This Week — ONLINE TERRORISM SALON Co-Hosted with UN Dispatch


Over the course of a week I will be hosting and moderating an online salon discussion on terrorism in conjunction with Mark Goldberg of UN Dispatch. The questions and prompts will cover everything from defining the scope of the threat to root causes to the most effective counterterrorism tactics within a broader strategy. The participants — though drawn from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines — have all spent considerable intellectual energy examining these questions and debates for several years and will provide an excellent dialogue. The discussants are:

Peter Bergen, New America Foundation
Paul Cruickshank, NYU Center on Law and Security
Greg Djerejian, The Belgravia Dispatch
Yosri Fouda, Al-Jazeera
Stephanie Kaplan, Woodrow Wilson Center
Matthew Levitt, Washington Institute on Near East Policy
Alastair Millar, Center on Global Counter Terrorism Cooperation
Eric Rosand, Center on Global Counter Terrorism Cooperation

Stay tuned here at TWN over the course of this week and part of next for what is sure to be a high-level and provocative discussion.
The full bios of the particpants appear below the fold and can also be found here at the UN Dispatch Terrorism Salon page.

Peter Bergen, New America Foundation
Peter Bergen is a Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, a print and television journalist, and the author of Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden, which has been translated into 18 languages. He is also the author of The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of Al Qaeda’s Leader. Both books were named among the best nonfiction books of the year by The Washington Post, and documentaries based on them were nominated for Emmys in 2002 and 2007. Mr. Bergen is CNN’s terrorism analyst, an adjunct lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a fellow at New York University’s Center on Law and Security. He is a member of the editorial board of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism and has testified on Capitol Hill. Mr. Bergen holds a M.A in modern history from New College, Oxford University.
Paul Cruickshank, NYU Center on Law and Security
Paul Cruickshank is a Fellow at the Center on Law and Security at New York University’s School of Law. Previously Paul worked as an investigative journalist in London, reporting on al Qaeda and its European affiliates and was part of the CNN reporting team that covered the London July 7, 2005 attacks. He collaborated closely with Peter Bergen in interviewing acquaintances of Osama bin Laden for Bergen’s 2006 oral history The Osama bin Laden I Know and worked with CNN on a two-hour Emmy-nominated documentary In the Footsteps of Bin Laden. Cruickshank has written about al Qaeda and Islamist groups for a number of publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. He has provided on-air analysis to CNN, BBC, NBC, CBS, BBC, Fox News and Al Jazeera on national security issues. Cruickshank graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in history, and has a Masters degree with Honors in International Relations from the Paul. H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. He has also worked in the European Parliament in Brussels and at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C.
Greg Djerejian, The Belgravia Dispatch
Gregory Djerejian is a financial services professional, particularly active in commercial real estate and resort development, as well as alternative investments. He also manages a philanthropic organization active in the Republic of Armenia. Previously, Djerejian worked, in conjunction with the State Department, on the “train and equip” program for the Bosnian Federation military and with the International Rescue Committee in the former Yugoslavia. Djerejian has been a keen follower of international politics for many years, having lived in ten countries and travelled to dozens more. He has some expertise in regional issues (Caucasus, FSU, Middle East, Balkans, Western Europe), as well as international law and international organizations (particularly NGOs). He is fluent in French and conversant in Spanish and Russian. Djerejian was admitted as a term member to the Council on Foreign Relations and member of the New York State Bar. He serves as director of several entities, including a NY-based hedge fund and various non-profit entities. He received a B.S.F.S. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, before later receiving a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. In addition, he will shortly be beginning the Executive MBA program at Columbia University. He has been published in various newspapers like the Financial Times and New York Times, and occasionally comments on foreign policy matters at his web-log Belgravia Dispatch. He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.
