Counter-terrorism PowerPoint casts suspicion on Muslim Student Associations and Palestine solidarity

A 2010 PowerPoint presentation (mirrored here) produced by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the Joint Regional Intelligence Center lists association with any college Muslim Student Association (MSA) and possession of a print out condemning IDF incursions in Gaza as potential “indicators and warning signs” of involvement in terrorism. The presentation was authored by investigators Daewon Kim and Britton Schaefer. According to a 2011 PDF advertising counter-terrorism training courses (mirrored here) from this duo, they are purported to have previously been Special Deputy US Marshals with “National Security TOP SECRET Clearances” and have taught “over 5,000 police officers and first responders.” The presentation is mostly a lengthy list of behaviors, activities and possessions that the authors declare should lead law enforcement to suspect individuals of possible involvement in terrorist activity.

Among signs of “possible terrorist recruitment” are “frequent contact with disaffected populations” and leadership in “paintball activities” as a possible form of “paramilitary training.” Under “suspicious lifestyles & traits” are “individuals without jobs or families” and, counter-intuitively, people “unknown to law enforcement or intelligence services.” Associations considered to be “suspicious” include “radicals mosques,” “unmarked mosques,” “known or suspected extremist sympathizers,” and “Muslim Student Associations (MSAs).”

On a slide headed with “Paintball and the MSA” the Fall 2001 edition of the National Muslim Student Association’s newsletter is quoted:

FIREARMS: Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Indeed, power is shooting, power is shooting, power is shooting.’ [Sahih Muslim] Though there are arms training available to the public, many of them are expensive. If you cannot get someone to teach you, buy books about shooting techniques. However, one can join a club or go to a local shoot range, usually located on the outskirts of any town… Paintball is an excellent way to learn about combat

The presentation provides us with a case study of a traffic stop made in 2010 and shows us a collage of photos of “numerous indicators.” The suspicious items include multiple gift cards, an audio CD by Anwar Al-Awlaki and, most interestingly, a print out from the International Action Center promoting an online petition condemning Israel’s military offensive in late 2008/early 2009:

gaza-leafletOverall the PowerPoint strikes me as amateurish and is embedded with ethnically-charged fear-mongering from start to finish. Although, to be perfectly honest, it probably fits in fine with the rest of the counter-terrorism training industry’s material as well (see here, here, and here, for starters).


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