Like 74, I don’t see anything overtly menacing about this. Who could possibly argue against doing all we can to stop terrorism around the world, and build a repository of “best practices” that any city can access just to see how other cities are becoming more successful at staying safe? (Subtle Sarcasm/OFF — Note the word “overtly” at the top – key word – read on.)
I guess I get a bit up tight when I see Mayor de Blasio as one of the keynote people introducing this thing, however.
And then when I find out that the “introduction” of this initiative is long, long after the fact of its creation, I begin to wonder why and how all that already-in-place organization got going, and by whom. The behind-the-scenes coordination is evident by the number of cities already directly involved and committed, the number of international organizations involved, and the fact that this was announced to the public from none other than the UN stage. But what could possibly go wrong?
For background, check out some of the details in Whirlibird’s official link from the DOJ web site :
The SCN will include an International Steering Committee of approximately 25 cities and other sub-national entities from different regions that will provide the SCN with its strategic direction. The SCN will also convene an International Advisory Board, which includes representatives from relevant city-focused networks, to help ensure SCN builds upon their work. It will be run by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a leading international “think-and-do” tank with a long-standing track record of working to prevent violent extremism:
“The SCN provides a unique new opportunity to apply our collective lessons in preventing violent extremism in support of local communities and authorities around the world”, said CEO Sasha Havlicek of ISD. “We look forward to developing this international platform for joint innovation to impact this pressing challenge.”
Note: “it will be run by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD).” What’s the ISD? Look it up on a search engine and you’ll find all sorts of information. The following, however, is from the very beginning of one of its major initiatives. That fundamental focus is “far-right extremism.”
Far-right extremism takes a number of forms. There are four main types of agents: youth gangs, white power and skinhead groups; terrorist cells and lone actors; political movements and paramilitary groups; and nativist, dentitarian and anti-Islam movements. They engage in a wide range of activities: spontaneous hate crime, vandalism and hooliganism; street demonstrations; shock tactics; hate speech and incitement; and planned hate crime and terrorism.
Some here might remember the MIAC Strategic Report: The Modern Militia Movement, which defined potential domestic terrorists as the “far right.”
Who is the CEO of ISD? Sasha Havlicek (link)
Sasha previously served as Senior Director at the US think-tank, the EastWest Institute (EWI), where she headed the organisation’s conflict resolution and transition work, setting up field operations across the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Russia. She also served on a Task Force of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe in the aftermath of the Balkan wars.
Sasha currently co-chairs the EU’s Internet Radicalisation working group, serves on the board of the Women Without Borders SAVE Initiative and is a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Strategic Advisor for the ISD is the well-connected Farah Pandith. According to the “Personnel” link on the ISD site, she “has been a political appointee in the George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama administrations. She left government at the end of January 2014 for Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government where she maintains an affiliation.” Even more fun though, is the following:
Farah is driving efforts to counter extremism through new organizations, programs, and initiatives. She was appointed the first-ever special representative to Muslim Communities in June 2009 by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Office of the Special Representative was responsible for executing a vision for engagement with Muslims around the world based on a people-to-people and organizational level. She reported directly to the secretary of state.
Nothing wrong on the surface with any of that, of course. Links to Hillary Clinton? What else could go wrong? I only thought others might want to know just a couple of the folks behind the organization (ISD) that will be “running” the SCN. No treaties, no congressional action needed. Just a pen and a cell phone, linking US cities through the SCN, “run” by the ISD.
As Alan Stang used to say at the end of his broadcasts, “Think about it!”