Yosri Fouda, Al-Jazeera
Yosri Fouda is the Chief Investigative Correspondent and Former London Bureau Chief for Al-Jazeera. He is also a distinguished visiting professor at the American University in Cairo and the Director of Cairo’s International Center for Journalism (ICFJ). Fouda is the only journalist in the world to have interviewed two of the world’s most wanted men in 2002, prior to their capture. For 48 hours, in an al-Qaeda safe house in Karachi, Pakistan, he listened to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the head of al-Qaeda military committee and the alleged murderer of Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Pearl, and Ramzi Binalshibh, the link between Mohammed Atta and senior al-Qaeda leadership, as they proudly claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon. Having been based in London, England, for the past 12 years, Fouda joined the BBC World Service TV as a ‘roving reporter’ covering war zones and troublesome places in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East. He moved on to join the Associated Press TV as ‘deputy editor’ for the Middle East desk, before helping establish al-Jazeera in 1996. He started as ‘London Bureau Chief’ and moved on a year later to devise al-Jazeera’s investigative show, “Top Secret”, the first of its kind on Arab TV.
Stephanie Kaplan, Woodrow Wilson Center
Stephanie Kaplan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she is a member of the MIT Security Studies Program. Her dissertation, “The Jihad Effect,” explores the impact of war on the jihadist terrorist threat from the Soviet-Afghan War to the present. Kaplan is a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a New Ideas Fund scholar. Last year she was a pre-doctoral fellow with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). She has also been a consultant to the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, Kaplan served as special assistant to the executive and deputy directors of the 9/11 Commission, where she was also managing editor of the Commission’s final report. Before that, she was assistant director for international security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and an associate with the Aspen Strategy Group, a policy program of the Aspen Institute. In 2000, Kaplan graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Matthew Levitt, Washington Institute on Near East Policy
Dr. Matthew Levitt is a senior fellow and director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence as well as an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He is the author of Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad and Negotiating Under Fire: Preserving Peace Talks in the Face of Terror Attacks to be released by Rowman & Littlefiled in of August 2008.
Alastair Millar, Center on Global Counter Terrorism Cooperation
Alistair Millar is the Director of the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation. He also teaches graduate level courses on counterterrorism and US foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University. Millar has written numerous chapters, articles, and reports on international counterterrorism efforts, sanctions regimes, and nonproliferation. He is author, with Eric Rosand, of Allied against Terrorism: What’s Needed to Strengthen Worldwide Commitment.
Eric Rosand, Center on Global Counter Terrorism Cooperation
Eric Rosand is a senior fellow at the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation in New York and a nonresident fellow at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation. Previously, he served in the US Department of State for nine years, working on counterterrorism issues both in the Office of the Counterterrorism Coordinator and at the US Mission to the United Nations. He is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and reports on enhancing international and regional counterterrorism cooperation and the co-author, with Alistair Millar of Allied Against Terrorism: What’s Needed to Strengthen Worldwide Commitment (Century; 2006). He has a LLM from Cambridge University, a JD from Columbia University Law School, and a BA from Haverford College.

