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September 15, 2011 9:11 AM   Subscribe

The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism 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.”
While the FBI's monitoring of Muslims and infiltration of mosques in the United States is nothing new, this is the first time I've seen any of documents they use to train some of their agents.

PDFs from the Wired article:

1) Militancy Considerations
2) Strategic Themes and Drivers in Islamic Law
3) Doctrinal Basis for Jihad
4) Chart: Violence and Adherence to the Torah, Bible and Koran

(Previously)
posted by gman (81 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Amazingly stupid. As if these beliefs weren't what got us fucked up in the first place.

The problem is that the FBI is independent. Someone needs to step in and stop this crap.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:13 AM on September 15, 2011 [4 favorites]



The FBI aint all bad.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:15 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't understand the diagram. I get the crosses and Magen Davids are on top and the crescent moons on the bottom, but why are there crescent moons on top as well?
posted by griphus at 9:16 AM on September 15, 2011


The FBI are wanted to weigh down any carpets when investigating a Muslim's home, lest they use them to escape.
posted by The Whelk at 9:17 AM on September 15, 2011 [32 favorites]


Oh, lordy. Just out of curiosity, has anybody tried tabulating the professed religions of all violent criminals, just so we can find out once and for all who's really the most dangerous?
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:19 AM on September 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't understand the diagram. I get the crosses and Magen Davids are on top and the crescent moons on the bottom, but why are there crescent moons on top as well?

That? That's just the moon. It's in the sky, you see. We're conducting an internal investigation to determine why there are four of them.
posted by theodolite at 9:22 AM on September 15, 2011


the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”

Strange, I've always thought the same about er... paying tax.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 9:22 AM on September 15, 2011 [32 favorites]


This is mentioned about halfway down the article, but I thought it worth pointing out for those who don't read the articles. From one of the slide packages:
The views expressed in this presentation are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any agency of the United States Government

William Gawthrop
Of course the FBI shouldn't be hosting briefings that incorrectly portray Islam as any more inherently dangerous than Christianity, but I think it's inaccurate to state that the FBI is directly teaching this material.
posted by muddgirl at 9:24 AM on September 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Cripes! Interrogators, forget about waterboarding and just make your 'clients' sit through your PowerPoint presentations.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 9:25 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well it's nice to have it spelled out in print I guess instead of going on uncharitable assumptions.
posted by Hoopo at 9:25 AM on September 15, 2011


Yeah this is material from some sort of outside presentation or trainer, not official doctrine. Bit different.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:27 AM on September 15, 2011


Yeah this is material from some sort of outside presentation or trainer, not official doctrine. Bit different.

Well, uh, not really. If an organization provides training for its employees, it's responsible for the quality and the content of that training whether it's provided by in-house trainers or outside contractors.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:34 AM on September 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh, lordy. Just out of curiosity, has anybody tried tabulating the professed religions of all violent criminals, just so we can find out once and for all who's really the most dangerous?

Why, yes!

Pol Pot
Hitler
Stalin
Mugabe
Mao
Genghis Khan
Bill Cosby
Franco
Saddam
Assad

ALL ATHEIST
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 9:36 AM on September 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


See Ahmed? Be very, very, very afraid of him. He might do something to you.

But pay no attention to that coalition of white, graying guys in business suits right over there that are really screwing you in the ass.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:37 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Isn't this only logical? We've established the FBI would prefer to train it's own terrorists because that's easier than catching the real deal, who might be like actually dangerous, or hard to find, or not exist at all. And congressional Republicans frown upon catching right-wing terrorists.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:37 AM on September 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


posted by gman

lol

But seriously, what the fuck. What sort of structural oversight is there in the FBI to ensure that their information is even glancingly accurate? I mean, apparently the answer is 'none,' but oughtn't there be something?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:43 AM on September 15, 2011



posted by gman

lol


The link between gman and the CIA isn't the one you might think it is.
posted by odinsdream at 9:47 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


That Militancy Considerations graphic, like nearly everything else in these materials, is just straight up US = good guys / THEM = bad guys.

None of this is accurate on ANY LEVEL. It is sheer madness to suggest Christians are now at some zenith of non-violence, considering Christians have been holy-warring pretty much non-stop. Only we do it with armies, so I guess...plausible deniability? What?

