Understanding the Terrorist Radicalization Process

February 18, 2015

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This is directly reposted from the Department of Defense (DOD) – Defense Human Resource Activity: http://www.dhra.mil/perserec/osg/terrorism/radicalization.htm I decided to post this blog on the radicalization process because the problem of terrorism appears to be growing and we all need accurate information about how people are recruited to a terrorist cause and the steps taken to motivate them to reject previous belief systems and to embrace new, radical, and often deadly beliefs, even when, on their face, they are absurd and irrational.

We must all understand the raprocess so we can recognize it early and stop the process before the radicalized individual does horrible damage.


The basic message we need to give is clear: the promises of radicalization are false and will lead to horrible inner pain and eventually death. ~ Terence T. Gorski 

Here is the DHRA Report: The Radicalization Process

There has been much research, writing, and theorizing about what causes or motivates people to become terrorists. The one consistent finding based on extensive empirical research is that there is no “terrorist profile” that can be used to predict who or even what type of person might become a terrorist.

Research clearly rules out the early theory that participation in terrorist actions is associated with some sort of personality or mental disorder, that only “crazy” people commit horrible acts of terrorism. Studies have shown that the prevalence of mental illness among incarcerated terrorists is as low or lower than in the general population. Although terrorists commit horrible acts, they rarely match the profile of the classic psychopath. They are also not necessarily from a lower socioeconomic status or less educated than their peers.1

Social scientists, law enforcement organizations, and intelligence agencies all agree that terrorists are the product of a dynamic process called radicalization.

Brian Jenkins, one of our country’s most senior terrorism scholars, defines radicalization as “the process of adopting for oneself or inculcating in others a commitment not only to a system of [radical] beliefs, but to their imposition on the rest of society.”2 The compulsion to use violence to impose their beliefs on the rest of society, or to punish others for their “evil” actions or beliefs is the final stage in the radicalization process.

The commitment to violence is what distinguishes a terrorist from other extremists. This process occurs over time and causes a fundamental change in how people view themselves and the world in which they live. The exact nature of this process is still poorly understood. Researchers have developed a number of different theories and conceptual models that seek to explain the process by which an individual becomes radicalized, but these theories have not been empirically tested.

Most see three to five stages from beginning to end of the process, from initial exposure through indoctrination, training, and then violent action. However, different researchers conceptualize these stages differently and use different terminology to identify or explain them.

There is broad agreement, however, that many people who begin this process do not pass through all the stages and become terrorists. Many people who become extremists stop short of the violence that is typical of militant jihadists.

Our focus here is on violent jihadism, and specifically on several aspects of the radicalization process about which there seems to be some consensus. While the researchers have not identified causes of terrorism, they have identified three vulnerabilities that may provide sources of motivation or make one more likely to endorse violence. These vulnerabilities are:

1. Perceived Injustice or Humiliation: Violent attack may be perceived as an appropriate remedy for injustice or humiliation.

2. Need for Identity: An individual’s search for identity may draw him or her to extremist or terrorist organizations in a variety of ways. The individual may be searching for a purpose or goal in life that defines the actions required to achieve that goal. A violent act may be seen as a way to succeed at something that makes a difference. The absolutist, “black and white” nature of most extremist ideologies is often attractive to those who feel overwhelmed by the complexity and stress of navigating a complicated world. Without struggling to define oneself or discern personal meaning, an individual may choose to define his or her identity simply through identification with a cause or membership in a group.

