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Thread: Terrorist Prisoners and Deradicalization

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    ICG, 19 Nov 07: Deradicalisation and Indonesian Prisons
    Even as the police are focusing their deradicalisation program on prisoners and ex-prisoners, they are the first to acknowledge that the current state of Indonesian prisons undermines their efforts. It is a telling indictment of the system that they do their best to keep top terrorists at police headquarters, out of the normal prison system entirely, because the chances of backsliding are so high.

    Choices about isolation or integration are important but they cannot be made outside a broader program of prison reform, particularly an attack on prison corruption, which is very much on the agenda of the new director general of corrections. More important than choosing between two policies, in any case, is training prison administrators to look at terrorist prisoners as individuals and tailor prison programs to their needs.

    Deradicalisation programs are important but they will inevitably be trial-and-error in nature; there is no single intervention that can produce a rejection of violence among a disparate group of people who have joined radical movements for many different reasons. Within JI alone there are the ideologues, the thugs, the utopians, the followers and the inadvertent accomplices; local recruits from Poso are motivated by very different factors than those who graduate from JI-affiliated schools in central Java.

    Much more thought needs to be given to how to evaluate the “success” of deradicalisation programs, because there is a danger that many people deemed to have been deradicalised are those who were never the real problem, or that the reasons individuals renounce violence have nothing to do with police programs. Even if we could measure the number of people deradicalised according to specific criteria, that figure would only have meaning if we had some sense of the number of new recruits and knew that the balance was going in the right direction.

    Focusing on the criminals-turned-jihadis in prison is also important. In all the prisons where “ustadz” are held, there is likely to be a small group of such men but it is not clear that anyone is tracking them or turning deradicalisation efforts in their direction. If it is important to design programs to ensure newly released JI members have vocational opportunities, what about the criminal recruits who may, like Beni Irawan, the Kerobokan guard, turn out to be more militant than their mentors? These men also need to be the focus of special programs and thus far have been left out.

    It is hard to set performance goals for deradicalisation because it means so many different things to different people. But setting such goals for improving prison management is possible, desirable and critically necessary.
    Complete 35 page paper at the link.

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    The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, 24 Jan 08:

    Jailing Jihadis: Saudi Arabia’s Special Terrorist Prisons
    Saudi Arabia is nearing completion of new purpose-built prison facilities for its program of rehabilitation and counseling for Islamist militants. Under this program five new specialized prisons have been built in Riyadh, Qassim, Abha, Dammam, and Jiddah over the span of approximately nine months. These new facilities have been designed to facilitate the dialogue process while at the same time housing individuals assessed to be significant security risks. These five new prisons are each designed to hold up to 1,200 prisoners.

    The decision to build specially-dedicated facilities in which to focus on the counseling program was based upon a number of considerations. First and foremost was the fact that the existing prison facilities were not designed to promote dialogue and it was determined that successful advancement of the rehabilitation program could best be done through new specially-designed facilities. Furthermore, these new facilities would make the classification and segregation of detainees easier. The classification of detainees into those more predisposed to dialogue, and then separation of them from other more militant prisoners, would encourage and facilitate the work of the Advisory Committee, the Ministry of the Interior body that runs the rehabilitation program.....

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    Default Saudi Prisons again

    Try: Saudi Arabia showcases its controversial programme to rehabilitate convicted jihadis through art; on this link http://www.frontlineclub.com/club_articles.php?id=319

    davidbfpo

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    RAND, 7 Apr 08: Radicalization or Rehabilitation: Understanding the challenge of extremist and radicalized prisoners
    This study therefore seeks to explore the issue of radicalization and extremist activity in the prison environment. Using a combination of prison theory, historical examples and contemporary open source material, this report seeks to identify lessons from previous instances of dealing with extremist prisoners. It is hoped that these lessons may provide insights about the challenges posed by the increasing number of violent imprisoned jihadists.