We are well into doublespeak. I want Orwell to be wrong about something. I am beginning to doubt it.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:49 AM on September 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


The writer: "Mr. Gawthrop analytic interests include Islamic Law".

I wonder how much this guy gets paid to do these training sessions?

If he were my student I'd flunk him for lousy writing and lousy research.

Our tax dollars at work.
posted by mareli at 9:51 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ultimately, this is the fruit of fundamentalism. Regardless of the religion that it exists in, its first taks is not the conversion of outsiders but the delegitimization of others inside its own faith. Presenting a fearsome face to outsiders -- outsiders eager and ready to focus on the most dangerous enemy -- it hijacks an entire faith as its own and co-opts unbelievers in its mission.
posted by verb at 10:00 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


...“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.”

...I doubt the “main stream” American Irish got this kind of scrutiny during the 70s.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:03 AM on September 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wait, forget about the FBI, are you telling me Bill Cosby is an atheist?
posted by swift at 10:06 AM on September 15, 2011


> are you telling me Bill Cosby is an atheist?

Would a God fearing man wear those sweaters?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:07 AM on September 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


"As time goes on, the followers of the Torah and the Bible move from “violent” to “non-violent.”"

If we're pointing out things that are incorrect, that statement is towards the top of the list as well.
posted by tomswift at 10:12 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


For an atheist, Franco sure liked the Catholic Church.

Mind you, even Stalin helped build up the Russian Orthodox Church; I guess that religion is quite useful to authoritarian leaders.
posted by acb at 10:12 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Spencer Ackerman was talking about this with Rachel Maddow last night.
posted by homunculus at 10:14 AM on September 15, 2011


How to Not Be An Islamophobe: First, Be A Combat Vet
posted by homunculus at 10:15 AM on September 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, uh, not really. If an organization provides training for its employees, it's responsible for the quality and the content of that training whether it's provided by in-house trainers or outside contractors.

Don't we have an FPP somewhere on just how high a percentage of all intelligence *cough* services are outsourced to outside agencies (probably for just such plausible deniability)?
posted by infini at 10:16 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The second pdf links to a chart of attacks against the US, on page 2. It includes motivations. For Timothy McVeigh, it lists "Individual Retaliation." This is one of the clearest examples of the Right-Wing Terrorists Are Just Lone Wolves thesis. My word.
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:28 AM on September 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Oh, lordy. Just out of curiosity, has anybody tried tabulating the professed religions of all violent criminals, just so we can find out once and for all who's really the most dangerous?

Hmm, considering that the majority of the people who "find religion" in prison convert to Islam that may not give you the answer you're expecting.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:28 AM on September 15, 2011


has anybody tried tabulating the professed religions of all violent criminals, just so we can find out once and for all who's really the most dangerous?

Exactly, and while we're at it, can we get a count of Islamic terrorist attacks within the US versus domestic terrorism perpetrated by Right wing Christians? Because on a day to day basis, I can tell you which one I worry about more (hint, it's the one that blows up Planned Parenthoods and shoots abortion doctors and yet, it's never actually called "terrorism".)

Our priorities and worries are way fucked up.
posted by quin at 10:29 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


TheAlarminglySwollenFinger:Oh, lordy. Just out of curiosity, has anybody tried tabulating the professed religions of all violent criminals, just so we can find out once and for all who's really the most dangerous?

Why, yes!

[...]
ALL ATHEIST

OH GOD ANOTHER OF THOSE PEOPLE MAYBE I CAN GET THIS OVER WITH QUICKLY AND WITHOUT A HUGE DERAIL
1. Atheism is not a religion.
2. If you're really going to go there, might I remind you of the centuries that religion has been an oppressive force in the world? It might not have the big-name killers behind it, but it isn't hard to compile quite an extensive all-star list for, say, Christianity, and its influence has certainly lasted longer.

There are murderous assholes of every belief system, and for its absence too. So please, GTFO.
posted by JHarris at 10:31 AM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


That graph is tragic, hilarious, offensive, and complete bullshit. The author needs to be fired, the documents need to be disowned, and the FBI needs to apologize.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:31 AM on September 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


...JHarris, did you miss the "Bill Cosby"? Somehow I think that comment was not made in all seriousness.

