Monday, June 28, 2010

WEST'S PRISIONS CAN KEEP MILITANT ISLAM OUT

*** CANADA is the only one not on the list - how embrassing. MS ***


FROM: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/100628/world/international_us_security_radicalisation


LONDON (Reuters) - Western prisons could root out militant Islamism among inmates by adopting the more imaginative approaches to prisoners used in parts of the Middle East and Asia, a British study suggests.

The provision of religious advice and helping prisoners cultivate non-extremist social networks are among measures proposed in the study of prisons in 15 countries.

Britain's chief prison inspector said last month the treatment of Muslim inmates by prison staff as potentially dangerous militants risked driving them into the hands of radical groups.

Prisons occupy a central place in the history of militant Islamist groups such as al Qaeda which see them as valued centers of learning, recruitment and indoctrination.

Creative programs can turn the tide, argues the study of prison militants in Afghanistan, Algeria, Britain, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Israel, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, the United States and Yemen.

For example in Singapore, alleged terrorists are systematically re-educated in prison, said the report by London's International Center for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR).

A team of trained religious advisers helps them go through the Koran, showing how critical passages need to be read in context, and how extremist notions about violence are often based on misreadings and misinterpretations, the report says.

Prisons can be "a place for reform as well as radicalization," Peter Neumann, study author and director of ICSR based at London University's King's College, told Reuters.

"Prisons can play a positive role in tackling problems of radicalization and terrorism in society as a whole."

"SECURITY FIRST" APPROACH

Most Western prison systems practiced a "security first" approach with radicalized inmates, Neumann said, arguing this amounted to "locking people away and making sure they don't cause any trouble." Opportunities for reform were missed.

In Saudi Arabia, officials spend heavily to reform and re-integrate former militants to try to ensure they can look forward to a meaningful and productive life after leaving prison, the report says. In some cases, this process has included buying them houses and cars, and even finding them wives.

"None of the de-radicalization programs in the Middle East and Southeast Asia is perfect," said Neumann.

"But they should serve as an inspiration for people in the West to think more creatively about what positive things could be done with radicals and terrorists in the state's custody."

Neumann said this approach would not work everywhere, because de-radicalization depended on a conducive environment.

Releasing people into hostile communities with no further supervision would not work because all good de-radicalization programs were based on follow-up and after-care, which in case of Afghanistan for example was difficult, he said.

The study's proposed measures include:

-- A mix of education, typically combining ideological and/or religious re-education with vocational training.

-- Appointing credible interlocutors, who can relate to prisoners' personal and psychological needs.

-- Sophisticated methods for locking prisoners into multiple commitments and obligations toward family and community.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

TORONTO 18 SAGA IS OVER - GUILTY VERDICTS IN

*** Read and see for yourself by following the link. MS ***


FROM: http://www3.thestar.com/static/toronto18/index.html

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ZAKIR NAIK BANNED FROM CANADA

*** Anyone who begins a sentence with, "When you beat your wife..." should re-think coming to the real world - I don't care WHAT follows after that collection of words.

Speaking of words, the Arabic word, 'idrubuhunna' - translated as 'striking' them should be looked at again. I do not have the space to go into the exegesis of the verse but let me just end the controversy with the simple statement: The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) never even raised his voice - not to men, not to women and certainly never struck his wife. Who cares about 'not on the face' or 'don't leave a mark' - our Prophet (PBUH) NEVER did such a thing. Is that not good enough for us?

So WWMD (What Would Muhammad Do?) Back to the point of the verb, 'to strike' it is used in many places in the Quran. In the overwhelming majority of cases, it means 'to strike the earth in travel or to get away'. Allah also 'strikes a parable' - He does not literally whack you about (sorry no face and no marks) with an example, but he presents it with IMPACT. THAT is the essence of the word.

Far-fetched interpretation? Far from it: Muhammad (PBUH) - when he became upset with his wives - LEFT his house and stayed in his own apartment (what a great idea, guys! an apt. in the city just to get away from it). He did not hit anyone - he struck the earth and got away and that had impact on everyone.

Unfortunately, the ban may be counter-productive - it will confirm to some Muslims that this is in fact a witch-hunt against any popular Muslim speaker (which is silly because Reviving the Islamic Spirit Conference brings many scholars - good ones and loving ones) as well as many others to come and go freely because the people are 'safe from their fitnah' - an obligation upon Muslims to the people they live with.

Besides, Naik's talks are already available online. A better way to deal with this (in addition to the Islamic approach of counter-ideology) could be to have Agents chat with him - let him in - and if he does violate the law, charge and arrest him.


MS ***


FROM: http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/06/22/controversial-muslim-televangelist-zakir-naik-banned-from-toronto-conference/#comments



An Indian Muslim televangelist who was banned from Britain last week for “unacceptable behaviour” will not be allowed into Canada to speak at an upcoming conference in Toronto, sources familiar with the situation have told the National Post.

Dr. Zakir Naik, who has said “every Muslim should be a terrorist” and that Jews are “our staunchest enemy,” was to headline next month’s Journey of Faith Conference — which is billed as one of North America’s largest Islamic conferences and is expected to attract upward of 10,000 people.

Dr. Naik, the Mumbai-based founder of Peace TV and a widely respected lecturer in India, has a laundry list of views that could have led to his exclusion from the U.K. and Canada, both of which require an Indian citizen to obtain a visitor visa.

The 44-year-old medical doctor recommends capital punishment for homosexuals and the death penalty for those who abandon Islam as their faith.

He has said that a man is within his right to beat his wife “lightly,” though in a July 2009 YouTube video he cautioned against hitting her on the face or leaving a mark.

The “Keep Zakir Naik Out of Canada” Facebook group, which was launched over the weekend, also points out his view that western women make themselves “more susceptible to rape” by wearing revealing clothing.

Among the chief reasons, British Home Secretary Theresa May decided to quash Dr. Naik’s U.K. speaking tour later this month, however, were comments he made in a widely circulated 2007 video.

“If [Osama bin Laden] is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him … If he is terrorizing a terrorist, if he is terrorizing America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, I am with him,” said Dr. Naik, who has delivered hundreds of talks in India, Canada, the U.S. and the Middle East. “Every Muslim should be a terrorist.”

Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, said he and the congress have been informed that Dr. Naik will be “stopped at the airport,” and sources familiar with the situation confirmed Dr. Naik does not have a visa to enter Canada.

“We are very happy that government agencies, having been made aware of his statements, have taken this decision,” Mr. Fatah said, adding that he sent a mass email to federal MPs last week, warning them of Dr. Naik’s views. “We certainly don’t want hate-mongers to come here.”

“To me, the rules as to who can come into this country were written for this kind of person,” echoed Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress. “The comments are highly inflammatory, and highly provocative. When you put them together in one cauldron, you have a stew of hatred.”

Dr. Naik, president of the Islamic Research Foundation in Mumbai, was reached via email on Monday but would not comment on his pending visit to Toronto. In fact, Dr. Naik may not yet know that he is unwelcome in Canada, sources said.

In his email to the National Post, Dr. Naik pointed to a June 20 statement regarding the “overzealous and islamophobic exclusion order” issued by the U.K. The statement seeks to clarify his comments, which the foundation argues were “taken out of context.”

The Journey of Faith Conference is chaired by Imam Saed Rageah, whose Toronto mosque, the Abu Huraira Centre, made headlines last fall after a group of young worshippers vanished and were feared to have joined a Somali militant group.
Imam Ragaeh declined an interview request yesterday, but passed along a web video via email of Dr. Naik defending his comments and promising to challenge the U.K. ban.

According to the Journey of Faith event website, the “hope” of the July 2-4 conference at the downtown Metro Toronto Convention Centre is for Muslims to “renew their forgotten relationship” with the Quran. As of last night, the site still listed Dr. Naik as a featured speaker.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada declined to comment on the case yesterday, citing the Privacy Act.

Monday, June 21, 2010

TERRORISM SUPPORT LAW UPHELD - SUPREME COURT

*** This is not about speaking out against tactics of the 'war against terrorism'. It is about trying to help those fanatics in any way - to show any support for those deemed to be enemies of the United States of America. I should remind that this is precisely the condition attached to non Muslim subjects of Muslim lands: not to support - in any way - those with whom the state was at war with. MS ***

FROM: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/100621/us/usreport_us_usa_security_court


By James Vicini


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a law that bars Americans from providing support to foreign terrorist groups, rejecting arguments that it violated constitutional rights of free speech and association.

The decision came in the first test to reach the Supreme Court after the September 11, 2001, attacks of a case pitting the right of U.S. citizens to speak and associate freely against the government's efforts to fight terrorism.

In a victory for the Obama administration, the justices voted, 6-3, to reverse a ruling by a U.S. appeals court that declared parts of the law unconstitutionally vague.

The law barring material support was first adopted in 1996 and strengthened by the USA Patriot Act adopted by Congress right after the September 11 attacks. It was amended again in 2004.

The law bars knowingly providing any service, training, expert advice or assistance to any foreign organization designated by the U.S. State Department as terrorist.

The law, which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, does not require any proof the defendant intended to further any act of terrorism or violence by the foreign group.

MORE DIFFICULT CASES COULD BE AHEAD

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said the law was constitutional and rejected the specific challenge before it. He said the court did not address the "more difficult cases" that may arise under the law in the future.

The legal challenge had been brought by groups and individuals who wanted to help the Kurdistan Workers Party in Turkey and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka. The State Department designated both as foreign terrorist groups.

The Humanitarian Law Project in Los Angeles had previously provided human rights advocacy training to the Kurdistan Workers Party, known as the PKK, and the main Kurdish political party in Turkey.

The Humanitarian Law group and others sued in an effort to renew support for what they described as lawful, nonviolent activities overseas.