— Steve Clemons


2 comments on “This Week — ONLINE TERRORISM SALON Co-Hosted with UN Dispatch

  1. Kathleen says:

    Steve, I am so very pleased to see you working closely with UN Dispatch on this topic…thougyt TWN readers would be interested in how the “War on Terror” effects NGO’s.
    July 24, 2008
    NGO ‘Blacklist’ Unfair and Arbitrary, Groups Say
    by William Fisher
    In the name of “global war on terror,” the US government is waging war on non-governmental organization by applying “shortsighted, undemocratic policies” that are “constraining the critical activities of the charitable and philanthropic sectors, stifling free speech, and ultimately impeding the fight against terrorism.”
    This is the conclusion of a new white paper prepared by two prominent non-governmental organization, OMB Watch and Grantmakers Without Borders. OMB stands for the government’s Office of Management and Budget, the White House office responsible for devising and submitting the president’s annual budget proposal to Congress.
    The report charges that the government views nonprofits as “conduits for terrorist funding and a breeding ground for aggressive dissent.” It accuses the courts of being “overly deferential” to the US Treasury Department, which is responsible for conducting programs designed to stem the flow of money to terrorist organization
    It contends that federal agencies “ignore nonprofits’ calls for change,” and says, “Congress has not utilized its oversight powers to review counterterrorism programs.”
    The report says that the US nonprofit community today “operates in fear of what may spark (the government) to use its power to shut them down.”
    Kay Guinane, director of Nonprofit Speech Rights at OMB Watch, argued that the current approach to counterterrorism as it relates to nonprofits and foundations is ultimately counterproductive.
    She told IPS, “In order to preserve the rights of all nonprofit organization, and indeed, the rights of all people, all levels of government must conduct their counterterrorism activities in a way that consistently protects liberty and civil society. Otherwise, Americans and others lose safeguards that were designed to protect us all from creeping tyranny.”
    The report, “Collateral Damage: How the War on Terror Hurts Charities, Foundations, and the People They Serve,” asserts that “current counterterrorism policies are based on a flawed legal regime and broad, vague definitions; the policies rely on flawed assumptions about terrorism and nonprofits; and the policies are abused by the government to engage in unconstitutional, political use of surveillance powers.”
    The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is the target of much of the report’s criticism of the government’s approach. After the Sep. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the US, Congress gave the government sweeping new powers to crack down on not-for-profit organization that were using their charitable status as cover for funneling funds to terrorist groups.
    These powers include the authority to designate any charity as a material supporter of terrorism. This action demands virtually no due process from the government, denies the target to see the evidence against it, and can result in freezing of a charity’s assets, effectively shutting it down. Since 9/11, the government has shut down dozens of charitable groups, but only three have ever been charged and brought to trial for supporting terrorist causes. None has been convicted.
    The report explains that current counterterrorism financing policy allows the funds of designated charitable organization to sit in frozen accounts indefinitely. Treasury’s 2006 Terrorist Assets Report estimates that 16,413,733 dollars in assets from “foreign terrorist organization,” which include charities and foundations, have been frozen since 9/11.
    The laws that authorize the designation and freezing of assets do not provide any timeline or process for long-term disposition, so they remain frozen for as long as the root national emergency authorizing the sanctions lasts. To date, no blocked funds have been released for charitable purposes, despite several requests, the report claims.
    It also asserts that the government has used its surveillance powers against charitable groups for political purposes. It charges, “In addition to providing aid and services to people in need, charitable and religious organization help to facilitate a free exchange of information and ideas, fostering debate about public policy issues. The government has treated some of these activities as a terrorist threat. Since 9/11, there have been disturbing revelations about the use of counterterrorism resources to track and sometimes interfere with groups that publicly and vocally dissent from administration policies.”
    In 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched its Spy Files Project and uncovered an intricate system of domestic spying on US non-profits largely condoned by expanded counterterrorism powers within the USA PATRIOT Act.
    The report finds that “US counterterrorism laws have made it increasingly difficult for US-based organization to operate overseas. For example, after the 2004 tsunami, US organization operating in areas controlled by the Tamil Tigers, a designated terrorist organization, risked violating prohibitions against ‘material support’ when creating displaced persons’ camps and hospitals, traveling, or distributing food and water.”
    For aid organization like the International Red Cross, compliance with US counterterrorism laws can force NGOs to violate standards of neutrality in their work. The Principles of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Response Programs state, “The humanitarian imperative comes first. Aid is given regardless of the race, creed or nationality of the recipients and without adverse distinction of any kind. Aid priorities are calculated on the basis of need alone.”
    In some cases, the report declares, counterterrorism laws have caused nonprofits to pull out of programs For example, in 2003 Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors suspended funding for a Caribbean program designed to “kick-start a flow of American charity” to that region because of an inability to comply with Treasury Department regulations.
    Professor David Cole, a constitutional law expert at the Georgetown University Law Center, said, “The legal regime employed in the name of cutting off terror financing gives the executive branch a blank check to blacklist disfavored individuals and groups, imposes guilt by association, and lacks even minimal attributes of fair process.”
    He told IPS, “With our return to a ‘preventive paradigm’ of preemptively weeding out threats to national security, guilt by association has been resurrected from the McCarthy era. While it was illegal in the 1950s to be a member of the Communist Party, it is now a crime to support an individual or organization on a terror watch list, although the government can designate and freeze assets without a showing of actual ties to terrorism or illegal acts.”
    Other observers believe that the campaign against charities that conduct programs in Muslim areas is part of a larger suspicion of Arabs and other Muslims. Samer Shehata, professor of Arab Politics at Georgetown University, told IPS, Islamophobia “produces an environment that is fundamentally at odds with what the US is supposed to be about; our values for treating everyone fairly and not discriminating on the basis of skin color, race, religion, gender, etc.”
    He adds, “This is damaging certainly for all Americans and it is also damaging for the reputation of the US overseas. One of the questions I hear the most whenever I am in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East is: how is it like now in the US for Arabs? Have you been the victim of discrimination, bigotry, abuse?”
    (Inter Press Service)


  2. arthurdecco says:

    What you have defined as terrorism is actually the response to it.
    Any discussion on terrorism that leaves out the terrorist actions of the Israelis, Americans and the British isn’t worth the price of the food served at the event.


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