Unless it was in which case my whole day, ruined.
posted by KChasm at 10:35 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


JHarris, I think that was a joke. Also Hitler wasn't atheist. And Bill Cosby's sweaters are technicolor dreamsweaters.
posted by Hoopo at 10:35 AM on September 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh, come on, folks -- he put Bill Cosby on the list. How much sarcasm tagging do you need?
posted by steambadger at 10:37 AM on September 15, 2011


Chart: Violence and Adherence to the Torah, Bible and Koran

Check that out. According to that chart, Christian violence decreased linearly from the unrestrained savagery of Jesus Christ to the moderation of the Crusades.


A Toronto mosque is offering a "detox" program for young Islamic radicals "by espousing a more spiritual interpretation of Islam and emphasizing the need to realize one's responsibility as a Muslim in Canada."

Don't be fooled into thinking that ordinary Canadian Muslims are our best protection against radical Islam -- it's just a plot to reduce our levels of paranoid fear!
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:39 AM on September 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


How to Not Be An Islamophobe: First, Be A Combat Vet
posted by homunculus at 1:15 PM on September 15


FWIW my brother converted to Islam while serving in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf war.
posted by liza at 10:42 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow. I've learned so much. Like the Christian Bible started in 3 BC at which time adherers were maxed out in violence. It took them until 2010 to minimize that violence. I guess in 2011 they are going to start all over again.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:45 AM on September 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Franco made aggressive promotion of Catholicism a major part of his regime.

Bill Cosby has a unique interpretation of scripture though.
posted by Winnemac at 10:56 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


...I doubt the “main stream” American Irish got this kind of scrutiny during the 70s.

Well, it's not like Irish terrorists ever targeted the US, is it? Main stream Irish people living in Britain did get this kind of scrutiny from some people in the British security services. Being a target rather than an outside observer tends to alter anyone's perspective on security.

I wish the story had a bit more detail on the scope and nature of this guy's employment. It's not clear whether these 'training' materials were created as part of his work or whether it was a largely extracurricular activity that he spun into a side business. Either way, it doesn't speak well for the quality of his analysis or the quality of the FBI's oversight. There's a lesson here about the weakness of overly rigid organizational structures, but I'm not sure what lesson is to be drawn from it. Obviously, it would be better if the FBI had better input from social scientists and historical scholars, and a higher level of worldly wisdom in general. Unfortunately, the sort of people who could provide that are not particularly likely to want to join the FBI in the first place, while the people who do want to join the FBI are likely to have intellectual predispositions of their own which may enhance their investigative skills while blinding them to the social context in which those investigations are taking place.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:03 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


s/what lesson/what conclusion
posted by anigbrowl at 11:04 AM on September 15, 2011


The FBI got these ideas from ---
READ HERE to see who is teaching this nuttiness!
posted by Postroad at 11:09 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah this is material from some sort of outside presentation or trainer, not official doctrine. Bit different.

It's not like the FBI leadership sends its agents off to these training presentations like some unknown elementary school, waiting until the kids get home to see what they talked about in class that day... "Wait, your teacher said WHAT?? Oh, when your father gets home, we're going to set up a parent-teacher conference, YOU'D BETTER BELIEVE IT!"
posted by FatherDagon at 11:17 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just out of curiosity, has anybody tried tabulating the professed religions of all violent criminals, just so we can find out once and for all who's really the most dangerous?

Yes, Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern has done this, and the result won't shock you: HOMOSEXUALS!
posted by hermitosis at 11:19 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The FBI are just a bunch of fucking crybabies because they can't get off-the-record government monies for spy drones and blowjobs.

Seriously, it is so transparent that they see how irrelevant they are compared to the DEA and the CIA. So the manufacturer fear domestically to keep those pointless jobs.

Federal Dicks, indeed.
posted by clvrmnky at 11:30 AM on September 15, 2011


Like the Christian Bible started in 3 BC at which time adherers were maxed out in violence.

The grazzy devotchka has got her Baby Bog in a manger... let's give her a bit of the old ultra-violence, eh droogs?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:36 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, James Franco is even busier than I thought.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:39 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


...JHarris, did you miss the "Bill Cosby"? Somehow I think that comment was not made in all seriousness.

