If you take notes, use binoculars, snap photographs, give to charity or carry blueprints for anything, you may be a terrorist and should be treated with suspicion.
That’s the gist of a new Web video produced by the Colorado-based Center for Empowered Living and Learning, narrated by former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway.
“Recognizing the 8 Signs of Terrorism, a new video released yesterday by the Center for Empowered Living & Learning (CELL) in conjunction with the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference is an eight-minute plunge (well, six-and-a-half, with about ninety seconds’ worth of credits) into a world where average-looking white people want to murder you and everyone around you,” noted Westword, a Denver news blog. “Even narrator John Elway isn’t safe.”
The clip was produced in part to promote CELL’s latest exhibit entitled “Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere: Understanding the Threat of Terrorism,” which is currently on display at the Mizel Museum, adjacent the Denver Art Museum.
“As I stand here inside the CELL’s exhibit […] I’m reminded of the morning of September 11, 2001,” said Elway. “I remember turning on the television and saying, ‘How could this possibly be happening in the United States of America?'”
He adds: “Anyone can become a victim of terrorism, any time, anywhere. Together, we can change this. Each of us has a responsibility to protect our community and we can do so by recognizing the signs of terrorism and taking proper action to stop it.”
The exhibit, which cost over $7 million to construct, was funded by Lawrence Mizel, a wealthy homebuilder and longtime Republican ally. Mizel was even a maxed-out donor to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) during the 2008 presidential election, noted Newsweek.
While Elway’s involvement in the video may come as a surprise to some, it is not the first time he has advocated for an apparently right-wing cause. In Oct. 2008 he joined Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on the campaign trail in Denver, saying of the aging senator, “He’s totally an American. I believe he’s going to be the guy who will change us around and get us going in the right direction.”
The video was funded by a $30,400 grant from the Department of Homeland Security, according to NBC 9News in Colorado.
Rule number one according to CELL: “Report suspicious activity.”
The group goes on to outline several stages of “terrorism,” which include, “surveillance, elicitation, tests of security, funding, acquiring supplies, impersonation, rehearsal and deployment.”
In a segment detailing terrorism funding, CELL flashes an image of U.S. Liberty Head gold coins, followed by a rack of department store gift cards. It moves into a clip of a bald man apparently selling something through a car window as the narrator suggests the drug trade is a driving funding mechanism for terrorist groups.
Then it flashes an image of the Holy Land Foundation building, which housed a Dallas charity that provided what they said was humanitarian aid to Palestine. The group was convicted of providing support for militant group Hamas after a lengthy trial, which ended the operations of America’s largest Muslim charity. The Bush administration’s first attempt to prosecute HLF resulted in a mistrial, as the government argued that by providing food, medical supplies and educational texts to Palestinian children, HLF had in effect freed Hamas from part of its financial burden, allowing the group to stage attacks on Israelis.
To that effect, CELL’s video urges viewers to “be vigilant” when it comes to charitable donations.
“The success of defending our community’s safety depends upon our shared commitment,” says Elway. “It’s a beautiful day here in Colorado and there can be many more like this with the help of people like you.”
This video was posted to YouTube on Oct. 5 by the Center for Empowered Living & Learning.