Newsletter #46 – Just like Obama, Haslam appeases Islamists

$70,000 worth of TV ads have aired in Pakistan with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton doing their best to make amends for the “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube video.

So too, when Islamists in Tennessee protested against the anti-terrorism bill, James Cotter, (then a regional advisor for the TN Office of Homeland Security), on behalf of the Haslam administration, was quick to meet with “Muslim representatives from across the state” and support their organizing into the TN American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC).

Commissioner Bill Gibbons then memorialized the administration’s support for the AMAC with his November 7, 2011 letter of congratulations.

To ensure that the newly formed AMAC understood that the Haslam administration was sincere in its amends, AMAC members were invited to participate in a December 2011 law enforcement training and another in February 2012.

And to further prove how much the Haslam administration appreciates the work of Mr. Cotter, he has been promoted to the position of “Training Advisor” for the state’s Office of Homeland Security.

While Deputy Ramsey and Chris Devaney (despite all evidence to the contrary), disavow any connection between Mr. Cotter’s actions with regard to the AMAC and the Governor, it has been reported by someone who has listened to Mr. Cotter, openly and proudly talk about taking his idea of supporting the AMAC formation up through his agency’s hierarchy and then on to the Governor’s office for approval.

This is the same James Cotter, who in 2009 was more concerned with the white supremacist terrorists, attributing their activity levels to the economy’s ups and downs.  Presenting with Tony Weaver of the FBI to local law enforcement and elected officials about post-9/11 counterterrorism tactics, Mr. Weaver stated that “[terrorist upswings] ebbs and flows with the economy.”  To which Mr. Cotter added:

“That’s when we start seeing an increase in right wing activity. It’s predominantly white supremacists.  We also see it from black supremacists, black separationists, but it’s predominantly by the skinheads, Aryan Nation, the Nazis.”

When the talk apparently got to the question of “foreign threats” and the implied Islamist issue, Mr. Cotter stated:  “Anything that they do over there can happen here, and will.”

But what seems reflected in the rest of the article (and perhaps confirmed later by Mr. Cotter’s actions), is the “apologist” and moral equivocating of the Obama administration with statements such as, “… there are “right wing terrorists [who] call themselves ‘Christian’” and you can take Biblical passages out of context the same way terrorists have allegedly done with the Koran.

Citing citizen input as a counterterrorism tool, Mr. Cotter told his audience about the TN Department of Homeland Security’s new outreach program for Bedford County; “building a relationship with the Somalians living [there]”.

Two years later in 2011, consistent with the 2010 Muslim Public Affairs Council’s report “Building Bridges to Strengthen America: Forging an Effective Counterterrorism Enterprise Between Muslim Americans and Law Enforcement”, Mr. Cotter broadened that scope to include Muslims from across the state.  (A 2009 preliminary version of this report which is no longer available on the internet, described the Muslim Brotherhood as a conservative group that poses a “long-term strategic threat to violent extremists by siphoning Muslims away from violent radicalism into peaceful political activism”.  The 2010 version reworded the reference to the Muslim Brotherhood as “conservative but more politically engaged”).

Since Mr. Cotter believes that citizen input, particularly input from religious communities from whose ranks terrorist actors might emerge is helpful to ensuring the safety of Tennesseans, perhaps he should have considered organizing a Tennessee American Christian Advisory Council.

At this juncture, however, the AMAC must be thrilled with his promotion to state Training Advisor – especially since they now have all the (Muslim Brotherhood partnered) Islamic Networks Group (ING) prepared scripts.