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Thread: Studies on radicalization & comments

  1. #161
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Myths of Radicalisation - with some US history too

    Following the vents in Boston it appears that those academics, analysts and pundits are in full flow. Here is a short commentary by J.M. Berger, via his blog-site Intelwire on 'The Myths of Radicalisation':http://news.intelwire.com/2013/05/my...rce=feedly&m=1

    Myth One: Radicalization leads to terrorism; Myth Two: Counterradicalization equals counterterrorism; Myth Three: Radicalization is an issue best addressed by law enforcement; Myth Four: Radicalization is always bad and Myth Five: Because Myths One Through Four Are Myths, Radicalization Doesn't Matter
    Myth Four is well pungent:
    Martin Luther King Jr. was investigated as a dangerous radical in his day because he advocated racial equality against the social norms of his time. Few people today would defend the law enforcement tactics used against King. In the context of his era, King was radical, but he was also right. Radicals and radicalization can take on many forms, and much of what we consider radical today is also repugnant and regressive. But sometimes radicalism arises to address real problems that are entrenched in society. The verdict of history doesn't always track with the present view. Sometimes societies require radical change, but advocating for such change -- even loudly -- is by no means the same as advocating for violence or terrorism.
    A riposte by Jamie Bartlett, of the UK think tank Demos:http://www.demos.co.uk/blog/decoupli...onandterrorism
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-09-2013 at 02:03 PM. Reason: Add Demos link
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  2. #162
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    Default UK Parliament Report: 'Roots of violent radicalisation'

    Somehow I missed this report being published in January 2012, it is worth a scan as there is a broad range of opinions on radicalization - with a British focus - in the report of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee 'Roots of violent radicalisation':http://www.publications.parliament.u.../1446/1446.pdf
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  3. #163
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    Default ICSR resources

    Link to:
    This Insight outlines the work that the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) has undertaken since 2008 which is directly relevant to the government's newly-formed tackling extremism and radicalisation task force.
    Link:http://icsr.info/2013/06/icsr-insigh...adicalisation/
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  4. #164
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    Default De-radicalization “a bid of a fad”?

    A real tour de force by Professor John Horgan, which starts with:
    Terrorist deradicalization. What an intriguing idea for a quick fix if ever there was one. Yet never in the history of counter-terrorism has any short-term solution ultimately proven to be more than a naïve pipedream. That is not to suggest that what is commonly called “deradicalization programs” would see themselves as representing a quick fix. But the allure surrounding these creative approaches to counterterrorism has been so powerful that a seeming failure to deliver on the implicit (and vague) promise of “revers[ing] radicalism” has apparently led to a loss of popularity. That may not be a bad thing, but a critical question lingers around whether or not these programs are effective.
    Link:http://www.e-ir.info/2013/07/29/full...tion-programs/

    Effectiveness and value for money he writes cannot be judged as so little independent, academic evaluation has actually happened.
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  5. #165
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Qatar IASS & Soufan Group on CVE narrative

    In mid September 2013 the Qatar Institute Applied Security Studies (QIASS) and the Soufan Group published 'Countering Violent Extremism: The Counter-Narrative Study', it is a lengthy report, 200 pgs, although double-spaced. It was only identified thanks to an Indian contact, who also had a working link:https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...Sep%202013.pdf

    I have only read the sections on the UK, Northern Ireland and Singapore which is described as:
    ..the gold standard in counter-radicalization...
    Considering the role played today by Qatari state in Syria, providing ample funding to Jihadist groups I do wonder if Admiral Nelson was involved in writing the report.
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  6. #166
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Just as the UK government advocates filtering extremist on-line content up pops Jamie Bartlett of the London-based think tank Demos, in a blog on The Daily Telegraph and mentions how hard this will be:
    ...there is a bigger problem that no one wants to mention: we still don’t really know whether watching extremist material online actually radicalises people. In my experience, it is not sermons by frothing fundamentalists that radicalise, but mainstream BBC reports about Syria or Palestine.
    At the end he writes:
    Dealing with extremism is difficult, and on the whole, we’re doing a remarkably good job. The internet is making this a little harder. But in the age of ever-increasing information and openness, reaching for the block button is not the answer.
    Link:http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technol...dea-heres-why/

    Within is a reference and link to a RAND report, based on research in the UK, 'Radicalisation in the digital era: The use of the internet in 15 cases of terrorism and extremism'.

