Wired‘s “Danger Room” blog has a fascinating post up on a guy named William Gawthrop, a counterterrorism analyst for the FBI, who as recently as a few months ago was helping give FBI counterterrorism trainings which taught agents that
“main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”
Some of the other highlights:
… “There may not be a ‘radical’ threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox ideology,” one FBI presentation notes. “The strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are main stream.”
Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”
…What’s more, the Islamic “insurgency” is all-encompassing and insidious. In addition to outright combat, its “techniques” include “immigration” and “law suits.” So if a Muslim wishes to become an American or sues the FBI for harassment, it’s all just part of the jihad.
An FBI presentation titled “Militancy Considerations” measures the relationship between piety and violence among the texts of the three Abrahamic faiths. As time goes on, the followers of the Torah and the Bible move from “violent” to “non-violent.” Not so for devotees of the Koran, whose “moderating process has not happened.” The line representing violent behavior from devout Muslims flatlines and continues outward, from 610 A.D. to 2010. In other words, religious Muslims have been and always will be agents of aggression.
(The other interesting implication of that graph, of course, is that “pious and devout” Christians and Jews, unlike Muslims, are nonviolent. Tell that to, as one of countless examples, the guy who shot Dr. George Tiller.)
Who is William Gawthrop? It’s not clear when he joined the FBI, but in 2006, he had just left the Defense Department’s Counterintelligence Field Activity agency. As Wired notes, that outfit “came under withering criticism during the Bush administration for keeping a database about threats to military bases that included reports on peaceful antiwar protesters and dovish Church groups.”
At that point, in 2006, Gawther
gave an interview to the website WorldNetDaily, and discussed some of the themes that made it into his briefings, years later. The Prophet “Muhammad’s mindset is a source for terrorism,” Gawthrop told the website…At the time, Gawthrop’s major suggestion for waging the war on terrorism was to attack what he called “soft spots” in Islamic faith that might “induce a deteriorating cascade effect upon the target.” That is, to discredit Islam itself and cause Muslims to abandon their religion. “Critical vulnerabilities of the Koran, for example, are that it was uttered by a mortal,” he said. Alas, he lamented, he faced the bureaucratic obstacle of official Washington’s “political taboo of linking Islamic violence to the religion of Islam.”
The FBI, not surprisingly, is now distancing itself from briefings which taught senior counterterrorism investigators that all Muslim Americans, by definition, are supporters and practitioners of terrorism. But this is only the latest in any number of incidents over the past decade of federal, state, and local law enforcement officials embracing Islamophobic (and often racist) stereotypes. It does, however, raise a couple of disturbing issues.
The first is to wonder, especially given the seven years of Bush administration politicization of federal hiring that took place in the years after 9-11, just how many more WND-friendly crazies there are festering inside the massive federal law enforcement, intelligence, and Homeland Security bureaucracy. An awful lot of people were onboarded in a hurry; how many are still there, how many of their buddies are also now there, and how pervasive is this sort of bigoted and grossly ineffective approach to counterterrorism work?
Secondly, these sorts of attitudes might go a long way toward explaining how the FBI can spend enormous resources luring fantasizing Muslim teenagers into plots they would otherwise never carry out, but don’t seem to expend nearly as much energy investigating or preventing much more real plots being carried out by far right “Christian” fanatics.
And those are just the plots of individuals. If you want to talk groups, yeah, nineteen Muslim fanatics murdered three thousands people…and then a cabal of avowedly Christian elected officials used that as the pretext to launch two wars that have killed upwards of a million. Someone prone to gross generalizations of a billion or two people based on a tiny sample size might well ask: Which is the more violent religion, again?
P.S. Throw something Booman’s way. You know he’s earned it.