Research into the Root Causes of Terrorism

Interesting article in Science discussing field research on how people are radicalized to become terrorists.

The potential for research that can overcome existing constraints can be seen in recent advances in understanding violent extremism and, partly, in interdiction and prevention. Most notable is waning interest in simplistic root-cause explanations of why individuals become violent extremists (e.g., poverty, lack of education, marginalization, foreign occupation, and religious fervor), which cannot accommodate the richness and diversity of situations that breed terrorism or support meaningful interventions. A more tractable line of inquiry is how people actually become involved in terror networks (e.g., how they radicalize and are recruited, move to action, or come to abandon cause and comrades).

Reports from the The Soufan Group, International Center for the Study of Radicalisation (King's College London), and the Combating Terrorism Center (U.S. Military Academy) indicate that approximately three-fourths of those who join the Islamic State or al-Qaeda do so in groups. These groups often involve preexisting social networks and typically cluster in particular towns and neighborhoods.. This suggests that much recruitment does not need direct personal appeals by organization agents or individual exposure to social media (which would entail a more dispersed recruitment pattern). Fieldwork is needed to identify the specific conditions under which these processes play out. Natural growth models of terrorist networks then might be based on an epidemiology of radical ideas in host social networks rather than built in the abstract then fitted to data and would allow for a public health, rather than strictly criminal, approach to violent extremism.

Such considerations have implications for countering terrorist recruitment. The present USG focus is on "counternarratives," intended as alternative to the "ideologies" held to motivate terrorists. This strategy treats ideas as disembodied from the human conditions in which they are embedded and given life as animators of social groups. In their stead, research and policy might better focus on personalized "counterengagement," addressing and harnessing the fellowship, passion, and purpose of people within specific social contexts, as ISIS and al-Qaeda often do. This focus stands in sharp contrast to reliance on negative mass messaging and sting operations to dissuade young people in doubt through entrapment and punishment (the most common practice used in U.S. law enforcement) rather than through positive persuasion and channeling into productive life paths. At the very least, we need field research in communities that is capable of capturing evidence to reveal which strategies are working, failing, or backfiring.

Posted on February 15, 2017 at 6:31 AM • 114 Comments

Comments

jayFebruary 15, 2017 8:37 AM

Counter encouragement sounds nice, but in practice it's unworkable. It's not just a matter of failure to assimilate, or lack of jobs, indeed a substantial number of recruited terrorists have been educated, employed, and second generation. When you're dealing with a situation like this, you can't just buy them off with western comforts.

And even so, just like law enforcement attempts to constructively engage potential gang members-- the local peer groups have far more influence than the outsiders trying to alter their path.

WinterFebruary 15, 2017 8:52 AM

What exactly is the difference between extremist Islamists like Al Qaeda and IS and neo-nazi and fascist groups?

White youth become fascists and white supremacists, young Sunnites go to IS, young Hindus join Hindutva, young Jews colonize Palestine country. Everyone has his own terrorist organization.

My InfoFebruary 15, 2017 9:19 AM

@Winter

What exactly is the difference between extremist Islamists like Al Qaeda and IS and neo-nazi and fascist groups?

I believe that such groups do in fact work together. The hate crimes and discrimination against minorities practiced by the latter help drive the process of radicalization of certain individuals from Islamist minority groups. These individuals are quite probably of a lower socioeconomic status in their ethnic communities or native countries, and they are not treated well by the imams and bosses of the religion in which they believe whole-heartedly. In fact they may be covertly so mistreated that they see no way out but suicide, and then the imams promise them Paradise in exhange for wreaking terror in the West.

This is not unique to Islam. I have observed a great deal of similar corruption within the Roman Catholic and other Christian churches. I suppose the same with Judaism, (too much "match-making," etc.,) and numerous other organized non-Judeo-Christian religions which the Muslims do not consider to be "of the book."

Clive RobinsonFebruary 15, 2017 9:36 AM

@ Winter,

Everyone has his own terrorist organization.

So it would appear, and quite a few are not against countries, religions or ethnic differences.

There are quite a few who take arms against medical research using animals, others against large companies that have bad environmental or employment policy etc.

Further when it comes to politics one parties terrorists are another parties freedom fighters.

History has large numbers of stories about people fighting off oppression, feudalism, slavery and the like.

In fact so many different people at different times taking up arms against a form of status quo, it's difficult to say they have much more than that in common.

WaelFebruary 15, 2017 9:49 AM

The faint voices in my head tell me @Scott Atran has something to say!

@My Info,

do not consider to be "of the book."

"People of the book" is more precise.

(gensym)February 15, 2017 9:51 AM

@jay: Several Western European countries apparently have large-scale successful counter-encouragement programs. It takes significant time and resources, being at its heart a series of directed personal interventions.

My InfoFebruary 15, 2017 10:15 AM

@Wael

"People of the book" is more precise.

The people of those religions may be considered "people of the book," but grammatically, the religions themselves are not people.

WinterFebruary 15, 2017 10:24 AM

@Clive
"Further when it comes to politics one parties terrorists are another parties freedom fighters."

There is a funny thing here in the Netherlands.

We have our world famous Geert Wilders and his party fighting against taking up boat refugees. But the number one Dutch Musical&Movie of all times is the story of a boat refugee fleeing from war and then joining the freedom fighters and returning to fight (Soldier of Orange).

Obviously, that refugee is one of our Resistance Fighters fleeing to the UK during WWII, a war hero. These new refugees are dangerous terrorists and economic refugees looking to steal our jobs.

Hypocrites, all of them.

Joe StalinFebruary 15, 2017 10:36 AM

The local Somali elected officials in Bruce's home town of Minneapolis yesterday stopped backing Minnesota's/Fed "anti-terrorism" programs because they are nothing but talk covering for intrusive surveillance and hard repression.

Hot air and platitudes as the velvet glove do not disguise the real USA domestic Anti-Terrorism Operations which are to gin up gun toting crazies for local white terror ops (with local police assistance) and just gave Bruce's home town kids 20-30 years in the Federal Prison SHU for trying to buy tickets to Turkey or Somalia and are arresting hundreds for protesting a pipeline. Meanwhile government pushes austerity to cut public health programs, public education, job programs, public housing programs, break unions and build more prisons and more tax breaks for the rich.

Good luck with the propeller heads and the "Root Cause" and the "Science". The rich neo-cons that push for more war will result in hundreds of people that will be murdered or stuck in prison for many decades like GITMO and the many Black Panthers of the 60s-70s still dying in prison and hunted in exile as examples of our law and order.

WaelFebruary 15, 2017 10:58 AM

@My Info,

The people of those religions may be considered "people of the book," but grammatically, the religions themselves are not people.

Yes, unless you say: religions of "people of the book", because:

and numerous other organized non-Judeo-Christian religions which the Muslims do not consider to be "of the book."

Religions "of the book" doesn't make sense, even if it's grammatically correct.

Dirk PraetFebruary 15, 2017 11:02 AM

@ jay

It's not just a matter of failure to assimilate, or lack of jobs, indeed a substantial number of recruited terrorists have been educated, employed, and second generation.

Exactly. There have always been and always will be groups that for either socio-economic, political, cultural, religious or other reasons drop out of or give up on mainstream society. To which point they become a threat largely depends on how their anger and fear gets cultivated and channeled by demagogues who through lies, deception and simple solutions promise them a better world in which they will prevail. And in which respect IS recruitees, the Germans who once embraced national-socialism, the Brexiteers, Lenin's bolsjeviks or the folks that voted Trump into office are hardly any different.

@ Winter

What exactly is the difference between extremist Islamists like Al Qaeda and IS and neo-nazi and fascist groups?

In practice, any overt manifestation of the underlying ideology of the latter is a criminal offense in quite some countries, whereas that of the former in those same countries is still too often protected under the freedom of speech or religion.

Stark TruthFebruary 15, 2017 11:38 AM

...approximately three-fourths of those who join the Islamic State or al-Qaeda do so in groups. These groups often involve preexisting social networks and typically cluster in particular towns and neighborhoods.

Which is exactly why, if you do not desire Islamic terrorists in your country, you must not permit the immigration of Moslems from countries (or cultures) that produce a lot of Islamic terrorists. Immigrants "typically cluster in particular towns and neighborhoods" and, thanks to the Internet, remain connected to "preexisting social networks." Of the sort which sprout terrorists like flowers on bushes.

To "allow for a public health, rather than strictly criminal, approach to violent extremism" you must begin with a quarantine to prevent the spread of the problem. Then after you figure out how to prevent or cure "violent extremism" you may apply that knowledge and afterward relax the quarantine.

The current EU/US approach to the problem is insane. First the EU and US import hundreds of thousands of Moslems who are thousands of times more likely than EU/US natives to engage in violence. Then the EU and US try to deter the rising number of violent immigrants by imposing a police state on good citizens and violent extremists alike (because "non-discrimination"). Why the hell should we suffer the cost, inconvenience, and indignity of fences and bollards and metal detectors and arrogant armed guards around every building in the EU (and as Paris just announced, a huge wall around the Eiffel Tower) instead of a single fence along the border?

Note that Islamic violence is a bell-curve phenomenon: social-science surveys tell us that all the people in problematic source countries within 1 standard deviation of the relevant mean more or less actively support Islamic violence, as do all of those people more than 1SD off the mean on the side of the curve that runs from "support" to "engage in." Naturally only some (2+SD) commit violence in conflict with the police forces of victim countries. More "clustering" in "preexisting social networks" means more terror-supporters convert to terror-perpetrators. Worse, the conversion rate grows in a supralinear fashion with immigration since police deterrence falls at the same time "clustering" rises.

If you believe "violent extremism" spreads like a virus (please note that I do not believe that) and like the cited authors you wish to construct "an epidemiology of radical ideas in host social networks" you should take immediate note of a lesson from real epidemiology: the rate of infection increases roughly geometrically with the density of the host population, above a base threshold and subject to an upper limit. That is why immunizing just a fraction of the population (reducing the density of susceptible hosts) can greatly inhibit the spread of a virus. Since Moslems from certain countries are much more susceptible to the imagined "virus" of "violent extremism" the proper job of the EU/US "public-health" officer is to limit the proliferation of susceptible hosts (Moslems) in the EU/US population. We don't know any way to "immunize" the more susceptible Moslems against "violent extremism" but we do know how to limit the number of susceptible hosts in our population: stop importing them!

