Seattle and Las Vegas Police “Pull Out” of Counter-Terror Webinars

Last month, a report published by Political Research Associates highlighted some troubling trends in private “counter-terror” training being offered to law enforcement agencies in the USA; I blogged on the report here, quoting a Guardian piece about it. Articles on the same subject recently published by the Washington Monthly (see here and here) and the Washington Post  have prompted an expression of concern from Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins.

One group that featured in the PRA report was  Security Solutions International (SSI), which is headed by Henry Morgenstern; Morgenstern is the co-editor of Suicide Terror: Understanding and Confronting the Threat, which is published by Wiley and which comes with an endorsement from Benyamin Netanyahu. The PRA noted that one SSI expert used for training purposes is Dave Gaubatz, a controversial figure who has featured on this blog before: he is the co-author of Muslim Mafia, the main organiser of the “Mapping Shariah” project (alongside David Yerushalmi), and he plays a role in Pamela Geller’s Stop Islamization of America. He has also described Barack Obama as being a “crack-head”.

Morgenstern has dismissed PRA as “left-wing loony… composed mainly of former writers of High Times“, and he claims that CAIR is secretly behind any criticisms of SSI. However, it doesn’t look as though this is having much persuasive effect, and Morgenstern is now complaining about lost business in Seattle and Las Vegas:

You take a city like Seattle, which has a mayor, or had a mayor, I’m not sure if he’s still there, Mike McGinn… We had a programme for fusion centers, this is intelligence agencies, and the programme was about tools for fusion centers. Microsoft is one of the sponsors. We had these webinars scheduled… and CAIR picked up the phone, called the mayor, and said we’re a prejudiced group that [unclear] hatred against Arabs… He called the chief of police and… the pussy just pulled all his people out of the training… We just had another incidence in Las Vegas of the same thing.

Mortgenstern was speaking as a guest on Will and Mike Live [at 27:16], an internet radio programme co-hosted by Mike Riker of the International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association; the ICTOA has also come under critical scrutiny from the PRA, to large extent because of its use of Walid Shoebat as an expert.

As I’ve blogged previously, Shoebat’s utterances are so extravagant as to be absurd: he claims that he knows that Obama is a Muslim (“Islam could not defeat us by destroying the twin towers. But they are able to defeat us by sneaking in their man”), and he wishes that “nukes” would “take care” of the Muslim world. According the PRA report, as cited by the Guardian:

…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.”

Shoebat also has second job visiting churches to warn of the coming Islamic Anti-Christ, based on a bizarre pseudo-analysis of the Book of Revelation.

It was the Shoebat’s association with the ICTOA which first brought the ICTOA to my attention; back in November, the ICTOA sponsored an “alternative” Fort Hood commemoration in Texas featuring Shoebat and Robert Spencer.

Riker continues to stand by Shoebat, although he has not felt the need to address any concerns about Shoebat’s rhetoric: instead, like Morgenstern, he concentrates on attacking the character of anyone who has made criticisms: this includes me for writing about the subject on this blog. As ever, the accusation is that because SSI and ICTOA are opposed to Islamic extremism, anyone raising concerns must be motivated by a wish to undermine attempts to oppose Islamic extremism. Even more bizarrely, Riker’s co-host on the programme, a man named Will Griffith, suggests that I’m receiving funding from George Soros.

Without citing the obvious at length: I’m not being paid to blog by Soros or by anyone else, and I would certainly welcome any competent training which would assist law-enforcement with tracking down Islamic extremists. But even if I really did have some secret malign intent, everything I write is based on materials that are in the public domain, and which other people can check for themselves. My interpretation is sceptical, but it is based on argument and evidence, not testimony – what kind of a person I might be is neither here nor there.

Similarly, I’m sure that Riker has served honourably and bravely as a police officer over the years, and that he means well – but his support for Shoebat shows bafflingly bad judgment.