News 8 in Austin has picked up on the planned “competing” Fort Hood Memorial Service:
An event organized by the Pennsylvania-based group Forum for Middle East Understanding is set to take place Nov. 21 at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.
Speakers at the event include two former terrorists and the director of “Jihad Watch,” a blog dedicated to educating others about the theology motivating jihadists.
The Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas, or SPJST, has been working with the City of Killeen to build a Living Memorial Garden by the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, the same location as the Forum for Middle East Understanding event.
The connection caused confusion in the community about whether or not the Killeen Chamber of Commerce was supporting the function.
The chamber sent a letter to its members clearly stating the event was not backed by the city of Killeen, Fort Hood or SPJST.
I blogged on the background to this self-proclaimed “competing” event here – the FMEU exists to promote Walid Shoebat, and it’s clear that the planned event is will be politically-charged: Shoebat’s son is billing it with the tag-line “America had enough of diversity, liberalism, appeasement, and silence”.
Shoebat’s handler, Keith Davies (wrongly named “Robert Davies” in the report – perhaps a conflation with Robert Spencer, who will be speaking), has complained bitterly that the Chamber of Commerce is being “politically correct”, although the Chamber’s letter, as reproduced by News 8, seems reasonable enough:
You should also know that we have learned that an organization by the name of the Forum for Middle East Understanding has reserved the Killeen Civic and Conference Center for an event to occur on Nov. 21, 2010.
It has been reported to us that this group is soliciting area businesses to make financial contributions to support their event, which is being billed as a ‘Fort Hood Memorial Event.’
You should know that neither this organization or this event is supported by Fort Hood or the City of Killeen or SPJST.
Also sponsoring the FMEU event is the International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association, and Davies’ press release on the subject tells us that
Conducting interviews on this topic are Keith Davies, executive director of The Forum for Middle East Understanding, and Michael Riker, president of the International Counter Terrorism Association and retired detective of Prince Georges County Police Dept. in Maryland.
As I noted previously, the ICTOA held a conference last month that included Shoebat (presumably not talking about his “Muslim anti-Christ” theory) and Steve Emerson; but alongside the usual anti-Islam pundits there are various self-styled “private security and intelligence” types. I’ve looked into this world a couple of times before (see here): its most distinctive feature is absurd websites that look as though they were designed ten years ago by someone who’s watched too many James Bond films. An interview with Riker appears on the website of a strange magazine called ArtChix Magazine; here, he gives details of previous conferences:
The  conference was held in Orlando, Florida and was attended by approximately 200 first responders. The conference lasted three days and some of the topics included, Understanding Shariah Law and Militant Ideology, Domestic Terrorism, Militant Islamist Signs and Indicators, Al Qaeda’s Military Strategies and The Legal and Policy Decisions of the Obama Administration in the War on Terror, to name just a few. The attendees came from all over the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Denmark… I have worked the last two conferences with Dr. Jarret Brachman. Dr. Brachman is a leading specialist who knows the workings of Al Qaeda. I met Dr. Brachman when he was the Director of Research at West Points Combating Terrorism Center. His knowledge of Al Qaeda is even known to Osama Bin Laden, as he was mentioned in a video tape that was released to the media from Osama Bin Laden. He has been invited to testify on security related matters before the House Armed Services Committee and the British House of Lords and his research has been featured on 60 Minutes, CNN, the New York Times, Al-Jazeera among a number of other international media outlets. Dr. Brachman’s book, Global Jihadism: Theory and Practice, was published in August 2008…
ArtChix Magazine seems a rather unlikely source for the interview, but the magazine was until recently part of the Griffith Media Center. Until last month, this was run by W. Edwin Griffith (or “Will Griffith”), who is also behind the “Griffith Colson Intelligence Service” and who is himself an ICTOA member. Riker recently made a posting to the GCIS’s “Emergency and Disaster Situation Room“; according to the site’s blurb,
The GCIS Situation Room is operated by the GCIS COMMUNICATIONS COMMAND CENTER. The GCIS Situation Room is the official operational hub for F.R.A.N.C. (Field Response And Network Command) of Griffith Colson Intelligence Service and is integrated into the F.R.A.N.C. System.
The “Situation Room” appears in fact to be a blog, decorated with flashing “Warning signs”, overblown logos, and a lurid red-font-on-black-background theme. For October, we read
ICTOA COUNTERTERRORISM ALERT: Iran Admits It Could Pull Nuke Trigger on US, Israel
ISSUED TO THE GCIS COMMUNICATIONS COMMAND CENTER BY PRESIDENT MICHAEL RIKER OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNTER-TERRORISM OFFICIERS ASSOCIATION
Riker’s “alert”, which he has been good enough to “issue”, is in fact a piece of punditry pasted from Newsmax. Griffith and Riker appear to be close allies; back in August there was a breathless press release:
W. Edward Griffith, Director of Griffith Colson Intelligence Service (GCIS) activated his agency’s Situation Room to monitor what appears to be a military strike against the Iranian regime, which he believes could come within days.
A spokeswoman for GCIS said the Director consulted with President Michael Riker of the International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association earlier in the morning and conducted a series of telephone conferences concerning the possibility of Israeli strikes against Iran.
Director Griffith spoke at length with ICTOA President Michael Riker this morning and studied his morning intelligence briefings on the possible strike by Israel against Iran said Sara Bauer, Press Secretary at the agency, The Director has ordered all GCIS personnel in Los Angeles and Washington on alert to monitor this potential crisis.
…Bauer added that the 43-year old private intelligence chief also ordered the GCIS Israeli security unit, Machaseh Security Service (MSS) on full alert, provide the Director with updated status reports on these developments. MSS Chief Kayla Cohen will be in direct contact with Griffith during the course of the monitoring procedure.
The main GCIS website has various divisions, including – curiously – a “Space Security Center” and a “Welsh Security Branch” (includes embedded Charlotte Church pop video). In September, Griffith also broadcast a hilariously pompous “9/11 Address To The Nation” (“broadcast live at NAIStv, official online television channel of the National Association of Investigative Specialists”), in which he mentioned Riker and railed against “elites” and the “enemy within” – named as ”ultra-liberals” and “diversity”. He also alluded to a personal scandal from before he came “to know God”; this was reportedly a past role as a transvestite prostitute, although, bizarrely, the only details about this are on sites listed as having belonged to “the Griffith Corporation” but recently sold the “Harcourt Media Group” (run by a certain “Madison Harcourt”). These sites – including ArtChix - are described as “media assets”, but judging from the Griffith Media Center they appear to have been created mainly to puff Griffith’s various projects; it’s not at all clear whether they have any off-line existence, and there is no advertising.
Oversight for the GCIS comes from its “Executive Security Council”, which includes Ralph D. Thomas, who has also written articles for ArtChix (“Director of The National Association Of Investigative Specialists” – blog here) Gary Aminoff (“President of the San Fernando Valley Republican Club and First Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County” – blog here) and Donald Leake (“Greater Love Outreach”, apparently – erm - a gospel music quartet). GCIS is also described as a “division” of the Securitas Global Group (SGG), run by a certain Max Baumann.
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