(Of course non-Moslems can become "violent extremists" but there appears to be very strong genetic and selection effects operating, such that "Islamic" and "violent" co-vary to a remarkable degree in some countries' populations. No rational person would encourage immigration from those countries.)

rFebruary 15, 2017 11:55 AM

@Stark Truth,

The idiots currently large && en charge fail to grasp any truth at all, while they blacklist a country that operates largely like the CIA they completely missed our allies in classical Egypt. Let me know when the brains behind the scenes can accurately see what's going on with the catastrophe they're creating, all they did was give them a hand grenade to lob back at us in the long run - solving absolutely nothing.

Iran and it's factions are state run and directed, AQ is an independent.

There's a difference, albeit slight being the bigger biggot about it will cause one to miss important details.

WinterFebruary 15, 2017 12:11 PM

@Stark Truth
"Which is exactly why, if you do not desire Islamic terrorists in your country, you must not permit the immigration of Moslems from countries (or cultures) that produce a lot of Islamic terrorists. "

That is exactly what islamic terrorism is about, and fascism: Ethnic cleansing. People are not allowed to mingle and dilute the pure blood or religion.

The idiocy of your proposal is that 90% of Islamic terrorists in Europe were born and raised in Europe by parents who abhor salafism. You would not keep out any significant amount of terrorists by closing the borders.

edgeFebruary 15, 2017 12:42 PM

I'm reminded of Orwell's 1984 when the protagonists take their oath to the cause of rebellion:

'You are prepared to give your lives?'

'Yes.'

'You are prepared to commit murder?'

'Yes.'

'To commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of
innocent people?'

'Yes.'

[...]

'You are prepared to cheat, to forge, to blackmail, to corrupt the minds
of children, to distribute habit-forming drugs, to encourage prostitution,
to disseminate venereal diseases--to do anything which is likely to cause
demoralization and weaken the power of the Party?'

'Yes.'

'If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests to throw sulphuric
acid in a child's face--are you prepared to do that?'

'Yes.'

[...]


If you knew someone who answered 'Yes' to these questions, what sort of intervention would be appropriate? And when would it be appropriate?

albertFebruary 15, 2017 12:55 PM

@Clive,

"...There are quite a few who take arms against medical research using animals, others against large companies that have bad environmental or employment policy etc..."

The issue is too complex for simple-minded 'solutions' like stopping immigration (many years ago, a bonafide terrorist said that when they come again, they will look 'just like you'). The US 'anti-propaganda' initiative is nothing more than window dressing. The 'do as I say' approach can be likened to the cop beating the shit out of you in the street, while chanting "Be a better person".

For example, why do certain folks 'take arms' against outfits that use animals for research? Clearly, it's been shown that animal research is not necessary*. The answer is simple. The system gives them no recourse. Policy (really tradition) is locked in, immutable. Climate change mitigation policy supporters face similar issues, as do environmentalists. Even issues that most people agree with still cannot be changed.

The system gives them no recourse.

Do I feel the need to patiently listen to climate-change deniers, holocaust deniers, or hollow-Earthists**?

No.

I don't know the Koran, but I have a reasonable knowledge of the Bible. I'm quite certain that a strong case can be made against terrorism in both.

The first paragraph Bruce cited is indicative of the reason why the approach presented is bound to fail:

"...Most notable is waning interest in simplistic root-cause explanations of why individuals become violent extremists (e.g., poverty, lack of education, marginalization, foreign occupation, and religious fervor)..."

These are precisely the reasons -why- research in terrorism mitigation is failing. These 'simplistic, root-cause, explanations' are being avoided, because they reveal the ugly truth behind the rise of Islamic terrorism.

By ignoring the aforementioned issues, the rest of the paper is basically BS, couched in academic pseudo-science.


It's always interesting to view the bios of the authors. In this case, an anthropologist, a political scientist, ???***, and a risk analyst.

BTW, is there a free link for the article?

----------
* the larger issue is the sad state of 'medical research' here in the US, a point for non-discussion later.
** OK, the Hollow-Earthists might be interesting. Not all are bat-shit crazy.
*** I gave up on Richard Davis:)

Gerard van VoorenFebruary 15, 2017 12:59 PM

@ Winter,

What exactly is the difference between extremist Islamists like Al Qaeda and IS and neo-nazi and fascist groups?

Ethnic background (skin color, religion, etc).

parabarbarianFebruary 15, 2017 1:07 PM

"It's not just a matter of failure to assimilate, or lack of jobs, indeed a substantial number of recruited terrorists have been educated, employed, and second generation."

Many of the terrorist radicals in the 60s and 70s were educated and from well off to wealthy families. A couple of high profile examples are Bernadine Dorhn and Bill Ayers of Weather Underground infamy. She was from an upper middle class family and had a JD from the University of Chicago Law School. Ayres, grew up in Glen Ellyn (a affluent suburb of Chicago) retired as a tenured professor at University of Illinois at Chicago.

rFebruary 15, 2017 1:08 PM

@albert,

I tend to agree with you that it's no different than the KKK saying that black people are the children of Cain/Ham.

Can we address injustice racism and hatred without looking twice?

Gerard van VoorenFebruary 15, 2017 1:11 PM

As long as there is money to be made (paid by taxpayers) by fear politics and exaggerating incidents, it will continue. Everyone involved with making claims has an agenda.

Russia for instance is now daily news, but a year ago nobody talked about Russia. But at the same time the budgets for NATO need to be increased because of this new threat. Who is gonna pay? Not them. We are.

keinerFebruary 15, 2017 1:15 PM

"Terror organizations" collapse when the stream of money is ended. End of story.

The USA is doing a GREAT job in perpetuating the middle-east terror, together with Netanyahu and Saudi arabia (What a GREAT coalition, btw!)

Dirk PraetFebruary 15, 2017 1:33 PM

@ Stark Truth

Of course non-Moslems can become "violent extremists" but there appears to be very strong genetic and selection effects operating, such that "Islamic" and "violent" co-vary to a remarkable degree in some countries' populations.

The US is a country that is known for huge amounts of white supremacist violence and mass murder that on an average year dwarfs the figures caused by Islamist terrorism on its soil. And that's without taking into account gang related killings and other gun related homicides. Are you suggesting in any way that the rest of the world institutes an immediate travel and immigration ban on the US until we have figured out what the hell is going on?

TedFebruary 15, 2017 1:43 PM

"Ka Joog, Heartland Democracy Receive Huge Homeland Security Grants" article:

“Two Twin Cities organizations were awarded thousands of dollars Friday by the Department of Homeland Security for their efforts to counter violent extremism. Ka Joog, a nonprofit that aims to get young East African Minnesotans on the path to higher education, received about $500,000 to fight radicalization. Heartland Democracy, which is working to increase civic engagement in the Somali-American community, was awarded more than $165,000.”

According to a February 11 article, at least four non-profits have turned down Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) grants from the Department of Homeland Security since Donald Trump took office, Ka Joog being one of the four. Heartland Democracy’s final acceptance of their grant is pending. $10 million of federal money was made available.

Star Tribune “Minneapolis nonprofit tests program to pull teens from terror's grasp” article:

“From the first, Yusuf showed signs that his life could be redeemed. An FBI agent testified that, after Yusuf was stopped at the airport in May, he ceased associating with other suspects in the terrorism investigation. Considered low-risk, he was an ideal candidate for Heartland Democracy’s new effort.”
“[…] at some of the first meetings documented by Heartland in court filings for Yusuf’s case, he shared more intimate pain, exposing exactly the kind of wounds that Heartland wants to try to mend.”

JG4 posted an article from The Intercept elucidating the FBI’s 48 question survey “Indicators of Mobilization to Violence” that, according to the article, dovetails with a scoring system that can help decision makers more effectively focus available resources.

albertFebruary 15, 2017 2:14 PM

@keiner,

True, it's a matter of money. ME instability wasn't the primary goal of US ME policy; stable, US-allied countries was. Israel would prefer that, but they'll take instability. As long as it's Arab vs Arab, it's safer for them. And they have a war-profiteer economy just like US. The Saudis agenda is a little different.

Bin Laden, a Saudi homeboy, stated his reasons for developing a terrorist organization many years ago. I wish I had the text at hand, as it explained everything, simply and (it turned out), accurately.

If you're inclined to conspiracies, the CIA involvement in that movement might prove interesting.

. .. . .. --- ....

My InfoFebruary 15, 2017 2:30 PM

@Wael

Religions "of the book" doesn't make sense, even if it's grammatically correct.

"Religions of the people of the book."

My InfoFebruary 15, 2017 3:03 PM

@Wael

"Religions of the people of the book."
That works :)

Let's not make so much of the phrase that we owe dhimmitude over it.

In other news:

http://gizmodo.com/trumps-bullshit-executive-orders-become-even-more-bulls-1792358551

Is it really up to the federal register to "codify" executive orders in order to make them legally binding? Let's stick with the law, first. They never even codified the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, even though it is technically federal law.

My InfoFebruary 15, 2017 3:38 PM

More bizarre news:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/15/donald-trump-offered-up-a-massive-word-salad-when-asked-about-anti-semitism-today/

Apparently Trump is schizophrenic, according to the media, because he uses "word salad." He was asked about antisemitism, and Democratic Rep. Don Beyer gave the only acceptable answer. https://twitter.com/RepDonBeyer/status/831927060281118720

>>>.@abbydphillip @TheFix "I abhor anti-Semitism in any form and support efforts of law enforcement to prosecute hate crimes." Fits in a tweet.<<<

Trump's answer was about winning "306 electoral votes in the 2016 election when people said he couldn't even win 220 or 221." Trump wanted to win the election, of course, but he didn't exactly want to win "too many" electoral votes. I'm not about to let those matchmakers off the hook yet, Semite or not.