"The Supreme Court has ruled that human rights advocates, providing training and assistance in the nonviolent resolution of disputes, can be prosecuted as terrorists," said Georgetown University law professor David Cole, who argued the case.

"In the name of fighting terrorism, the court has said that the First Amendment permits Congress to make it a crime to work for peace and human rights. That is wrong," Cole said.

Obama administration lawyers defended the law and called it a vital weapon in the government's effort to fight terrorism.

Since 2001, the United States has charged about 150 defendants with the material support of terrorism and about half have been convicted, the Justice Department said.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented with Breyer saying the court majority ultimately "deprives the individuals before us of the protection that the First Amendment demands."

He said the court failed to examine the government's justifications for the law with sufficient care.

The Supreme Court cases are Holder v. Humanitarian Law project, No. 08-1498, and Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder, No. 09-89.

GROUND ZERO MOSQUE - OUTREACH OR OUTRAGE?

*** Building bridges is what is needed now more than ever. Don't get sucked into the us VS them mentality: Al Qaeda and others feed on it. MS ***


FROM: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/100621/us/usreport_us_usa_mosques


By Karina Ioffee


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Plans to build a mosque near the site of the September 11 attacks have touched off a firestorm among New Yorkers nearly a decade after Muslim extremists linked to al Qaeda slammed planes into the World Trade Center.

The Cordoba House mosque, part of a Muslim center to be built two blocks from what is now known as Ground Zero proposed as a conciliatory move, was overwhelmingly approved by a local community board in May.

But the plans are being resisted by some New Yorkers who say a mosque would be inappropriate so close to the place where nearly 3,000 people were killed.

"I'm certainly not against religious expression, but I feel it's an insensitive place to do that," said Paul Sipos, a member of the community board who did not vote on the issue. "Cordoba House should have reached out to the people who were most affected, instead of doing it by confrontation."

The center is a project of the Cordoba Initiative, a New York group aiming to improve relations between Muslims and the West. It would feature a 13-story structure with a 500-person auditorium, swimming pool, bookstores and a prayer space.

Cordoba Initiative's chairman, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, an Islamic scholar, said the center would be open to everyone and would help foster better understanding.

"My colleagues and I are the anti-terrorists," Rauf wrote in an editorial in New York's Daily News. "We are the people who want to embolden the vast majority of Muslims who hate terrorism to stand up to the radical rhetoric."

The proposed mosque is now awaiting approval from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission which expects to vote on the issue sometime this summer.

"HITTING SUCH A NERVE"

The dispute plays into a broader, unanswered questions of what should become of the World Trade Center site. Some favor a rebuilding to show the city's strength and resilience, while others believe the site should be a memorial and a place of reflection and remembrance.

"The meaning of the site is still contested," said Rosemary R. Hicks, a Columbia University scholar whose research focuses on Muslims in the United States. "What does it mean to us as Americans? Americans are so unsure, and that's why the mosque is hitting such a nerve."

Muslims too disagree over the wisdom of putting a mosque near the site of the attacks.

"After all, it was 19 Egyptian and Saudi Arabian thugs calling themselves Muslims who perpetrated this heinous crime on September 11th," said Hossein Kamaly, a professor of Middle Eastern culture at Barnard College, part of Columbia University.

"They want to send a message of friendship, but building a mosque where there wasn't one before, is not the most nuanced way of doing that," Kamaly said.

HIGH-PROFILE CASES, STEREOTYPES

The organizers, who hope to build more understanding among non-Muslims, say they are struggling to overcome negative public opinion fueled by high-profile cases of extremism and stereotypes among people unfamiliar with the religion.

Their cause was not helped by the case of Pakistani-born Faisal Shahzad who has been indicted on terrorism charges for trying to set off a car bomb in New York City's Times Square, center of the theater district, on a busy evening on May 1.

"When someone claims to do something in the name of Islam and you don't know much about Islam, it's much easier to go, 'Well, maybe it is because of Islam,'" said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"One benefit of having a mosque in an area is that when people have contact with ordinary Muslims, prejudice goes down," he said.

Plans for mosques in New York's Brooklyn and Staten Island boroughs also are hitting opposition, with neighbors worried about potential extremism.

"In the beginning, it will be peaceful, but we just don't know what they will be taught there and that bothers us," said Alex Davidson, 62, a repair man who lives near the proposed Brooklyn mosque. He said: "If you look at the statistics, most terrorists are Muslim."

Ayman Hammous, leader of a group planning to turn an unused convent into a mosque in Staten Island, said Muslims oppose such violence. "We will not give it up," he said. "We as American Muslims are against terrorists, and we don't have to be apologetic for what they do."

Ibrahim Anse, an organizer of the Brooklyn mosque, said it would provide English classes, after-school programs for children and lectures in English. Arabic prayers would be translated into English.

"We are open to the entire community, and we welcome everyone to join," Anse said.

TIMES SQUARE BOMBER PLEADS GUILTY

FROM: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/100621/us/usreport_us_timessquare


NEW YORK (Reuters) - The man accused of trying to set off a car bomb in New York's Times Square on May 1 pleaded guilty on Monday to terrorism-related charges.

Pakistani-born Faisal Shahzad, who became a U.S. citizen last year, was indicted in Manhattan federal court on Thursday on 10 charges, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted terrorism transcending national borders.

Shahzad, 30, is accused of parking a vehicle containing a crude car bomb in Times Square in Midtown Manhattan. He was arrested aboard a Dubai-bound jetliner two days later that was minutes from leaving New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

TORONTO 18 CASE WITH JURY

*** Just because Fahim & others could not possibly have successfully stormed parliament, lopped off Mr. Harper's head & declare a fantasy Islamic State from the Speaker's Chair - he & his bomb-plot partner, Zakaria WANTED so many people to die (Islamic quote: "Actions are by their intentions") and that is what they should be measured against.

They would have been overjoyed at the prospect of shards of glass flying through the air and cutting down the innocent - at the idea of blood and panic everywhere - at the subsequent harm and damage that would have come to Canada and Canadians - and for that reason alone, they deserve far worse than they will get. MS ***



FROM: http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/06/18/final-toronto-18-case-in-hands-of-jury/


Whether the “Toronto 18” would have followed through on their chilling mandate to execute the most devastating act of terrorism ever to occur on Canadian soil — or whether they were simply a ragtag bunch of amateurs enthralled by a big talker, Fahim Ahmad, and a charismatic radical, Zakaria Amara — is a question that will forever hang in the balance as the lengthy case draws to a close.

Certainly, their plot was sufficiently alarming to warrant the country’s largest terrorism prosecution to date, a complex, multi-million-dollar, four-year saga that laid bare the group’s desire to realize what one expert describes as “Canada’s 9/11”: a series of explosions to demolish entire city blocks in the heart of downtown Toronto, and leave a nation shell-shocked.

On Friday, as the jury trying the two remaining suspects retired to decide their fate, star Crown witness Mubin Shaikh was watching, and waiting. For years, he infiltrated the terror cell from the inside and then spent countless hours on the stand, pulling the events apart thread by thread, in a process as cumulatively shocking as it was tedious.

On Saturday, as Mr. Shaikh considers penning a book on the saga and completes a degree in policing intelligence and counterterrorism, he dismissed as “laughable” the idea that the Toronto 18 could have carried out their ambitious plot, which included beheading the Prime Minister and broadcasting victory over public radio.

“Given the lack of know-how, the lack of weapons, the lack of preparation, training, all that stuff, it is not possible that this group could have successfully stormed Parliament and lopped off the Prime Minister’s head,” Mr. Shaikh suggested, speaking inside the Brampton courthouse where Asad Ansari, alleged to be a minor player in the group, and Steven Chand, who faces charges of participating in the terror cell and counselling fraud for its benefit, awaited their final verdict.

“Fahim was a big talker more than he was a doer. That is the reality,” Mr. Shaikh said.

Wesley Wark, a security specialist at the University of Toronto, begs to differ: “The ringleaders were capable and serious and that is all that mattered. Homegrown terrorism is amateur by definition; this does not lessen the threat.” (MS: Which is actually exactly what I said but you know reporters...)

Indeed, Ahmad has been linked to a network of terrorists overseas, including Britain’s Aabid Khan, an avid al-Qaeda supporter who recruited young Muslims and arranged their passage to Pakistan for terrorist training. Ahmad and Khan reportedly met in an online chat room, where they discussed getting paramilitary training for a growing number of recruits through Lashkar-e- Taiba, the group responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Yet plans fell through, and Ahmad ultimately joined forces with Amara to begin molding a homegrown terror cell.

CSIS and the RCMP took the threat seriously. Gilles Michaud, the RCMP’s assistant commissioner and head of national security criminal investigations, says at the case’s peak, more than 200 people were assigned to the Toronto 18 probe, with funding and manpower pulled from other units.

Mr. Michaud sees the case as a game-changer, one that demonstrated the legitimate threat of terrorism on Canadian soil. It is not an entreaty for the public to be fearful, he says, but rather to be vigilant.

“It happens in Canada. We cannot bury our heads in the sand and think that there’s no threat in Canada,” Mr. Michaud said.

“We cannot also bury our heads in the sand and say, ‘Well, if there is one, the police and the service will get them.’ To think that way would be careless.”

Though the Toronto 18 moniker has stuck, the group could more accurately be described as the Toronto 11, since charges against seven of the accused were dropped early in the process.

Gavin Cameron, an expert on terrorism and security issues at the University of Calgary, says the group was comprised of “concentric rings” of members, the outer of which were only peripherally involved. He calls the initial 2006 sweep an exercise of due caution.

“It’s not something that is terribly comfortable in terms of what it says about individual liberties, but this is a situation where you really don’t want to have people wandering around who you think may be involved in terrorist activities,” Mr. Cameron said.