    Link:http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand...RAND_RR453.pdf
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  7. #167
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Review of Programs to Counter Narratives of Violent Extremism

    Published yesterday by the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue: 'Review of Programs to Counter Narratives of Violent Extremism: What works and what are the implications for government'. Their explanation:
    ..it provides an overview of the efforts made to push back on extremist content online, or ‘counter-narratives’. It involved background research and interviews with former violent extremists, policy-makers and civil society activists.
    The work was funded by Public Safety Canada. The report is 49 pgs, cases studies amount to half. Link:http://www.strategicdialogue.org/Cou...ivesFN2011.pdf

    After years of national and international counter-terrorist action it is remarkable that the report's summary states:
    It is important to stress that counter-narrative work as an area of public policy is in it's infancy.
    Short of time? There is a short article by Rachel Briggs (co-author) here:http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/seba...b_4397982.html
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  8. #168
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    A real tour de force by Professor John Horgan, which starts with:

    Link:http://www.e-ir.info/2013/07/29/full...tion-programs/

    Effectiveness and value for money he writes cannot be judged as so little independent, academic evaluation has actually happened.
    David,

    I would offer that "de-radicalization" is not a successful solution to terrorism simply because "radicalization" is not the cause of terrorism.

    Terrorism is a political weapon that is employed when legal political methods are either unavailable or ineffective. We need to focus on the politics that energize the systems, not the methodologies employed to recruit from energized populations, or the tactics employed by "politicians" (terrorists) denied effective, legal means to relieve negative political energy that has developed within some population.

    We also need to stop being so distracted by the "solutions" offered by the groups that emerge to tap into this political energy. We are too quick to think of those proposed, and often "radical" solutions as the problem. They rarely are the problem at all. But they do distract us from the problem of politics that is energizing the population to provide a source of sanctuary, support, personnel, etc to such movements that promise change.
    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)

  9. #169
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    David,

    I would offer that "de-radicalization" is not a successful solution to terrorism simply because "radicalization" is not the cause of terrorism.

    Terrorism is a political weapon that is employed when legal political methods are either unavailable or ineffective. We need to focus on the politics that energize the systems, not the methodologies employed to recruit from energized populations, or the tactics employed by "politicians" (terrorists) denied effective, legal means to relieve negative political energy that has developed within some population.

    We also need to stop being so distracted by the "solutions" offered by the groups that emerge to tap into this political energy. We are too quick to think of those proposed, and often "radical" solutions as the problem. They rarely are the problem at all. But they do distract us from the problem of politics that is energizing the population to provide a source of sanctuary, support, personnel, etc to such movements that promise change.
    Bob,

    You raise fundamental issues around how Western liberal democracies respond to terrorist campaigns. My main focus has been the UK, with some knowledge of a few other, mainly Western countries. I now you take a wider viewpoint.

    Maybe there is a distinct difference between 'de' and 'counter' radicalization, for my purposes here today there is none. To be fair the UK has always referred to counter-radicalization.

    When the UK state designed its national CT strategy, known as 'Operation Contest', the standard themes of Pursue, Plan and Prepare had a fourth 'p' Prevent - into which counter-radicalization dropped. The main author, Sir David Omand, has stated Prevent was very much an after-thought.

    Prevent, with 'counter' action, was seen IMHO as a method of responding to the national government's perception that a significant minority were or had been radicalised to accept, if not use terrorism within the UK primarily. It was and is seen as legitimating the other 'P's.

    I do differ from you that:
    Terrorism is a political weapon that is employed when legal political methods are either unavailable or ineffective.
    Terrorism is a political weapon and tactic used by determined minorities, who rarely wish to engage in legal politics when violence starts to be used. It is not - in the West - that political methods are unavailable or ineffective. Such minorities know their cause has very limited appeal and they will not get political power via the ballot box. They expect terror will lead to fear and their aims will - one day - be achieved.

    Western Europe in the 1970-80's had a succession of such minority groups choosing terrorism; 'The Angry Brigade' here, the RAF or Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany and the 'Red Brigades' in Italy come to mind. Both the IRA and ETA eventually opted for the "Armalite and the ballot box", in the knowledge their cause(s) resonated within part of the nation-state.

    From my perspective the jihadists, as seen with AQ plus, have not considered - where there is a political option - using 'legal politics'. They believe such politics is not for them, for a variety of reasons, including their interpretation of Islam.