3. Need for Belonging: Many prospective terrorists find in a radical extremist group not only a sense of meaning, but also a sense of belonging, connectedness, and affiliation. One researcher argues that “for the individuals who become active terrorists, the initial attraction is often to the group, or community of believers, rather than to an abstract ideology or to violence.” 3

There is also some consensus on two factors that facilitated the radicalization process.. These are:

1. Spiritual Mentor: About 20% of the homegrown terrorists examined in one study had a spiritual mentor, a more experienced Muslim who gave specific instructions and direction during the radicalization process. Such a mentor might be associated with a mosque or be accessed via the Internet. The mentor keeps the radicalization process on track. About a quarter of the terrorists in one study had a perceived religious authority who provided specific theological approval for their violent activity. 4

2. Internet: The increased radicalization of American Muslims is driven in part by a wave of English-language websites designed to promote the militant jihadist doctrine. These websites are not run or directed by al-Qaida, but they provide a powerful tool for recruiting sympathizers to its cause of jihad, or holy war against the United States, according to experts who track this activity. Jihadist websites and chat rooms provide indoctrination and training to aspiring jihadists and enable them to establish contact with like-minded individuals in the United States or with terrorist groups abroad. “The number of [active] English-language sites sympathetic to al-Qaida has risen from about 30 seven years ago to more than 200 recently,” according to the head of a Saudi government program that works to combat militant Islamic websites.5

Terrorism is not random violence for its own sake. It is violence guided by an ideology that provides the rules for one’s behavior. “Ideology is often defined as a common and broadly agreed upon set of rules to which an individual subscribes, and which help to regulate and determine behavior.”6 The rules often link behaviors to anticipated long-term positive outcomes and rewards. This is the basis for the suicide attacks that are characteristic of violent jihad. By fulfilling one’s duty to God by killing infidels, one allegedly gains access to paradise.

The ideology that supports militant jihad is very different in its substance from other forms of extremism or terrorism such as white supremacy groups or eco-terrorism, but they all have four features in common. All terrorist movements are: 5

1. Polarized: They have an “us vs. them” mindset.

2. Absolutist: The beliefs are regarded as truth in the absolute sense, sometimes supported by sacred authority. This squelches questioning, critical thinking, and dissent. It also adds moral authority to framing us vs. them as a competition between good and bad (or evil).

3. Threat-Oriented: External threat causes in-groups to cohere. Good leaders know this intuitively. They persistently remind adherents that the “us” is at risk from “them.” Because the “us” is seen as being good and right in the absolute sense, this works not only to promote internal cohesion but also opposition to all nonbelievers.

4. Hateful: Hate energizes violent action. It allows principled opposition to impel direct action. It also facilitates various mechanisms for moral disengagement, or dehumanization, which erode the normal social and psychological barriers to engaging in violence. This is an important point, as it is the active support for violence that distinguishes the simple extremist from the terrorist.

The section on The Militant Jihadist Terrorism Threat describes the threat. One empirical study of 117 homegrown jihadist terrorists in America and the United Kingdom has identified the following observable manifestations of the radicalization process. This may be useful for identifying how far along individuals are in the radicalization process. 4

At an early stage, one comes to trust only the interpretations of an ideologically rigid set of religious authorities. These role models and scholars one looks to as guides have a significant impact on how others interpret what their faith demands of them.

Also at an early stage, one adopts a legalistic interpretation of the Muslim faith. There are rules that must be followed, not just for practice of the faith, but also for virtually every aspect of one’s daily life. For example, playing music, taking photographs, or women laughing in the street may be considered sinful.

At the final stage of radicalization, these rules include an obligation for all believers to undertake violence against infidels in order to advance the faith.

As they radicalize, Muslims come to perceive a fundamental conflict between Islam and the West. The idea of loyalty becomes critical: they have obligations to Islam alone and cannot have any kind of duty or loyalty to a non-Muslim state. Even participation in the democratic process in one’s own country violates religious principles that the rules are made by Allah, not by man.

This rigid interpretation of Islam leads to a low tolerance for any alternative interpretations or practices. After changing one’s own beliefs and practices, one feels compelled to impose the newly found beliefs on other family members and close friends. Any deviation by others from this rigid interpretation is seen as a personal affront. This is usually expressed by telling others that they are not good Muslims, which can sometimes lead to violence. It causes some individuals to separate themselves from and come to hate other Muslims who previously had been an important part of their lives.