As the layers have been peeled back in the courtroom, the public has gained glimpses of a horrific plot fuelled by a group of primarily immature extremists who pulled pranks on one another, sniffed cocaine and smoked pot, and argued with girlfriends in the midst of a terrorist training camp in the dead of winter in Washago, where they simulated combat with paintball guns and staged phony videos of shooting a rifle.

It was in the confines of that camp that Ahmad delivered his now infamous “fall of Rome” speech, in which he called for the defeat of the western world. He began the speech by joking about how hungry he was after two weeks of camping, and how “weird” it would be to shower at home.

“The impression that one occasionally had as the evidence came out was that this actually wasn’t a terribly serious group,” Mr. Cameron noted.

As months passed, however, the plot appeared to pick up steam. The group splintered into two factions, one focused on storming Parliament, the other fixated on bombing Toronto. Amara built a test detonator, a prototype for truck bombs that would target the Toronto Stock Exchange, a CSIS site on Front Street and a military base.

The group also ordered several tonnes of ammonium nitrate through undercover police agent Shaher Elsohemy, and on the date of delivery, as Saad Khalid and Saad Gaya unloaded what they believed was the chemical from a delivery truck, police swept in.

It is difficult to assess what may have happened without police intervention, which curtailed planning at an early stage, Mr. Cameron said, noting the group’s aspirations may have exceeded their abilities.

“If the full attack had gone exactly as intended, I think you would be looking at Canada’s 9/11,” he said. “But whether this was a group that was capable of operationalizing the attack on the scale and with the sophistication that they aspired to do is a completely different question.”

SIKH TERRORISM & TORONTO 18 - TRANSNATIONAL RELIGIOUS TERRORISM

FROM: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/unimaginable/3173002/story.html


The more we learn about the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182, the more the Canadian security establishment takes a beating. That’s expected. There was plenty of bungling, misjudgment and poor communication.

Surveying the intelligence 25 years later, it’s pretty clear that Sikh fanatics were going to attack a civilian passenger jet. Yet Canadian officials just didn’t get it. Among the signs of nonchalance: Security agents surreptitiously followed Sikh extremists into a British Columbia forest where the latter were practising the detonation of explosives. The security agents didn’t bother to bring cameras, and never properly identified one of the suspects.

Canada messed up, bigtime, and consequently more than 300 people died when Fight 182 exploded over the Atlantic. If we really want to make sense of what went wrong, however, it’s important to recognize that this security failure was a shared one. The problem wasn’t just bureaucratic incompetence.

When Sikh extremism first began to attract attention, few people, in government or out, in Canada or elsewhere, really understood the global danger it represented — not Sikh extremism per se, but the danger of radical-nationalist-religious movements.

Terrorism had been around for a long time, but it was almost always of the secular political variety. Political terrorism had its own rules of engagement. As Brian Jenkins, a pioneer of terrorist studies, once put it, terrorists didn’t want a lot of people dead but rather a lot of people watching.

Political terrorism was largely about propaganda. The early European anarchists had as their motto propagande par le fait, propaganda by deed, meaning that the primary purpose of violence was to publicize a cause. Anarchist assassins felt that they could best attract attention by targeting prominent industrialists or political leaders.

That was more or less the model throughout most of the 20th century. In the 1970s, the Quebec separatists who formed the FLQ calibrated their violence to maximize the propaganda value, killing a provincial cabinet minister and kidnapping a British diplomat.

Same with the Palestinian Arabs, known as Black September, who disrupted the 1972 summer Olympics. Black September was secular and political, unlike Hamas today which is religious and fanatical. Black September didn’t blow up a shopping mall, hotel or even a synagogue, but instead went after Israeli athletes in Munich — a heinous crime, to be sure, but the point is Black September was discriminating in its violence. The Irish Republican Army used to warn authorities in advance of attacks, consistent with a goal of creating propaganda rather than maximizing civilian casualties

There were certain conventions surrounding terrorism. Should Canadian authorities have realized those angry Sikhs in B.C. represented a new kind of terrorist, whose objective was in fact to maximize civilian casualties?

The shift from old-style political terrorists, whose aim was to attract attention, to the “new” religious terrorists, whose aim was to kill as many of the enemy as possible, caught governments off guard, not just Canada’s.

Even the U.S., in the 1960s and ’70s, had little insight. Historian Walter Laqueur has noted that during this period, CIA documents on terrorism were surprisingly unsophisticated. Terrorism wasn’t something that much concerned the agency, not just because the Cold War was more pressing but because “terrorists” were still viewed in many places as freedom fighters pursuing political liberation. No one yet conceived of terrorists as indiscriminating mass murderers.

Today, of course, mass-casualty terrorism is the norm and has changed the way security officials operate. But 25 years ago that wasn’t the case, and security officials operated differently. It’s unfortunate that Canada had to be one of places where the hard lesson was learned.

The transformation happened because terrorists began dehumanizing their enemies in a way that hadn’t been seen before. This is especially clear with Islamic terrorists who don’t seem particularly interested in persuading the enemy of anything, only destroying him. It also corresponds to the way radical Sikhs, religious fanatics in their own right, were thinking when they set out to massacre women and children on Fight 182.

Laqueur has written that “persecution mania” plays an important part in the new terrorism: the group feels “so isolated and so powerless vis-√†-vis an omnipotent enemy that every weapon seem(s) permissible to have a chance in unequal combat.” The implications of this are clear to us today, thanks especially to 9/11, but they wouldn’t have been 25 years ago. It’s hard to understand a phenomenon until you actually encounter it.

Canada’s security apparatus is still not as strong as it could be, but look how far it has come. In 1985, agents couldn’t even properly do surveillance. Today, agents are not just identifying and monitoring suspected terrorist cells, but thoroughly infiltrating them, as with the Toronto 18 case.

The chief lesson of Air India is that we must be prepared to imagine the unimaginable.

Leonard Stern is the Citizen’s editorial pages editor. E-mail: lstern@thecitizen.canwest.com

Friday, June 18, 2010

AIR INDIA INQUIRY - CSIS RCMP CULTURE CHANGE NEEDED ?

*** These agencies need the right kind of support from lawmakers and the public. Is it so bad to want them to succeed in making sure some idiot doesn't blow his underwear off and kill everyone around him? I would hope not. MS ***


FROM: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/Culture+change+needed+CSIS+RCMP+Major/3169124/story.html


The RCMP and CSIS are Canada's defence line against terrorism.

But they can be terrible teammates.

According to the Air India inquiry report, the RCMP philosophy is "the less information we receive from CSIS, the better," while CSIS is reluctant to hand over its intelligence to police for fear it will be disclosed in court.

The 9/11 Commission found a similar problem when it examined the U.S. government failures leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It used a football analogy to explain: The players were in position but they weren't working together and there was no quarterback calling the plays.

Air India commissioner John Major wants Canada's national security advisor to play quarterback; he has proposed a much bigger role for the advisor in deciding how government agencies respond to terrorist threats.

Supposeasuspectedmember of a terrorist group flies to Canada after training at an overseas camp. Should the RCMP arrest him at the airport? Should CSIS instead follow him to see what he does and whom he meets? If he's not Canadian, should the Canada Border Services Agency deport him?

Those calls would be made by the national security advisor (NSA), who works out of the Privy Council Office. "In these and other situations," Judge Major writes, "the NSA will act in the public interest, transcending institutional self-interest."

The advisor would have the power to pass CSIS intelligence on to police, part of a series of proposed reforms that appear to be nudging Canada in the direction of the United States and Britain, where criminal prosecutions of terrorists are much more common.

The Air India report proposes making greater use of CSIS intelligence by police, restructuring the RCMP to better deal with terrorism prosecutions and improving the relationship between the two agencies.

During the Air India investigation, CSIS and the RCMP "were unable to co-operate effectively, or sometimes at all," the report says. And that awkward relationship continues to some extent to this day.

That is partly a reflection of conflicting mandates. The RCMP fights terrorism by collecting evidence that can be used to prosecute suspects in open court. CSIS fights terrorism by collecting intelligence that guides government action and that is not intended to be publicly disclosed.

The system apparently worked during the Toronto 18 investigation. CSIS found out about the young extremists and notified the RCMP, which conducted its own parallel investigation and made the arrests. (MS: Using the same agent, I should add.)

But to use the 9/11 commission's football analogy, the two agencies sometimes find themselves covering the same man. And that overlap only got worse after Canada criminalized terrorism in 2001, throwing police into areas -- such as the investigation of terrorist financing and planning terrorist acts -- that had once been the domain of CSIS.

The report calls for a "culture change" in both agencies. Judge Major wants the RCMP to stop avoiding CSIS intelligence that could protect Canadians. And he wants CSIS to accept that its secrets may have to be disclosed as evidence against terrorists.

The commission goes so far as to propose the national security advisor have the authority to compel CSIS to hand its intelligence to police.

Judge Major wants fundamental change at CSIS. He wants the agency to treat the information it collects as evidence that might be used in a prosecution. To that extent, he wants CSIS to begin acting as a law enforcement agency.

He also recommends CSIS end its practice of destroying its records, suggesting it hang on to them for at least 25 years. At the same time, the report recognizes the need to keep sensitive intelligence from the public.

In a passage reminiscent of the 9/11 report, Judge Major writes: "What must be avoided is a diffusion of responsibilities, where each agency and each official acts properly but where they fail collectively to achieve the ultimate goal: protecting the security of Canadians to the greatest extent possible.