    In the UK context the jihadist cause resonates within a tiny minority. Now whether 'Prevent' has worked is a very moot point, I would argue it has done more damage than good. It is a quirk of modern British demography that "new" communities, not exclusively Muslim, were found in polling recently to be more loyal to our institutions and ways than the "old" nation.
    davidbfpo

  10. #170
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    Default The Process of Radicalization

    The Process of Radicalization

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  11. #171
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default One-stop shop

    More of a bibliography than a review article, but useful enough and appears to be very up to date on CVE:https://medium.com/p/5696616d8f0c
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  12. #172
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Fear of youth radicalisation across the European Union

    Actually the full title was 'Syria on our minds – fear of youth radicalisation across the European Union'. It is a report by four authors for the European Parliament and this is a link to a short article on it:http://www.opendemocracy.net/didier-...%93-fear-of-yo

    A clue as to their views:
    As Preventing and countering youth radicalisation in the EU makes clear, European counterterrorist and counter-radicalisation policies not only have the potential to undermine the democratic principles, institutions, and processes they seek to preserve but also to produce unintended consequences; rather than discouraging violence, they may trigger and encourage it. Actually, we may need to be more concerned by trends in European counter-radicalisation policies’, their social and political effects, and their unintended consequences rather than by European citizens heading to Syria who, if they come back, mostly come back disillusioned
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  13. #173
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    Default Staying abreast of academic research

    A UK-based academic group, with international members, offers a monthly free e-newsletter:http://www.radicalisationresearch.or...ct/newsletter/
    davidbfpo

  14. #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    A UK-based academic group, with international members, offers a monthly free e-newsletter:http://www.radicalisationresearch.or...ct/newsletter/
    Thanks.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
    ---

  15. #175
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Why ISIS Is So Terrifyingly Effective at Seducing New Recruits

    A short, detailed article based on an interview of Professor John Horgan, a British psychologist now @ UMass-Lowell:http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/08...-recruits.html

    A key point:
    They’re offering an opportunity for people to feel powerful. They’re making disillusioned, disaffected radicals feel like they’re doing something truly meaningful with their lives.
    Are we and others ready for this?
    Disillusionment is very, very common in every single terrorist and extremist group you can think of. That’s something that can be very toxic if those accounts get out and gather momentum.

    Disillusionment is the most common reason why people voluntarily choose to walk away from a terrorist group. People become disillusioned if they feel that the group has gone too far, if they don’t seem to have a strategy beyond indiscriminate killing. Disillusionment can arise from disagreements with a leader, it can arise from dissatisfaction with the day-to-day minutiae. There are many directions from which disillusionment can arise, and it’s only a matter of time before those accounts leak out from ISIS, and I think we would do very well to be on the lookout for those kinds of accounts, because they offer an opportunity to dissuade further potential recruits from being involved.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-21-2014 at 10:52 PM. Reason: Copied here from the current Iraq thread
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    Default

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...mes-foley.html

    ISIS, Hip-Hop Jihadists and the Man Who Killed James Foley
    Anthropologist Scott Atran, who is frequently consulted by the U.S. government, has long argued that a jihadist’s motivations cannot be fit within a purely rational framework of costs and benefits, nor can they be understood as utterly irrational. Instead they work within the context of what they come to see as “sacred values,” which may be religious, or may have to do more with honor and respect and, perhaps, what the 18th-century political theorist Edmund Burke called “the sublime”: that “quest for greatness, glory, eternal meaning in an inherently chaotic world,” as Atran says.

    “It seems like volunteers for ISIS are surfing for the sublime,” Atran wrote to me on Sunday. They are escaping “the jaded, tired world of democratic liberalism, especially on the margins where Europe’s immigrants mostly live.”
    Not everything is governance, religion, or any of the other areas myopic theorists focus on, sometimes is just simple human psychology.

  17. #177
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Why any individual is motivated to join the USMC is not why the USMC exists.

    Why the USMC is employed to address any particular problem is not why the USMC exists.

    To understand why the USMC exists one must study the organization, its history, missions and role in relation to the goals of the US as a whole. The stories of individual Marines, battles and campaigns are interesting, but only lend color, not clarity to the larger question.

    We understand this inherently, and yet we continue to agonize over the eaches of any particular individual who decides to throw their support behind a group such as AQ or ISIS in an odd belief that if we understand why individuals join we will somehow be better postured to make the organization as a whole either comply with acceptable social norms or go away in the entirety.

    The sum of these many personal stories does not tell the story of why these organizations exist. These stories certainly lend insights, but they equally distract us from reasons much more closely aligned to challenging the activities of those these organizations oppose, than to the promotion of the beliefs or promises these challengers advertise.

    Historically there is almost universally a powerful bias of perspective regarding the nature and rationale for revolutionary actors by those these revolutions are directed against. We need to adjust for that bias in our analysis.

    Revolutionary activity tends to be far more about the removal of some system of power or governance (often associated with some ideological system of beliefs) deemed as both intolerable and equally something one is now empowered to do something about; than they are about advancing something new and better.

    Far easier to get a disparate group to agree that the status quo is intolerable, than it is to get them to agree to some future solution. Thus the chaos that typically follows a wholesale regime change, regardless of how bad or evil that previous regime might have been.

    Revolution creates the chaos opportunity is made of - the problem is that so many line up to seize that opportunity, and typically not with the good of the many as their prime directive.
    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)

  18. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Why any individual is motivated to join the USMC is not why the USMC exists.

