Omar Sacirbey, the fiercely smiling author of this RNS editorial masquerading as a news story that the Washington Post picked up, has all the journalistic standards of Josef Goebbels. Recently he published assertions about me that were obviously and flagrantly false, whereupon I wrote him asking for a retraction and an apology. He wrote back saying that his “editor” had sided with him (big surprise) and thus the lies stayed up.
In this piece he is no less magnificently unimpressed with the truth, as he assembles an impressive tissue of smears, half-truths, innuendos and lies about various foes of jihad terror, and wraps them up nicely into a “news story” that the WaPo, eager as ever to run defamation in the service of Islamic supremacists and jihadists, then presents to its hapless readers. Sacirbey is smarting because a Hamas-linked CAIR smear campaign failed to get former FBI agent John Guandolo’s training course for law enforcement officers canceled in Culpeper County, Virginia. Sacirbey wrote up this hit piece to try to ensure that this failure would not be repeated.
“Anti-Muslim speakers still popular in law enforcement training,” by Omar Sacirbey for the Religion News Service, March 12:
Law enforcement officers in Virginia will no longer receive credit for a counterterrorism course taught by a former FBI agent and anti-Muslim activist after the academy where the course was taught canceled its accreditation the day it was scheduled to begin.
Sacirbey uses “anti-Muslim” throughout this piece for foes of jihad terror, which — as I have said before when pseudo-journalistic ideologues like Sacirbey have used this term in the past — is like calling foes of Nazism “anti-German.” It shows Sacirbey’s bias and sympathy for jihadists, and should never be acceptable practice in what are supposedly respectable journalistic outlets like RNS and the WaPo. But standards go out the window when it comes to journalists covering for jihad terrorism; they do it so unanimously, zealously and unflinchingly that they must either be true believers or paid off, or both.
Nevertheless, the three-day course with John Guandolo, which Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins vigorously defended, proceeded at nearby Germanna Community College late last month.
Some 50 people, many from out of state, reportedly enrolled in the seminar, “Understanding and Investigating Jihadi Networks in America,” advertised as $225 per trainee.
Note the emphasis on the fee. Leftist allies of Islamic supremacism such as the Center for American Progress and the Southern Poverty Law Center have millions upon millions of dollars — far more than any counter-jihad organization of individual has ever had. But it is a staple of these smear pieces that the so-called “Islamophobia industry” is a well-heeled machine in which people are just in it for the money, as if getting regular death threats and constant vilification is worth any amount of money. Anyway, $225 is a perfectly reasonable charge for a seminar like this one — indeed, far lower than what other organizations charge for programs of similar duration. But Sacirbey is following his marching orders: Imply that it’s all about the money.
The Culpeper controversy is the latest law-enforcement training course to draw harsh criticism from Muslim groups who say agencies hire purported experts in Islam or counterterrorism who in fact have other agendas.
While Muslim-American activists and media reports have raised awareness about anti-Muslim trainers, occasionally resulting in curriculum reviews and canceled classes, many say the problem persists because there are too few police administrators to properly vet courses and instructors.
What Sacirbey means is: “The problem persists because there are too few Leftists and Islamic supremacists putting pressure on police administrators so that they don’t dare host a course that tells the truth about Islam and jihad.”
The consequences, critics add, go beyond political incorrectness and include undermining public safety and obscuring real dangers as police officers chase bad leads based on profiling.
What’s behind this absolutely baseless charge (for which Sacirbey offers no evidence, because there is none) is the ongoing effort by Hamas-linked CAIR and other groups like it to end all surveillance of Muslim communities, including the NYPD’s program which just withstood a Leftist/Islamic supremacist challenge in court.
After 9/11, several anti-Muslim activists emerged, speaking about Islam to audiences at churches, synagogues, political organizations and universities. With the nation focused on homeland security, many anti-Muslim speakers began offering their courses to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, which paid for them with taxpayer-funded government grants.
Nearly 13 years later, these speakers continue to win lucrative fees to train law enforcement officers despite a history of rhetoric that seems to undermine their credibility.
Note again the emphasis on the money. I would have told Omar Sacirbey if he had asked me, but of course he didn’t, because he didn’t want the truth: when I was flying around the country in order to help give training seminars for the FBI, CIA, JTTF, and military groups, I didn’t get paid. Not a penny. Not even for expenses. I paid my own way, bought my own hotel rooms, etc. On a few occasions a Colonel who had me speak several times on military bases told me about a form I could fill out for reimbursement of my travel expenses. I never filled out the form. I did the training out of a sense of duty to my country, not for personal gain. If Omar Sacirbey were a journalist rather than a smear merchant, he might have asked me and some others what we were paid, whether we were paid, etc. But quite obviously he is not a journalist.