"Promises by agencies to co-operate with each other are only part of the answer. Better rules, supported by legislation, are required."

sbell@nationalpost.com

TORONTO 18 CASE - INTERATIONAL LINKS

*** Too bad that 4 years had to pass - and for a false narrative to have taken hold by armchair pundits who pronounced verdicts even before the trial began! NOW - 4 years later - the public will start to hear more of what they should have been given the first time: the truth. MS ***


FROM: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/06/18/toronto-18-jury.html


Toronto 18 details emerge as jury sequestered


What the jury didn't get to hear about Fahim Ahmad

A jury in Brampton, Ont., has started to deliberate in the latest trial for those accused in the Toronto 18 extremist plot case.

The jurors were sequestered Friday after the judge finished instructing them in the case presented against the two accused, Steven Chand and Asad Ansari. Both were charged with participating in a terrorist group, and Chand faces a further charge of counselling to commit fraud over $5,000 for the benefit of a terrorist group.

Until the moment the jury went out, a sweeping publication ban had prevented media from reporting any details of the case other than what was said in the courtroom in this trial. That included any details of past convictions and evidence in previous Toronto 18 trials.

One of the names that came up repeatedly in past trials was that of the self-acknowledged leader of the group, Fahim Ahmad. Admad was to have been tried along with Chand and Ansari on charges of participating in a terrorist group, instructing people to carry out activities for a terrorist group and a weapons offence.

But on May 10, he made a surprise about-turn. In the middle of his trial on terrorism charges he abruptly reversed himself and pleaded guilty. What the five-woman, seven-man jury had heard about Ahmad to that point was hair-raising enough.

Untold details of plot

In hundreds of hours of taped phone intercepts and secretly recorded conversations with police mole Mubin Sheik, Ahmad spoke enthusiastically of building an arsenal of high-powered weapons, including AK-47s and M-16s, and of attacking Canadian targets such as the Pickering nuclear power plant in Ontario and storming Parliament in Ottawa to "cut off some heads."

What the jury and the Canadian public didn't hear about was the story of Ahmad's ties to international terrorism.

Before turning his attention to building a Canadian al-Qaeda style terrorist cell, Ahmad was plotting acts of terrorism with alienated young Muslim men like himself in the United States, the United Kingdom and perhaps beyond.

One of those young men was Aabid Khan, who was an al-Qaeda supporter and recruiter living in Bradford, England. According to British security analyst Sajan Gohel, Khan was no foot solider, he was a plotter who put together terrorism cells on the internet.

Khan was arrested by British anti-terrorism police at Manchester International Airport on June 6, 2006, just four days after the RCMP busted the Toronto 18.

Khan was returning from one of his frequent trips to Pakistan. On his laptop computer and on 53 harddrives found at his home, police discovered what a British prosecutor later referred to as a library of violent Jihadi videos and Islamist propaganda tracts. Amongst the videos police discovered was an edited two-minute feature shot at a Canadian winter indoctrination and military training camp organized by Ahmad and by Toronto 18 co-leader Zakaria Amara at Washego, Ont.

U.K. police also found hundreds of hours of saved chats between Khan, Ahmad and other members of the Toronto 18.

Met in a chat room

Ahmad first met Kahn in 2003 in an internet chat room called Clear Guidance. The site was frequented by angry, young Muslim men — and by 2004 Ahmad had posted over 700 messages.

Other Clear Guidance members included Yanous Tsouli. The internet moniker Tsouli chose to give himself was Irhabi 007. Irhabi is Arabic for terrorist. The reference to 007 is an allusion to the fictional, over-sexed British secret agent James Bond.

Tsouli was the son of a Moroccan diplomat living in east London. Tsouli was an internet genius with close ties to al-Qaeda in Iraq. When a London SWAT team burst into his apartment on Oct. 21, 2005, to arrest him he was building a new website called YouBombit.com. The website was a do-it-yourself guide for wannabe terrorists that featured bomb-making recipes and instructions on how to make suicide vests.

Amongst the videos Tsouli planned to put up on the website were what the FBI alleges were surveillance videos of possible targets in Washington, D.C. The videos were shot by two of Fahim Ahmad's associates from Atlanta.

Ehasnul Islam Sadequee and Syed Haris Ahmed were also Clear Guidance regulars. In March 2005, Sadequee and Haris Ahmed travelled to Toronto to visit Fahim Ahmad and his growing band of recruits.

Over the next week, the young men talked about potential targets and the need to get paramilitary training in Pakistan. In transcripts of internet chats introduced at his trial at Blackfriars Court in London, England, Aaabid Khan told Fahim Ahmad he could arrange to get them paramilitary training with Lashkar Tayiba, the group behind the Mumbai attacks.

Aabid Khan was also in Toronto that week. At his trial, Khan insisted he had come to marry Fahim Ahmad's sister-in-law, a 19-year-old woman named Saima Mohamed, not to plot terrorism. Saima was also committed to the Jihadist cause.

In transcripts of internet chats included in the evidence at Khan's trial, Saima Mohamed tells him of her desire to become a suicide commando. In a written letter she tells him: "The more I think about my goal in life, the more vivid my goals become. Whether it's exploding prisons or freeing Muslim prisoners … Let it be a martyrdom operation."

She tells Khan that although her sister Mariyam disapproves of her ambition to become a martyr, Fahim has given her his approval. Mohamed was never arrested. She declined several interview requests from CBC News but in a letter from her lawyer Faizel Kutty, he stated that she does not espouse violent views. He also reminded the CBC being young can be a difficult and confusing period.

Aabid Khan and Fahim Ahmad's plan was to rent basements apartments in Toronto where their most-committed internet recruits could live for a month and bond before leaving for Pakistan to get paramilitary training with Lashkar.

After training they would return to Toronto, choose targets and then disperse to stage spectacular acts of terrorism in at least four countries. But as Ahmad was out searching for cheap apartments to rent, the plan began to fall apart.
Grew impatient

Ahmad began to grow impatient with Khan, who wanted to move slowly. Ahmad also had trouble getting his hands on the $5,000 he calculated he would need to go to Pakistan. After splitting with Khan, Ahmad and his friend Zakaria Amara turned their attention to Canada and building an al-Qaeda type cell in Toronto.

In August 2008, Aabid Khan was convicted on terrorism charges and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

In 2007, another Clear Guidance regular, Mersad Bektasavic, received a 15 year, four-month sentence from a Bosnian court for plotting an attack in Europe. When Bektasevic was arrested, police found a suicide vest and 18 kilograms of factory-made explosive in his apartment.

In June 2009, American Syed Haris Ahmed was found guilty of material support for terrorism in the U.S. and sentenced to 12 years. Later that year, his friend Ehsenul Mohamed Sadequee was found guilty on four terrorism charges and sentenced to 17 years followed by 30 years of supervision. In the indictments of both men, Fahim Ahmad is named as a co-conspirator.

Fahim Ahmad has pleaded guilty to four charges. He is facing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. As a result of his guilty plea, the jury is no longer involved in Ahmad's case. He will be sentenced in Federal Court in Brampton, Ont., by Justice Fletcher Dawson later this summer.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

AIR INDIA - CASCADE OF ERRORS

FROM: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100617/national/air_india_inquiry_3


OTTAWA - The inquiry into the 1985 Air India bombing concludes authorities should have known that Flight 182 was a likely terrorist target.

A long-awaited report released today blames a "cascading series of errors" by government, RCMP and CSIS for the failure to prevent the disaster.

Former Supreme Court justice John Major says agencies were not prepared for the threat of terror attacks in 1985 — and holes in the country's security systems still need plugging.

His report calls for ramped-up powers for the national security adviser to oversee communication between agencies and settle disputes.

The bombing killed 329 people, mostly Canadians of Indian origin.

Major spent four years investigating the matter.

AIR INDIA & THE TORONTO 18

*** Worthy of note: we've already had a major terrorist attack (by Sikh extremists you should note also) and just look at the out-of-sight out-of-mind attitude on Air India. We need to wake up and stop the willful blindness. MS ***

FROM: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/823977



Jacques J.M. Shore, Norman Boxall and Chris Schafer

The Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182, now quickly approaching its four-year anniversary, will release its final report and recommendations on June 17.

Nearly a quarter of a century since the catastrophe, which entailed the greatest loss of Canadian lives at the hands of terrorists, the Air India inquiry is more relevant in today’s world than most of us might expect.

Canadians face increasing threats from homegrown terrorism — similar to what caused the bombing of Air India Flight 182. In June 2006, police carried out a sweeping anti-terrorism raid in southern Ontario that ultimately led to the arrests of 18 people. The “Toronto 18” case encompassed two plots, including an alleged attempt to bomb the Toronto Stock Exchange and other prominent buildings, in addition to attempting to create an Al Qaeda-type cell in Toronto.

More recently, on Dec. 25, 2009, a Nigerian citizen attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while aboard a Northwest Airlines flight en route from Amsterdam to Detroit. This incident caused widespread changes to pre-screening security measures on both domestic and international flights.

These two terrorism-related cases demonstrate that the Air India Flight 182 tragedy speaks directly to the complexities of our modern world.

Through the documents it reviewed and the witness testimony it heard, the Air India inquiry has taken the time to understand what happened, why it happened, and how to avoid such a tragedy from ever happening again.

As the Air India Victims Families Association (AIVFA) awaits the release of the final report, it hopes to see a number of recommendations it believes to be crucial to ensuring that future terrorist acts in the skies are averted.

Canadian air travellers remain vulnerable to aviation-related terrorist attacks because, among other things, there are known gaps in Canada’s aviation security system that need to be addressed without delay. These include the need for an effective air-cargo screening regime and a national aviation security advisory system for high-risk flights.

Currently, air cargo is the biggest gap in aviation security in Canada. Canada needs policies in place for the security of air cargo in the way it does for carry-on and checked baggage, especially in light of the fact that almost three-quarters of the cargo carried on airlines operating in Canada is carried in the cargo hold of passenger airplanes. Unless this happens, the next terrorism-motivated aviation disaster may very well be a result of unscreened air cargo.