In the latter stages, radicalization usually includes political as well as religious beliefs. Radicals believe the Western powers have conspired against Islam to subjugate it politically and corrupt it morally. They want to restore the caliphate that once united the Muslim world and ruled according to Allah’s dictates.

Remember that in the United States, expression of radical or extremist views is not illegal. It is illegal only when it reaches an advanced stage of supporting or engaging in an act of violence or other illegal behavior. For an individual who holds a U.S. Government security clearance or some other position of public trust, however, a stricter standard of allegiance to the United States applies. Advocacy of militant jihadist views as described in The Militant Jihadist Terrorism Threat is clear evidence of an absence of loyalty to the United States and is grounds for denial or revocation of a security clearance or access to other sensitive information or installations.

References
1. Randy Borum, “Understanding Terrorist Psychology,” in Andrew Silke, ed. The Psychology of Counter-Terrorism. Oxon, UK: Routledge, 2010.
2. Brian Michael Jenkins, “Outside Experts View,” preface to Daveed Gartenstein-Ross & Laura Grossman, Homegrown Terrorists in the U.S. and U.K.: An Empirical Examination of the Radicalization Process. Washington, DC: FDD’s Center for Terrorism Research, 2009.
3. Martha Crenshaw, “The Subjective Reality of the Terrorist: Ideological and Psychological Factors in Terrorism,” in Robert O. Slater & Michael Stohl, eds., Current Perspectives in International Terrorism. Hampshire, UK: Macmillan, 1988, p. 59.
4. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross & Laura Grossman, Homegrown Terrorists in the U.S. and U.K.: An Empirical Examination of the Radicalization Process. Washington, DC: FDD’s Center for Terrorism Research, 2009.
5. Randy Borum, ibid., p. 9.
6. Randy Borum, ibid., pp. 10-11.
7. Donna Abu-Nasr & Lee Keath, “200 Web sites spread al-Qaida’s message in English, The Washington Post, November 20, 2009.


Burn Out: What I Do To Avoid It

January 11, 2015

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By Terence T. Gorski
Author, my books can be found at www.relapse.

“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

I keep myself from burning out and becoming jaded by doing my best to focus my mind on the following things:

1. Praying: My primary repetitive prayer is: “God teach me of your will for me and give me the courage to carry that out.”

2. Renewing My Commitment To Help: I keep reinforcing that “we keep it by giving it away.” When we help others without trying to control those we are helping and without allowing ourselves to be exploited it helps me keep a balanced perspective.

3. I Dream Big: I see myself as a part of the revolution of the human spirit and human consciousness that will slowly, one person at a time, create a sober and responsible world.

4. I Manage My Expectations: I hope for the best when doing my work. I am prepared for the worst.

5. I Keep Perspective: I can’t do it alone, I can only do my part. I realize the power of a team of people working in harmony towards the same goal is powerful. I strive to stay focused on building a sober and responsible world one day at a time with the help of others.

6. I Take Time For Myself: I have areas of interest that focus my mind on many other things that I find inspiring or helpful. I read voraciously and take the lessons from everything I read that can lift my spirits and give me a positive and heroic fantasy life — kind of like I am “The Walter Mitty of the Addiction Field.”

7. I Dream Big: I strive work day-by-day to contribute things to others that will leave the world a better place. This is called building a legacy in the minds and hearts of others.

8. I Deal With Reality: I Deal With the immediate reality that confronts me by trying to do the next right thing to keep moving toward creating my life goal.

9. I Transcend Fear: I have developed the habit of facing fear without letting the fear control me. My favorite tool for this is Frank Herbert’s Litany Against Fear: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer – the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit my fear to pass over me through me. When it has gone past I will turn my inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I remain.