    There appear to be considerable overlaps between the historical precedents for dealing with prisoners in earlier conflicts, such as that in Northern Ireland, and the subject of this study. A substantial proportion of the lessons already identified from the management of extremist prisoners are therefore likely to remain valid. However, there are some aspects of the contemporary situation that appear to require greater examination and understanding. A notable difference between the examples of Irish Republican and Basque groups and contemporary violent jihadists concerns their respective attitudes to the recruitment of new members in prison. The nationalist groups deliberately avoided such recruitment, while imprisoned violent jihadists appear to regard recruitment in their prisons as a prime objective. This report draws a number of conclusions about what is and (arguably, more importantly) what is not known about the nature and extent of the problem. It highlights a number of areas that appear to require additional research and exploration.....

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    Default Rehabilitating the jihadists

    Rehabilitating the jihadists – Volume 14, Issue 5 – May 2008

    Saudi Arabia tackles the radical threat from within

    A programme aimed at reintegrating jihadists into society forms an important and innovative part of Saudi Arabia's efforts to deal with radicals. So far, it appears to be a success – albeit a qualified one.
    http://www.iiss.org/publications/str...the-jihadists/

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    ...the Saudi program continues to draw attention. CEIP, Sep 08:

    Saudi Arabia’s “Soft” Counterterrorism Strategy: Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Aftercare
    Key components of the Saudi strategy:

    • Prevention: Saudi Arabia has employed hundreds of government programs to educate the public about radical Islam and extremism, as well as provide alternatives to radicalization among young men. Projects from athletic competitions, to lectures, writing contests, and public information campaigns have all had a significant impact on Saudi public perceptions of terrorism.

    • Rehabilitation: The centerpiece of the rehabilitation strategy is a comprehensive counseling program designed to re-educate violent extremists and sympathizers and to encourage extremists to renounce terrorist ideologies. Members of the Ministry of Interior’s “Advisory Committee” frequently meet with detainees or draw from a large number of religious scholars to counsel prisoners to counter “corrupted understandings” and “misinterpretations of correct doctrine.” In many cases, Saudi Arabia encourages family participation in the rehabilitation process, even providing alternative income for families whose sole breadwinner has been imprisoned.

    • Aftercare programs: The Ministry of Interior employs several initiatives to ensure that counseling and rehabilitation continue after release from state custody, including a halfway house program to ease release into society and programs to reintegrate returnees from Guantanamo Bay. Through educational training, continued religious and psychological counseling, and extensive social network support, the program works to help detainees past the period in their lives when militant activity is most appealing.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default BBC Radio

    Tonight BBC Radio Four broadcast an intriguing forty minute piece entitled 'Is AQ Winning', amidst the issues was Information Operations and the Saudi prison programme. Podcast available on: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00dny8b

    Listening whilst at work and several references to those at CTC West Point.

    davidbfpo

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    Within the last two weeks, my world-view has been rocked by the concept of "Wicked Problems" and how they addressed, combined with the concept that conservative fundamentalist Islam can be an effective means to deal with radical Islam.

    I think I'm getting a brain-cramp. Is that my mind opening?

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    Default Wicked problems - a fundamentalist fix?

    120mm,

    It is an add feature, in the UK and possibly elsewhere that some Salafist groups tackle extremism with their theological / ideological methods and thoughts. It came as a surprise to me to learn after 7/7 that in the UK some such groups had been opposing extremism / terrorism long before the state did.

    Try an article by ex-Met Police SB officer, Bob Lambert in this journal: http://www.thecordobafoundation.com/...ue_02x_Web.pdf

    Yes these groups have a particular viewpoint, which we'd not have much in common with, but they can be effective against extremism.

    On the Saudi angle and what is done in Saudi Arabia I remain sceptical (not helped by watching 'The Kingdom' this week).

    davidbfpo

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    A recent piece from the Economist on this subject.

