US Army guide designates Palestinian flag as “terrorist” logo

Page 31 from US Army Terrorist, Insurgent & Militant Group Logo Recognition Guide

A declassified US Army guide designed to help personnel recognize the logos of “Terrorist, Insurgent and Militant” groups includes a Palestinian flag.

The website Gizmodo describes the guide:

Written by the U.S. Army Training And Doctrine Command in 2009, this 60-odd page document (PDF) was designed to function, in the words of its creators, as “a hip pocket” reference book for soldiers in the field. Categorized by geography, it groups the logos and insignia of “insurgents, terrorists, paramilitary, and other militant groups worldwide.” That includes everything from photos of Russian mafia tattoos to Hezbollah logos, as well as a thorough auxiliary list of branding from the “media wings” of each group. It’s a visual taxonomy of terror.

But on page 31 of the army guide itself, a simple Palestinian flag appears next to the name “Abu Nidal Organization (Sunni).”

The group, notorious in the 1970s, is designated as “inactive” by the US Department of Homeland Security-funded National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland.

Abu Nidal, the alias of Sabri al-Banna, died in Iraq in 2002.

Every other organization listed in the US Army guide’s “Israel-Palestine” section includes a specific logo. In other cases, such as in the “Central Africa” section on pages 43-44 of the guide, the notation “Not Available” is included next to the names of groups where no logo appears.

An Internet search did not reveal an example of a specific logo for the Abu Nidal Organization. Did the author of the Army guide, identified by Gizmodo as David Friedman, have the same problem and simply substitute a Palestinian flag?

In any case, even if the Palestinian flag were indeed the logo of any specific organization, the guide provides no warning or caveat that the Palestinian flag by itself should not be “recognized” as the symbol of a “terrorist, insurgent or militant” group given its global recognition as the flag of a country.

But that is what any army personnel relying on the guide would do.

Confused

Page 30 from US Army Terrorist, Insurgent & Militant Group Logo Recognition Guide

The guide, which includes everything from Salvadoran gangs to Lebanon’s Hizballah to the Earth First environmental movement, appears to contain a lot of confused and incorrect information and careless categorizations typical of government agencies that lump all perceived enemies under the label “terrorist.”

For example, it arbitrarily categorizes many groups as “Islamist,” including, bizarrely the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – both secular.

The Jewish extremist group Kahane Chai, the only Jewish group in the section, is labeled “Radical Israeli” with no mention of its explicitly Jewish ideology.

The PLO’s dominant Fatah faction is described as “Sectarian Palestinian,” another nonsensical label.

US army training “terrorists”?

It is also bizarre that the PLO and its main faction Fatah should appear in a guide to “terrorist” groups at all.

PLO security forces, dominated by Fatah, and nominally commanded by US-backed Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, have been trained and funded for years by the United States.

Indeed, much of the training was done under the leadership and supervision of US Army general Keith Dayton.

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Comments

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But what else do you expect?

They don't hire geniuses to create these things. Hell, they don't even hire people who have any specific knowledge of different situations or groups at all.

I am glad they put the kahanists in there, even if they didn't write down their specific ideology-- "radical Israeli" applies to most armed Israelis, including the so-called "IDF".

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Well, I just happened to have been looking for Palestinian flag bumper stickers AND other symbols to educate people and to cause research and question the biased media reporting.

This has been n inspiration to buy some and pass them out. The Star of David was not included or the KKK Confederate flag or the Afrikaner AWB were not included, no surprise there.

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Also worth noting that if you scroll down to the Somali section, they list the flags of Somaliland and Somalia as "Pirates (Criminals)". They also show the icon of Star Wars' Galactic Republic under the Irish Republican Army.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.