State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training program teaches cops bumper stickers are indicator of terrorism
By End the Lie
The State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) program, funded by grants from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, is likely unknown to most Americans since it is rarely, if ever, talked about it in the media.
However, the SLATT program is very similar to the aggressive fear mongering operations of other government-affiliated entities like the Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (CELL) in that it is designed to create an absurd fear and hyper-vigilance in police.
In reality, the danger of terrorism is so incredibly low that police and government should really be focusing on more pressing threats like car accidents.
One of the eight presentations recently released by Public Intelligence, entitled, “Terrorism Indicators” (PDF courtesy of Public Intelligence) does a phenomenal job of conflating a wide range of ideologies in a clear attempt to associate certain ideas with violent extremism.
This is hardly surprising given that our government considers most bodily movement an indicator of terrorism along with just about everything else, thus making most Americans into a potential terrorist.
This particular presentation lays out signs of a “general right-wing extremist” beginning first with a swastika flag and codes used by various racist groups then outlining some white power slogans and symbols then to several different tattoos and their meanings.
Then, without any explanation whatsoever, they suddenly jump from symbols used by the Ku Klux Klan along with other racist and fascist groups to bumper stickers with slogans like, “If you love your country, the U.N. is not your friend!”
Other bumper stickers read, “Know your rights or lose them!” and “Get us out of the United Nations.” These are hardly at all congruent with the previous material yet they seem to be included in an attempt to confuse racist and/or fascist groups with people who do not support the United Nations.
Some of the more strange points in the presentation include the instruction to watch for bootlegging schemes including cigarettes, baby formula schemes and grocery store coupons.
They also point out that investigators should look for “charities that do not fit the area,” which is far from clear.
Some items to look for in residential searches which seem far from incriminating are travel documents, trade school or educational information, phone bills with overseas phone calls, cell phones, foreign-language documents, weapons, “extremist religious literature and paraphernalia,” ham-operator guides, and other items which could very likely be completely innocuous.
One thing I find especially troubling is the mention of “extremist religious literature” since it is never defined and thus leaves the designation of such literature to the individual. This opens the door to an incredible amount of personal prejudice to come into the picture.
This is further reinforced by a quite disturbing point on slide 67 of the particular presentation we have been discussing.
“Follow your hunches; they are usually correct,” the slide states. Teaching law enforcement that their baseless assumptions and first impressions are “usually correct” is far from conducive to positive and meaningful police work.
Think someone looks like a terrorist just because they’re Middle Eastern? Well, according to the SLATT program, they probably are!
This clearly flawed notion is drilled into the heads of trainees from earlier on in the presentation, starting from slide 18, where they’re told that general observations which should be taken note of include, “Middle-Eastern males living together, money with no furnishings, disputes among close-knit groups of Middle-Eastern males,” and even “Loud, boisterous behavior in a Middle-Eastern group.”
I guess the SLATT program would teach police that if one sees a group of loud, boisterous Middle Eastern men together, occasionally engaging in disputes or living together for monetary reasons, they’re probably terrorists. After all, if that’s the first thing that jumps to mind or you think it is “a hunch,” it’s probably correct!
It gets even worse when we read some more of the “general observations” on slide 19 which include, “Repeated use of ‘God’ not coupled with profanity, use of foreign terms/phrases not in context, misstatements of common American terminology,” all of which are in no way indicators of terrorism.
Apparently the people who created the SLATT program think you’re suspicious if you don’t blaspheme and believe in God or if you’re an immigrant or non-native English speaker struggling with American idioms.
These may actually be some of the most unbelievably absurd reasons to believe someone might be a terrorist that I have come across so far and that’s saying a lot coming from the United States government.
It is a truly sad to realize that the government has created so many indicators of a potential terrorist that just about anyone could fit at least one of them but unfortunately it is hardly arguable at this point.
Hopefully in bringing these types of training programs to the public’s attention we can show just how insane and paranoid our government has become in dealing with the supposed threat of terrorism and just how much it is warping the minds of law enforcement around the nation.
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