    I'd endorse David's view above - Bob Lambert's got some interesting experience in this area. I think he's just finished his PhD thesis on radicalisation and recruitment. He recently had an interview in the Critical Studies on Terrorism Journal in which he was critical of HMG's embrace of the Quilliam Foundation.

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    IPI, Oct 08: Beyond Terrorism: Deradicalization and Disengagement from Violent Extremism
    .....though much current attention has focused on the process of radicalization and the espousal of violent extremism, Tore Bjørgo and John Horgan argue that insufficient attention has been paid to the other end of the spectrum: the factors which prompt individual and collective withdrawal from violent extremist or radical groups—i.e., the processes of disengagement and deradicalization. Disengagement refers to a behavioral change, such as leaving a group or changing one’s role within it. It does not necessitate a change in values or ideals, but requires relinquishing the objective of achieving change through violence. Deradicalization, however, implies a cognitive shift—i.e., a fundamental change in understanding.

    Furthermore, it has been argued that, cumulatively, such processes can have a positive impact on global counterterrorism efforts by promoting the internal fragmentation of violent radical groups and by delegitimizing their rhetoric and tactics in the eyes of the broader public. To this end, Bjørgo and Horgan have edited a volume gathering together research, analyses, and case studies on processes of disengagement from violent extremism, as well as descriptions and assessments of global initiatives facilitating withdrawal from violent extremist groups.

    This report draws on their work and reflects the discussions at a conference on Leaving Terrorism Behind: Individual and Collective Disengagement from Violent Extremism, hosted by the International Peace Institute and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on April 22, 2008, in New York City.....

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    Default Recycled the Saudi experience

    Once again the Saudi rehab programme for extremists via art gets an airing, last appeared in April 2008 with a showing at The Frontline Club, London (on this thread: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...frontline+club

    and now in Foriegn Policy: http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/...jihad_to_rehab . Do I detect a shortage of materiel or astute PR by the Saudis?

    Incidentally the links on the FP link are betterm for e.g. John Horgan being interviewed: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/ep...nts-quit/3833/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-18-2009 at 08:27 PM. Reason: Add links

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    Default Muslim prisoners in Washington State

    Not earth shattering, but the figures on the numbers involved were new to this faraway observer: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/200...905&news01ad=1

    How the US CT regard such a trend has been commented upon before, IIRC not on SWJ.

    davidbfpo

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    MEI, Nov 08: Islamist De-Radicalization in Algeria: Successes and Failures
    This Policy Brief analyzes the de-radicalization process of armed Islamists in Algeria. It investigates the causes of, and the conditions under which, the dismantlement of the armed wing of the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), known as the Islamic Salvation Army (AIS), has taken place. That de-radicalization process was not limited to the AIS, but also included factions from the notorious Armed Islamic Group (GIA), the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), and other smaller militias. The article concludes by highlighting comparative de-radicalization cases and providing a framework explaining the causes behind successful de-radicalization.

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    As I read this thread I didn't know if I should laugh, cry, or simply pound my head against my desk until the pain went away. I think I'll just go hit the gym and run a few miles.

    I can't decide which is greater when it comes to this concept of "Deradicalization": The Ignorance of the program, or the Arrogance.

    First, it is founded in the popular, but baseless "Pied Piper Theory of Insurgency" (My name for it, I'm sure it has a more official name elsewhere), that presumes that some dynamic leader comes along with a magical flute of ideology and that he somehow bewitches (radicalizes) young men to follow him to their doom. Now if we simply expose the Pied Piper as a fraud, they will see the light and settle down and become good citizens once again.

    First, this totally absolves the government giving rise to these young insurgents of any responsibility for contributing to the causation for the insurgency through their failures of governance. As I have stated several times before, and will continue to state, dynamic leadership and effective ideology are both critical requirements to a successful insurgency; but neither will resonate with a target populace unless conditions of poor governance (defined as dissatisfaction within a significant segment of the populace that is so great it demands action, and no legitimate means to resolve the failures exist for that segment) exist first.