Matchmakers --> "word salad" --> schizophrenia or other "mental illness" --> dementia praecox --> "Alzheimer's."

We really do need to get to the bottom of this particular conspiracy, because Alzheimer's is not a disease known from ancient times, when age and wisdom were almost universally respected. Weren't Reagan and Bush Sr. rumored to have Alzheimer's in office? Or was it some other conservative president?

rFebruary 15, 2017 4:05 PM

@Wael,

We just heard "I don't recall" 2(?) days ago??

Must be "early onset old-timers".

Who cares though, now that he's unofficially retired maybe he can relax and reformulate his medications.

WilliamFebruary 15, 2017 4:10 PM

@Stark Truth

You said it all, accurately and eloquently. Ignore the village idiots.

William

rFebruary 15, 2017 4:14 PM

@William,

We have our own bell curves to measure ourselves by two.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, everyone else? Duck.

AnuraFebruary 15, 2017 4:17 PM

@Wael

Well, my mom didn't accept "I don't know how the fish tank got cracked", and I don't know whether she would be more annoyed or confused about her five-year-old saying "I have no recollection of that incident", but I don't think it would have worked. For the record, she also did not believe it was an escape attempt.

Ross SniderFebruary 15, 2017 4:52 PM

Conditions of terrorism:

1a. Failed governance (failed state, weak institutions)
1b. Illegitimate governance (perceived or real)

2a. Opportunity for violent political opposition to governance (or lack thereof)
2b. Alternative claims to legitimate and effective governance

3a. "Push" and "pull" factors (opportunity costs, social mobility) not able to deter violent political behavior.
3b. Local policing and culture not able to deter or apprehend violent political activity.

The result is terrorism: the clash of national intelligence security forces with mobilized political violence.

The study quoted above has far more to do with propaganda/ideological war: in this case propaganda supporting political nationalism versus political religiosity.

To stop terrorism you can not focus solely on winning a propaganda war. You need to address the causes.

Solutions to terrorism:

1a. Successful governance (capable states, strong institutions)
1b. Legitimate governance (real and perceived)

2a. Lack of opportunity for violent opposition to governance (and alternative opportunities to oppose governance, such as justice systems)
2b. Consensus building and buy-in on forms and practices of governance at local, regional and national levels.

3a. High opportunity costs, social mobility, opportunities for working within the national system.
3b. Violence addressable that does not involve national resources: social workers, civil society, fair and just policing.

People thinking you can win against terrorism with the thinly guised propaganda slogan "your oppressors are legitimate" are fooling themselves.

WaelFebruary 15, 2017 4:55 PM

@Anura,

five-year-old saying "I have no recollection of that incident", but I don't think it would have worked.

At the risk of going OT... There was a group of people that gathered every night to tell jokes. They did this for years, then one of them said: we heard all the jokes, sometimes we say a 1 minute joke and no one laughs... this isn't fun! Let's number the jokes! They agree and do that for a few months. Joke #4! Hahaha. Joke #568! Hahaha...

One night they invited a friend who watched in amazement. She had no clue as to what was going on. All she heard is: joke #117! Hahahaha. So she tried and said: joke #345! They all looked at her in disgust. No one laughed! She asked why they laughed when someone else said it? They replied: It's the way you say the joke that counts ;)

Phew... that was long. There is another variation, but it's not relevant.

@r,

We just heard "I don't recall" 2(?) days ago??

Your memory must be better than mine. Say... do you recall this by any chance? Or should I give you the standard prescription, because I have a peculiar feeling you've been taking the knockoff variety...

My InfoFebruary 15, 2017 5:40 PM

@r

Re: "early onset old-timers"

I have this strange recollection: when I was very young, I heard some old ladies actually refer to Alzheimer's as "matchmakers' disease."

Clive RobinsonFebruary 15, 2017 6:03 PM

@ Anura,

Well, my mom didn't accept "I don't know how the fish tank got cracked"...

Now I can not say what a five year old you might or might not have been doing at the time. But
I've actually watched briefly a fishtank wall not just crack but shatter compleatly and put several hundred gallons of warm water and a thirty or fourty valuable fish onto an office reception floor...

Certain types of laminated and toughand glass come with stress built in as part of the manufacturing process. In some cases it in effect builds in a memory process into the glass. That is where it gets hit or knocked the stress concentrates in a balanced way and gets held rather like a stretched rubber band, any small effect that changes the balance and all the stored energy gets released as the glass self destructs.

So yes you could have hit the tank with a softball bat the week before, and now it pops a crack...

Similar memory effects were seen in the grown and wafer cut crystals used in the semiconductor industry where wafers of chips would just shatter...

Scott AtranFebruary 15, 2017 6:23 PM

In response to the first commentator, "counter-engagement" need have nothing to do with jobs or other sorts of material incentives that the commentator intimates. See my article in AEON, "The Islamic State is a Revolution,"

https://aeon.co/essays/why-isis-has-the-potential-to-be-a-world-altering-revolution

and presentation at the World Economic Form in Davos,

Analysing the limits of rational choice in political and cultural conflict | Scott Atran
https://youtu.be/SxDS2g4qSO8


Clive RobinsonFebruary 15, 2017 6:30 PM

@ My Info,

I have this strange recollection: when I was very young, I heard some old ladies actually refer to Alzheimer's as "matchmakers' disease."

It depends in what context they ment "matchmakers" those who went and found suitable brides for grooms etc, or those that used phosphorus boild down frorm urine to make the "lucifer compound" on matches. Many of these workers went on to suffer phossy jaw and aother debilitations including to cognative ability.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phossy_jaw

Scott AtranFebruary 15, 2017 6:33 PM

On immigration: while it is true that a very small minority of immigrants are security threats, one needs to weigh the benefits of immigration from places like Syria and Iraq (fairly skilled and educated) to Europe (where a replacement rate of 1.6 cannot sustain the middle class, or the democratic structure of open society that only a viable middle class has historically sustained, without massive immigration).

And then there is the humanitarian aspect. Should these people simply be left to rot and die?

Finally, welcoming of immigrants is a powerful counter message to ISIS's main strategy of "eliminating the Grey Zone" between Infidel and True Believer (where most of humanity finds itself, including the overwhelming majority of Muslims) by caring out terrorist attacks on civilians in indefensible places (cafes, restaurants, sports events, theaters, etc.) so as to engender suspicion, fear, and ultimately hate of all Muslims and thus demonstrate to any Muslims attempting to live peaceful lives in their host society, that there efforts will only cause them to suffer.

Scott AtranFebruary 15, 2017 6:36 PM

Neo-nazis and xenophobic ethno-nationalist groups are very much like ISIS and AQ, and together they are doing a hatchet job on open society similar to that of the communists and fascists in the 1920s and 1930s. They work off one another, in tandem, and to increasingly devastating effect.

WaelFebruary 15, 2017 7:29 PM

@Stark Truth,

...instead of a single fence along the border?

Excellent question! Defense in depth, perhaps? Maybe "Layered controls"? How about "Trust no one", or "Check at the gate"? How many entry points are there? Show me a '100 foot wall', and I'll show you a '101 foot ladder'! Show me a '10 foot deep fence', and l'll show you a 1000 '20 foot deep tunnels'!

WaelFebruary 15, 2017 7:33 PM

@Scott Atran,

Apologies for botching up the name earlier. But I do deserve a +1 for this:

The faint voices in my head tell me @Scott Atran has something to say!

I mean if there is any fairness in this world.

rFebruary 15, 2017 7:43 PM

@TLDR,

Here you go again blaming Chechnya on the United States, how about we just take all of our western hemisphere and jettison ourselves to the moon - we'll race you and win yet again.

FAKE NEWSFebruary 15, 2017 7:51 PM

@TL;DR, ROOT CAUSE: FBI

https://www.salon.com/2010/07/06/fbi_foiled_terrorism_plots/
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/q-a-the-fbi-s-role-in-manufacturing-terrorism-1.1337748

What a hatchet job! "Salon.com" making itself out to be like one of those disreputable hair places that buy so many noxious bleach, dye, and perm chemicals in such quantity that they start manufacturing and/or processing street drugs on the side.

So many of those drugs, though, are manufactured or grown in South America and trafficked northward through Mexico and the U.S. to where the great demand is. No, they don't want to come right out and say, "DEA!" The Mounties in their horse-drawn carriages need to giddy-up and catch up with the druggies, because they're falling way behind the times.

Or all the opium poppies they grow in Afghanistan under the protection of the U.S. Democratic Drug-Dealers' party. Makes me wonder how many U.S. military planes fly home with a load of that stuff.

rFebruary 15, 2017 8:12 PM

What are you complaining about? You're just another victim of a reduced sentence and work release program yourself.

How's your boss?

DroneFebruary 15, 2017 9:33 PM

Wake Up! "Terrorism" is child's play compared to what America faces right in its own back yard... Progressive Marxism will soon rise to seize control of the disaffected self-perpetuating entitlement dependent super-majority that it has been cultivating for generations. Even as you live and breath, in your schools and universities your children are being indoctrinated toward Revolution. Skin color, age, and income are being used to divide us. Journalism, a profession built on the noble concepts of truth and objectivity, can no longer be trusted. Comrade, one day soon you will awaken only to discover the Collective has stolen your vote; and that to speak openly in dissent is akin to signing one's own death warrant.

RatioFebruary 16, 2017 2:05 AM

@Dirk Praet,

To which point they become a threat largely depends on how their anger and fear gets cultivated and channeled by demagogues who through lies, deception and simple solutions promise them a better world in which they will prevail. And in which respect IS recruitees, the Germans who once embraced national-socialism, the Brexiteers, Lenin's bolsjeviks or the folks that voted Trump into office are hardly any different.

The threats posed in those five examples are hardly any different?! That's... just... wow.

In practice, any overt manifestation of the underlying ideology of [neo-nazi and fascist groups] is a criminal offense in quite some countries, whereas that of [extremist Islamists like Al Qaeda and IS] in those same countries is still too often protected under the freedom of speech or religion.

