Last month, the Guardian noted the publication of a new report about counter-terrorism training in the USA:
Political Research Associates, a Massachusetts-based progressive thinktank, spent nine months investigating the burgeoning industry of counter-terrorism training. It concluded that in seminars and conferences across America, police, transit and other law-enforcement officers were being given an ideologically skewed impression of Islam that impugned the entire religion, presenting it as inherently violent and sympathetic to terrorism.
One training conference, which PRA investigators attended, was held last October by the International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association, a body formed by New York police officers in the wake of 9/11. The conference was addressed by Walid Shoebat, a speaker used by several of the private training outfits.
Shoebat is a convert to Christianity, having formerly been a Muslim with links to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. In his presentation, called The Jihad Mindset and How to Defeat It: Why We Want to Kill You, he accused Muslim men of raping women, children and young boys. “They are paedophiles!” he shouted.
According to the report, Shoebat went on: “The Muslim beheads with a smile. You can see it on YouTube, on TV; the Afghan child trained to execute Christians. You say that Islam is a peaceful religion? Why? It hates the west.”
He also said: “Islam is a revolution and is intent to destroy all other systems. They want to expand, like Nazism.”
The PRA report cited one of my blog entries for some general background on Shoebat, and my writings on Shoebat’s links to the ICTOA (e.g here and here) have come to the attention of Mike Riker, the ICTOA’s president. I have since received comments both in Riker’s name and under the pseudonym “PG1463”; “PG1463” has an email address that resolves to a Facebook page called “Pres Ictoa”, his IP address is the same as Riker’s, and both sources tend to post around the same times.
The comments adopt rhetorical strategies that are wearily familiar, although they give further insight into Riker and the organisation’s way of thinking. Readers can draw their own conclusions, but in my opinion they appear foolish and further undermine confidence in the ICTOA’s ability to provide competent and appropriate professional training.
First up: any criticism of Riker is support for Islamic extremists:
Just because Riker’s judgement isnt to your apporoval doesn’t mean hes wrong. Your judgement on attacking organizations who are out to protect you and the public is bad judgement in my opinion. So when your bowing the the east and helping stone women remember you were warned but chose the other path.
Next: criticising Riker over his use of Shoebat is an attack on the First Amendment:
Well its called the 1st amendment. Who he chooses to like is his business and not yours. Your like that little old lady next door who has there nose in everyone else business, get a life Rich
Also: raising substantive points on a blog doesn’t count:
So call in tomorrow and talk to Walid himself and air out your opinion. Im hoping that you will call and talk to him and not hide behind the cloak of the blog.
…Sorry you didnt make it to the interview with Walid. Guess you were afraid to confront him one on one. You questions could have been answered from Walid himself instead of trying to put word into other peoples mouth…
The background here is that Riker wanted me to phone in to an internet radio show that he runs with an associate, and on which Shoebat spoke yesterday.
For some strange reason, Riker seems to think I need to prove something on a forum of his choosing, but I think that what I’ve written about Shoebat stands on its own merits. I’ve linked and referenced appropriate sources, and I hope (although I don’t expect) that decision-makers in law-enforcement training will eventually take notice through “trickle-up” processes such as the PRA report. If Riker thinks that everything I’ve put forward can be exploded by pointing out that I haven’t phoned his show then he’s free to find comfort in that opinion, although I can’t see anyone with any sense being impressed.
Riker has also posted a comment providing a link to one of Shoebat’s “Last Days” expositions; as well as expounding on Islam and terrorism, Shoebat also teaches that Muslims will soon come under the direct control of the Anti-Christ as we approach the Second Coming of Jesus. This blog has details of a recent presentation by Shoebat at a church in California.
Incidentally, another reason that Riker wanted me on his show was to get some free publicity; his co-host is a strange attention-seeker who controls a web of interlinking “news” websites that promote another “private intelligence” organisation. These sites also include details – including photographs – of this co-host’s past unconventional private life, dwelling on sexual matters and presented as some sort of exposé. Presumably this is a bizarre strategy to drum up publicity through an appeal to prurience; I’m not inclined to play along.
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