Thursday, August 09, 2007

Are You A Radical?

I found an interesting article that contains ideologies that if pushed too far could result in new limitations on the freedoms of speech and thought. The resulting legislation could be used against anyone not happy with the status quo. Note that the term radicalization in the bill means the process of adopting an extremist belief system, including the willingness to use, support, or facilitate violence, as a method to effect societal change. Thus people with ideas other than the mainstream viewpoints qualify as radicalized.

Experts Advise on Combating Radicalization
New York Times, June 15, 2007

While the United States has expended enormous effort in fighting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has neglected the fight for the hearts and minds of young radicals in Internet chat rooms and other places where they cluster, experts on radicalization told a House panel yesterday.

“Unless we can impede radicalization and recruitment, then we are condemned to a strategy of stepping on cockroaches one at a time,” Brian M. Jenkins, a terrorism expert from the Rand Corporation, told the House Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment

The subcommittee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have held recent hearings on the possible threat from “homegrown” radicals. The general conclusion has been that although such a threat exists, it is small, especially when compared with Europe, because assimilation works so much better here.

Individual sessions have covered the possibility of terror cells forming in prisons, considered a ripe environment with little concrete activity, and countering the vision of extremists who use Islam to convince the young that suicide bombings are the righteous path to a better world.

“We have to stop attacking only the structure and start attacking their strategy,” the director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University, Frank J. Cilluffo, said.

Terrorist organizations, for example, use the Web to glorify the people who carry out attacks as serving God. But, Mr. Cilluffo noted, there is no effort to use video from gruesome attacks like the slaughter of Russian schoolchildren or the bombing of a wedding at a Jordanian hotel to underscore that terrorists are cold-blooded murderers

The United States has had scattered arrests of bumblers who may have intended to carry out terrorist attacks, but none have had the capability to undertake the deadly violence seen on 9/11 or in London and Madrid, witnesses said. The treason indictment last year of Adam Yahiye Gadahn, a Californian who is a Qaeda spokesman, is a rarity. The United States has had about 30 treason cases.

But the Internet age can make moving from intent to capability rapid. So the goal is to block the path and undermine the desire.

“There is nothing wrong with people being recruited to become Muslims,” Representative Jane Harman, the California Democrat who is chairwoman of the subcommittees, said in an interview yesterday. “What is wrong is when people who are becoming Muslims are manipulated by radical fanatics into a death cult.

“That small passage that very few of these people take is where we have to interfere. We have to understand how it happens and when it happens.”

Ms. Harman and a Republican colleague, Representative Dave Reichert of Washington, are drafting a measure that would direct Congress to form a commission to develop a strategy for preventing such radicalization. She said she hoped that a similar bill would emerge from the Senate.

Among the major recommendations of the experts at the hearing yesterday were greater involvement of Muslim-Americans in the antiradicalization effort; more aid for community policing, which is deemed most effective at nipping radicalization in the bud; and a smarter focus on countering what Al Qaeda and other groups do to win recruits.

“We need to isolate the extremists as opposed to isolating the mainstream community” of American Muslims, Salam al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said in an interview.

...Here is a summary of the PREVENT Act:

Preventing Radicalism by Exploring and Vetting its Emergence as a National Threat (PREVENT) Act - Establishes in the legislative branch the National Commission on Radicalization and Terrorism to: (1) examine and report upon facts and causes relating to radicalization in the United States; (2) build upon the work of and work together with related advisory bodies, and review the findings of related studies and academic works; and (3) report to the President and Congress on recommendations for countermeasures to radicalization, and measures to prevent radicalization from developing and spreading, within the United States. Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to work with the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), led by the University of Southern California, to evaluate the feasibility and practicality of creating further incentives for private sector critical infrastructure stakeholders to participate in the sharing of protected critical infrastructure information.

Here is the full text.

Who better to bring us a police state other than a retired Sheriff?

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