By Paul E. Santiago, Director, International Policing Division, IACP
errorism, a subject that has many facets, was recently the subject of an IACP global policing summit in Paris, France, September 21–22. The IACP held the event, titled Terrorism and the Prevention of the Radicalization of Youth, which focused on the youth facet of the terrorism picture. Partnering with the IACP to conduct this event were INTERPOL, FRANCOPOL, and the French National Police. Opening remarks for the summit were offered by the leaders of each organization: Frederic Pechenard, director of the French National Police; Chief of Police Michael Carroll, then-president of the IACP; Ron Noble, secretary general of INTERPOL; and Emile Perez, president of FRANCOPOL. Each provided remarks on the topic to set the tone and frame the summit. Perez, who also served as moderator for the conference said, “We as police have to realize that when the only response is police, it is too late. We need a political and social response.”
The summit attracted attendees from 49 countries and featured a distinguished list of panelists. Panels were organized in a logical order so as to cover all aspects of the radicalization phenomenon: causation of radicalization, recruitment, deradicalization programs, prevention strategies, and a summary regarding the future.
After the organizational leaders set the focus and tone for the summit, each participant was asked to share their thoughts on the subject of radicalization of youth from their own experiences or that of the countries they represent. This created a sense of cohesion in the group and added to the cohort experience. These comments were nonattributive and provided great benefit to those in attendance.
Prior to the beginning of the five panel discussions, Alain Bauer, professor of criminology and president of the French National Crime Commission provided an overview of the issue of youth in terrorist organizations and radical activities. But he began on the macro level by saying that “strategic surprise is an outcome of strategic blindness that we must fight outside of our comfort zone and recognize that intelligence isn’t just for large cities, but that small cities and local towns play an important role, just as the Gendarmerie does in France. Moreover, “we must also understand that the term ‘national security’ is not solely a matter of national defense, but that it goes much deeper than that, and that for the first time since 9/11, on both sides of the Atlantic, the understanding seems to be joined.” Further, that “we cannot put together a strategy simply by electronically collecting and disseminating information; it is important to establish conceptual and operational foundations.” Bauer went on to say that “criminologist[s] try to understand the criminal not judge the criminal,” and as such we must recognize that “terrorist use the tools and mechanisms of criminals. Bauer feels that, “the war on terror has failed, failed in determining who the enemy is.” Finally, Bauer said, “we must look at the organized crime terrorism continuum, in that there is a symbiosis between various types of crime, and that to detect is prevention, and therefore part of the process of combating terrorism.”
The first panel moderated by Christer Ekberg, formerly of the Swedish Criminal Intelligence Service and presently of the Royal Academy of War Sciences in Sweden, helped to focus on the first step of the process: causation. Javed Ali Mustafa of the FBI talked about the three notions that had heretofore been made about the causation of radicalization in the United States, and that those notions are now being questioned. Antoine Sfeir, journalist, professor, and editor of the magazine Les Cahiers de l’Orient, spoke about the mere fact of building a madrassa does not contribute to fundamentalism; it is the person who preaches inside that contributes to the causation. Emiliano Calzada, police attaché to France from Spain, explained that radicalization disconnects the person from assimilation, that the gradual shift can be identified by certain variables, and that identifying these variables is important. Carstan Voss of the German Bundeskriminalamt (Federal Criminal Police Office) spoke on right-wing extremism and the German experience.
The second panel, moderated by David Beer, IACP international vice president, focused on recruitment. This panel comprised Dawn Scalici of the United States Department of Homeland Security; Christophe Chaboud of the Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence, France; Nicolas Jauniaux, head of the Penitentiary Intelligence Office, Ministry of Justice, France; and Sean Martell, chief inspector, New Scotland Yard, United Kingdom. This panel discussed the difficulty in identifying at-risk youth for the purposes of focusing governmental preventive measures. The panel also talked about propaganda and the smart use of the media as important tools for those doing the recruiting, perhaps making up 90 percent of the recruitment effort, according to one of the panelist. The Internet is a virtual university for educating and recruiting jihadist, just as are prisons. While in prison, inmates are not hermetically sealed off from the outside world and are susceptible to the contagion effect of fundamentalist recruiters. And, while in prison, it is easy for inmates to move from “I” to “we;” sometimes, this shift is a convenient conversion to avoid being ostracized and isolated, which means unprotected.
