A newly-founded Colorado-based conservative organization is helping to book Islamophobic police training programs conducted by former FBI agent turned anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist John Guandolo.
Guandolo is part of a relatively new Colorado-based conservative education and advocacy organization, Americans for America (A4A). According to its website, A4A “contracts for training courses to benefit law enforcement and citizenship seminars to benefit key influencers, in support of A4A’s core beliefs.”
It appears A4A is helping to book biased law enforcement trainings conducted by Guandolo’s consulting firm, Understanding the Threat (UTT). According to a donation page on UTT’s website, “A4A contracts for services with UTT, helping make possible our training programs.” It also lists the group’s address in Centennial, Colorado. A4A is a registered 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in 2016. UTT notes that A4A is a nonprofit “recognized by IRS, so your donation is fully tax-deductible.”
Guandolo is listed as A4A’s “Director of Training.”
Guandolo and his partner Chris Gaubatz co-run UTT and travel the country providing law enforcement and civilian trainings alike. As recently highlighted in a new report by the Center for New Community — Islamophobia Academy — UTT is one of the most active outfits seeking to indoctrinate state and local law enforcement with anti-Muslim bias through trainings often presented as legitimate courses. Previously documented cases suggest the trainings are steeped in anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and vilify Muslim community members.
During a training in 2011, Guandolo said Muslims in America “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.” Guandolo retired in disgrace from the FBI in 2008 and now makes a living traveling the country peddling anti-Muslim propaganda.
“UTT is the only organization in the nation training law enforcement on the true nature of the threat we face from the jihadis,” reads UTT’s website.
It appears A4A also adheres to similar rhetoric and conspiracy theories. The group’s core beliefs, according to its website, include: “We believe Western civilization and its Judeo-Christian heritage are worth defending against all enemies, especially Islamic supremacism.”
A4A is headed by John Andrews, a former Colorado state senator. He is also the former director of the Centennial Institute, a part of Colorado Christian University which helped establish the annual Western Conservative Summit. Guandolo previously served as a fellow for the Centennial Institute and the group has hosted him for a few speaking engagements.
One of A4A’s board members is David Petteys, who heads the ACT for America Colorado chapter. ACT operates as the largest anti-Muslim grassroots group in the United States. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently profiled Petteys in an article exposing some of ACT’s more bigoted and extreme chapter leaders. As reported by SPLC, Petteys was documented attempting to buy literature from the white nationalist and anti-Semitic website and publishing house Counter-Currents.
Other board members for A4A include conservative think tanker Kathleen Chandler and Jimmy Sengenberger, a conservative radio host.
A4A touts its partners and networks include: “Understanding the Threat, Alliance for Vigilance, ACT for America, Centennial Institute, and American Strategy Group.”