    Why the USMC is employed to address any particular problem is not why the USMC exists.

    To understand why the USMC exists one must study the organization, its history, missions and role in relation to the goals of the US as a whole. The stories of individual Marines, battles and campaigns are interesting, but only lend color, not clarity to the larger question.

    We understand this inherently, and yet we continue to agonize over the eaches of any particular individual who decides to throw their support behind a group such as AQ or ISIS in an odd belief that if we understand why individuals join we will somehow be better postured to make the organization as a whole either comply with acceptable social norms or go away in the entirety.

    The sum of these many personal stories does not tell the story of why these organizations exist. These stories certainly lend insights, but they equally distract us from reasons much more closely aligned to challenging the activities of those these organizations oppose, than to the promotion of the beliefs or promises these challengers advertise.

    Historically there is almost universally a powerful bias of perspective regarding the nature and rationale for revolutionary actors by those these revolutions are directed against. We need to adjust for that bias in our analysis.

    Revolutionary activity tends to be far more about the removal of some system of power or governance (often associated with some ideological system of beliefs) deemed as both intolerable and equally something one is now empowered to do something about; than they are about advancing something new and better.

    Far easier to get a disparate group to agree that the status quo is intolerable, than it is to get them to agree to some future solution. Thus the chaos that typically follows a wholesale regime change, regardless of how bad or evil that previous regime might have been.

    Revolution creates the chaos opportunity is made of - the problem is that so many line up to seize that opportunity, and typically not with the good of the many as their prime directive.
    Despite how intelligent this analysis appears on the surface it is deeply flawed when it is applied to ISIS. Apply to the Kurds and it fits perfectly. ISIS is not popular, and they're not focused on removing so much as focused on imposing their form of governance regardless of what the masses desire. It is obviously true that existing governments can and do create conditions that enable these movements to gain steam, but that doesn't mean the existing form of governance is the "sole" problem and that this morally justifies ISIS/ISIL's activities and intent. What is also true is we have our strategy must address protecting our interested (interests can be debated) and our citizens (not debatable), and if we sincerely believe ISIS/ISIL is a threat then there is a moral obligation to act. How we act to protect those interests must be informed by a wide range of factors, and it doesn't necessarily mean military action, nor does it mean we always must address the core underlying issues that are frankly beyond our control.

    Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, etc. all have ineffectively executed governance and created an ecosystem that AQism groups can exploit, but that does not make their movements popular or just. If our interests our threatened, we merely need to protect our interests in the short run and stop fooling ourselves that we have the power to solve the deeper issues of inappropriate borders, ethnic hatred, etc. Limited objectives should be our guiding light, not social-political reform, that aspect belongs to the indigenous people.

  19. #179
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Depression, Vulnerability and Resistance to Violent Radicalisation

    A short UK article that starts with:
    Young British Muslims whose families have lived in the UK for generations are more at risk of radicalisation than recent migrants to Britain, according to new research which reveals the common characteristics of those most vulnerable to recruitment by terrorists.

    Suffering from depression, being financially comfortable and being socially isolated were also common factors amongst those sympathising with terrorism, the University of London study found.
    The author is Professor Kamaldeep Bhui, lead author of the study and professor of cultural psychiatry and epidemiology at Queen Mary University of London said:
    The relationship between radicalisation and mental health is complex but we now know depression, alongside poor social networks and isolation, does play a role in vulnerability to radicalisation.
    Link to newspaper report:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...d-9754062.html

    This C4 News (TV) report has a little more information:http://www.channel4.com/news/islamic...di-uk-research

    Finally found the actual research paper 'Might Depression, Psychosocial Adversity, and Limited Social Assets Explain Vulnerability to and Resistance against Violent Radicalisation?' on an open access e-journal:http://www.plosone.org/article/info%...l.pone.0105918
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  20. #180
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    Default Quit Now While You Can!

    In an open letter to IS jihadists Maajid Nawaz, a former radical Muslim, speaks to them in their own language. Whether the desired audience reads The Daily Beast I think unlikely, so maybe SM will reach out.

    A brave move, timely as today one UK paper reported a hundred former fighters had exited, planning to go the countries of their parents origin or stuck in limbo unable to return to the UK.

    Link:http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...e-you-can.html

    There are three current threads on foreign fighters, but his letter deserves a read. You never know his message might come in useful to understand their faith, fanaticism and fears now of the Islamic State jihadis.

    Nawaz is hardly unknown to many of them I expect, he has been a prominient counter-radical voice, although often criticised for his associations and views by fellow, non-radical Muslims. He is the chair of the Quilliam Foundation:http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/
    davidbfpo

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