10. I copiously reflect upon the deep meaning of The Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

11. I Collect Quotable Quotes: My two favorites are: “One person can make a difference and every person should try.” ~ John F. Kennedy; and “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. ~ Albert Einstein.

12. I Don’t Take Myself to Seriously: I try to learn something from everyone I meet and everything I do. I strive to be humble by “accepting the things I cannot change, changing the things that I can, and learning to know the difference.” I act upon my strengths without asking for permission. I overcome or compensate for my weaknesses by asking for and receiving help.

To sum it up, I recognize that I am a fallible human being; that I will die and have limited time to live; and that it’s up to me to do the best I can with the cards I am dealt in life. I know that I might be wrong so I stay open to learning, changing and growing. I accept the fact that I am responsible for my life, what I choose to do and not do, and what U choose to focus my mind upon. I look up all words I read or hear to understand what they mean. I realize that language programs the brain/mind so I careful about what I say to myself and others.

Carpe Diem!

Illigitimi non carborundum!

I also renew myself by escaping into Criminal Minds (Spencer is my favorite character) and NCIS (my two favorite character are Gibbs and McGee).

I want to leave a positive legacy and have given a lot of thought to what I want to pass forward to future generations. Here are twenty-five Ideas I want to pass forward to the next generation.

Gorski Books: www.relapse.org

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Fear, Silence, and Speaking Out

January 10, 2015

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Don’t let anyone frighten you into silence.

See the blog on arrogance and courage
https://terrygorski.com/2013/10/18/arrogance-has-a-place/


What Do You Know?

January 10, 2015

The Books of Terence T. Gorski

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There are three things to consider:

1. The things we know that we know.

2. The things we know that we don’t know.

3. The things we don’t know that we don’t know.

The last is potentially the most dangerous.


Concerned Veterans for America

January 10, 2015

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Learn from the few who have stood between you and the guns of the enemy.

“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” ~ George Orwell

Concerned Veterans for America
http://cv4a.org


The Progression of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems

January 10, 2015

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By Terence T. Gorski, Gorski Books

This is an excerpt from the book by Terry Gorski
entitled: Straight Talk About Addiction

In this blog, we’re going to look at the problems people have with alcohol and other drugs.

Let us start with a simple fact: Alcohol and drug problems are common.

About two-thirds of all Americans drink. About one-third do not. Of those who drink, about half develop alcohol-related problems.

Somewhere between 6 and 10 percent of all Americans will become alcoholics.

In addition to alcohol, many people use illegal drugs and abuse prescription medications.

When you add it all together, about 15% of all people will have serious problems with alcohol or other drugs at some point in their lives.

One thing is certain – no one starts drinking or drugging with the goal of getting addicted. People do not wake up in the morning and say: “Gee, this is beautiful day, I think I’ll go out and get addicted! That’s just not how it works.

Addiction is a slow and insidious process. It sneaks up on people from behind, when they are not looking. Here is how it happens.

When some people start using alcohol and other drugs, they feel really good. The drugs make them feel better than they have ever felt before. Therefore, they keep drinking and drugging.

They focus on enjoying the good times and get in the habit of pushing the bad times out of their minds. This allows the disease of addiction to quietly sneak in through the back door. The “Big Book “of Alcoholics Anonymous says it better than I ever could – Addiction is “cunning, baffling, and powerful.”

Addiction comes into our lives posing as a friend and then slowly grows into a monster that can destroy us.

There was once a man named Ted. His best friend gave him a little kitten. Ted loved that soft cuddly little cat and made it a part of his life. As time went by the cat kept growing and growing. It started to get so big that it was causing problems. It would knock things off the counters, break things, and tear up the house.

Ted loved the cat so much, that he decided to ignore the problems. By the time the cat was six months old, it was clear to everyone that this was no ordinary cat. Ted’s friend had given him a baby mountain lion.

Knowing this, however, didn’t change Ted’s feelings. He loved his “cat so much that he decided to keep it. After all, what harm could it do? He would just take some extra precautions and everything would be fine.

