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Proceedings of the Special Senate Committee on

Issue 9 - Evidence - Meeting of November 22, 2010

OTTAWA, Monday, November 22, 2010

The Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism met this day at 1 p.m. to examine matters relating to anti- terrorism.

Senator Hugh Segal (Chair) in the chair.


The Chair: Honourable senators, this is the tenth meeting of the Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism of the third session of the Fortieth Parliament.

As we await legislation from the House of Commons, we continue our inquiry into the changing nature of the terrorist threat in Canada. Today, we meet by video conference with two specialists in anti-terrorism from the United Kingdom.

Last summer, while on Commonwealth business, I had the privilege of meeting with these two leading academics and felt they could add significantly to our research. I am delighted they could make themselves available today by teleconference from London. Let me introduce our two guests.

Dr. Tobias Feakin is the Director, National Security and Resilience Department, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies. Within this role, he is responsible for the growth of a research team examining issues pertaining to radicalization, terrorism, counter-terrorist policy and technologies, resilience, critical national infrastructure and the security impacts of climate change.

He has lectured at the Joint Services Command and Staff College and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Defense College in Rome, as well as speaking internationally at numerous conferences and round-table discussions. As well as being quoted in many newspapers around the globe on this issue, he has appeared on the BBC, channel 4; NBC; Al Jazeera; and Sky News.

Professor Andrew Silke holds a chair in criminology at the University of East London, where he is the field leader for criminology and the Director for Terrorism Studies. He has a background in forensic psychology and criminology, and has worked both in academia and for government.

Professor Silke has published extensively on issues related to terrorism, conflict, crime and policing in journals, books and the popular press. He is the author of over 100 articles and papers on these subjects, and has given numerous talks and invited lectures at conferences and universities across the world.

Gentlemen, thank you for making yourselves available and giving us a chance to benefit from your expertise. It is good to see you both again looking so well, having survived the vagaries of the last few months in such robust and compelling health. Thank you for being here.

I understand you have opening statements. I will start with Mr. Feakin, and then I will open the floor to questions from our colleagues. We have senators here today from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and British Columbia. Mr. Feakin, over to you.

Tobias Feakin, Director, National Security and Resilience Department, Royal United Services Institute: Thank you for the invitation today to present some of my thoughts on the United Kingdom threat and responses to terrorism. I will try to keep my opening statement brief so we can get into the question and answer portion.

The U.K. is obviously no stranger to dealing with terrorist threats, having spent much of the latter part of the 20th century coping with terrorism originating from Ireland. Whilst that threat was highly complex in its origins and the methods used to counter it, clear political goals and an operational modus operandi were being targeted, which meant that terrorists valued their own life when conducting their attacks.

The 2005 London bombings were a game changer for us in the U.K. for two key reasons: first, the concept of suicide terrorism was realized on the streets of London for the first time on the U.K. mainland — something that was entirely incomprehensible only a short time previously; and second, those who conducted the attacks were born, and lived, in the U.K.

Despite the resurgence of the distant Irish Republican threat that we are discovering in recent months, which is concerning due to the changing nature of that threat, if we look at the U.K. national security strategy that was published in recent weeks, the principal threat from terrorism in the U.K. still comes from al Qaeda and its affiliates — those inspired by al Qaeda and also by its ideology.

I want to go through the threat that is posed to the U.K. and conceptualize this threat somewhat. I like to think of it as an onion, a series of concentric circles, the innermost circle being the al Qaeda core, still a small number of tightly knit individuals who reside in the tribal regions of Waziristan and offer inspiration, training and attack planning for potential attacks in the U.K. In evidence that is being heard in terrorist court cases in the U.K., linkages to the al Qaeda core and to the tribal regions in Waziristan, through training, influence and attack planning, are still emanating from this region. It is still a clear danger to the U.K.

