Monday, July 27, 2009

Radical (Islamic) Rhetoric doesn't occur in a vacuum

Dear Friends,

The article below is welcome news. The U.S. must begin looking beyond the acts of Islamic terrorism and examine the real root causes for such terrorism, beginning with the doctrine of jihad and the call to jihad that permeates the holy books of Islam.

The radical rhetoric doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Perhaps analyzing the rhetoric may lead some in the Department of Homeland Security to seriously analyze the Islamist doctrines and ideology behind the rhetoric.



by Mickey McCarter
Thursday, 16 July 2009

DHS hopes to correlate language of extremist groups to acts of terrorism

A privacy assessment filed by researchers at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has thrown some light on a project to study "radical rhetoric" and how extreme language relates to violent activities in acts of terrorism.

The research effort, formally titled Comparative Case Studies of Radical Rhetoric, aims to examine whether characteristics of rhetoric used by extremists have a relationship with how likely they are to engage in violence.

The Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division (HFD) of the DHS Directorate of Science and Technology (S&T) undertook the project to see if it could determine whether analyzing rhetoric could distinguish between groups that do and do not engage in violent attacks or could assist in predicting upcoming violent attacks by specific groups, HFD said in a privacy report made public Wednesday.

The HFD division is providing funding to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to carry out the work to correlate radical rhetoric with acts of violence. Researchers on the project use open source intelligence sources to examine the speeches, statements, and papers of four foreign extremist groups: al Qaeda, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Hizb ut-Tahir, and the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia.

"Central" al Qaeda and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, led by Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, engage in terrorism against nations and institutions they oppose, the report noted. Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia follow the same ideology and goals but do not engage in terrorism, researchers said.

So the HFD division has broken the four groups into two control groups to examine their rhetorical differences and then to see if any conclusions can be drawn from the differences. By comparing the al Qaeda groups to the other two groups, researchers expressed hope they could determine who would engage in violent acts based on what they have to say.

Researchers plan to search the Open Source Center, provided by the US director of National Intelligence, and Hizb ut-Tahrir's Web sites for documents. From the Open Source Center, researchers will pull documents that reference al Qaeda and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or bin Laden and al-Zawahiri. From Hizb ut-Tahrir, researchers will use documents issued only by its central office in Jordan to focus their study on the leadership of the groups, the report said.

The rhetorical analysis undertaken in the study will examine the imagery, tone and context of rhetoric as well as the literal meaning of the words, researchers said.

The HFD division and Oak Ridge National Laboratory also plan to assemble a timeline of violent activities of al Qaeda and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula through use of other open source intelligence sources, such as the State Department's Country Reports on Global Terrorism, reports developed by the Congressional Research Service, academic databases, newspaper reports, and others.

The privacy impact assessment filed by the S&T Directorate was a routine filing meant to determine if information will be shared and, if so, how it will be protected. The S&T Directorate noted there were no privacy concerns related to the foreign extremists.


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