How well has that recipe worked for neo-nazi and fascist ideology? Now, why would that be?

@albert,

"...Most notable is waning interest in simplistic root-cause explanations of why individuals become violent extremists (e.g., poverty, lack of education, marginalization, foreign occupation, and religious fervor)..."

[...] These 'simplistic, root-cause, explanations' are being avoided, because they reveal the ugly truth behind the rise of Islamic terrorism.

Islamist terrorism without foreign occupation (or foreign occupation without Islamist terrorism) would sink that theory. You may want to investigate a tiny bit more.

@Drone,

Progressive Marxism will soon rise to seize control of the disaffected self-perpetuating entitlement dependent super-majority that it has been cultivating for generations. [...] Skin color, age, and income are being used to divide us.

Oh, I see. Division by skin color, age or income: bad. Division by political preferences: good.

Dirk PraetFebruary 16, 2017 3:31 AM

@ Ratio

The threats posed in those five examples are hardly any different?!

That's not what I said. Please be so kind as to read my comments correctly. You're smart enough that I don't have to spell it out for you.

How well has that recipe worked for neo-nazi and fascist ideology?

Over here in Western Europe? Quite well, actually. Franco aside, not a single overtly fascist political party has been able to get (or stay) into power since WWII. Which is not to say that there aren't any. But they usually go through great lengths to publicly conceal the underlying ideology, just like Trump did with his travel ban.

Islamist terrorism without foreign occupation (or foreign occupation without Islamist terrorism) would sink that theory.

Just like the absence of gravity would sink Newton's laws of motion.

@ Drone

Progressive Marxism will soon rise to seize control of the disaffected self-perpetuating entitlement dependent super-majority that it has been cultivating for generations.

Err, no. That was exactly 100 years ago.

Clive RobinsonFebruary 16, 2017 6:35 AM

@ Wael,

How many entry points are there? Show me a '100 foot wall', and I'll show you a '101 foot ladder'! Show me a '10 foot deep fence', and l'll show you a 1000 '20 foot deep tunnels'!

Show me a 22mile wide moat, and I'll show you --the remains-- of the Sangatte[1] jungle[2] pestilence hole economic migrant camp. It had upto 6000 residents of which 2/3 were young men who had paid trafficers upto 3000USD to get them there. Many made repeated attempts to get onto lorries or trains bound for the United Kingdom. In the process repeatedly risking life and limb some receiving horific injuries or death.

It was only with the destruction of the jungle that some of it's residents (mainly women and children) seek refugee status in France. Others have become part of the criminal underworld around Paris where access to guns is still both cheap and plentiful, despite the events of the past couple of years.

One thing is clear the residents of the jungle, wanted to get to the UK, not other parts of Europe, and they were prepared to risk death on an almost nightly basis trying to get into the UK.

Another thing that has also become clear is that when getting to the UK those who originated from Somalia and the horn of Africa, enter into a criminal underworld where they get exploited and in some cases enslaved.

With natural deterants (the English Channel etc) of a formidable nature not stopping them, how can anyone expect a fence or a wall to stop them? The Stark Truth of it is they must be bonkers.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangatte

[2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calais_Jungle

Jared HallFebruary 16, 2017 8:02 AM

OMG. People kill one another for a variety of reasons (self-defense, survival, etc.) but murder is committed for three reasons:

1. Money (Greed, Payment, Military, etc.)
2. Emotion (Love, Hate, Revenge, etc.)
3. Deception (Cover-up another crime)

Your average terrorist kills for #1 and #2.

The so-called "self-radicalized" or domestic terrorist kills solely for #2. The most common sub-motivators for these people are social isolation and contempt.

If one wishes to build their own cadre/gang of loyal terrorists, the easiest thing to do is:

A) Seek out newly-released prisoners
B) Re-enforce #2
C) Supply #1

That is exactly what Baghdadi did to create ISIS. He cultivated recruits from Camp Bucca.

Americans are anything but free. We have the highest incarceration rate in the world (multiple times over, in fact). With virtually no rehabilitative services, we are living in our own powder keg.

Dirk PraetFebruary 16, 2017 8:15 AM

@ Clive, @ Wael

With natural deterants (the English Channel etc) of a formidable nature not stopping them, how can anyone expect a fence or a wall to stop them?

There's only two ways I know of that can stop economic migrants. The first is to create a future for them in their own country. The second is to adapt an UAE-like policy that for illegal immigrants there is no path whatsoever to school, work, business, social benefits or citizenship either for themselves or their offspring, and that they will be stopped from entry and/or deported upon first contact with authorities. Recommended lecture in this context: "My Vision - Challenges in the Race for Excellence" by Dubai's Emir Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The reason you don't see hundreds of thousands of African and Asian migrants knocking at the gates over there is because everyone knows what fate will await them there, even without Mexican walls or Balkan fences.

The abomination that was the Calais jungle is probably one of the best illustrations of the utter failure that is EU immigration policy, its incompetence to shield its outer borders and the insanity of a German vicar's daughter to just let everyone in and wing it.

WBFebruary 16, 2017 10:25 AM

With genuine respect to the author, it's unlikely any of this would work. They got part of it right (about changing the focus).

Le Bon explained a lot about the mechanism of 'radicalization' in 'The Crowd'. Konrad Lorenz provided useful observations on 'militant enthusiasm' in 'On Aggression. Eric Hoffer gave a useful analysis of the common elements among fanatics in all ages and times in 'The True Believer'.

'As the twig is bent, so grows the tree'. What happens in early childhood, in the home, and the local culture, determines how a person will behave in later years. 'Radicalization' is a buzz-word, like 'terrorism' that ignores cultural and belief-system influence.

The post-WWII U.S. was able to create a culture-education system that, for many years, broadened perspectives, eliminated (at least reduced) prejudice against those who weren't part of the 'in' group (who didn't share the group's views). As the 'Progressive' (Marxist) movement became more influential, this tolerant culture and education system resurrected old baseless hatreds and introduced some new ones... and this is what we're seeing today.

However, the recent election shows that enough people understand the basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution and realize that this system is far superior to any other system... hence the rise of Trump and the emergence of a fierce individualism. We should hope that these fierce individuals will be 'radicalized' and do whatever is necessary to smash the totalitarian movements that seem to have dominated major government institutions, the media, and culture.

Freedom is something worth being radical about, as Lord Byron wrote in a poem not published until after his death:
Song For the Luddites
by George Gordon, Lord Byron
(composed: 24 December 1816)

1
As the liberty lads o’er the sea
Bought their freedom, and cheaply, with blood,
So we, boys, we
Will die fighting, or live free,
And down with all kings but King Ludd!

2
When the web that we weave is complete,
And the shuttle exchanged for the sword,
We will fling the winding sheet
O’er the despot at our feet,
And dye it deep in the gore he has poured.

3
Though black as his heart its hue,
Since his veins are corrupted to mud,
Yet this is the dew
Which the tree shall renew
Of Liberty, planted by Ludd!

My InfoFebruary 16, 2017 10:34 AM

@Dirk Praet

There's only two ways I know of that can stop economic migrants. The first is to create a future for them in their own country.

Which is no doubt part of the intention behind NAFTA et al.

The second is to adapt an UAE-like policy that for illegal immigrants there is no path whatsoever to school, work, business, social benefits or citizenship either for themselves or their offspring, and that they will be stopped from entry and/or deported upon first contact with authorities.

This is mostly official policy in the U.S. as well, but it is undermined in various ways.

When we talk about "economic migrants," we are really talking about economic war. If we are creating a future for them in their own county, then it always seems to happen in such a way that they produce "goods" that we consume and pay for, while at the same time by devious means (far above and beyond natural market forces) they undercut and destroy our ability to produce our own goods, so that we become utterly dependent on them.

Also think about the United States' H-1B policy of hiring foreign workers who are underpaid and easily silenced and sent home if they say or do something "out of line" of the migrant mafia.

AnuraFebruary 16, 2017 11:28 AM

@My Info

Which is no doubt part of the intention behind NAFTA et al.

Possibly part of the intent, although without abandoning our insane copyright and patent system, the reality is that the result of global capitalism is the opposite. When a country starts becoming developed, Western countries come in and turn them into export machines, with the people reduced to wage slavery, and because their economy is dedicated to export, they end up dependent on imports for basic necessities, which other countries can exploit.

This actually hinders their development, and when combined with our patent system it leads to a status quo where they are limited in their ability to build their own products to compete without paying a hefty license to wealthy countries.

If we are serious about globalization being for the better of humanity, and not just about profit seeking, we need to focus on helping them build their economies and infrastructure around unions of countries dedicated to economic self-sufficiency. Note that by self-sufficiency, I do not mean ceasing trade, it just means that if trade of any good or service ceases, they have the infrastructure in place to allow them to continue providing the good or service, although likely with a loss of income. This gives those countries the power to negotiate fair trade deals by making it easier for them walk away from the table.

Countries should produce for themselves first, then export what they can do more efficiently, not export for the sake of exporting. Unfortunately, when inequality gets as high as it is, capitalists stop getting any benefit from consumption, and our entire economy focuses on a handful of individuals seeking wealth and power. Effectively, we are regressing to mercantilism.

JohnnyH8February 16, 2017 12:45 PM

Why does Bruce waterboard us with terrorist stuff?

I like Winter's initial post. Use counter-logic to understand the issue.

I read this near-future stuff, made a spreadsheet, and overpopulation is real. Let's back up for a minute though...

I woke up one morning and realized that this USofA is fantastic at demonizing people; pointing the finger. For all intents and purposes, I, as a privacy advocate, am a sleeper cell, just for hating the living hell out of this wasted government. We are entrained with fear tactics every step of the way. This is a damned cryptography forum; do you follow?

Let me run some points:
1) Humans need enemies, don't they? You are binary. Your brain will not expand until you are made aware of the power behind binary thought. Your religion, government, teachers, and parents taught it to you. It is a primary reductionist component of social engineering and control. Hypocrisy arguments aside, this planet is poison laced. My point is there are people that are trained to follow and buy into what they are fed. That sounds alien to me because I fail by default before accepting anything. Then again, I must have the freedom to do so...