The next circle out from that core can be thought of as groups that are not so directly related to al Qaeda core leadership, but support the ideas, doctrine and methods of the core ideology. We can view these groups as the al Qaeda franchises, examples being al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The increasing frequency of Somalia and Yemen as places used to train and radicalize individuals is obviously, as we have seen in the media, an increasing concern in the U.K. However, it is important to footnote, it is not something entirely new. It is something that has been ongoing for a number of years, preceding the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab last Christmas. You can reference the speech by Jonathan Evans of two years ago, where he was already highlighting the danger he felt these particular regions posed.

The growing influence of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen is obviously troubling, especially in light of the new fame that he is afforded with the media, and his clever creation and usage of the English language in Inspire publication to radicalize, along with his utilization of the Internet.

The next layer of these concentric circles is the homegrown threat. This layer is the one that has most concerned and shocked the public in the U.K. for the last five years — groups of networked individuals who are born in the U.K. or are U.K. citizens utilizing mass fatality attacks against other U.K. citizens.

The outermost ring of the al Qaeda influence is perhaps the most difficult element of terrorist activity to detect and combat in the U.K — those who are acting independently of a group network or a structure. These individuals are gaining their ability to build explosive devices, as well as the knowledge of the ideology, predominantly from the Internet. Both in the U.S. and the U.K., there have been a number of recent incidents that point to an increase in activity of individuals acting alone, but with significant influence from al Qaeda ideology and influential individuals.

What has the response been in the U.K.? The U.K. response is contained within the U.K. counter-terrorist strategy called CONTEST. I noticed you have a review of various legislative means to combat terrorism, including in the U.K., but the U.K. strategy is based around the four Ps of prevent, prepare, protect and pursue.

Over the last 10 years, we have seen key ways in the U.K. in which the security mechanisms have been changed and the U.K. government has tried to deal with the threat here. First, there has been the change from reactive to pre- emptive policing. Within the U.K, we have developed the strategy of pre-emption.

If we look back to 2002-03, we were not entirely sure of the nature of the threat posed to the U.K. At that point, the methods they used for intelligence collection were rather crude, often involving the kicking down of doors and storming of buildings to obtain information, rather than acting on intelligence that had been gained in advance of those raids.

It did lead to a further understanding of the threat in the U.K., especially what was happening at the Finsbury Park Mosque in North London; but conversely, it led to a high level of anti-Muslim sentiment among the communities, as police were perceived to be acting in a far too heavy-handed manner without enough evidence in advance.

The police began making far more use of intelligence-led operations — especially in light of the 2004 Dear and Bowery case, which was a watershed for U.K. policing — also interlinking more closely with MI5, the U.K. intelligence service. The pre-emptive policing doctrine was enabled through the increasing introduction of new legislative means, giving police increased powers to act in such a way.

The second way in which we have seen changes in the U.K. has been through the expansion and regionalization of counterterrorism police and intelligence assets.

The success of pre-emption is based upon those close linkages between intelligence service, MI5, and the counterterrorist police. Pre-emption has demanded a shift in cultures from what previously existed, whereby there was a lot of suspicion between the two organizations and, sometimes, a certain reluctance to share information.

However, this closer relationship has been enabled to a large degree by the decentralization of the counterterrorist police effort and also the decentralization of the intelligence service. Both these organizations now have a nationwide reach and coordination through four counterterorism hubs based in the U.K. Both organizations, but especially MI5, have expanded rapidly over the past ten years, enabling them to become adept at tracking and intercepting potential plots as they develop.

Third, we have had a raft of new counterterrorist legislative means introduced to enable the police to act in the way they do. We now have a wider number of activities for the preparation of terrorist attacks that have been made illegal and that allow individuals to be arrested in an appropriate time before an attack takes place. Again, I believe you have seen all the kinds of legislative means we have introduced in the U.K. However, this legislation has caused a great deal of controversy within U.K. society, especially around issues such as stop-and-search powers, control orders and the detention without charge periods that are allowed.