Sorry, it didn't seem to be the kind of joke that was intended to defeat the point, just ironically allude to it. It's not been a good day, my nerves are shot.
posted by JHarris at 12:01 PM on September 15, 2011


I love how the Violence and Adherence to the Torah, Bible and Koran has lines for all three religions trending in a perfect straight line from the maximally-violent moment the religion was born to the peaceful, non-violent present, implying that Christians forsook violence for peace much more quickly than the Jews, and that Muslims became peaceful even more quickly than Christians.

And then, just as the author put down his ruler and was patting himself on the back for another concise illustration of the sweep of history, he said, "Oh, wait," and scribbled in a comment saying, "Actually this Muslim line didn't happen. Those guys are still totally violent. But it's in ink and can't erase it."
posted by straight at 12:05 PM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe we can send the graph to Tufte and sees if it kills him. And then blame the Muslims.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:09 PM on September 15, 2011


It's funny how seeing something like this can change your understanding of what happens at the FBI. Put aside the reprehensible content; just look at that "non-violent/violent" chart. Confusing layout and wording, no labeling or scale of any sort, with little clip art moons and crosses pasted on. Looks like something you'd see a copy of a copy of a copy of nailed up in that weird gas station without a bathroom in the town where you always stop for gas because it's five cents cheaper than home.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:25 PM on September 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


While I'm as outraged as anyone else about this disgusting look at the FBI's stupid bigotry, why is the blinking text tag allowed on Metafilter?!!
posted by IAmBroom at 12:30 PM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


They are terrible charts. I don't see any corresponding data anywhere. He's even labelled one section "this portion has the moral high ground". These are charts for people who don't understand charts. They're much worse than useless, they're misleading visual aids driving home a biased conclusion the author had already made.
posted by Hoopo at 12:35 PM on September 15, 2011


Wow. I've learned so much. Like the Christian Bible started in 3 BC at which time adherers were maxed out in violence

Oh dude, Jesus had some epic terrible 2s.
posted by Hoopo at 12:42 PM on September 15, 2011


Mind you, even Stalin helped build up the Russian Orthodox Church; I guess that religion is quite useful to authoritarian leaders.

"Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s" sounds pretty good if you're Caesar.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:35 PM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


While I'm as outraged as anyone else about this disgusting look at the FBI's stupid bigotry, why is the blinking text tag allowed on Metafilter?!!

Nostalgia for the <img> tag.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:45 PM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern has done this, and the result won't shock you: HOMOSEXUALS!

I didn't know that was a religion. Although I do get down on my knees from time to time, so maybe you're right.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:45 PM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


There was some speculation on important intelligence extracted with torture in this (long) excellent recent New Yorker piece I read last night: The Journalist and the Spies.
posted by bukvich at 2:23 PM on September 15, 2011


The FBI got these ideas from ---
READ HERE to see who is teaching this nuttiness!


That is pathetic. That the agency is hiring idiots like this while it loses someone like Ali Soufan does not exactly inspire confidence.

The Interrogator: An extended conversation with Ali Soufan, an FBI agent who was at the center of the 9/11 investigations
posted by homunculus at 3:18 PM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


From USA Today: "Reacting to revelations that FBI training materials cast mainstream Muslims as likely to be violent, terrorist sympathizers, the agency says it is dropping a lecture that criticizes Islam, the Associated Press reports."
posted by jedicus at 4:25 PM on September 15, 2011


And a link to the AP story, via CBS News.
posted by jedicus at 4:27 PM on September 15, 2011


Well, that's bound to be portrayed in the worst light by the right wing.
posted by happyroach at 4:33 PM on September 15, 2011


@JHarris - don't sweat it. It was a duff joke anyway, but it at least prompted some excellent comments on the meaning of Cosby sweaters.

On a more serious note -- this from the USA Today story Jedicus links to...

"This training was largely derived from a variety of open source publications and includes the opinion of the analyst that developed the lesson block."