    Causation and Motivation are two very different things, and should not be confused. Causation typically lies in poor governance. Motivation is typically some inspiring ideology or big event, or both. Addressing motivation without publicly recognizing and addressing causation is a fraud on the populace.

    The duty of government is not to fix the thinking of its populace, the duty of governance is to fix its governance of the populace.

    I am picturing King George sending a deradicalization team to the Colonies back in 1775, offering "athletic competitions, to lectures, writing contests, and public information campaigns" to the citizens of Boston. Not bringing any changes to governance to address the grievances of the populace, but instead a program designed to distract them from their shortfalls and convince them why they should be satisfied.

    Total BS. I think the North Koreans had a similar program for POWs back in the 50s.

    Personal opinion, this is a very, very disturbing trend, and we should have no part of it.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 03-05-2009 at 03:08 PM.
    Robert C. Jones
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    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Default UK prisons and radicalisation

    This issue appears fairly reglarly, usually with a lurid news headline and then disappears. The link goes to an article which takes a longer view, the author works in a London "think tank" IISS: http://raffaellopantucci.wordpress.c...rism/#more-112

    davidbfpo

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    Default Pied Piper concept

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    (Partly quoted) I can't decide which is greater when it comes to this concept of "Deradicalization": The Ignorance of the program, or the Arrogance....First, it is founded in the popular, but baseless "Pied Piper Theory of Insurgency". Now if we simply expose the Pied Piper as a fraud, they will see the light and settle down and become good citizens once again....Causation and Motivation are two very different things, and should not be confused. Causation typically lies in poor governance. Motivation is typically some inspiring ideology or big event, or both. Addressing motivation without publicly recognizing and addressing causation is a fraud on the populace....The duty of government is not to fix the thinking of its populace, the duty of governance is to fix its governance of the populace.
    Typically Bob's World comments have led to some hard thinking about policy in the UK and in a May 2008 government paper on our nationals strategy: http://security.homeoffice.gov.uk/ne...sm?view=Binary

    I found this described as an objective: 'support individuals who are at risk of radicalisation'. On Bob's criteria we have failed IMHO. So back to thinking again.

    davidbfpo

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    In my experience, politicians in particular, and governments in general, do not take responsibilities for their failures well. Far easier to blame the effects of those failures on some third party.

    This is why most counterinsurgency efforts are such long, drawnout affairs. The effort is usually focused on defeating the illegal element of the populace that is acting out, as opposed to fixing the failures of governance that led to the illegal activities in the first place.

    The book "1776" is a great case study in this phenomena. The King of England had so many opporutinities to offramp the growing insurgency in America, but could not get past the fact that he was in the right (legally, and logically), and recognize the much more emotional, subjective factors of poor governance that typically give rise to insurgency.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    ICSR, Apr 09: Incredible Dialogues: Religious Dialogue as a Means of Counter-Terrorism in Yemen
    In 2002, Yemen, a country known to have been a breeding ground for al-Qaeda members, initiated a project to use dialogue as a means to alter the ways of suspected militant Islamists held in the state’s prisons. The project received international attention for its bold attempt to use their common reference to Islamic law as a peaceful means for the state to impact the militants. However, the actual implementation of the strategy was steeped in arbitrary arrests, indefinite detentions, torture and other violations of human rights. Furthermore, it was unclear what the charges against the detainees were and what impact the dialogue sessions had. The project was discontinued in 2005.

    This paper examines the Yemeni experience of dialogues with Islamists it concludes that, though such a strategy might be a useful means for counter-terrorism, an environment for genuine dialogues cannot be established without taking into account wider issues of the state’s legitimacy vis-à-vis its citizens.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Book recommended

    A good book on this theme is: 'Leaving Terrorism Behind: Individual and collective disengagement', edited by Tore Bjorgo and John Horgan (Pub by Routledge 2009). Some theoretical and general chapters, then case studies and not just featuring Islam. Took time to read and worthwhile.

    I will copy this to the main reading thread.

    davidbfpo

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