In addition, Canadians preparing to travel often have next to no information about the threat level against a particular airline at a particular point in time. If a national aviation security advisory system for high-risk flights had been in place in June of 1985, especially considering the heightened threat environment in which Air India was operating, AIVFA family members may have decided not to travel on that fateful Flight 182.

The broad mandate of the Air India inquiry also covered issues such as terrorism financing and the evidentiary and disclosure standards for the collection of intelligence in counterterrorism investigations, both of which have direct relevance to preventing terrorism and prosecuting terrorists in today’s age.

Terrorists like the underwear bomber often require significant financial resources to carry out their acts of terrorism, which is why it is so important for Canada to enhance its capability to combat the financing of terrorists.

One such way would be for the federal government to work cooperatively with the provinces and territories to reform the Canadian regulatory framework for charitable and non-profit sectors, in order to adopt the model of the Charity Commission of England and Wales.

The U.K. charity commission possesses broader powers to thwart terrorism financing than the Canada Revenue Agency, including the power to conduct covert investigations, remove trustees and seize assets of charities suspected of terrorism financing.

The effective prosecution of terrorism cases, like that of the Toronto 18, requires a greater regard for the necessity of having to move from the collection of intelligence to its use as evidence in criminal trials.

In terrorism investigations, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and other intelligence agencies must constantly evaluate the likelihood of a subsequent prosecution and the effect that a prosecution could have on secret intelligence.

New rules and procedures must be developed to collect and retain information to evidentiary standards in order to ensure that it can be introduced at trial by the Crown in terrorism prosecutions without divulging sensitive intelligence that could be used by our state’s enemies. (MS: That's right because CSIS does not deal with evidence but rather, intelligence.)

With the pending release of the Air India inquiry’s final report, it’s sadly back to the future. The recent terrorist-motivated plots of the Toronto 18 and the underwear bomber demonstrate the continued importance of this inquiry in safeguarding the lives of Canadians against terrorism.

The time to learn from our past mistakes and take responsive steps through concrete government action is fast approaching.

The Air India Victims Families Association will be watching closely how the federal government reacts to the final report and its recommendations. Through the implementation of reforms to laws, regulations and policy, it ultimately will be up to the government to ensure that the lives cut short on Air India Flight 182 were not lost in vain.

We will know soon — finally.

Jacques J.M. Shore and Norman Boxall are co-lead counsel and Chris Schafer is counsel for the Air India Victims Families Association before the Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SAUDI COUNTER TERRORISM - LESSONS TO LEARN

*** Remember the Bruce Lee principle: be like water? Think about that. MS ***

FROM: http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/03/11/there_is_nothing_soft_about_saudi_counterterrorism


In May 2003, al Qaeda launched its first major terrorism offensive in the Kingdom, only to see the campaign wane and end within a few years, despite the many predictions to the contrary. Why did it fail? One of the main reasons why its campaign ended so quickly and relatively bloodlessly was that Saudi authorities did not overreact. Many analysts have called the Saudi approach "soft" counterterrorism. The truth is that the Saudi approach was simply good counterterrorism.

The "hard" approach from Algeria and Egypt in the 1990s was bad counterterrorism, bad because it produced unnecessary loss of life, political instability and economic damage. By relying almost exclusively on force and by applying it indiscriminately, the Arab republics fuelled their respective insurgencies in the early stages, making conflict longer, bloodier, and costlier than necessary. The nuanced Saudi approach offered a combination of force, exit options, and an aggressive information campaign which proved far more effective than the "hard" alternatives. We should learn from this success.

Calling the Saudi approach "soft counterterrorism" sends the wrong message. Putting the label "soft" on any strategy evokes naivety and weakness, and reduces the chances that policymakers will adopt it. The real question should be whether it works: does the so-called "soft" counterterrorism approach more effectively put an end to terrorist campaigns? The Saudi experience suggests that it can and that there are alternatives to "hard" counterterrorism that would have made these conflicts shorter and less costly.

Hawks of all stripes, from Algerian generals to other practitioners of the "hard" alternative, will of course dispute this claim. They will claim that they only did what was necessary. Since "hard" counterterrorism nearly always produces state victory in the end, its proponents can always say it works. To this point, there have been few examples to prove that other approaches can work as well without the costs. The Saudi campaign gives us a real-life case of multi-pronged and discriminate counterterrorism to use in comparative analysis. Of course, we cannot compare 2003 Saudi Arabia directly to 1991 Algeria given the many differences, not least in rebel capacity at the outset. But we now have concrete proof that the iron fist is not the only way to deal with militant Islamists.

The terms that should be used to describe the Saudi strategy is not "soft," but "multi-pronged" and "discriminate." The Saudis did use force -- quite a bit of it, actually -- but they also did a lot of other things. I stress two components as particularly important.

First was the creation of exit options for militants. The authorities declared month-long general amnesties in mid-2004 and mid-2006, and militants were encouraged to surrender throughout the campaign. Influential Islamists with credibility among jihadists such as Safar al-Hawali and Muhsin al-Awaji undertook discreet mediation initiatives. Surrenders were highly publicized and repentant militants regularly appeared on television in order to give the impression that desertions were common (which, in fact, was not the case).

The regime also made an effort to appear merciful and forgiving toward repentant militants. This began with de facto abstention from serious prisoner abuse. By all available accounts, police did not torture captured AQAP militants; at least not in the way they did during the mid-1990s. They also tried to create a degree of transparency regarding prisoner treatment by broadcasting interviews with detainees praising the prison conditions in a more or less convincing fashion. Finally, the government launched a much-publicized prisoner re-education program that aimed to de-radicalize detained militants and re-integrate them into society. While the soft treatment of detainees produced few desertions from AQAP, it had the much more important effect of stemming new recruitment and preventing further radicalization of detainees.

Second was a clever propaganda campaign which presented the rebels as targeting Muslims when in fact they were primarily targeting non-Muslims. The state used all available outlets -- including the mass media, the official religious authorities, and the education system -- to convey one overarching message: the militants were confused rebels bent on creating disorder and killing Muslims. The key to the success of this information strategy was that it portrayed the militants as revolutionaries, thereby exploiting the taboo against domestic rebellion in Saudi political culture to delegitimize the militants in the eyes of the population. The media used every available opportunity to highlight and magnify the effect of the violence on Muslim life and property, thereby undermining the militants' message that their jihad focused on Westerners.

In recent years, Saudi "soft counterterrorism" has been associated primarily with the prisoner rehabilitation program. The recidivism of a number of its graduates has led many Western skeptics to question the entire Saudi approach to counterterrorism. This is a mistake. There are many other important lessons to learn from the Saudi fight against al Qaeda -- above all the value of restraint and discriminate countermeasures in the face of terrorism.

Thomas Hegghammer is a Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) in Oslo, and an Associate at the Initiative on Religion in International Affairs, Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University.

ISLAMOPHOBIA AND THE TURBAN EFFECT

*** Fact is, this kind of response to Islam has been around since Islam began and so I do not see this as a threat. Islam is not by any stretch of the imagination in danger of anything - it has withstood all the major modern centuries, contributed to the Enlightenment of Europe, saved Jews from Christian persecution MANY times, shared philosophy, art and music.

As we see today, Islam is something that cannot be fought because it exists in our modern legal traditions, in our books of philosophy at universities. This is precisely why President Obama said we will never be at war with Islam. Everyone who knows the history, knows the history.

We are at war against extremism in religion. A dark, angry path just like the Dark Side of the Force; there are powerful and influential people on both sides. People with networks, with legitimacy among masses, with strength of mass mobility. This is precisely why the West needs to take sides with good people, good Muslims who have also been victims to terrorism by extremists and who also condemn terrorism as totally un-Islamic. We need a counter narrative - call it joint forces if you want, we NEED a plan that is sustainable.

MS ***



FROM: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/08/religion.islam


http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/jonathanbirdwell


The 'turban effect'

A computer simulation suggests that one-sided media reports are making us all unconsciously Islamophobic.

A recent experiment, soon to be published in the journal of experimental social psychology, offers provocative evidence that Islamophobia operates in the dark recesses of our unconscious. In the experiment, participants played a computer simulation and were asked to shoot individuals carrying weapons and to spare those unarmed. Participants were more likely to shoot unarmed individuals who were wearing turbans or hijabs. More interestingly, they were unaware and incredulous that they were doing so. The author of the experiment, Christian Unkelbach, a visiting scholar at Australia's University of New South Wales, has called this "the turban effect" and blames one-sided media reports.

Unkelbach's experiment is timely. As was reported in the Independent, Shahid Malik MP, a minister in the Department for International Development, believes Muslims in the UK increasingly feel hostility from members of the British community and misrepresentation by the media. Indeed, if Unkelbach's conclusions are correct, it raises a number of questions about the responsibility of the media in perpetuating Islamophobia in western countries.

Unkelbach's experiment also presents the occasion for deeper reflection. While Shahid Malik points to blatant and conscious discrimination, the "turban effect" is more insidious, because it highlights the danger of unconscious prejudices. Unkelbach blames the media post 9/11, although perhaps we should look further back. Edward Said's famous argument in his book Orientalism is that western society has a long history of categorising Muslims and Asians as "the other" – as different, dangerous and violent. Thus, the wearing of a turban or a hijab marks the wearer with a sense of otherness, of being inscrutable and thus deemed threatening.

But before we sharpen our knives and turn on the media, it is quite possible that the "turban effect" does not reveal a deep-seated (and recently revived) prejudice, but rather our instinctual disposition towards inductive reasoning – that is, making predictions about the future on the basis of past experience. The fact remains that the attacks of 9/11, 7/7 and Madrid were committed by individuals in the name of Islam (albeit a perverted interpretation). Is it not then somewhat rational to take greater notice – even if unconsciously, as much of our instinctual reasoning takes place behind the scenes – of visual representations of Islam in the context of assessing threats, simply because the last notable large-scale incidences of violent attacks were committed by self-proclaimed Muslims?