For example, Guandolo, who taught the Culpeper class, is seen saying in a YouTube video with anti-Muslim blogger Robert Spencer that CIA Director John Brennan converted to Islam. In another recording, he claims that Brennan is “unfit for duty,” because he has brought in leaders of Hamas to advise the government.
Note again the identifier intended to demean: “anti-Muslim blogger.” Not, say, “bestselling author and former FBI trainer.” Daniel Martin Varisco, another “Islamophobia” smear merchant, has a blog and was recently whining about how it was less popular than this one. But you can be sure that Sacirbey would never, ever refer to Varisco as a “blogger.”
Anyway, Sacirbey presents Guandolo’s charge that Brennan is a Muslim as if it were self-evidently false. On what basis? Has Brennan ever denied this? No. Is it widely known that there is a top intelligence official in the Obama Administration’s CIA who has converted to Islam? Yes. It was reported in none other than the Washington Post in 2012. Why couldn’t it be Brennan? Did Sacirbey speak to Brennan? If he did, he doesn’t mention it in the article. What is much more likely is that Sacirbey didn’t speak to Brennan, and has no idea whether or not he is a Muslim, but since Brennan hasn’t said anything one way or the other about the charge, he uses it to portray Guandolo as crazy. (You can see the video of my interview with Guandolo here.)
In addition, federal court papers claim that as an undercover FBI agent, Guandolo had a sexual affair with a witness that could have interfered with an investigation into corruption by former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, a Democrat from New Orleans.
“Could have.” Anyway, what does this have to do with whether or not John Guandolo is qualified to speak about the jihad terror threat? Why, nothing. Nothing at all. But it’s a stick that Sacirbey can use to beat Guandolo, and that’s good enough for him.
“His views on Islam are the equivalent of historical anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic falsehoods,” said Corey Saylor, national legislative director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, wrote in a letter to Jenkins. “Guandolo offers only his own prejudiced and inaccurate conspiratorial views, not solid counterterrorism training.”
It is no surprise at all that Sacirbey doesn’t bother to mention that CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case — so named by the Justice Department. CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR’s cofounder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Ibrahim Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements. Its California chapter distributed a poster telling Muslims not to talk to the FBI. CAIR has opposed every anti-terror measure that has ever been proposed or implemented.
The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Guandolo “a notorious Muslim-basher and conspiracy theorist.”
It is also no surprise that Sacirbey doesn’t bother to note that although the SPLC lists hundreds of groups as “hate groups,” they lump legitimate conservative groups in with neo-Nazis and racist groups, and include few, if any, Leftist and Muslim groups on the list. Nor does he mention that the SPLC’s “hate group” designation against the Family Research Council led one of its followers to storm the FRC offices with a gun, determined to murder the chief of the FRC. This shows that these kinds of charges shouldn’t be thrown around frivolously, as tools to demonize and marginalize those whose politics the SPLC dislikes. But that is exactly what they do. Its hard-Left leanings are well known and well documented. This Weekly Standard article sums up much of what is wrong with the SPLC.
Guandolo did not agree to be interviewed but instead provided a reporter with a list of associations between founding members of CAIR and people alleged to be connected with Hamas.
Note that Sacirbey provides no examples, and implies that CAIR’s connection to Hamas is a matter of association, and that Guandolo or one of his fellow “Islamophobes” originated it, rather than noting that it comes from the Justice Department.
Other anti-Muslim activists who regularly teach police officers include Sam Kharoba, a Jordanian-born Christian who preaches that Islam is inherently violent and that a Muslim wearing a headband signifies he wants to be a martyr…
I don’t know Kharoba, but I doubt he said that “a Muslim wearing a headband signifies he wants to be a martyr.” Sacirbey isn’t a trustworthy source. Meanwhile, by simply heaping scorn on the assertions that “Islam is inherently violent” and that “terrorism and Islam are inseparable,” Sacirbey hinders the public discussion that needs to be had about how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism. Anyone who is honest and observant can see that there is a unique problem with Islam and violence; consigning the entire question to “anti-Muslim bigotry” only actually reinforces suspicion of Islam and Muslims that non-Muslims do have.
Spencer, founder of the JihadWatch.com blog and whose anti-Muslim writings were cited by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, has given seminars on Islam and jihad to the U.S. Central Command, Army Command, the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the U.S. intelligence community, according to CAIR.
