The Secret Squirrels Pitching “Countering Violent Extremism”

For the record, I believe our country needs some kind of program to divert wayward young men — of whatever race, religion, and ideology — rather than ensnaring them in stings that will result in a wasted life.

Mind you, the government is going about it with the Muslim community badly. In part, that’s because the US doesn’t have much positive ideology to offer anymore, especially to those who identify in whatever way with those we’ve spent millions villainizing. In part, that’s because we’d have to revamp FBI before we started this CVE stuff, starting with the emphasis on terrorist conviction numbers as the prime measure of success. You’ll never succeed with a program if people’s primary job measure is the opposite.

Finally, and most obviously, you have to start by building trust, which will necessarily require a transition time between when you primarily rely on dragnets and informants to that time when you can rely on community partners (it will also require an acceptance that you won’t stop all attacks, regardless of which method you use).

Which is why I find this story, in the Administration’s latest effort to roll out a CVE program, so telling.

Senior administration officials, speaking to reporters Monday, said that while the initiative would not end terrorist acts like those undertaken in Copenhagen and Libya in the past few days, they are part of the broader answer to such threats.

“I think we need to be realistic that this is a long-term investment,” said one official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the event in advance. “And so, ultimately, we hope to get to a place where we just have much greater resilience and greater action across communities. But that is not something we’re going to see tomorrow.”


One of the senior administration officials said Monday that “there’s no profile that we can point to to say this person is from this community, is going to be radicalized to violence,” adding, “I think that we make a mistake as a government if we focus on stereotypes.” [my emphasis]

The article quotes the US Attorney from Minnesota, which has had a fairly sustained effort of outreach to the Somali community, by name. And it quotes the Congressional testimony of others.

But otherwise, every single Administration official insisted on anonymity.

This is all about trust, and the Administration would not permit the top officials rolling out this program to speak under their own name.

The increasing paranoiac secrecy of the Executive, worse even under Obama than Bush, sows distrust among all parts of the community.

But all the more so at the community most often targeted by programs that rely on secrecy to avoid public criticism.

So maybe before the Administration invests any more dollars into trying to change young Muslim men, it should first deal with its own poisonous hyper-secrecy?

10 replies
  1. Don Bacon says:

    Violent extremism is a national policy practiced by those in power, both domestically and internationally, so citizens are not immune. “We came, we saw, he died.” The US has combatant commands which span the earth, and it knows how to use them. Aircraft carriers are especially useful for launching air-raids on third-world villages, and how about them drone rockets? All options are on the table; the US has nukes and it knows how to use them.
    Therefore it’s necessary to counter violent extremism at the top, and perhaps the citizens will follow. Until then it’s the law of the gun.
    Getting even more basic, it’s competition vs. cooperation. US society operates on the former, which leads to bullying and militarism.

  2. Don Bacon says:

    One of the senior administration officials said Monday, glancing at a portrait of President Obama: “There’s no profile that we can point to to say this person from this community is going to be radicalized to violence. Who would have thought that a Chicago community organizer would get his rocks off blowing up Pakistani citizens, men women and children?”

  3. orionATL says:

    all activity undertaken by the administration of president obama with whatever good or ill intentions must first pass thru the “cause no political conflict” gate.

  4. orionATL says:

    tell this to the u.s. department of injustice.

    to destroy “violent extremism” a government must:

    – display a strong tolerance of public speech singled out for a “violent extremism” tag.

    – care about the fate of an individual labeled “potential violent extremist” and be suspicious of the motives of the labelers.

    – care about the well-being of a community from whence MAY come “violent extremists”.

    – understand that government legal and military bureaucracies will exploit and abuse social science theory in order to suppress or punish individuals and communities labeled with the “violent extremist” tag.

    – actively work to terminate rampant legal chicanery, sophistry, and abuse of rules of legal processes among u.s. doj prosecutors.

    – actively work to terminate brutality, policing chicanery, secrecy, and dishonest testimony among u.s. fbi agents and managers and local police

    – monitor the activities of local police and government officials to insure they don’t instigate violent extremism through actions and programs aimed at minority communities and individuals.

  5. galljdaj says:

    Having been approached numerous times in like manner(s) by flunky US illegal types advocating we do ‘bad things’ and how these sorts have the way of turning inside out and becoming ‘accusers’, marked themselves as flunkies of the lil bush administration, I really do understand the entrapment that is occurring not just in our Country but in virtually any country in the World, Which, Brings me to the point of my post The US coup against has an example of the illegal acts we as a Nation are killing peoples and both sending others to prisons often without trials but even worse via unjust Courts and trials.

    The following link shows clearly the illegal extent our administrations have been going on with as a systemic illegal Govt! I refer to the Blackwater/Academi Plane used as a pirate/mercenary war plane set to bomb and kill Peoples in Venezuela. The link:

    The US GOVT has controlled the main stream media and its silent! Law enforcement is silent! The entire system has failed.

  6. Anon says:

    I think that this is another example of the inside-outside problem.
    One consistent tone that I have found when dealing with elected officials, or more commonly their aides, is the use of the passive, neutral, anonymous construction. Even in face to face discussions they structure language so as to avoid taking responsibility or admitting anything even about bills that they authored or votes they made. This is especially marked when dealing with aides who never ever want to be caught speaking for the boss. And when they are the boss like President Obama they still prefer to use things like that to shift blame for the failure of HAMP.
    Inside the beltway this is prudent, sensible even. Stepping off the resevation gets you fired and letting nothing stick gets you reelected.
    In the real world however it just looks odd, untrustworthy, and weak. And coming as it does from an administration that leaks happily then wages war on reporters it looks paranoid. And taken in context of the FBI behaviors you cite it just adds insult to justified injury.
    Unfortunately this is so deeply ingrained that I’m not sure if or how it could be eliminated.

  7. galljdaj says:

    The return of the french generals solution which was used during the revolution type events, ‘every third or forth’ left standing brings a new work ethic especially for the politicols.

  8. galljdaj says:

    from the mouth of our criminal govt, “…That scorecard, Blair later told The New York Times, “was pretty shocking to all of us.” A decision was made to start going after indictments. “My background is in the Navy, and it is good to hang an admiral once in a while as an example to the others,” Blair told The Times. “We were hoping to get somebody and make people realize that there are consequences to this and it needed to stop.”

    (quote from the Intercept)

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