The only problem, of course, is that none of these men were wearing turbans during their respective attacks, or in their portrayal in the media. Not only that, even though inductive reasoning forms the basis of our everyday reasoning, it is often fallacious, and in the current context it could prove particularly pernicious, if it leads to such simple and unthinking connections.

Ultimately, whatever Unkelbach's experiment may reveal about our prejudices or the structure of human rationality, it at least brings our unconscious prejudices and implicit assumptions to our attention. Only then might we begin to understand them and move beyond them.

ISLAM ON CAMPUS - DO WE HAVE A PLAN?

*** Why wait 5 years until it hits here? Get ahead of the curve - stop trying to play catch-up with guys with bombs in their gitch or fuses in their turbans. ;) MS ***


FROM: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/jan/09/university-islamic-extremism-students

http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/jonathanbirdwell

Protect healthy extremism

In the panic over Islamic extremism at UK universities, we must not forget that some student radicalism is natural and valuable

With Yemen's deputy prime minister announcing that Umar Farouk Abdulmuttallab, the alleged Detroit bomber, "joined al-Qaida in Britain" before landing in Yemen, attention turns again to the role that UK universities play in producing terrorists among the doctors, lawyers and engineers in their graduating classes. On cue, vice-chancellors across the UK have announced that they will convene a working group to determine how to prevent the extremism that underlies acts of terrorism. But a clumsy overreaction by vice-chancellors will serve only to exacerbate the violent radicalisation they are seeking to prevent.

Counter-terrorism officials are right to be concerned about universities. There is a history stretching back into the early 1990s of groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir and al-Muhajiroun operating both openly and under cover across UK universities. A number of violent extremists have graduated from UK universities, where participation in certain student organisations seemed to strengthen their opposition to western foreign policy and contributed to their support for violent attacks. However, an overwhelming larger group of individuals shared similar views and yet have not carried them to the point of violence.

Extremists target universities for recruitment because young people of university age are idealistic, passionate, curious and rebellious. They are more open to radical ideas, alternative ways of living and different ways to view the world. From hippie communes, to hardcore vegans, socialists and environmentalists to so-called Islamists, many students want to be radical and subversive. Ideas that perpetuate the "status quo" and support the establishment are inevitably uncool at university. But this does not make you violent.

In the Telegraph, Anthony Glees argues that, "British universities must look at their Islamic Societies and demand assurances that no radicalisation will be allowed. If they can't give those assurances, they should be disbanded." Glees fails to recognise a key point: extremism of some form or another on university campuses is inevitable, but not all extremism is violent.

It is difficult to know where to draw the line, particularly when it comes to Islam: should groups advocating the recreation of the Khalifah (caliphate) – a unified Islamic government – be disbanded or denied university support? University officials need to ensure that they focus only on those groups that advocate or glorify violence, not those that share goals that, while extreme, are consistent with the "blue sky", idealistic and radical thinking found within and across universities.

Efforts to tackle radicalisation on UK campuses, if they are to be successful and not counterproductive, must be able to recognise and distinguish between different types of radicalisation: radicalisation that is normal and healthy among those at university (be it Islamic, environmental or rightwing) and that which could lead to violence.

Research into terrorism tends to look exclusively at violent extremists and point to their similarities in order to piece together a workable profile to aid security services. Such an approach fails to account for the fact that a wide range of individuals may share these views and characteristics without ever coming close to contemplating violence. This is where "profiling" extremists falls down, and risks alienating large swaths of society. While similarities between violent and nonviolent extremists are widespread, our research has begun to reveal subtle but important differences between the two groups.

Professors and vice-chancellors are ill-equipped to distinguish healthy radicalisation from potentially violent radicalisation – the security services themselves do not know enough about these differences. Professors across the UK have already resisted calls for them to effectively spy on their students and it is important these temptations are not revisited.

But there is an important difference between attempting to spy and seeking to understand. Vice-chancellors can aim to better understand how extremist groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir operate on campuses. They should also seek to stop radical preachers from being allowed to broadcast their views with the university's support. But they should not and cannot seek to dampen the passion and exploration that is such an important and valuable part of the UK university experience. In an age of political apathy we cannot afford to further depoliticise our young people.

CANADIAN FORCES WELL PREPARED

*** They do a great job every single time. God bless them for keeping us safe. MS ***

FROM: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/afghanmission/article/824026--canadian-army-well-prepared-for-future-roles-thanks-to-afghan-mission-top-commander-says


OTTAWA – Canada’s future military engagements around the globe will be complicated and dangerous, warns the head of the army, suggesting that the image of calm United Nations’ peacekeeping missions are a thing of the past.

But the army is ready to tackle those challenges, thanks to its experiences in Afghanistan, some of them bloody, says Lt-Gen. Andrew Leslie, the chief of the land staff.

“I’m not aware of too many UN missions which are like Cyprus of many years ago,” he said in an interview Tuesday.

“We’ve got threats ranging from international narco-terrorists to the curse of war lords who seek to acquire power to people who are not the least bit shy about using (improvised explosive devices) to cause and sow chaos and confusion,” Leslie said.

“The capabilities we have acquired, the lessons that we’ve learned, sometimes paying blood to learn them, I think will serve us in good stead where ever we go next,” Leslie said.

After four years as head of Canada’s army, Leslie is moving to a new posting. But as he prepared to turn over command, he reflected on how the mission in southern Afghanistan has transformed the army.

He took command of the army in June, 2006, just as the Canadian Forces was engaging in its toughest mission in decades – the battle for Kandahar. Now as that mission gets set to end in 2011, the army is in the best shape it’s been in years - bigger, better equipped and boasting a corps of battle-hardened troops, he said.

“The equipment that the people of Canada have been willing to buy for their army has been nothing less than staggering. And the money they’re willing to invest in training their soldiers has been a Godsend,” Leslie said.

Billions of dollars have been pumped into buying new equipment to help soldiers fight and move on the battlefield, everything from tanks, artillery pieces and helicopters to night vision gear and personal protection gear.

He says the army will leave Afghanistan “well respected for its combat abilities, better able to operate under complex circumstances, and it doesn’t get any more complicated than in Afghanistan.

Canada now has an enormously competent, well-equipped, fully-manned army,” he said.

Thanks to those investments – the army budget is up some 50 per cent in four years -- and the warm glow of publicity that has surrounded the military in recent years, he said young people are knocking down the doors of recruiting offices to enlist.

“We have thousands of young Canadians who are joining to serve their country because of, I think, the sense of pride that the nation has for what their soldiers are doing,” Leslie said.

As a result, the army is now at nearly at full strength with 23,000 full-time troops and another 23,000 reservists.

Leslie spoke in his 19th floor office at defence headquarters. He has already started to empty his quarters and boxes were on the floor and pictures were off the wall.

Earlier this year, Leslie had been touted as commander of the peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a posting that Ottawa declined. He betrays no disappointment at not getting the job, saying “I go where I’m told, as soldiers do.”

And while Leslie’s name has long been in the mix as a contender for the military’s top job as chief of defence staff, he also concedes his next job as Chief of Transformation could be his last in uniform.

“It might well be. That’s up to the government to decide,” Leslie said.

In his new job, his focus will shift from the frontline to the bottom line with an eye to making the Canadian Forces more efficient at a time of spending restraint. The goal is to reduce overhead and try and get more uniformed personnel “back out in battalions and regiments and ships and servicing the flight lines,” he said.

“Where can we shift things to get better output for Canadians?” he said.

RCMP WATCHDOG ? HARDLY.

*** We've already seen the attitude towards those who staffed the previous watchdog - the principle of obfuscation will see to it quickly losing its credibility. Big deal - the watchdog can recommend but that's it. Wait for political intervention? That'll be the day. MS ***

FROM: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/823336--new-watchdog-to-have-more-bite-over-mounties


OTTAWA—The federal government is creating a new watchdog over the RCMP, but at least one critic says it lacks real bite.

The enhanced civilian review body, which replaces the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP, will have new powers to subpoena witnesses and compel the production of documents.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews introduced legislation Monday to create the new oversight agency. He called it a step toward rehabilitating the tarnished image of the Mounties in the wake of the Robert Dziekanski tragedy and other incidents.

However, the NDP says it doesn't go far enough to prevent another case like Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant who died after being Tasered by Mounties.

The new legislation would entrench into law an RCMP oversight policy that went into effect in February that calls on an outside organization to investigate the conduct of a Mountie involved in a death.

“All of us are concerned that the RCMP continues to be a premier law enforcement agency, not only in Canada but all around the world,” Toews said. “Giving this commission these types of powers will ensure that that reputation can be maintained and strengthened.”

There will be limitations to the oversight body's new powers. The recommendations of its investigations are not binding and are subject to the final say of the RCMP commissioner or the public safety minister.

If recommendations are ignored on a regular basis, Toews said, “that would then call for some kind of political intervention, and that is in fact allowed for under the statute.”

The Conservatives originally announced the new oversight agency for the Mounties in March when they tabled their last budget. The budget earmarked $8 million over two years to set up the body.

Toews said the new commission will receive $10.2 million a year, of which $5 million will be new funding that will help it hire independent observers, conduct joint investigations with other review bodies, and policy reviews of the RCMP.

New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen called the announcement a lost opportunity to create meaningful oversight of the RCMP. He said the new bill would have made little difference in the Dziekanski case or the fatal shooting of a constituent, Ian Bush, in his B.C. riding five years ago.

“This is a bigger watchdog, but (it) still has no teeth.”