About eight months later a friend came over to visit. Ted’s mountain lion attacked his friend. When Ted tried to pull the cat off of his friend, the mountain lion turned on him and clawed Ted so badly that he nearly died.

Addiction is a lot like Ted’s mountain lion. It starts out as a cute and cuddly little thing that brings a lot of joy, fun, and excitement into our lives. Then the addiction starts to grow up.

As it grows, our addiction turns into a vicious monster that destroys our lives. In this section, we will look at how this happens.

This is an excerpt from the book by Terry Gorski
entitled: Straight Talk About Addiction

Gorski Books: www.relapse.org
Gorski Home Studies: www.cenaps.com<

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Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT) – An Affordable Evidence-based Practice

November 8, 2014

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By Terence T. Gorski, Author

 

Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT) is an Evidence-based practiced that is recognized by both the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) and the National Institute of Drug Abuse. This is important because relapse following drug treatment is quite common and a collection of tools have been forged into a system for both preventing relapse and stopping it quickly should it occur. “RPT is a behavioral self-control program that teaches individuals how to anticipate and cope with the potential for relapse” (NREPP). In addition, RPT serves to normalize relapse as part of the overall recovery process, thus reducing the negative feelings and behaviors that result from a setback. RPT also provided relapse tools and techniques that patients learn early in treatment that can stop relapse quickly should it occur.

The GORSKI-CENAPS Model of RPT brings proven evidence-based practices to recovery and relapse prevention by providing effective and easy to use methods for identifying and managing early relapse warning signs and high risk situations. It also presents methods for planning to stop relapse quickly should it occur. All of the key practices of evidenced-based Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT) are made available in practical and easy to use workbooks. Training is available to teach the most effective ways to make use the workbooks in individual and group therapy and in support groups. There is also an internationally registry of Certified Relapse Prevention Specialists (CRPS) that are trained to support RPT program implementation.

The Research Supporting RPT Effectiveness

Prevention (RP) is an evidence-based intervention. There is compelling evidence in the literature documenting its effectiveness.

First, let’s look at the results of a meta-analysis of 26 published and unpublished studies with 70 hypothesis tests representing a sample of 9,504 participants. (Irvin et al, 1999)

  • Relapse Prevention (RP) was found to be a widely adopted cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) for alcohol, smoking, and other substance use.
  • RP was generally effective, particularly for alcohol problems.
  • RP was most effective with alcohol or polysubstance use disorders combined with the adjunctive use of medication

Validation of Gorski’s Relapse Warning Signs

Though it has enjoyed widespread popularity, Gorski’s post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) model of relapse has been subjected to little scientific scrutiny. A scale to operationalize Gorski’s 37 warning signs was developed and tested in a larger prospective study of predictors of relapse. Of central interest were: (1) whether the warning signs hypothesized by Gorski are interrelated in a meaningful single factor and (2) whether the hypothesized syndrome would accurately predict subsequent relapses.

A sample of 122 individuals (84 men) entering treatment for alcohol problems was followed at 2-month intervals for 1 year. The Assessment of Warning-signs of Relapse (AWARE) scale was administered at each assessment point, and the occurrence of both slips (any drinking) and relapses (heavy drinking) was monitored during each subsequent 2-month interval. Principal factor analysis was used to study the factor structure of the warning signs.

The results showed that: (1) Of the 37 warning signs, 28 clustered as a robust single factor with excellent internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha: 0.92-0.93); (2) A conservative evaluation of test-retest stability across 2-month intervals estimated reliability at r = 0.80. (3) After covarying for prior drinking status, clients’ AWARE scores significantly predicted subsequent slips and relapses. Relapse rates for clients with highest AWARE scores, as projected by regression equations, were 33 to 46 percentage points higher than those for clients with lowest AWARE scores, after taking into account prior drinking status.