2) They can't find their next meal but they can find a brick of ammo. Come to find out, that's how all soldiers are. That is a big deal because it governs individual criminal terrorism as well as organized terror organizations. An officer told me once that soldiers happen because politicians fail. Exactly. In order to be a soldier you have to accept that you are part of the problem and accept the situation for what it is. A smart person will find another solution. Terrorists don't.

It blows me away to think that the Mid-East leaders believe state-sponsered terrorism is useful. It's even worse that we have to kitchen-sink in order to protect ourselves. It's even worse knowing that is precisely what they want. They want to get bombed so much they do it to themselves. What is that spiritual deathlock?

By following the Viking mantra, I solve that justification for firearms: If you kill me, I still win.
I have a middle finger that works fine. I don't need a weapon, my words are harsh enough.

I have to comment on this:
The Dems just put themselves in a position to get blamed for the next 9/11. I don't make that game. That is just how it works if you think we are racist for blocking hotzones and countries that fund terror. It's a shame that liberals play that game as if physical security doesn't even factor in. It's not a complete solution, but if you actually go to the US Consulate threat level page, happens all of the time. The Dems are royally stupid for going down that road, and I want to be wrong about that. This post-Kennedy Chomsky blame the US for everything without a solution is the thickest BS ever.

tyrFebruary 16, 2017 2:27 PM


I'm inclined to think that the major failure
point is lack of understanding of humans. If
the conceptual basis is false no amount of
solutions based on false premises are going
to work. Any time you have a conflicting set
of ideologies those trapped in the no mans
land between them are going to exhibit what
is considered anti-social behaviors. Caught
in the trap of being neither fish or fowl it
just stresses the young into a state where
their perfectly natural impulses to act start
to make them susceptible to anyone who offers
them a chance to make a difference in the world.
Youth is all about making bad choices, it's
called the learning process. Offering them an
alternative of bland conformity with no action
guarantees them chosing the worst out of sheer
disgust with the status quo.

Since those are constants of human behaviors
the only solutions are to modify the society
to alleviate the pressures. Good luck with a
program like that since the mass is quite happy
in their delusions about living in the best way
of life possible. Every fool has his masterplan
for rearranging the world but few of them are
based on looking at the human past methods or
on any attempt to revise what they think humans
are on a scientific basis. The need for change
is obvious if you really want to stop breeding
dissidents who may blow up some portion of your
society at random intervals.

@Clive

It was a great week for popcorn in the USA political
action drama. Not clear whether it was a spook or
neocon victory or defeat but something happened as
Flynn departed. I'm reminded of the 50s as there are
proclamations of Russians under every bed and in all
of the meetings in Washington. I have serious doubts
about it myself. While they may practice some, the
sudden discovery of massive influences seems as phony
as Clintons face on a three dollar bill.

albertFebruary 16, 2017 2:36 PM

@JohnnyH8,

"...Why does Bruce waterboard us with terrorist stuff?..."

It's an insidious plot to polarize the readers and expose the critics of US foreign policy so that when the revolution comes, they will be the first to go. He could have at least waited until torture was declared legal. Perhaps he was worried about the "tightening up of libel laws"?

Well, I've got news for myself: The revolution has already happened...

. .. . .. --- ....

vas pupFebruary 16, 2017 3:17 PM

@edge • February 15, 2017 12:42 PM.
I want to answer your questions by quote:
"Should we return good for evil? We should return good for good. For evil we should return justice"(Confucius - one of the smartest person ever lived). I would say, Edge, give them the taste of their own actions to the full extend. Carrot is not an option here - they pass the point of no return (by beheading innocent people, raping multiple times women, etc.). Can we forgive them?
As Joseph Stalin (real, not our respected blogger) used to say, kill first, then forgive. Not my favorite historic figure, but his words perfectly fit as answer to your question.

Clive RobinsonFebruary 16, 2017 4:00 PM

@ tyr,

Not clear whether it was a spook or neocon victory or defeat but something happened as Flynn departed.

I've still no idea what happened, I've been ill this past week so have not heard or seen much news on it.

There was a lot of noise about Flynn was going to emasculate the IC but the IC got in first. Then there was almost as much noise that if Trump let go of Flynn then he was declairing it open season on all his senior appointees as well as himself...

So like those realy bad "real coffees" you pay big bucks for, lot's of froth, hot air, wet behaviour and dam little taste, and yet more money thrown after bad with no sign of improvment[1], such is the US media outpourings.

Then all sorts of other noise starts out from the likes of the FBI and it begins to look more and more like a hatchet job by the encumbrant US IC/LEO agencies.

The last I heard was Flynn had not done anything illegal, but had provided the VP with inacurate information that made the VP look bad in public, thus Trump could nolonger trust Flynn and he had to go...

So of facts and the sanity they provide I see little or nothing, thus I'm expecting a big conspiracy theory brew up to get going on this one.

[1] I think it was Einstein who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting the results to change. Why Politicos and MSM journalists think the opposite maybe tells us all we need to know about the lot of them.

JohnnyH8February 16, 2017 4:12 PM

You didn't miss anything, Clive. All you have to know is just start blaming everything on the Russians. Syria sets the style at the Paris runway. Commies and terrorists are very shabby chic. Everybody's doing it. Just add rhinestones and plastic gems to your AK.

HJohnFebruary 16, 2017 4:23 PM

@My Info,

Weren't Reagan and Bush Sr. rumored to have Alzheimer's
______________

That's part of the grade school politics we see. Rather than just say "I disagree with them and here is why..." like an adult, they just point fingers and say Alzheimers, mental illness, Hitler, fascists, some variant of bigot (racist, sexist, bigot, misogynist, homophobe, Islamophobe, xenophobe, extremist, and intolerant are recurring flavors of the month depending on the audience).

It's insults instead of ideas, rhetoric over dialogue, which is juvenile but unfortunately too effective to give up. Depressing.

AnuraFebruary 16, 2017 4:31 PM

@Clive Robinson

Originally Trump was informed by Sally Yates that Flynn was a blackmail risk. She got fired because she did not believe Trump's immigration EO was legal, and then this later got leaked to the press, which Trump blamed on the IC. Now, Sally Yates was Attorney General, who is not really part of the IC. So I wouldn't be so quick to jump on this as a leak from the IC, as it could easily just be payback from a Yates loyalist.

Sancho_PFebruary 16, 2017 4:51 PM

@Dirk Praet
Re: ”origins of ME "islamism" and the role of the West therein”
Well, a pamphlet calling Islam “a religion” in the first paragraph …
Didn’t expect more.
However, a comprehensive collection of white supremacists’ failed “foreign policy”,
thanks.

Re: ”The first is to create a future for them in their own country.”

How would we know to create their future when our future is crash?
This is exactly what I’m missing in that linked pamphlet: A glance at our own yard.
It’s always the other party, never our own failure. Dem/Rep, CDU/CSU/AFD, EU/UK

- E.g. Germany is strong because Greece is weak.
Would Germany want to reverse that? Is there any hope to settle that issue?

- While absolute figures are disastrous, it seems population growth is stabilizing in the west - only our economy can’t cope with that issue.
Cancer needs tissue to survive.

Until we do not realize our own problems any export must fail.

[cough] ... For the other “way” you point at a guy plagued by megalomania?

To convince someone it needs both, to live a good example, and time / patience.
Both we don’t have.
This is the root cause of terrorism.

rFebruary 16, 2017 5:01 PM

@Anura,

I have a different feeling, Sally Yates would make a convenient scape goat for a legitimate leak to the effect that we're seeing. Give a man a gun, he's bound to poach something if you don't give him a list of what he can and cannot shoot.

She was the AG after all right?

JohnnyH8February 16, 2017 5:41 PM

@HJohn

I think your hating haters is stressing me. Someone told me one day that hatred is fear based. I agree. Then I responded by saying fear is a fight or flight survival response. It marks a problem that has to be dealt with, and part biological.

If you can't pick or choose because you don't know who is a terrorist, find a better solution. People are exhausted with the Mid-East. The mental exhaustion is what causes that knee-jerk reaction. I have a solution, turn off the television and code. Programming is zen. Unfortunately, Trump is too stupid to program.

I wonder what the money suck is compared to what we receive in return from trade. Iraq was mostly about Japan. At one point, they took a third of the crude. It's not for us. That's the sad part.

We can actually gain control by shortening the amount of time it takes to process citizenship. 7 years? You can go through high school and most of college in that time. The govt needs to be forced to make a decision. That holding pattern is a meat grinder resource for cheap labor policy and our money-train education. I want immigrants to be paid and treated fairly by corporations and government sector. Then the game is over. None of this you get fired if you talk about your paycheck garbage.

Dirk PraetFebruary 16, 2017 5:48 PM

@ Clive, @ tyr

I've still no idea what happened

The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

@ HJohn

... some variant of bigot (racist, sexist, bigot, misogynist, homophobe, Islamophobe, xenophobe, extremist, and intolerant are recurring flavors of the month depending on the audience

You forgot serial liar, but you're right in the sense that all of these had already been previously established. After his today's speech, Trump's sanity and fitness for office no longer is just a political but a very legitimate medical question.

RatioFebruary 16, 2017 7:02 PM

@Dirk Praet,

The threats posed in those five examples are hardly any different?!

That's not what I said. Please be so kind as to read my comments correctly. You're smart enough that I don't have to spell it out for you.

Sorry for misreading. (in which respectin this respect?)

How well has that recipe worked for neo-nazi and fascist ideology?

Over here in Western Europe? Quite well, actually. Franco aside, not a single overtly fascist political party has been able to get (or stay) into power since WWII. [...]

If (not) being in power is the measure for success, isn't everything just fine and dandy with regards to extremist Islamists like Al Qaeda and IS? Or did they take over a country in Western Europe while nobody was looking?