Cullen and Toews clashed over the fact that the recommendations of the new body would be non-binding. Cullen said the government should have created an independent special investigations with its own investigators, while Toews pointed out that even the auditor general's recommendations are not binding on the government.

While the minister says this is giving increased powers, it's increased powers to make suggestions rather than to change things. And what we need to do is change things,” Cullen said.

Justice Dennis O'Connor, whose commission examined the role Canadian officials played in the Maher Arar case, had called for an overhaul of the Mounties' complaints commission to give it new powers to monitor RCMP intelligence activities. Arar, a Canadian citizen, was deported to Syria by U.S. authorities in 2002, where he was tortured.

O'Connor's inquiry concluded that the Mounties provided inaccurate information to the U.S. that very likely led to Arar being sent to Syria.

Toews said the new commission would still be subject to national security exemptions, particularly Section 38 of the Canada Evidence Act that allows the government to withhold evidence or information in the name of national security.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

COMMUNITY KEY TO TACKLING EXTREMISM

*** It is sad that the Brits are way ahead of us on this given our experiences thus far. Really sad. MS ***


FROM: http://www.iiss.org/whats-new/iiss-in-the-press/press-coverage-2008/october-2008/community-is-key-to-tackling-islamic-extremism/




The 'prevent' strand of counter-terrorism is difficult to implement. But security services should see those at risk as individuals first

The British government is reported to be overhauling its counter-terrorism strategy. The threat is apparently as high as ever and there are heightened fears about the appearance of "lone wolf" terrorists self-radicalising and moving into action without the usual connections to known networks.

At the core of this overhaul is an apparent revision of the "prevent" strand of the policy and the problem of measuring success in this opaque field.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the British government revamped its counter-terrorist strategy. Founded in lessons learned from the Irish struggles, the new approach laid out a four-pillar method to counter the terrorist threat: "Pursue, prevent, protect and prepare" – the so-called "four Ps" strategy.

The "prevent" strand is concerned with tackling the radicalisation of individuals, both in the UK and elsewhere; "pursue" is concerned with disrupting terrorists and their operations; "protect" is concerned with reducing the vulnerability of the UK and UK interests overseas; "prepare" is concerned with ensuring that the UK is as ready as it can be for the consequences of an attack.

This widely emulated bureaucratic codification (both the EU and American homeland security strategies owe something to it) was intended as a way of defining how we face the immediate threat, while also outlining a long-term strategy to tackle a "generational" struggle.

All four pillars are interlinked and it is impossible to completely separate them from each other. Broadly speaking, the pursue, protect and prepare strands can be addressed in a relatively clear pre-emptive manner. This is not to say we can completely insulate ourselves, but we are able to at least understand the parameters within which we can manage the risk. The prevent strand, on the other hand, is hard to grapple with and previous assumptions are regularly thrown out with the discovery of new plots.

To those seeking patterns in terrorist profiles, there would seem to be almost none – a fact broadly confirmed by a recent MI5 report published in the Guardian. Our end goal in preventing terrorism is a cessation in attacks, but what are the mid-points to know we are going in the right direction?

There has not been a successful attack since 2005 (though a number of near-misses), but does this mean that prevent is working? And against this backdrop, we continue to be told that the threat level remains "at the severe end of severe".

One step would be something that measures a lessening in radical activity – or more specifically, some way to assess a lowering of dangerous radical activity that may lead to violence. But this is where the difficulty comes, as it is very hard to define where that line should be drawn. We may find someone's views abhorrent, but does that mean they are dangerous to the point of violence? What exactly is the "acceptable" level and who determines this?

Similarly, there is little value in focusing on whether people agree with government's foreign policy or not – this may be an exacerbating factor among individuals involved in terrorist activity, but hardly a defining one given the broad disagreement against current foreign policy that exists.

An alternative approach might be to focus less on the ideology and more on the individuals. Measuring tangible and positive community engagement such as working with local youths or helping local community development projects (and assessing whether this is merely a cover for something else or genuine) could offer a glimpse into whether groups or individuals are potentially a risk, or are actively engaged in a positive way in the world around them and consequently have less of a vested interest in destroying it.

Efforts could be made to draw individuals towards active engagement in projects that appeal to their sense of adventure, but at the same time assuage their sense of being part of an international community. Projects, for example, that provide youths from at-risk communities with an opportunity to work in international development.

In the end, what is needed is some way of assessing what value we are getting for the money that is being poured into preventing terrorism. By focusing on individuals' tangible and proactive engagement with the world around them, we may be able to start to map this.

LONERS AND WANNABE TERRORISTS

FROM: http://www.iiss.org/whats-new/iiss-in-the-press/press-coverage-2008/november-2008/loners-to-wannabe-terrorists/

In two separate cases, white British loners found acceptance online among Islamic extremists and then attempted to detonate bombs.

Presiding Justice Calvert-Smith declared that a twelve month delay on sentencing requested by the defence in the sad case of wannabe suicide bomber Nicky Reilly would not be acceptable last Friday. For many, the conclusion in this case seems to be that it was a one-off situation where extremists took advantage of a person suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome who had a mental age of 10. But while Reilly’s case is the most prominent to have reached the public imagination, thanks to the advanced nature of his plot, there are similarities to be found in other cases in the year preceding Reilly’s attempt.

Nicky Reilly, aka Mohammed Rasheed, apparently initially converted to Islam at some point in his late teens for reasons that remain unclear. More recently he was in contact with individuals on the internet who apparently persuaded him to attempt to carry out a suicide attack in his home city of Exeter. After some debate online about whether to target a police station or the general public, Reilly went into the city centre in Exeter and attempted to construct an explosive device using plastic bottles and nails in a restaurant toilet. Fortunately for the clientèle in the Giraffe restaurant that he targeted, the volatile device blew up in his face before he could run into the main restaurant, leaving him the only casualty.

Reilly pled guilty to the charges against him, and a note found in his bedroom by police apparently stated “I have not been brainwashed or indoctrinated. I am not insane. I am not doing it to escape a life of problems or hardships. I am doing what God wants from his mujahideen. We love death as you love life.” While this last line is a famous quotation taken from a speech by Osama bin Laden, it seems as though Nicky Reilly had no connection to any known terrorist group or network beyond the internet. There were claims in the wake of the attack that he was on the periphery of another Security Service investigation and two men were arrested in the immediate wake of Reilly’s arrest, but one was immediately released and the other detained on unrelated charges.

During the course of the case, it emerged that Reilly was apparently spurred into action by people he met on the internet, who pushed him down an ever more radical path and helped him figure out the logistics of what he was planning to do. While his family noticed that he was increasingly fascinated by more extreme form of Islam, it seems as though there was no particular trigger for his drastic action.

Almost a year earlier, on May 8, 2007, Nicholas Roddis, a 22-year old man from South Yorkshire left a hoax bomb on a bus in a plastic bag with nails, wire, a bag of sugar, and a working clock along with a note in Arabic which claimed to be from the leadership of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Raiding his home a month later, police found bomb-making instructions, fuse wire, acetone and hydrogen peroxide (chemicals that it was widely reported were used in the July 7 attacks), along with sermons by extremist preacher Abu Hamza. While police said he had not actually converted to Islam, Justice Milford declared that he “had become an adherent of Islamic militancy” but concluded he was a lone fanatic. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in July of this year.

Common in these cases is that the men are white converts to Islam who in relatively short order are alleged to have headed down a route to potential extreme violence in the name of Islamic extremism. They are described in the press as being relative loners, coming from broken and troubled homes, and it would seem as though for the most part their conversions happened virtually. Naturally, this background is not unique to these men, but it is hard not to miss the unfortunate similarities in these cases. In counter-terrorism parlance, these are described as “lone wolves” – individuals with no apparent connections to any known network or plot who apparently of their own volition attempt or succeed to carry out a terrorist attack.

Parallels are often drawn with those who carry out school shootings or other random acts of violence, but these actions do not result in the same sort of elevation of the perpetrators as one sees with Islamic terrorists (aspiring or successful). There may be particular danger in these Islamic plotters: these social misfits find relief and meaning in an ideology that makes them a part of a global movement that portrays self-sacrifice and the deaths of others as the ultimate purpose.

This is a problem that by itself will be almost impossible to counter: such individuals are by their nature hard to detect. But the question does have to be raised as to why these individuals are finding their voice in this violent Islamic expression – is it merely the loudest voice they are attracted to on the internet? Or is it that, as Justice Milford put it in his remarks at Nicholas Roddis case, “He is angry at the way he sees the world and the way it has treated him, he has found his focus in Islamic militancy. It is one of the dangers of this sort of terrorism when other people tag on to it for their own reason.” Either way, until we find a solution to the overarching problem, we are likely to continue to see such cases in our society.

EXREMISM IN PRISON - DO WE HAVE A PLAN?

*** Another report I'm eagerly awaiting. We talk for years and years about the theory of this but little effort is made in actually DOING something about it. It frustrates me knowing that we could be getting it with it right this moment - but that some would rather wait until it becomes a problem and then respond. Ah the reactionaries! predictable and susceptible to surprise. THINK. MS ***

FROM: http://icsr.info/project/de-radicalisation-and-disengagement-in-prisons---lessons-from-15-countries


De-radicalisation and Disengagement in Prisons - Lessons from 15 Countries

Aim: to compare and evaluate government policies on terrorist and extremist prisoners as well as the various programmes and initiatives aimed at "de-programming" and re-habilitation.

Prisons are increasingly seen as a 'place of vulnerability' in which radicalisation and recruitment are taking place. The development has gone largely unnoticed, but - with growing numbers of violent extremists awaiting trial or serving their sentences - the problem is unlikely to go away.

Some countries have long struggled with the issue. They have developed innovative and apparently successful programmes through which radical prisoners are de-radicalised and rehabilitated. Other countries - mostly those in Western Europe and North America - are just about to begin to tackle the problem.