Or in plain English:

"We copied loads of shit from the internet and, incredibly, some of it turned out to be bonkers!"
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 5:07 PM on September 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I watched Frontline last night and felt sick for Ali Souffan. He just wanted to save lives and kept on running into 'The Wall'. I think of how much better the world would be now, how we would NOT be having this conversation. Sad and sick.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:44 PM on September 15, 2011


"ALL ATHEIST"

Come on now, everyone knows Hitler was an Environmentalist.
posted by sneebler at 6:44 PM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


My favorite part of the Violence and Adherence to the Torah, Bible and Koran graph is the ultra-precise X-scale (time) and the totally make believe violence scale. I can't think of a serious case of Christians getting all gussied up and going out to do some major carnage until well after the Justinian conversion. According to the chart, Saint Peter should have wacked the ear of every Legionnaire in the Roman Empire - according to scripture, not so much.

Later, during the 30 Years War, when Christianity is supposed to have calmed down, the Catholics and Protestants got together and killed off about 1.5% of the world population. On a per capita basis, for Islam to be as violent today as Christianity was 300 years ago, they'd have to kill off 90,000,000 people in a single conflict.

Slackers.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:46 PM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Come on now, everyone knows Hitler was an Environmentalist.

Hitler was baptised and confirmed as a Catholic, and never renounced Catholicism. Which means nothing as to what he actually believed, but if the Catholic Church is going to count everyone who was confirmed as a Catholic as one of their number (when demanding influence over governments and societies), for consistency's sake, it has to count Hitler as one of its own.
posted by acb at 1:43 AM on September 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Reacting to revelations that FBI training materials cast mainstream Muslims as likely to be violent, terrorist sympathizers, the agency says it is dropping a lecture that criticizes Islam, the Associated Press reports."

Once again the media fails to report the real story. The spin in the news is that this stuff is bad because of it smears Muslims. But the real shocker here isn't that the FBI had a trainer who was prejudiced against Muslims. The scandal is that the FBI hired a trainer who is so obviously a crackpot and an idiot.
posted by straight at 7:09 AM on September 16, 2011


The scandal is that the FBI hired a trainer who is so obviously a crackpot and an idiot.

Quoted for posterity. And because if we repeat it enough, it might survive the smoke bombs and tear gas the FBI will be setting off in here. One thing worse than a Muslim is an intellectual that thinks it's safe to rip on the FBI.
posted by Goofyy at 10:15 PM on September 16, 2011


The ‘Violent Muslim’ Hysteria Goes Much Deeper Than You’d Believe
posted by homunculus at 5:36 PM on September 19, 2011


I'm afraid that's no scandal, straight. You know, Hoover originally takes the FBI with finding stolen cars, well stolen cars usually turn up, voila crime solved! I donno how our current FBI compares with state and local law enforcement, but I've never been impressed by my few glimpses beyond that curtain.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:17 PM on September 19, 2011


Video: FBI Trainer Says Forget ‘Irrelevant’ al-Qaida, Target Islam
posted by homunculus at 10:50 PM on September 21, 2011


FBI’s Key Muslim Ally: Bigoted Briefings ‘Make My Job Harder’
posted by homunculus at 10:52 PM on September 21, 2011


Michael Migliore, the FBI, and Shadowy Interrogations Abroad: A recent detention case in England points to wider US involvement in foreign governments interrogating American citizens.
posted by homunculus at 6:05 PM on September 22, 2011


New Evidence of Anti-Islam Bias Underscores Deep Challenges for FBI’s Reform Pledge
posted by homunculus at 6:14 PM on September 23, 2011


In other FBI news: FBI's 'Stingray' Cellphone Tracker Stirs a Fight Over Search Warrants, Fourth Amendment
posted by homunculus at 12:22 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even Those Cleared of Crimes Can Stay on F.B.I.’s Watch List
posted by homunculus at 6:03 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rezwan Ferdaus has been charged with plans to attack a building in Washington with a model airplane filled with C4.

I'm betting the FBI put him up it. Anyone else think they'll restrict model airplane sales anyways?
posted by jeffburdges at 6:29 PM on September 28, 2011


Greenwald agrees with you: The FBI again thwarts its own Terror plot
posted by homunculus at 5:35 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are they the new Keystone Kops?
posted by infini at 11:05 PM on September 29, 2011


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