Ryan Mauro, a “national security analyst” at the anti-Muslim group the Clarion Project, was slated to appear at a San Diego law enforcement training focused on “Islamic terrorism” Wednesday and today sponsored by The California Association of Tactical Officers.
Given Mauro’s past history of promoting anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, the event has been scrutinized by civil rights groups. Still, the San Diego Police Department decided to continue with the training. The Clarion Project later thanked the department for “not capitulating.”
“The San Diego Police Department is to be commended for choosing to stand with Mauro and those he supports,” reads a correspondence from the group.
Mauro’s invitation to speak at a tactical training, however, is part of a disturbing trend of known anti-Muslim activists gaining inroads with law enforcement agencies and seemingly helping shape policing practices. It also represents a broader theme of so-called experts taking their biased lessons to those who are sworn to protect the communities they serve.
Appealing to local police may be a better strategy for anti-Muslim trainers who have been banned from working with federal law enforcement officials. In the past, notorious bigots were invited to train federal law enforcement and their works were utilized as reference documents.
Civil rights groups have since worked to remove these “expert” activists and their works from federal training sessions and materials. In respose, those seeking to influence law enforcement have since turned to state-level officials.
Trump suggests reinstating federal commission on ‘Radical Islam’
During Trump’s speech in Youngstown, Ohio, on August 15 where he unveiled his “extreme vetting” plan, he mentioned establishing a “Commission on Radical Islam.” The name suggests such a committee would put even more undue pressure and scrutiny on the American Muslim community.
“The goal of the commission,” Trump outlined, “will be to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of Radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.”
This sounds strikingly similar to the problematic Mauro training that took place Wednesday and today.
Trump added it would also be “used to develop new protocols for local police officers, federal investigators, and immigration screeners.”
Such a program suggests it would cause additional strain and distrust among between police and various communities.
Anti-Muslim activists applaud plan
Like his “extreme vetting” program, this commission was lauded by staunch anti-Muslim figures, which is arguably telling of the policy.
In an interview with Fox News, Jim Hanson of the anti-Muslim think tank the Center for Security Policy, approved of Trump’s proposal, saying, “He’ll cut loose our federal law enforcement and national security apparatus to learn about and investigate the people who form our enemy (read: Muslims) and cure the willful blindness that President Obama has put in place.”
Amidst the post-9/11 era, problematic figures have had a hand in law enforcement training. Most notably, the FBI has come under scrutiny for recommending materials with an anti-Muslim slant. A 2011 report from Wired revealed that up until 2009, books about Islam authored by longtime anti-Muslim figure Robert Spencer were included in the FBI’s recommended reading list for its agents. Spencer has also previously given seminars on Islam to the FBI and other government agencies.
Following the report, 57 organizations wrote to CIA Director John Brennan demanding Spencer be dropped as a trainer and his materials purged. And to Spencer’s dismay, Brennan agreed. Spencer claims his removal is part of a great conspiracy to “purge” references to Islam or jihad from counter-terrorism materials. He remains bitter about it to this day.
“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,” Spencer wrote in 2014.
Notorious trainer Guandolo supports plan
Amid the federal purge, some anti-Muslim figures have shifted their efforts to training local law enforcement. One of the most active on this front is disgraced former FBI agent turned anti-Muslim conspiracist John Guandolo. Despite ongoing pushback against his trainings, Guandolo, via his “counter-terrorism” consulting firm Understanding the Threat, continues to try and court local police.
Unsurprisingly, Guandolo was a proponent of Trump’s “extreme vetting” and commission on radical Islam and took to social media to applaud it. He suggested Trump’s plan mimics his own outfit’s own strategies, which again is unsurprising given where the Republican presidential candidate has seemingly received such ideas.
Brigitte Gabriel nominates herself as a trainer
Brigitte Gabriel, the notorious anti-Muslim demagogue and founder of the group ACT for America, is also hopeful that under a new administration she will be hired to train federal law enforcement about the threat of Muslims.
In a recent video of hers, Gabriel seemingly sympathized with Trump and noted the alleged disastrous policies of President Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She said this election will be about the “survival” of “western civilization”
Also in the video, Gabriel claims the FBI need to work with “experts” like herself to “change our counter-terrorism training manuals” and ensure “lingo” like “violent extremism” is “thrown in the garbage.” Additionally, she wants to explain to law enforcement what “jihad is all about.”
“The best way we can defend ourselves right now is by our FBI and intelligence agencies assigning infiltrators to infiltrate the Muslim community and also infiltrate mosques,” she also suggested.
And Gabriel and her organization appear to enjoy a line to Trump. In February, Gabriel was photographed with the real estate mogul at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where she was apparently giving a “national security briefing.” And Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michael Flynn, who sits on ACT’s advisory board, has unofficially served as an adviser to Trump, was once on his list of potential running mates, and spoke at this year’s Republican National Convention.
The Center for New Community is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse any political parties or candidates for elected office. This post, and any post on Imagine2050, is not intended to support or oppose any candidates for elected office.