A very odd situation has developed in which the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood front group that was named by the Department of Justice as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding trial, issued a last-minute call to replace three highly-qualified instructors for a course on the Iranian proxy terror group, Hezbollah.
The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy (CSP) think tank was certified by the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) to deliver a one-day seminar entitled "Iran, Hezbollah and the Drug Cartels: Counterterrorism Considerations." CAIR wanted CLEET to drop the course instructors whom it terms "anti-Muslim extremists."
On October 28, 2013, CAIR issued a call to CLEET Executive Director Steve Emmons to replace course presenters Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. "Jerry" Boykin, Frank Gaffney and Clare Lopez with what it calls "'credible and objective subject matter experts."
Yet, here are the credentials of the presenters:
Gen. Jerry Boykin, currently Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council, is one of the original members of the U.S. Army Delta Force. Boykin led Green Beret Special Forces and commanded their Special Warfare Center and School, and served as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. There are few who could match his credentials as a subject matter expert on topics related to terrorism.
Frank Gaffney is the Founder and President of the Center for Security Policy and served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy in the Reagan administration. He brings decades of national security expertise to this course and addressed its final hour with a presentation on the Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) threat to the U.S. critical infrastructure.
Clare Lopez (author of this piece) is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy and the co-author of two books about Iran who has briefed Congressional members, and lectured and published widely on national security and terrorism topics. She also was an expert witness and co-author of a key affidavit in the 2011 Havlish case, in which Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York found Iran and Hezbollah jointly responsible together with al-Qaeda for the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Adam Soltani, executive director of CAIR's Oklahoma chapter, led the ill-informed and ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the removal of these well-qualified course instructors. To their credit, the Oklahoma Counterterrorism Caucus, which sponsored the seminar, and Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, Caucus Chairman, held firm against CAIR's pressure tactics, and the course went on as scheduled.
Soltani himself, apparently very keen to attend the training, nevertheless apparently applied too late for a seat in the full-capacity hall. Bennett advised Soltani by email prior to the course running that registration had closed, but Soltani showed up anyway. He reportedly found a place from which to follow the course in the Visitors Gallery.
The thing is that the course wasn't about Islam. And it most certainly wasn't about the Sunni Islamic Muslim Brotherhood. It was about the Shiite terror organization, Hezbollah, which at last check, was busy slaughtering CAIR's Sunni brethren in Syria.
Segments of the course, which was presented on November 1 at the Oklahoma House of Representatives chamber to an audience of legislators, staff, local law enforcement officers and the general public included an overview of Hezbollah's origins and leadership, its terror history, its relationship with its primary state sponsor Iran, and its criminal and terrorist activities in the Western Hemisphere.
A key focus of the course for the Oklahoma law enforcement community was the deep involvement of Hezbollah in narco-trafficking and especially its alarming coordination with some of the deadliest of the Mexican drug cartels.
Perhaps one of the most puzzling aspects of CAIR's awkward attempt to disrupt training about Hezbollah to the U.S. law enforcement community is that among its own "Core Principles" (published on the CAIR website) is one that says that the organization "condemns all acts of violence against civilians by any individual, group or state."
But according to the Department of State, Hezbollah is "helping the [Syrian] regime brutally crack down on the opposition, kill civilians, and is contributing to regional instability, notably in Lebanon."
Closer to home, the expanding "business relationship" between Hezbollah and the vicious Mexican drug cartels threatens all Americans, as described by Matthew Levitt, a former counterterrorism intelligence expert at the FBI, intelligence expert at the Treasury Department and author of a new book titled "Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God."
So, given that CAIR itself says that a course about Hezbollah is "a substantial and worthwhile topic," and its own Core Principles condemn "all acts of violence against civilians," the question must be, why wouldn't CAIR stand foursquare behind the Oklahoma counter-terrorism course?
It's hard to fathom otherwise why CAIR, who presents itself as an advocate for the public good, would not want U.S. law enforcement to have as much information about this dangerous terror group as possible.