You’d think Sacirbey would be ashamed to play the Breivik card after Breivik himself has publicly stated that he associated himself with the counter-jihad movement in order to discredit that movement. Of course, maybe Breivik was a convinced counter-jihadist and then tried to throw people off the scent with his recent claim; even if that were true, Sacirbey is trying to associate me with Breivik’s murders while not bothering to mention that Breivik actually criticized me for not calling for violence, saying of me, Bat Ye’or and other critics of jihad terror: “If these authors are to [sic] scared to propagate a conservative revolution and armed resistance then other authors will have to.” (Breivik, 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, p. 743) Breivik explains in his manifesto that he was “radicalized” by his experiences with Muslim immigrants in the early 1990s, before I had published anything about Islam (See Breivik, p. 1348). That Sacirbey omits all this is nothing short of libelous, and shows yet again his propagandistic agenda.
It’s funny also how Sacirbey attributes those items from my resume to CAIR, as if they investigated me and ferreted all that out. Actually they only had to search as far as my bio on this site. If Sacirbey wants proof that I did this training, I have plenty, including certificates of appreciation from Central Command and the Asymmetric Warfare Group. But of course, he didn’t ask.
In July 2011, Gawker reported two of Spencer’s most criticized books, “The Truth about Muhammad” and “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam,” are recommended in FBI training materials.
Criticized by whom, exactly, and for what agenda? Sacirbey doesn’t say. What in either of them is factually inaccurate? Sacirbey doesn’t say, because he can’t, because the books are accurate.
Critics of these speakers have in some cases succeeded in getting their courses canceled. In Illinois, three sessions of a course taught by Kharoba were canceled last year; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said it would no longer use Kharoba. In 2011, the FBI did a review of its materials and trainers after news reports that their materials contained anti-Islamic instruction.
Actually they did it after 57 Muslim groups, including many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, wrote to John Brennan demanding that I be removed as an FBI trainer and that counter-terror materials be scrubbed of references to Islam and jihad. Brennan immediately agreed, without any apparent thought to the associations and allegiances of the groups that were making their demand, or to their goal in all this.
“I think the issues with them are reasonably well-known federally, but many state and local agencies do not know or do not care,” said Saylor.
Jenkins declined an interview request.
According to an editorial in his local paper, The Free-Lance Star, Jenkins became acquainted with Guandolo during a “two- or three-minute conversation,” and didn’t research him until Muslims and others protested. “What he learned did not dissuade the sheriff from moving ahead with the program,” the paper added.
As well it shouldn’t have.
Prior to Guandolo’s course, Jenkins agreed to let local Muslims and Saylor deliver a presentation to officers where they described the history and beliefs of Islam, and warned about stereotypes and misperceptions about Muslims.
This is how those Islamic supremacist liars and smear artists at Hamas-linked CAIR get a foot in the door. Jenkins, had he been informed enough, would have done better to tell Saylor that no group with ties to Hamas was going to make any presentation.
“I think they looked at his resume, former FBI and former Marine, and did not look much further,” said Saylor. “A quick Internet search reveals his professional and bias issues.”
This is how groups like Hamas-linked CAIR and their “journalist” allies like Sacirbey operate: they pile up false charges and half-truths, creating the appearance of “professional and bias issues,” so that officials who are busy and harried and careless (i.e., most officials) simply don’t want the controversy, and shy away from the speakers CAIR targets. It’s insidious and dishonest, but all too often it works. The possibility that a group with associations and positions like CAIR’s might want to silence foes of jihad terror simply because they are foes of jihad terror doesn’t enter into the mind of too many people.
Steve Emmons, executive director of Oklahoma’s Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, said his agency doesn’t have enough personnel to vet the 3,000 course requests the council gets annually.
“It’s not that we didn’t want to but it was because of the sheer number,” he said. Of his staff of 40, only one person is tasked with curriculum reviews, and only does that part time.
Emmons was criticized after retired Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin and Frank Gaffney, both revered in hard-line anti-Muslim circles, gave a presentation in November at the state Capitol about Iran, Hezbollah and drug cartels.
He also acknowledged that his staff didn’t have the expertise to judge such courses. To them, “it was just another anti-terrorism course.”
It wouldn’t take much to avoid future controversies like this, Emmons said.
“If we even had two or three people who did nothing else but look at the paperwork that comes in with the course materials and lesson plans and that kind of thing, yeah, we’d be able to review those things.”
They should also look long and hard at who is doing the complaining, and ponder what their agenda might be.