The conclusion is that this scale of Gorski’s warning signs appears to be a reliable and valid predictor of alcohol relapses. (J. Stud. Alcohol 61: 759-765, 2000)

Relapse Prevention (RP): Controlled Clinical Trials (Carroll 1996)

(1) More than 24 randomized controlled trials have evaluated the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral relapse prevention treatment on substance use outcomes among adult smokers, alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and other types of substance abusers. Review of this body of literature suggests that, across substances of abuse but most strongly for smoking cessation,

(2) There is evidence for the effectiveness of relapse prevention compared with no-treatment controls across all drug categories.

(3) Relapse Prevention is most effective at:

  • Treating patients with long histories of chronic relapse after attempting recovery with other treatment methods.
  • Maintaining the positive effects of improvements made during treatment (enhanced durability of effects)
  • Reducing the length and severity of damage caused by relapse episodes when they occur;

(4)      The positive effects of RP are enhanced by patient-treatment matching.

(5) Patient-treatment matching improves outcomes for patients at higher levels of impairment along dimensions such as psychopathology or dependence severity.

Manualized Treatment

Manualized Treatment Improves Effectiveness of treatment (i.e. increases recovery rates, decreases relapse rates, and produces shorter less destructive relapse episodes. The results are achieved while reducing time in therapy.

The primary treatment manuals that help produce these outcomes are:

  1. Starting Recovery With Relapse Prevention Workbook: A workbook designed to integrate basic relapse prevention principles in to the first attempts at addiction recovery.
  2. Cognitive Restructuring for Addiction Workbook: A workbook designed to teach and apply the basic recovery skills of thought management, feeling management, behavior management, impulse control, the use of mental imagery, and a serious of relaxation methods, including mindfulness meditation, that has been proven to enhance the effectiveness of the cognitive component of relapse prevention. This work allows an easy application of RPT methods to a wide variety of additive and mental health problems.
  3. Relapse Prevention Counseling (RPC) Workbook: This is a guide for understanding and managing craving and high risk situations to avoid relapse during the critical first ninety days of recovery.
  4. Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT) Workbook: This is a guide for helping recovering people with a stable recovery program to identify and manage the personality and lifestyle problems that can so must pain and dysfunction in recovery that self-medication seems like a positive choice. This workbook takes RPT to a deep psychotherapy level.
  5. Problem Solving Group Therapy (PSGT): There are two simple guidelines for using RPT in problem solving groups. There is a Participant Guide to prepare group members with easy to understand information on how to succeed at group therapy and a group leader guide giving in-depth instruction how to start, conduct, and manage common problems that occur in problem solving groups.

When these five practical tools are brought together into a well designed and comprehensive treatment program the quality of care, moral of the staff, and positive long-term outcomes of treatment tend to improve.

WORKBOOKS  USING RELAPSE PREVENTION THERAPY (RPT) – AN EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE  http://wp.me/p11fHz-7s

References

The CENAPS Model of Relapse Prevention was originally developed by Terence T. Gorski and continually updated to integrate new research findings. (Gorski 1990, )

Carroll, Kathleen M., Relapse prevention as a psychosocial treatment: A review of controlled clinical trials. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, Vol 4(1), Feb 1996, 46-54.

Gorski, Terence T., The CENAPS Model of Relapse Prevention: Basic Principles and Procedures, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 22, Issue 2, 1990, pages 125- 133, ON THE INTERNET: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02791072.1990.10472538

Irvin, Jennifer E.; Bowers, Clint A.; Dunn, Michael E.; Wang, Efficacy of relapse prevention: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 67(4), Aug 1999, 563-570.

Miller, William R. and Harris, Richard J.  A Simple Scale of Gorski’s Warning Signs for Relapse, Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Volume 61, 2000, Issue 5: September 2000 ON THE INTERNET: http://www.jsad.com/jsad/article/A_Simple_Scale_of_Gorskis_Warning_Signs_for_Relapse/814.html

 

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