The third panel, facilitated by Emile Perez, president of FRANCOPOL and director of the French National Police International Cooperation Division, concentrated on deradicalization programs. Panelists presented on regional successes and programs from Jordan, Singapore, and countries from the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. Major Feras Mahmoud Mohammad Al-Rashid provided the Jordanian experience, highlighting the role that intelligence gathering plays to facilitate prevention, as well as the importance of police dialogue with people holding extremist thoughts. Major Al-Rashid articulated Jordan’s active participation in the international network to combat terrorism through police cooperation and information sharing after a terrorist event. Grace Li from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore, provided the Singaporean experience, which detailed two key components of Singapore’s counterterrorism approach: the rehabilitation of detained terrorists and a counterideology outreach to the community. Dr. Omar Ashour from Exeter University focused on a few of the near two dozen countries that have deradicalization programs. He stated that they fall into two basic categories: that is, those that are considered process driven such as Egypt and Algeria, and those that are program driven such as Saudi Arabia and Singapore. He went into some detail with respect to the process-driven ones that fall into three categories: comprehensive, pragmatic, and substantive. His research and fieldwork found that leadership, classical security and military tactics, selective inducements, and interactions with the subject are primary drivers of deradicalization and ending political violence.
The fourth panel, facilitated by Paul E. Santiago, director of the IACP International Policing Division, focused on prevention strategies. Tony Heal from the Home Office in the United Kingdom presented the United Kingdom counterterrorism strategy known as CONTEST, with focus on one of the four components known as PREVENT, whose aim is to address specific causes of radicalization by meeting five objectives:
- Challenge the ideology behind violent extremism and support mainstream voice
- Disrupt those who promote violent extremism and the places where they operate
- Support individuals who are vulnerable to recruitment or who have already been recruited by violent extremists
- Increase the resilience of communities to violent extremism
- Address the grievances which ideologues are exploiting
Gilles Michaud, assistant commissioner for national security criminal investigations, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), stated that the police cannot influence ideology. Instead, the emphasis should be on stemming criminal violence by building community resilience to radicalization and violent messaging. Michaud discussed the RCMP’s approach to counterradicalization, with a particular focus on the Clients, Analysis, Partnerships, Response, Assessment (CAPRA) community policing model, which lies at the heart of the RCMP’s intelligence-led, community-based policing philosophy. Jennifer Buntman of the New York City Police Department, Intelligence Division, provided a case study on the importance of intelligence in prevention strategies. Finally, José Fernández Duarte from Spain reported on the European Union Working Group on Terrorism, which took place during the Spanish presidency of the European Union in the first semester of 2010.
The summit was closed out by the fifth panel titled Future/Summary, facilitated by Andrew Castor, deputy assistant director, Counterterrorism Division, FBI. Ivan Gelbard from the Europol Counter Terrorism Unit stated, “Prevention is the key which can be applied to all crime, and that radicalization is not just a police problem, it is a societal problem.” He was joined in the panel by Laurent Moscatello, assistant director of INTERPOL’s Public Safety and Terrorism Sub-Directorate. Haider Shah of the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate of the United Nations talked about different perceptions of the threat and great challenges to a global response to the problem.
At the national level, the response needs to be broad, holistic, and integrated. The need for international cooperation, including mutual legal assistance, in dealing with incitement to commit terrorist acts cannot be stressed more. There is also great scope for regional and subregional cooperation, which remains an untapped potential. Regional organizations can play their role more effectively since they are closer to the scene and are better placed to understand the issues of their region.
There is a need to empower and enlist women as a resource and as an active partner in addressing incitement. For example, women can provide a vital perspective on youth rehabilitation programs in different societies.
By all accounts the conference was a success, in no small part thanks to the hard work of the conference host, the French Ministry of Interior, and members of the French National Police. This summit was made possible through generous donations from the Motorola Corporation and the Target Corporation.■
Editor’s note: Police Chief magazine will feature full-text versions of some of the panelist presentations in upcoming issues.
Please cite as:
Paul E. Santiago, "IACP Holds Global Summit on Terrorism," The Police Chief 77 (December 2010): 22,
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CPIM1210/#/22 (insert access date).