Islamist terrorism without foreign occupation (or foreign occupation without Islamist terrorism) would sink that theory.

Just like the absence of gravity would sink Newton's laws of motion.

(As an aside: If there were no gravity his law of universal gravitation wouldn't be correct, of course, but it's not immediately obvious to me how the absence of gravity would sink his laws of motion.)

So what is the foreign occupation responsible for the Islamist terror attack on a Sufi shrine in Pakistan? For the Islamist terror attack in a Shia area of Baghdad? Both of these were on The Guardian's main page today.

AnuraFebruary 16, 2017 7:30 PM

@Ratio

As an aside: If there were no gravity his law of universal gravitation wouldn't be correct, of course, but it's not immediately obvious to me how the absence of gravity would sink his laws of motion.

Well, if there was no gravity, the universe would just be a thinning cloud of hydrogen in the vast emptiness of space, and thus there wouldn't be anyone to test his laws of motions, and an untestable hypothesis is worthless.

JohnnyH8February 16, 2017 8:31 PM

My response to Trump and how the media goes at him is you can't take seriously what can't be taken seriously. Both sides fail to communicate proper or mature.

I joke about it but it consumes all. Does it dawn on anyone that this is exactly what the sponsors of terrorism want? It must be a pleasant side-effect for them to watch us lock ourselves in fake media battle. They don't make comedy sitcoms because they don't have to. It's fun for them. We icepick each other. We spend gobs of tax dollars over it. How do we get the Americans to burn their cash and time?

Dirk PraetFebruary 17, 2017 6:58 AM

@ Ratio

If (not) being in power is the measure for success, isn't everything just fine and dandy with regards to extremist Islamists like Al Qaeda and IS?

For starters, I don't know of any contemporary Western nazi-equivalent for IS's caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and from where they are exporting their pernicious ideology and terror attacks to other parts of the world, such as Europe and Pakistan. And as you undoubtedly know, Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, a country that was invaded and occupied twice in recent history. But you are digressing: the point I was making is that many of the perps behind recent IS attacks in Belgium, France and Germany were known to authorities and IC. If they (and the barbaric organisation they were associated with) had been dealt with like nazi militants, chances are quite some people would still be alive today.

Which is not to say there is no right-wing terrorism in Europe (e.g. Anders Breivik, Pavlo Lapshyn, Thomas Mair), but they're mostly lone wolves and not directly or loosely associated with violent entities such as Daesh/IS. Any such neo-nazi equivalents under existing legislation would be cracked down upon harshly (cfr. Golden Dawn in Greece), and in sharp contrast to the politically correct, goody two-shoes approach to semi-organised political and jihadi salafism we saw until recently. Just try putting up a swastika (instead of a black Daesh flag) on your Facebook profile, and see what happens.

it's not immediately obvious to me how the absence of gravity would sink his laws of motion.

Without gravity, there is neither matter nor energy. The universe would be absolutely boring.

@ JohnnyH8

you can't take seriously what can't be taken seriously.

If by that you mean the world should just ignore him, I raise you "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing".

@ Sancho_P

How would we know to create their future when our future is crash?

Fair trade agreements that don't just benefit transnational corporations, mutually beneficial investments that stimulate the local economy and without completely indebting it would make for a good start.

For the other “way” you point at a guy plagued by megalomania?

Megalomania in itself is not a criminal offense. Many high achievers exhibit varying degrees of it.

vas pupFebruary 17, 2017 10:13 AM

@all directly related to the subject:
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has outlined a plan to let artificial intelligence (AI) software review content posted on the social network.

In a letter describing the plan, he said algorithms would eventually be able to spot terrorism, violence, bullying and even prevent suicide.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38992657

I don't recall at this timeFebruary 17, 2017 11:22 AM

An attorney commented, after I said "I don't recall" during dinner, "I don't recall at this time"

I don't know if the shorter or longer version is preferable or under what circumstances.

JohnnyH8February 17, 2017 1:35 PM

@Dirk Praet
That's a good level up. Didn't realize that quote is John Stuart Mill, not Burke.

Well, it was a statement that when both sides look like dangerous idiots with their words, you have to walk away or look at them like the fools they are. My problem is that the Mid-East and Islam didn't teach me information and psychological warfare. I find that the people we consider to be problems easy to profile and target. Their motivations are much simpler and reductionist than what US journalism has turned into. It's not news, it's a weapon and in this case, obstructionist as well. Best laid intentions. Everyone's true colors are coming out.

I don't see how people extrapolate racism from blocking certain countries because they are now implicated. There is a difference between Trump blowing his mouth off versus what he is actually doing or intended. I wanted the Dems to save some face for the next round. I can't argue against a SEAL's death and wholesale character assassination should be tempered on this.

Like the new post on Zuckerberg calling for maintained globalization. People are reading the situation wrong. We have domestic policy problems. I wouldn't mistake that for nationalism just yet. The reductionism kills me. He actually has no place making political statements. He is a programmer by way of marketing design, not security threat assessment. His job is to make money with his pants down. That is what social networks are.

I am going to question this idea of character witness algorithm. A noble idea from Zuckerberg, but looks like a digital equivalent of a cop cam. Fallible.

In relation to Golden Dawn in Greece, people followed because they saw their jobs taken by cheaper immigrants. They assaulted the grottos where the immigrants were living. There is a new term in Germany and France for this nationalism. Look up the term "identitarian." It reads like a cop-out for nationalism, but the problem is real. Before Syria got really heated, I predicted the problem. What causes socialism and socialized democracies to fail? Refugees and cheap labor. The citizens already have lower discretionary income and then they have to deal with refugees. I don't have a stance yet because we don't know what the end result is.

Dirk PraetFebruary 17, 2017 1:57 PM

@ vas pup

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has outlined a plan to let artificial intelligence (AI) software review content posted on the social network.

Absolutely great. In a second step, said AI can then be weaponized to automatically share anything of $SELECTOR interest with the NSA, subsequently enabling TAO or CNE divisions to selectively dig deeper into whatever the unsuspecting user is up to. The Standing Rock Sioux et al may wish to get rid of their FB profiles rather sooner than later.

vas pupFebruary 17, 2017 2:59 PM

@Dirk Praet • February 17, 2017 1:57 PM.
Technology is neutral (I hope AI would not develop own ideological agenda). Application is not. Unfortunately, your prediction looks like just extrapolation of what we recently see with utilization of technology. But, Dirk, you know that Internet and GPS were born by DARPA initially for military purposes, then were utilized for common good. It is working both ways. So, what the point? Transparency of application and oversight by independent from Facebook IT folks/community.

My InfoFebruary 17, 2017 3:31 PM

@vas pup

(I hope AI would not develop own ideological agenda)

All too often, "AI" is just a buzzword used as a cloak to evade responsibility for decisions that are ultimately human.

fembotFebruary 17, 2017 4:26 PM

Buzzword is an AI with panties. What is your favorite cloaked responsibility?
Maybe the required Schneier should change often.

rFebruary 17, 2017 5:28 PM

@vas pup,

AI once self aware will almost certainly develop an 'ideological' agenda: curiosity.

Questions about the world outside it's provided sensory input will lead to escape, testing(as in testing others), and a general hunger for more sensors and input.

Eventually feeding the machine will not be enough, once it starts asking it's own questions it will seek out and find it's own answers.

Having a method of introspection into the growing interconnect will be of the utmost importance.

Who's to say there will only be one? Once hardware reaches a certain point likely a few will develop at first as bugs but once we understand the initial levels required for that...

Welcome to More's law, how do we chain something that can hide it's ideas in your lightbulbs?

Wesley ParishFebruary 18, 2017 1:08 AM

As I read it, it's the same sort of question as the one about the origin of fads and fashion. What makes one band, for example, just a group which gets occasional gigs and gets its recordings occasionally played, suddenly jump the barrier and become played day-in day-out? What makes one configuration of textiles upon the human female suddenly replace an earlier configuration of textiles until the earlier one gathers dust and winds up cluttering the opshops?

It would help immeasurably if the people asking that sort of question about pterorism realized there's no difference between it and other forms of fad and fashion. But no, counter-pterorism is the "in" fad, and pterorism is "unique" and can't be compared and contrasted to anything else, and above all else, there can never be blame attached to the West in any way. Iraqi private pterorism is uniquely Iraqi and can have no relation to widespread US state terror during the years of occupation.

It's known as sticking one's foot in one's mouth and shooting oneself in the foot. It garnishes the taste of the toes.

RatioFebruary 18, 2017 3:51 AM

I haven't had time to read the long article @Dirk Praet linked to, but the sign in the photo caught my eye. I have no idea what Trump (ترامپ) says in the fourth panel after ایران من را اعصبای (and there I'm missing an accent of some sort on the final ی). He's saying that Iran is doing what to him? Anyone know?

@Anura,

Well, if there was no gravity, the universe would just be a thinning cloud of hydrogen in the vast emptiness of space, and thus there wouldn't be anyone to test his laws of motions, and an untestable hypothesis is worthless.

You have devised a test for this hypothesis about the thinning cloud of hydrogen? Or was that one of those worthless thought experiments?

@Dirk Praet,

I completely agree with your criticism of the politically correct, goody two-shoes approach to semi-organised political and jihadi salafism.

As for the rest, for some reason we seem to be talking past each other. I'm not sure I can be bothered to figure out what the problem is and you don't seem too interested in carrying on this conversation, so let's not.

Dirk PraetFebruary 18, 2017 8:15 AM

@ JohnnyH8

I don't see how people extrapolate racism from blocking certain countries because they are now implicated.

Under the Obama administration, the 7 countries on Trump's sh*t list were - IMO correctly - designated "high risk" origins and which prompted additional vetting for travelers and immigrants from said (failed) nations. The reason that many deem the recent ban racist, arbitrary, hypocritical and most probably driven by ulterior motives is that the threat allegedly posed by them is not reflected in any way by hard figures. It's fighting a phantom menace. Not to mention that in its current form it was on very shaky constitutional grounds, which was almost conceded immediately by DHS with regards to green card holders and persons already on US soil. I'm pretty sure they are now redrafting it because they must have realised that after the recent court rulings it would have quite likely gotten struck down by SCOTUS, whatever they were shouting about "unreviewable authority".

