Chip Berlet: Three Anti-Islamic Security and Training Companies
Three security and training companies need special scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department for their role in spreading bigotry within the ranks of law enforcement and counterterrorism agents. Their seminars are so biased and ideologically-driven that not a single dime of tax dollars should be allowed to fund their seminars.
If tax dollars were being spent to train counterterrorism agents about the inherent violence of Christians or Jews, the public outcry and government response would be swift. Our nation’s indifference and inaction writes its own indictment of our bigotry against Islam and Muslims.
In the bigoted version of counterterror training about the threat of “radical Islam” in American society every Muslim ends up being a scapegoat for our fears and anxieties in our post-9/11 nation.
Here are brief sketches of three firms spreading bigotry through trainings:
1. Security Solutions International, LLC (SSI) is a Florida-based privately held company that takes an aggressive, entrepreneurial approach to spreading an anti-Muslim agenda. PRA attended SSI’s 5th Annual Homeland Security Professionals Conference in Las Vegas this October. SSI claims to have trained more than seven hundred law enforcement agencies. It produces the glossy Counter Terrorist magazine, which claims an initial subscription base of 15,000 and exposure to 65,000 homeland security professionals. Remarkably, although SSI stands at the forefront of fear-mongering about Islam and Muslim Americans, the Department of Homeland Security has officially approved SSI’s counter-terrorism training in Israel.
SSI called the conference a “central event in the First Responder calendar.” DHS was listed as a Silver Sponsor of the conference, where participants heard SSI President Henry Morgenstern and David Gaubatz, the author of Muslim Mafia International, rant about alleged “Muslim Brotherhood infiltration” of the United States through front organizations that allegedly provide financial and ideological support to terrorists, influence politicians, and stifle the truth through litigation against hate crimes.
2. The Counter Intelligence Centre (CI Centre) functions as a training academy and speakers’ bureau in the D.C. beltway. Here, veteran cold warriors mingle with a new breed of Muslim converts and terrorism pseudo-experts to propagandize about Global Jihadi Threat Doctrine–a conspiracy theory that renders all Muslims suspect and replaces the Soviet threat with a new existential, permanent threat from Islam. CI Centre’s high-profile faculty garner media attention as experts, and forge connections with senior officials and a network of neoconservative foundations, many of whom join the Centre on its annual Spy Cruise.
3. International Counter Terrorism Officers Association (ICTOA) is a nonprofit founded by New York Police Department officers. The ICTOA gives speakers a pulpit to address a cross section of law enforcement. At this year’s convention, Walid Shoebat gave a five-hour keynote speech peppered with vignettes of rape, gutting, beheading, burning, and killing of victims by Muslims, whom Shoebat alleges are all violent. Shockingly, not a single one of the hundred fusion-center analysts, sheriffs, police, or military personnel in attendance questioned any of Shoebat’s theses.
The same conference included speakers from the FBI’s New York Field Office and the federal Terrorism Screening Center with Steven Landman of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). IPT is led by Steve Emerson, a former freelance journalist who has been repeatedly criticized for producing faulty analyses and having a distinctly anti-Islamic agenda.
These vignettes are based on a forthcoming report by attorney Thomas Cincotta who works across the room from me at Political Research Associates.
Yesterday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called for action. The group noted the investigative report on post-9/11 government surveillance that was published recently in theWashington Post had highlighted the activities of trainers whose “views on Islam and terrorism are considered inaccurate and counterproductive by the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies.” Their statement went on to say:
“The use of ill-informed and agenda-driven ‘experts’ will inevitably result in law enforcement practices that are based on misinformation, not on our nation’s legitimate security needs,” wrote CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad in a letter to Attorney General Holder.
He said the attorney general recently told American Muslims that “law enforcement has an obligation to ensure that members of every religious community enjoy the ability to worship … free from intimidation, violence or suspicion.”
Jeff Stein in the Washington Post reported more details in his story on the CAIR statement yesterday
CAIR originally asked Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert S. Mueller, III to review these trainings in a letter sent August 2, 2010. Articles describing bigoted trainings posted online date back to early 2008.
Attorney General Eric Holder needs to act swiftly to correct this injustice from spreading more bigotry against an entire religion and its practitioners.
What You Can Do: Call the office of Attorney General Eric Holder and leave a message on the public comment phone line: 202-353-1555 . Ask what is being done. Be patient with the long recorded mesage.
Original post: Three Anti-Islamic Security and Training Companies