Saturday, September 27, 2014

Counter Extremism Project brings additional resources to fight the terror of extremism

The first time I heard about the Counter Extremism Project, former Senator and Vice Presidential Candidate, Joe Lieberman was explaining it on television. As one of the several "heavy hitters" providing non-partisan leadership to the new group, Lieberman, himself Jewish, is eminently suited as spokesperson for the initiative.
Here is the Mission Statement from the website of the new project:
The growing strength of extremist groups threatens the peace and stability of nations and the security and core values of people everywhere.Whether their gains are achieved by force, terror or politics, by undermining modern pluralistic societies, or by creating extremist states, these groups impose an insidious ideology, give sanction to violence, reject basic human rights, and suppress economic and social progress. By using modern communications, social media and business practices extremists are spreading their ideology and recruiting support across the globe, posing a complex and urgent challenge that cannot be redressed by governments alone.The Counter Extremism Project will expose the architecture of support for extremist groups and their ideology and combat their spread by pressuring their financial support networks, countering the narrative of extremists and their online recruitment, and advocating for strong laws, policies and regulations.The Counter Extremism Project will:
  • Expose, degrade, and stop the financing and other economic support of global extremist organizations;
  • Build a best-in-class clearinghouse and database of extremist groups and their supporters, mapping the social and financial networks, tools and methodologies on which these groups rely.
  • Assemble a global network of experts to promote our collective security, and the universal values and interests that are threatened by extremist ideology, recruitment, and practices.
  • Oppose the spread of extremist ideology by advancing compelling counter narratives, and by stemming the recruitment of support as these groups take advantage of at-risk communities, and youth to promote their ideology and power.
By employing these tools we will join the fight against extremism, build support for the fight around the world and serve as resource for governments, the media, NGO’s, academia, businesses and the public. - See more at:
Representing the Canadian perspective in the project if former Liberal Cabinet Minister, Irwin Cotler.

Clearly, it will take more than bombs, missiles and drones to stop the flow of political and economic and military "transfusions" to the many extremist cells that are infiltrating too many communities around the world. This ideological movement can and will morph into whatever form and shape are required to elude the most invasive counter-terrorism opposition. Likewise, all the world's best minds, and most sophisticated resources will be needed for the foreseeable future.
Remaining free of ideological entrapment, including religious institutions, political alliances and corporate take-overs will be one of the most significant hurdles guiding the path forward of this new initiative. Former ambassadors, homeland security specialists, representing  both Democrats and Republicans. comprise the majority of the leaders. And through these men and women, the project will be able to open doors to discussions and decisions, without generating 72-point headlines, that could effectively dry up the flow of all resources to the extremist cells. Naturally, as one cell closes, another will open.
So this project, like that of the military of several western and Middle Eastern countries, will have to persist far into the future, including drying up funds that support the schools teaching hatred and fomenting bigotry in many quarters, thereby providing a fertile recruiting hothouse of innocent and warped young men mostly who transition from these schools of hate to paid militias carrying, in too many cases, abandoned weapons built and left by American forces.
Americans, including the American weapons industry, do have a stake in the future of terrorism. And that stake will have to be abandoned, if these extreme movements are to be defanged. Of course, not all terror cells depend on highly sophisticated weaponry, but they clearly benefit from the residue of American hard power, the most current example the left-overs in Iraq from the ill-advised Iraq war.
Could this Counter Extremism Project also tip the scales when political leaders attempt to re-draw the boundaries of their neighbouring countries and bring some balance and some equanimity back to foreign affairs?
Even without attempting to reach such lofty aims, the project merits the support and endorsement of all those who see that extremism, in all of its many and nefarious forms, is little more than the expression of fear and jealousy and bigotry and absolute terms. Negotiating with such attitudes, and the people deeply infused with their toxicity is not feasible.
Suffocation of all of the resources on which these attitudes depend is a laudable if somewhat ethereal objective.
We heartily endorse all such projects, in the hope that by linking this one with others already operating in other countries, we might build a global network of "moderation lobbies" that expose extremism everywhere and always.

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