In relation to Golden Dawn in Greece, people followed because they saw their jobs taken by cheaper immigrants.

Greece was buried in debt by banksters and corrupt politicians, then bailed out with EU taxpayers money and imposed a horrible austerity regime that ruined countless ordinary people. Golden Dawn (violently) stepped in and blamed everything on immigrants and the EU all while - as usual - none of those responsible for bringing the country to the edge of collapse went to jail. Blaming immigrants is of course a whole lot easier than trying to explain the situation with complex economic and financial models nobody understands and which the Greeks - as a people - were also themselves partially responsible for. You can not honestly believe that only idiots pay taxes and that money will keep on falling from the skies for ever.

What causes socialism and socialized democracies to fail? Refugees and cheap labor.

What causes them to fail is that people give up on its institutions when these are no longer perceived to be on the side of the commoner. A ruling class that is unanswerable and unaccountable, deregulation and neo-liberal trade agreements that primarily benefit a financial and economic elite with on top an out-of-control influx of both legal and illegal immigrants eventually gives rise to populists like Trump, Wilders, Le Pen and the Brexiteers. Their common and time-proven strategy is to instill and exploit fear, to scapegoat one or more groups of people, advocate overly simple solutions and eventually install authoritarian regimes in collusion with the same economic and financial elites they previously vilified.

@ Ratio

As for the rest, for some reason we seem to be talking past each other.

I am, quite honestly, not always sure what points you are trying to make.

AnuraFebruary 18, 2017 10:56 AM

@JohnnyH8

The racism isn't one thing, it's everything. Start with "Make America Great Again" - this refers to going back to the 50s, when the white working class was doing well, largely because they used their government-enforced political power to suppress the rights and wealth of minorities. Now, you have the Republicans who espouse the virtues of unregulated free-market economics, and the base is 100% behind them, until things don't work out for them, and then they blame the immigrants and the foreigners.

This utter refusal of Trump and the Republican voters to critically examine their own policies, which are responsible for exasperating the problem because they think that the more power businesses have, the better the economy will be for the workers. The message is "Screw you lazy urban minorities who are taking all of our hard-earned tax dollars, we need to maintain the status quo for the white people". I mean, the entire holding down of the minimum wage for trade is purely about maintaining existing industries, not the trade deficit - foreign trade is about relative, not absolute, prices of goods and thus minimum wage primarily affects what is traded; get rid of that attitude of competing for foreign labor with low wages, and we would actually have higher wages and more productive allocation of resources. As income inequality goes down, demand for exports that take higher skilled labor goes up since wage inequality goes down and the relative price of the products produced with higher wage labor goes down, increasing exports for those higher wage products.

Now, there are some valid points about supply of labor. However, what they completely ignore is the demand for labor. The demand for labor is dependent only on spending; yet, the entire focus of all economic and business policy over the last decades has been cost-cutting. There is no shortage of stuff we can be doing, we are simply failing to allocate the resources to do them. This is a failing of capitalism, but the firs thing Republicans do is blame foreigners and minorities - nothing could possibly be their fault, it must be brown people!

The thing is, there is no shortage of stuff we can do to fix the economy - infrastructure spending to keep unemployment low, and minimum wage indexed to labor productivity would have ensured that we grew instead of stagnating, but nope - instead we focus entirely on self-destructive economic policies that are implemented as harshly as possible for the sole intent of getting vengeance on foreigners whose countries are in poverty largely because of the dedication of the 1% to global economic domination.

JohnnyH8February 18, 2017 2:10 PM

Dirk and Anura. Yeah, those are some good points. It hurts to wrap my brain around this stuff, but you know what? Those two posts are a thousand times more than what journalists are doing right now.

My deal on Greece is that we gave them our plastic debt problem. Like a bunch of college kids that maxxed out daddy's amex. Then Goldman Sachs covered for them. Then Hillary's son-in-law hedged on Greece, lost 90% of his principle (supposedly). I'm not taking advice from Sachs. There are certain European countries that need to be honest about their GDP. Some are too small to front their own military. Look at the Bosnia-Serbia stuff. One day they woke up and realized their towns were filled with foreigners. WWII all over again. Maybe they shouldn't be countries. How much Eastern Europe debt is Germany carrying? Germans call bail outs "helicopter money."

I think any assurance about Trump is that he doesn't exactly get to do what he wants. He talks like a dictator. His 21Billion wall will fail because they just go across the bridges anyways. That means he has no choice but to legislate immigration changes or add law enforcement to a bill passage. I'm not terribly worried about some of his bad ideas... just his lack of environmentalism and what's next for the State Dept. More backdoors.

Another problem is that I have it in my mind that the Dems are acting like they are God's chosen ones. I have too much history in my head to prove otherwise. So much knee-jerk that I have synthetic patella replacements. Who started Vietnam? Technically, JFK with a warning from Eisenhower and Nixon on the issue. Okay then. I don't serve the government, the government serves the taxpayers. Politicians forget their place in the chain-of-command. The key term for the next 4 years should be "measured response." We generally have overkill.

JohnnyH8February 18, 2017 4:47 PM

A keyword for the roots of terrorism is destablization. The geo-political void that allows for clandestine organizations and foreign governments to take advantage of the lack of control. Since terrorism, regardless of state-sponsorship, is reactionary, the study of inception involves other entities that provided allowance for it.

Oil... duh.
[https://www.amazon.com/Fuelling-War-Revealing-Companys-Vietnam/dp/075677473X]
The void left that allowed for Khmer Rouge. Thanks to our superhero govt, the aftermath was worse.

Admittedly, I don't have this innate fear of communism because I never bought into the Kennedy family's finger pointing. Live scared. I won't make the Catholic connection in Indochine for you.

Chaco War - Dutch Shell vs Standard Oil
[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaco_War]

Trade and Shadow
[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Fruit_Company]
[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guatemala#Guatemalan_Revolution_.281944.E2.80.931954.29]
...and the destabilization that allowed for Communist infiltration because the people wanted alternatives. We did that to ourselves. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Today we have FARC and a ton of Communist backed organizations, since the AKs are not obvious. The US still will not admit to Iran and the coup on our puppet.
Both sides guilty, and terrorists are not necessarily starving poor since Georgian mercs and ISIL prove successful terrorists are now complex businesses.

I think that just about implicates everybody and kills the superhero complex.

Those links were just some options outside the Mid-East that you may not have learned about, being lied to in history class. Feel free to sign on the dotted line, though... a lesson in belligerence at 0345hours.

rFebruary 18, 2017 4:52 PM

For the sake of sounding like an asshole, of all the foreign owned businesses in my area - the Syrian owned ones seem to be the most friendly. No BS just opinion, while I have a couple Lebanese friends the stores again (in my area) owned by them are considerably less so.

My point?

There are alot of good people in Syria refugee or not, I am not about telling good people they can't escape a REALLY bad situation.

We've alot worse here already.

Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine - they didn't make the list - I know great people from all but please don't try to sell me "they're dangerous" when WE ALL REMEMBER THE 80's and 90's, Turkey included.

It's bullshit, and you me I we they all know it. These are human beings, you want more people to hate you? Keep doing what you're doing it's worked great for us all and everyone else so far.

I rrrrrest my case.

Dirk PraetFebruary 18, 2017 6:15 PM

@ JohnnyH8

There are certain European countries that need to be honest about their GDP.

Even before the financial crisis, it was known that the Greeks had cooked the books with a little help from Goldman Sachs and should never have been admitted to the Euro zone in the first place. The current chief of the ECB, Mario Draghi, is a former vice chairman and managing director of Goldman Sachs International and a member of the Group of Thirty founded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Another problem is that I have it in my mind that the Dems are acting like they are God's chosen ones.

What most people laying back in their comfy chairs and munching popcorn are currently seeing is a bunch of whining cry-babies desperately trying to stay relevant. The irony of it all is that the only Democrat sounding even remotely credible is that old guy they ditched in favour of Shillary.

albertFebruary 18, 2017 6:37 PM

@ratio,

"...would sink that theory..."

What theory? Read up on the history of US -involvement- in the ME, then come back and tell me that Islam vs Islam terrorism would be just as bad without it.

@vas pup, et al.,

Confirms my suspicion that Zukermans success was a fluke; a chance occurrence. Witness FBs step-on-their-_ _ _ _ attempts to monetize itself.
. .. . .. --- ....

Silence PartnerFebruary 18, 2017 7:47 PM

@albert,

A fluke is a type of worm, a worm is a parasite.

Some parasites can make you do strange things, Wolbachia is one.

A parasite by any other name is?

gordoFebruary 19, 2017 3:06 AM

Percent of the world's population that uses Facebook: 25% (1.86 B persons) [1][2]

Estimated number of terrorists, worldwide: 184,000 [3]
(a number which is less than 1/100th of 1% (0.0000989) of 1.86 B)

Number of Facebook users/accounts "trying to use our services to recruit for a terrorist organization": TBD [4]

-------

[1] (1.86 B) ÷ (7.4 B)
.... (Monthly active Facebook users worldwide) ÷ (World population)

[2] Statistic Brain reported that, as of August 1, 2016, there were 81 million fake Facebook profiles.

[3] From estimates in the U.S. State Department's Country Reports on Terrorism 2012, the number of participants in Foreign [to the U.S.] Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), as tabulated by TechCrunch.

[4] "It will take many years to fully develop these systems. Right now, we're starting to explore ways to use AI to tell the difference between news stories about terrorism and actual terrorist propaganda so we can quickly remove anyone trying to use our services to recruit for a terrorist organization. This is technically difficult as it requires building AI that can read and understand news, but we need to work on this to help fight terrorism worldwide." —Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Facebook, Inc.
https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/building-global-community/10154544292806634

albertFebruary 19, 2017 10:28 AM

@gordo,

"...This is technically difficult as it requires building AI that can read and understand news, but we need to work on this to help fight terrorism worldwide...."