The ICSR study will compare and evaluate government policies on terrorist and extremist prisoners as well as the various programmes and initiatives that have been aimed at 'de-programming' and rehabilitating them.

The project will be launched in June 2009 and is expected to conclude in early 2010. It is carried out in partnership with START/University of Maryland, and will be funded by the UK Home Office, as well as the Dutch and Australian Governments.

RADICALISATION IN EUROPE & NORTH AMERICA

*** Eagerly awaiting the report. MS ***



FROM: http://icsr.info/project/radicalisation-in-europe-and-north-america-parallels-and-divergence

Radicalisation in Europe and North America: Parallels and Divergence

Aim: to provide a better understanding of the dynamics of violent radicalisation by comparing pathways into radicalisation in Europe and North America.

This project aims to provide a better understanding of the dynamics of violent radicalisation. The researchers are currently collecting detailed information about radicalised actors (including primary-source data through structured interviews) in order to identify factors that drive groups and individuals toward extreme types of activism, including terrorism.

Focusing on Muslim communities in Europe and the United States, the data will be supplemented by detailed case studies from distinct contexts (Europe and North America) to enhance our knowledge of how radicalization processes evolve over time and space.

In the final phase of the project, the research team will carry out surveys in Muslim communities designed to measure levels of support for terrorism as well as connections between beliefs and actions, both legal and illegal.

Together, this project will help scholars and the public in North America and Europe to better understand how radicalization occurs and who might be most susceptible to this phenomenon.

The project was launched in August 2008 and is expected to conclude in July 2010. It is carried out in collaboration with the University of Maryland (START) and the Swedish National Defence College.

IMAGE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM IS IMPORTANT - TORONTO 18 CASE

*** From May 2009 but still very timely and relevant. MS ***

FROM: http://www.iiss.org/whats-new/iiss-in-the-press/press-coverage-2009/may-2009/appearance-is-key-in-tackling-terrorism/


The conclusion of the trial of the three men accused of being co-conspirators of the 7/7 bombers means it is unlikely anyone is going to be convicted for that terrible crime.

Furthermore, the conclusion of the trial and a number of other recent events and trials in British counterterrorism all suggest one of two things: either the British government is chasing the wrong people, or the British legal system is unfit for purpose in effectively countering the terrorism the government thinks it is fighting.

This trial – part of the investigation, known as Operation Theseus, into the bomb attacks in London on 7 July 2005 – was the second against the group. The first ended in August when a jury was unable to reach a conclusion and were dismissed. Less than a month later there was the incomplete conclusion to the trial against a group accused of plotting to blow up a series of transatlantic airliners in August 2006 – seven of the men are now facing a re-trial. Then in December, a jury found only Dr Bilal Abdullah guilty of plotting with his now-deceased co-conspirator Dr Kafeel Ahmed for their part in a series of attempted car bombings in central London and at Glasgow international airport. His co-defendant, Dr Mohammed Asha, was cleared of any involvement, but is now facing deportation on visa issues.

And finally, last month, in a dramatic series of raids, police arrested a group of 12 mostly Pakistani students accusing them of being involved in a major "terrorist plot". The evidence, it turned out, was not there, and now nine of the men are facing deportation on visa issues.

For those of a conspiratorial bent, this will all provide much sustenance to the belief that much of this so-called terrorism is in fact alarmism targeting innocent Muslims. The reality, however, is that aside from the Pakistani students, in each case a jury found some elements of the plots credible and the men guilty. The problem, however, lies more in the presentational aspect of how these are played out in the arena of public debate – the only one that really matters when fighting an ideology as well as individual terrorist cells.

The presentational issue is that in all of the cases, the security services and government quite loudly proclaimed at various points that major terrorist rings had been broken up and arrested. However, when it came to trial, the evidence was found to be wanting and in some instances, after the individuals had been deemed innocent of terrorism charges, they were instead handed over to the borders and immigration agency. It does not really matter how valid their visa infringements might be, the appearance is that a vindictive and bitter state is pursuing these cleared individuals on any possible charge. Even in the cases of the re-trials, the fact that individuals were in the end completely exonerated of the charges against them does little to strengthen the government's hand.

The issues raised are multifarious: on the one hand, many of the initial indicators that a plot may be afoot come from the murky world of intelligence collection where information is never conclusive. Secondly, the current policy to not use intercept evidence in court, and the fact that often we are told to take at face value anonymous statements from intelligence agencies or sources that cannot be revealed further confuses matters. However, given the stakes – possible suicide attackers bent on killing as many innocent civilians as they can – the inclination is to err on the side of caution. But cases have occurred where police forces have gone in and not found enough incriminating evidence, leading to major public relations disasters.

The question is whether a better approach might be found, one that focuses on earlier disruption. The problem is that making the decision on what is acceptably dangerous or not is a very hard call to make. The UK has faced heavy criticism in the past where the balance was incorrect and this could easily take place again, but at the same time, the current efforts appear to be spending a lot of money with confused results. Continuing forwards in this mixed fashion is likely to produce mixed results at best.

The UK continues to face a long-term threat from violent terrorism. The question must increasingly be asked about whether we are actually pursuing the strategy to counter this in a coherent way. Given the fight is ultimately one that will take a long time to conclude and will involve persuading a section of society that its government is not at war with it, the fewer blunders that are made along the way that seem to support this narrative, the better.

THE COMING ISLAMIC ORDER?

*** Actually, it will be the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary that will bring about that new order. THIS is the correct Islamic view and also happens to be shared by many Christians.

Secondly, there is no need for this group to think they are the chosen vanguard for this Order. The governmments of the world are already in place and it will be a simple choice: follow Jesus or follow the AntiChrist. At that point, it is a state of divine intervention - the kind mentioned in the Bible and Quran. It is just not possible at that stage to do anything about it. God's orders. :) MS ***


FROM: http://counterterrorismblog.org/2010/06/hizb_ut-tahrir_uses_social_med.php


The radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir America (HTA) will host a conference in Chicago on July 11 to hype the virtues of an Islamic state ruled according to the strictest interpretation of Islamic law. The group launched an online social media campaign to promote the event; one that serves as a prime example of how extremists are able to expose the mainstream to their ideology.

HTA hosted a similar conference outside of Chicago last year, which drew about 500 participants. This year, the campaign to promote the conference is more comprehensive, and the group expects many more participants as a result; it has booked an 11,000-square-foot ballroom at the Chicago Marriott Oak Brook that can accommodate more than one thousand.

HTA is part of a worldwide organization, Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), which works towards the establishment of an Islamic state (Khalifah) in a Muslim country. Once a government and a military have been installed, it intends to spread Islam to the rest of the world. HT condones violence against Western troops in Muslim countries and advocates the eradication of Israel, but has so far maintained a non-violent approach to its objectives.

9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is a former HT adherent. He, like others, joined a militant organization after becoming impatient with HT's softer methods, which is why some observers have labeled HT "a conveyor belt to terrorism."

A component of HTA's strategy is to instill a sense of alienation among American Muslims so that they will turn away from their country and instead identify themselves as members of the Ummah (worldwide Muslim community). HTA tells Muslims not to vote or to embrace the culture of the "unbelievers." However, HTA will indulge in socializing online in order to generate support.

2010 Propaganda Campaign

Social media is more popular than ever. The web is no longer simply a series of static billboards for celebrities and corporations that do not allow for two-way interaction. Social media lets users generate content, creating a sense of propriety. Facebook and Twitter provide instant satisfaction derived from the approval of peers in response to the sharing of ideas and experiences. Peer endorsements are an effective element of political propaganda and marketing campaigns.

On June 5, HTA launched its campaign to publicize the "Emerging World Order" conference with a video for YouTube. The video promises the "dawn of a new era" with "Khilafah on the horizon." An intense musical score accompanies the graphics. Likely, the soundtrack was created from software, such as ProScores, which is specifically designed to engineer "hard-hitting" "tension-building" moments in promotional videos. Music has long-been valued as an effective element of political propaganda campaigns because it can instantly frame perceptions by triggering emotions.

Simultaneous to the video release, HTA created a Facebook page to promote the conference. The page already has more than 2,000 "fans." HTA asks fans to swap out their existing profile picture for the graphic of the event flier. The image comes with an attached caption saying, "Get involved! Make this your Profile Picture till July 11." As the number of people using the flier as a profile picture increases so will the number of people receiving information about the upcoming conference. Thus, the pool of potential HTA supporters expands.

In addition, HTA requests Muslims to change their "political views" on their Facebook profile to "Islamic Khilafah" (as opposed to Democrat, say) to indicate their support for HTA's goals.

The Facebook page also provides a link to a lecture called "Islamic Caliphate vs. Democracy" by the al-Qaeda-linked cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is infamous for providing spiritual guidance to several American homegrown terrorists, including Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan.

HT supporters in the U.S. and around the world have "Tweeted" news of the upcoming Chicago conference. "Tweets" are easily "ReTweeted," extending the reach of the message far beyond the circle of supporters already known to HTA.

Implications

Over the past year we have seen U.S. citizens radicalized to the point of committing acts of terrorism. While HT has not been tied to any of these cases, its objectives and ideology are consistent with many Islamist terrorist organizations. The group demonizes the U.S. and its allies, it seeks to make American Muslims feel disaffection towards their country, and it does not fully condemn acts of terrorism; rather, it places blame on the victim society for bringing violence upon itself.

How an extremist group reaches its audience is key to understanding how radicalization occurs. While HTA is spreading word about its conference, it is simultaneously exposing new audiences to its ideology and furthering its strategy to isolate American Muslims from the rest of society. Isolation and disaffection are first steps along the path to radicalization--the same path that may eventually lead to terrorism.