by David B. Harris
Special to IPT News
October 7, 2014
Ever since full-blown cases of the disease hit the United States, Canadians have dreaded the contagion’s arrival north of the 49thparallel.
Its effects: blindness and a deadly incapacity to recognize and adapt to reality.
The malady? The White House’s refusal to identify the leading terrorist enemy by name and combatant doctrine.
President Obama began his administration by avoiding counterterror language likely to link Islam with violence. This reflected a civilized and practical impulse to avoid alienating Muslims at home and abroad.
But perhaps influenced by the demonstrable fact that President Obama, as former terror prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy put it, “made Islamic supremacists key administration advisors,” this effort quickly got out of control. Now the White House fetishizes and enforces on its security agencies, a refusal to identify the doctrine underlying the bulk of the world’s terrorism woes: radical Islamism.
Remarkable, considering that Muslims sounded the alarm years ago.
“Obviously not all Muslims are terrorists but, regrettably, the majority of the terrorists in the world are Muslims,” wrote Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed in a 2004 Al-Sharq Al-Awsatarticle flagged by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Despite this, the Obama White House banned words like “Islamists,” “Muslims” and “jihad” from security documents, even from FBI and other government agencies’ counterterror training manuals.
Lawyer and retired US military intelligence officer Major Stephen C. Coughlin exposed the censorship’s extent at a February 2010 conference. In 2004, he noted, the 9/11 Commission Report made 126 mentions of “jihad,” 145 of “Muslim,” and used the word “Islam” over 300 times. No surprise.
But Washington later purged such terms completely from the FBI counterterrorism lexicon (2008), National Intelligence Strategy (2009) and even the 2010 panel reviewing jihadi Nidal Malik Hasan’s 2009 Fort Hood massacre – except as unavoidable parts of names of terror organizations or the like. The practice seems to continue.
Understanding the threat – extremist Muslims, in this case – requires understanding their doctrine. If terrorists were invoking Christianity – it has happened – security and intelligence organizations would focus on problematic churches and related facilities connected to radical preaching, funding and recruitment. Christian holy literature would be scrutinized, in order to anticipate terrorists’ plans, targets and attack-dates. Redouble the guard on Christmas or Easter? Could atheists, Muslims or Jews be targets? Regardless whether extremists’ interpretations should, in any objective sense, be true or false representations of the ideology in question, serious intelligence must look at these things in order to understand and master the threats posed by all extremist strains of religion or other ideologies. Politicians and the public must discuss them. Public education, transparency, democracy and our defense, demand this. Anything else is misleading, self-deceiving and likely self-defeating.
So it was that, three years ago, the Canadian government published the first of its annual series of public threat reports. This straight-talking assessment pinpointed “Sunni Islamist extremism” as a primary menace to Canadians.
But, tragically, the D.C. disease had overtaken Canada’s security bureaucracy by the time August brought the 2014 Public Report On The Terrorist Threat to Canada. This report expunges all direct references to Islamists, other than in terror-organization names.
Take, for example, the latest report’s warning about Canadians joining terror outfits abroad. Gone are terms like “Islamist extremists” and even “violent jihad.” The report’s authors – apparently burdened by “advice” from misguided outreach to Canadian Islamists – slavishly substituted generic terms like “extremist travellers” for language revealing the religious claims, affiliations, motivations and doctrines of our enemies. “Extremist travellers” appears dozens of times to the exclusion of meaningful nomenclature – an editing embarrassment, on top of a national-security one. From the 2014 report:
Europol estimates that between 1,200 and 2,000 European extremist travellers took part in the conflict in Syria in 2013. There appears to be an increase in extremist travellers. This suggests that the threat posed to Europe by returning extremist travellers may be more significant than the threat facing North America because greater numbers of extremist travellers are leaving, then returning to Europe, than are leaving and later returning to North America. This difference between Canada and Europe in numbers of extremist travellers can be attributed to a variety of factors. Regardless, Europe and Canada face a common, interconnected threat from extremist travellers. [Emphasis added.]
In just one paragraph, Canada’s self-censoring report says that many Europeans are “fighting abroad as extremist travellers“; “they attract extremist travellers … and continue to draw European extremist travellers“; there were “European extremist travellers in Syria and other conflict zones”; the “influx of these extremist travellersinto Syria” increases the European terror risk; “an extremist traveller who returned from Syria” allegedly slaughtered several Belgians. (Emphasis added.)
This doubletalk undermines public awareness, public confidence in authorities and the ability of officials and citizens alike to recognize, assess and confront terrorist and subversive enemies and their doctrine.
We saw the absurd far reaches of this self-blinding mentality a few years ago when Canadian police officers at a terrorism news conference thanked “the community” for facilitating an Islamist terrorist take-down. When a journalist asked which community they meant, the officers – not daring to say “Muslim” – all but froze, thawing only enough to become caricatures of stymied stumbling. Because paralyzing PC protocols banned the M-word, the conference ended without the officers having been able explicitly to thank the deserving “Muslim community.”
How has Canada come to this?
Among other sources, Canadian security officials get advice from their federal government’s Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security. Prominent member Hussein Hamdani reportedly campaigned to drop language implicating things “Islamic.” Meanwhile, Hamdani, the subject of a just-released report by Canada’s Point de Bascule counter extremist research organization, remains vice-chair of the North American Spiritual Revival (NASR) organization. On its website, NASR boasts – as it has done for years – of sponsoring an appearance in Canada by U.S. Imam Siraj Wahhaj, frequently tagged a radical and a 1993 World Trade Center bombingunindicted co-conspirator. Fellow American Muslim Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, once said of Wahhaj: “He’s the No. 1 advocate of radical Islamic ideology among African-Americans. His stuff is very appealing to young Muslims who are on a radical path.”
Hamdani’s NASR also brought American Imam Ziad Shakir to Canada. His disturbingideology, as I’ve written elsewhere, “was condemned by moderate American Muslim leader and retired U.S. naval Lt. Cmdr Zuhdi Jasser, and by the American Anti-Defamation League.” Some have other concerns about Hamdani.
Now comes word that Hamdani, squired by Angus Smith, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) analyst sometimes linked to the censorship policy, will appear on a Montgomery County, Md. panel tomorrow to enlighten Americans about radicalism and the ISIS terror threat.