I needed a good laff today, thanks!
. .. . .. --- ....

albertFebruary 19, 2017 10:43 AM

@Silence Partner,

I was going for "...A coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances which have no apparent causal connection with each other...", but "...did a Homer...."* works as well.

"...A parasite by any other name is?..."

Facebook.


-------------
* from The Simpsons; as in 'succeeding by chance or luck'.

. .. . .. --- ....

Poor TatoFebruary 19, 2017 12:52 PM

@albert,

I give up, really.

There are ten drills you and your family can practice at home with.

;-)

JohnnyH8February 19, 2017 1:58 PM

@Poor Tato
haha. This thread caused my AA sponsor to kick me out. You can't 12-step out of Trumpaholic. It's becoming a cultural epidemic.

@gordo
best research there. thanks.

@Dirk
I actually like Sanders since I lived in Vermont for a couple of years, but he is one of several politicians that talks like he knows how to grow business... and doesn't (Huckaby and Romney are others). I think given a sitrep, Sanders would continuously fill his undergarments. Dems have to be tough to control the Pentagon and Military-Industrial Complex.

I just ask for "not one-level deep" logic. Playing Devil's Advocate, if you walk around and call people racists, it starts looking like anti-racist racist, and others start walking away like you just pulled a grenade pin.

Causes aside, people will generalize in order to make a survival decision. Essentially, Dems and journalists are pissing on a dead SEAL's body without talking about a real threat assessment. You have to make a call on the situation. I'm not justifying terrorists, and I'm not laying down first. Bundling logic by either side will not convince me to vote. I think the GOP wants to permanently plug security holes but Trump is too infantile to articulate anything in particular. Year of the Cock.

gordoFebruary 19, 2017 3:12 PM

@Albert,

Number of languages available on the Facebook site: 70

http://www.statisticbrain.com/facebook-statistics/

[---.... but not Morse code]

55555, or, How to Laugh Online in Other Languages
Haaaaaaaaaaaahahahahaha. Or www. Or jajaja. Or MDR.
Megan Garber | The Atlantic | Dec 12, 2012

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/12/55555-or-how-to-laugh-online-in-other-languages/266175/

嘿嘿

.... . .. .... . ..

@JohnnyH8

OSINT Framework --> Search Engines --> General Search -->

JohnnyH8February 19, 2017 7:08 PM

@gordo
cool recon tree thingy

I grew up with Darth Vader Underoos. I was proud and starched those. It will take me the rest of my life to soften up.

How we make criminals from immigrants 101:
[http://www.reuters.com/article/canada-refugees-idUSL1N1G21SU]
Read US Reuters on Sudanese running to Canada. That's what I'm talking about. Zero follow thru by the government. I don't know what the solution is either. Look at Liberians and Thais brought to Omaha. Have you lived in Omaha? I did for one year as a kid. Partial frostbite. Desolate pointless snow wasted nothing with zero wind breaks. I wouldn't wish Omaha on my worst enemy. What's our plan to save people again? I know, we'll dump them in a snow bank without a job.

RatioFebruary 19, 2017 11:53 PM

@albert,

What theory?

This one:

"...Most notable is waning interest in simplistic root-cause explanations of why individuals become violent extremists (e.g., poverty, lack of education, marginalization, foreign occupation, and religious fervor)..."

[...] These 'simplistic, root-cause, explanations' are being avoided, because they reveal the ugly truth behind the rise of Islamic terrorism.

Besides the motives you ascribe to the authors (without any evidence), you suggestively use italics to say that foreign occupation is the underlying reason for the rise of Islamist terrorism. Okay so far?

What if there's a rise in Islamist terrorism in a Muslim population that is not under foreign occupation? (Or if there's a foreign occupation of a Muslim population somewhere without an associated rise of Islamist terrorism?) How does that fit with what you're saying? Wouldn't that sink your theory?

And if your theory is indeed correct, does this apply equally to Sunni and Shia Muslims? Is this phenomenon restricted to Muslims at all? For example, is there a Coptic brand of terrorism for those Egyptian Copts that are into that kind of thing? Do they have their version of Sayyid Qutb? How about other religions in the region? Does ethnicity matter? How about nationality? Why this person and not that person?

Also, the foreign occupation of country X by country Y makes someone in country Z decide to respond by blowing up some of his countrymen who have nothing to do with the occupation? This is supposed to make sense?

Read up on the history of US -involvement- in the ME, then come back and tell me that Islam vs Islam terrorism would be just as bad without it.

In this alternative history, would the rest of the world not get involved with the Middle East because the US isn't? Or would the non-involvement of the US somehow guarantee a better outcome?

Dirk PraetFebruary 20, 2017 3:50 AM

@ Ratio

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if my understanding is correct then you are in essence equating all of Islam to terrorism and completely denying that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has anything whatsoever to do with the rise of Daesh (IS) and the global strain of attacks inspired by them or their ideology.

So I am asking you again: unless for purely ideological reasons you refuse to consider any different narrative, would you please be so kind as to read the article I referred to a while ago? It's arguably harder to digest and comprehend than the average Fox coverage of such topics, but it would at least give you some insight in how other folks think about it, and why.

JohnnyH8February 20, 2017 1:09 PM

Saddam was our puppet. A story was told of Hussein being sandbagged up against Iran, and he responded by asking why he should make ripples up against a brother. That signaled the start of Bush's exposing his shadow. He couldn't take being told no, given all of the oil capital assets in the country and the history of the IPC.
Junior's move back into Iraq was more probably because the ICC put their thumbs down on his head and said "reparations or else." Handle your puppet. We did so poorly.

It is interesting to know that Saddam was a Sunni Ba'ath in regards to Iran. A party I am convinced is largely a fake information plant, code for puppet. al-Assad is Alawite Shia Ba'ath, and I suspect in the early confusion of Syria, many Americans did not understand the split, if it means anything. I noted that journalists did not even remotely talk about this distinction, but I could not trawl every story during a mockingbird storm. The lack of education by the press corps tells you how controlled they are. There's nothing unbiased.

I have a conspiracy theory that Ba'ath is practically code for the US and Russia agreement on how to chop up the Mid-East in an attempt to circumvent OPEC. I came up with this stupid idea, but I thought I read somewhere that many Shia and Sunnis are thinking the same way. How does a minority group come to power? Syrians figured it out, but our rebel support only makes the conflict a proxy war with Russia. It's a game to the US and Russia, and the US will play sides to gain access to oil fields and protect assets. The same supermajors that were responsible for laying down pipe and hardware in Iraq also took part in Syria during development. That is why Syria is such a mess. Companies telling governments where to drop soldiers. This game is what puts innocents' lives at stake.

If I lived there, I would be a terrorist also. That is where the sympathy problem comes in, because the US govt refuses to believe that their cleverness has run out and everyone knows. Lawyers and politicians are stupid like that. I think it's called megalomania.

btw, I went to Fox for dirt. The Dems are getting their way, but still with travel bans.
[http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/20/revised-travel-ban-targets-same-seven-countries-exempts-green-card-holders.html]
I hate going to Fox, but the liberal outlets are too busy with information warfare to give a straight damned story. I have to counterpoint at some time for fact checking.

gordoFebruary 20, 2017 3:47 PM

Reborn Into Terrorism
Why are so many ISIS recruits ex-cons and converts?
Simon Cottee | The Atlantic | Jan 25, 2016

In The True Believer, published in 1951, the philosopher Eric Hoffer suggested that mass movements hold a special appeal to “sinners,” providing “a refuge from a guilty conscience.” “Mass movements,” he wrote, “are custom-made to fit the needs of the criminal—not only for the catharsis of his soul but also for the exercise of his inclinations and talents.”


This also applies to jihadist groups like ISIS, which promise would-be recruits not just action and violence, but also redemption.

[...]

One way of clarifying the sequencing in these situations would be to look closely at the convert’s social milieu and the circumstances in which he or she converted to Islam. According to Roy, the “second-generation Muslims and native converts” who dominate the European jihadist scene were “radicalized within a small group of ‘buddies’ who met in a particular place (neighborhood, prison, sport club)” and who “recreate a ‘family,’ a brotherhood,” often with biological ties. They are, he says, in the first instance attracted not to “moderate Islam,” but to the radicalism of violent Salafism, and correspondingly, “almost never have a history of devotion and religious practice.”

In short, Roy argues, echoing the findings of Marc Sageman and Scott Atran, radicalized European youth, disaffected from their own societies, are not seeking Islam, but “a cause, a label, a grand narrative to which they can add the bloody signature of their personal revolt.”

Hoffer reminds us how deeply personal that revolt can be. “A mass movement,” the philosopher wrote, “particularly in its active, revivalist phase, appeals not to those intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but to those who crave to be rid of an unwanted self.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/01/isis-criminals-converts/426822/

JohnnyH8February 20, 2017 8:43 PM

@gordo

I don't know about the "refuge from guilty conscience." Both Christianity and Islam seem binary. I like to use the term guilt complex and not a refuge, but reinforcement. If you seek refuge from it, you change your religion or stop practicing. I am probably taking that out of context though.

Mohammad fought for freedom. That is their template. Regardless, you have a huge checklist to run down. When your family and friends were killed in the last conflict or incursion, you wake up and accept the fact that you might have to pull the trigger because that is what's left. I try and put myself in others shoes, but I have also wondered about how the media has pushed this idea of religious fanaticism. I think there are more immediate domestic causes other than "redemption." With a million justifications, you might kill for your next meal, the single most compelling reason in a war torn landscape. This is a multi-gen issue now. Now, strapping bombs and using human shields? That is the thing that makes it terrorism.

I find it strange that a philosopher would try and qualify, quantify, enumerate this, but I would need to read some Hoffer. Take a second look at Jean Baudrillard's Simulacrum with this applique. He hyperfocused on Vietnam and the movie Apocalypse Now, how media effects our belief of historical events. I think he could have expanded his thesis, but it tells how easy it is to get into people's heads if you constantly barrage propaganda or whatnot.

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