Liberty vs White House Plan For Homegrown Extremism
The White House has unveiled a new strategy (Strategic Implementation Plan) “to fight homegrown terrorism”, named, the “Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States”.
“The plan outlines enhanced coordination between ‘local partners’ including schools and community groups, and federal law enforcement, and seeks to empower communities by teaching local officials to recognize violent extremism”
Having read the White House plan, which can be found here, the phrase “violent extremism” was used 88 times with the apparent purpose of highlighting the general purpose of the program’s mission of prevention. However, nowhere within the document had they defined the phrase ‘violent extremism’ in any way. That is unfortunate, because although the intention of the program may be good, the door may have been opened yet again regarding the further loss of American liberties.
The obvious presumption is that the inclusion of the word ‘violent’ implies the action itself. However the language within the document specifically and primarily calls for implementing methods that would enable recognizing ‘potential’ behaviors and actions that could lead to ‘extremism’.
Again, what is ‘extremism’? How many times have you heard the term ‘extremism’ thrown around by the media during the past decade? Pretty much anything outside of the normal (whatever that is…) is considered ‘extreme’ these days, with no room for in-between. Today’s culture has been brainwashed to believe that speaking out or challenging the status quo is a form of extremism…
Given that the Senate recently passed the ‘2012 National Defense Authorization Act‘ (which itself opens the door for trial-free, indefinite detention of anyone, including American citizens, so long as the government calls them terrorists), one might be skeptical of this recent White House program – Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States.
Interestingly, the word “resilience” was used 20 times in the document, always in the context of training and building recognition of behaviors and actions that may lead to ‘violent extremism’, from schools to community to local-state-federal law enforcement.
The following are excerpts from the White House SIP document:
Free societies face threats from a range of violent extremists.
(Implying that being ‘not-as-free’ would be better?)
The Federal Government is focused on three core areas of activity:
(1) enhancing engagement with and support to local communities that may be targeted by violent extremists;
(2) building government and law enforcement expertise for preventing violent extremism;
(3) countering violent extremist propaganda while promoting our ideals.
(…and, what is the definition of ‘violent extremism’, or how about simply ‘extremism’?)
Leveraging the wide range of tools, capabilities, and resources of the United States Government in a coordinated manner is essential for success. Traditional national security or law enforcement agencies such as DHS, DOJ, and the FBI will execute many of the programs and activities outlined in the SIP (Strategic Implementation Plan).
(Coordinated attacks usually work best, but, what are we attacking specifically?)
…prevent radicalization that leads to violence.
(What is ‘radicalization’? For example, is speaking out against the powers-that-be considered radicalism?)
Although both the National Strategy for Empowering Local Partners and the SIP specifically address preventing violent extremism in the United States, the delineation between domestic and international is becoming increasingly less rigid. Violent extremists operating abroad have direct access to Americans via the Internet, and overseas events have fueled violent extremist radicalization and recruitment in the United States.
(Whenever the government mentions the word, ‘internet’, my radar goes up…)
The Internet, social networking, and other technology tools and innovations present both challenges and opportunities. The Internet has facilitated violent extremist recruitment and radicalization and, in some instances, attack planning, requiring that we consider programs and initiatives that are mindful of the online nature of the threat. At the same time, the Federal Government can leverage and support the use of new technologies to engage communities, build and mobilize networks against violent extremism, and undercut terrorist narratives. All of our activities should consider how technology impacts radicalization to violence and the ways we can use it to expand and improve our whole-of-government effort.
(‘Opportunities’ for the internet and social networking using ‘new technologies’… What are these new technologies? Could it have something to do with automated logging of all internet activity while building profiles on individuals?)
It is important to recognize that the National Strategy for Empowering Local Partners represents the first time the United States Government has outlined an approach to address ideologically inspired violent extremism in the Homeland. While the objectives and sub-objectives listed in the SIP represent the collective wisdom and insight of the United States Government about what areas of action have the greatest potential to prevent violent extremism, we will learn more about our effectiveness as we assess our efforts over time, and we will adjust our activities accordingly.
(The government program will look to identify people with ‘ideology’ that fits a definition which is apparently yet to be defined.)
The Federal Government will help broker agreements on partnerships to counter violent extremism between communities and local government and law enforcement to help institutionalize this locally focused approach.
(‘Institutionalize’. To make part of a structured and usually well-established system. In other words, to make it ‘normal’)
DHS and DOJ will work to increase support for local, community-led programs and initiatives to counter violent extremism, predominantly by identifying opportunities within existing appropriations for incorporating CVE (countering violent extremism) as an eligible area of work for public safety, violence prevention, and community resilience grants.
(CVE ‘an eligible area of work’… Is this going to be something like a new TSA-type of bureaucracy?)
Based on direction from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), DHS led an effort to improve the analysis of homegrown violent extremism, including analytic tools to share with State, local, and tribal partners.
(Will the ‘analytic tools’ violate any of our constitutional rights?)
…requiring careful consideration of a number of legal issues, especially those related to the First Amendment. In many instances, it will be more effective to empower communities to develop credible alternatives that challenge violent extremist narratives rather than having the Federal Government attempt to do so.
(Looking for ways to silence the First Amendment perhaps?)
Our planned actions include Providing grants to counter violent extremist narratives and ideologies…
(Uh-oh, ‘grants’… Oh, that’s right, they can print as much money as they want…)
In summary, while we hope that the government will take the high road, an unfortunate realism is that when granted more power, more power corrupts, absolutely…
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