the FBI put this bonehead in a mail-room where he belonged instead of 'training' others in the counter-terrorism field? I seriously doubt it, the FBI probably used the FUMU principle (f*** up move up) with this one like they did with their CONTELPRO fiasco.

What is really interesting is that the FBI's Gawthrop began his anti-Islam screed saying what he said was as a private citizen and not as an official of the FBI.

-- "Gawthrop delivered the presentation at the New York City chapter of Infragard. Infragard is a public-private partnership between the FBI and the private sector with chapters around the country “dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States.”

The president and CEO of New York Metro Infragard, Joseph Concannon, told Danger Room that Gawthrop spoke in front of “60, 70 people,” mostly from law enforcement. Concannon says an organization affiliated with Gawthrop, the American Military University, recommended the analyst to New York Metro Infragard after vouching for his expertise.

“We actually thought Bill had a very good presentation,” Concannon said. “We gained a better understanding of the constraints put on [Muslims] in cooperating with law enforcement by some of the rules and policies they have in place.”

At the start of his lecture, Gawthrop told his audience that he was speaking in his capacity as a private citizen, not as an FBI analyst. His lecture featured an army.mil e-mail address, not one from the FBI. Gawthrop also said that he was discussing Islam and the Prophet Mohammed “as an ideology, not as a religion,” in order to stay in-bounds of the First Amendment.
........In earlier forums, Gawthrop made no such distinction. Before he joined the Bureau, Gawthrop told the website WorldNetDaily that the Prophet “Muhammad’s mindset is a source for terrorism” and decried Washington’s “political taboo of linking Islamic violence to the religion of Islam.”

Nevertheless, in June, Gawthrop instructed his audience that the contents of the Koran and the other Islamic holy texts are best understood as only “17 percent religious.” The other 83 percent comprises Islamic law and other means of governing the relationship “between Islam and the non-Islamic world.” And that 83 percent amounts to an “expansive doctrine with a single agenda: world imperium. Controlling the world.”

This was not the only presentation Gawthrop gave in New York. Concannon introduced Gawthrop’s Infragard talk by explaining that Rick Powers, ”a former chief of operations for NYPD, had a meeting a short while ago, for some security directors and other personnel in the city. And it was an hour-long presentation by a gentleman by the name of Bill Gawthrop…. And the feedback that we heard from everybody … was that it was an actually outstanding presentation, why wasn’t it longer?”

In a statement issued to reporters Thursday, the FBI said very delicately that “this particular training segment” occurred “one time only, at Quantico and was quickly discontinued.” That might be literally true — for the briefings that Gawthrop delivered to FBI counterterrorism agents at Quantico.

But that doesn’t mean that Gawthrop’s presentation was a one-off. The Infragard briefing proves Gawthrop presented his material to at least one FBI-affiliated security organization afterward. And previous Bureau training materials claimed that Islam “transforms [a] country’s culture into 7th-century Arabian ways.”

Not surprisingly, perhaps, Gawthrop believes that turning to the U.S. Muslim community for help in rooting out Islamic radicals is a waste of time.
........What’s more, counterterrorism officials from the White House on down — like their predecessors in the Bush administration — insist that the number-one terrorist threat the U.S. faces comes from al-Qaida. Yet Gawthrop, who sees an undifferentiated Islamic menace, has no problem teaching FBI affiliates in law enforcement that not only is al-Qaida irrelevant, it’s no different from Hamas and Hezbollah, groups with vastly different goals and vastly less American blood on their hands.

For those reasons, among others, outside counterterrorism experts believe Gawthrop’s message is harmful to those people who are actually trying to stop militants — instead of going around lecturing about them.

“Clearly, al-Qaida and its affiliates remain the most dangerous terrorist threat facing America,” said Rick “Ozzie” Nelson, a former CIA official who now studies counterterrorism at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Combating al-Qaida and its toxic narrative — which claims the U.S. and the West are at war with Islam — must remain the primary focus of U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Any rhetoric that potentially fuels this false narrative only serves to counteract efforts to undermine the group’s appeal. Inappropriately enlarging the characterization of the threat to include all of Islam may inadvertently increase al-Qaida’s ideological resonance and could facilitate recruitment of would-be terrorists.”

“The single worst thing we’ve done since 9/11, the one thing that’s harmed us the most in interrogations, is these types of stereotypes,” said Matthew Alexander, the pseudonymous former senior military interrogator who helped take down the leader al-Qaida in Iraq. “It’s harmed us more than anything else, because we end up skipping the first step of any interrogation, which is analysis.”

“Gawthrop’s talk is a total nightmare,” added Jarret Brachman, who closely monitors online Islamist radicalization. “This kind of vitriolic snake oil is not only wrong but it serves to inflame the relations between Muslims and law enforcement, making both communities more suspicious of one another’s real intentions. Gawthrop and others ironically undermine years of my own work to convince online Islamists that the kind of training being provided to the U.S. government is objective and not against Islam. Gawthrop’s approach to training is indefensible and makes my job trying to simmer a bunch of online hotheads down a lot harder.”" --

Well you can read the rest of the article for one's self, but there is no wonder that today's FBI and DOJ have acquired the nom de guerre of walking with one's head up one's arse when it comes to terrorism and counter-terrorism.

This is sooo sad, my old FBI bud Herb would be turning in his grave if he saw today what his beloved agency has become.

J

Adam,

I was sooo torked reading the article I forgot to include it's url.
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/09/fbi-islam-qaida-irrelevant/all/1

Also on a related note, see that the FBI's Gawthrop appears ready to indoctrinate more unsuspecting law enforcement types through the AMU/APUS program.

-- "October 15th: Bill Gawthrop, FBI National Academy New Mexico Chapter Conference, Topic: Middle Eastern Influence in Domestic Terrorism" --

I have never heard of the AMU or APUS until now. Hmmmm......
http://www.apus.edu/community-scholars/

Roy G.

Gawthorp would have fit right in as a McCarthyite, a leader of the Inquisition, or an enthusiastic supporter of the Crusades, for that matter.

To put his beliefs into perspective, turn his argument around, and try saying the problem with Israel is not the radical settlers and Zionist colonials, but the entire religion of Judaism. Funny how most Americans would consider that offensive against the Jews, or other minorities, yet it has been passively/aggressively accepted against Muslims. I think that was part of the plan.

Arun

In the New York Times timeline for Jose Padilla (who was arrested for allegedly planning a dirty bomb attack, but was prosecuted only for material support to terrorists), the following appears:

August 10, 2007: Judge Cooke rules that jurors cannot consider whether Mr. Padilla and his co-defendants' actions were justified by Islamic law. A cornerstone of the defense during the trial has been the idea that Islamic teaching provides for legitimate "defensive jihad."

---
Perhaps this is what people mean when they want to make sure Sharia cannot be considered in US courts?

NYT url: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/17/us/17padilla.html

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