Currently the legislation is under review by the current government. It has been felt by many parts of the public that we now have too much of a heavy-handed approach legally, and that some of these areas of legislation are being applied inappropriately and in the wrong areas. The results of this particular review ongoing right now will be published before Christmas this year.

The fourth area of change is through attempts to tackle the root causes of terrorism through the Preventing Violent Extremism Programme, Prevent for short. Approximately £60 million were put into the Prevent Programme intended to tackle the root causes of radicalization and terrorism in the U.K.

The difficulty of this program has come from confusion about what the program was trying to achieve in the communities targeted. This confusion especially emanated from a mistrust regarding whether the programs being funded constituted social work or security work. Many within the communities felt the programs were intelligence gathering mechanisms, and became less inclined to interact with them.

However, it must be remembered that the work conducted through this program in trying to understand the pathways to radicalization, alongside the excellent work being done in the academic community, led to a far higher granularity of understanding of exactly what was happening in the U.K. and the processes through which people were being drawn into terrorist activity.

The final element I will talk about is regarding the responsibility of a government, the speed at which governments respond and the consequences this response can have. Within the current "terrorist cloud," under which we now live, any serious attempted attack leads to a reaction from government, which has to be seen as addressing the security problems at hand along with filling in any apparent gaps in their mechanisms for securing the nation.

If you combine this reaction with the instant media and communications we now have, it means any attack, be it successful or otherwise, will receive coverage and gain worldwide headlines, thus requiring a response from governments in order to demonstrate that they can act decisively to secure their public.

Therefore, to a degree, the power is in the hands of the terrorists or the would-be terrorists, knowing that even if their attempt fails, if they can highlight the weakness in the security system, be it an airport or any other transportation hub, they will change the way in which the public go about their business.

Terrorism by its nature is aimed to change and inconvenience our patterns of everyday life and hopefully make us fearful of the unimaginable and the unknown. The political requirement to be seen to act in response to attempted terrorist attacks means that we are frequently reacting to events and attempting to play catch-up.

It is important that measured responses are taken, which allow us to be ahead of the curve. It is vital that responses do not play directly into the hands of terrorists by forcing changes to our everyday patterns of life and giving up liberties that have been fought so hard for in the past.

The Chair: I will now call on Professor Silke, after which we shall go to questions and answers.

Andrew Silke, Director for Terrorism Studies, University of East London, as an individual: Thank you for the invitation to speak before the committee today. I agree with much of what my colleague has said, and I will allow my statement to overlap with his comments. Therefore, I will go through my comments quickly.

If someone had said ten years ago that the biggest threat the U.K. would face on the terrorism front would be suicide attacks by home-grown extremists, few people — if anyone — would have believed that such a thing would be the reality, yet that is exactly what we have seen. We have had several attempted suicide attacks in the U.K., some of which have been successful. Fifty-eight people have been killed, including five suicide bombers and one police officer. We have seen a major response from the U.K. government to try to deal with this threat, including a series of new legislation, a comprehensive national strategy to deal with counterterrorism and a massive investment in resources to fund counterterrorism.

In my statement, I wish to highlight a few notable points. I think the U.K. experience in the past ten years reinforces the old finding that, in dealing with terrorism, two key issues are important. One of those is intelligence. We have to win the intelligence war; we have to be able to gain intelligence in what the enemy is doing and be able to act on this intelligence. The second key element is the battle for hearts and minds. We need to be able to win the hearts and minds of the community the terrorists are attempting to win support from. These issues are two key areas.

Looking at the hearts and minds battle in the U.K., which is the CONTEST strategy already referred to, the PREVENT strand has been focused on the key issue of preventing people from becoming radicalized to begin with, undermining support and sympathy for extremism within the communities at risk.

This element has also been one of the most controversial elements of the CONTEST strategy for a variety of reasons. Overall, spending on counterterrorism in the U.K. has increased massively over the past ten years. It was roughly at about £1 billion per annum back in 2000. Last year, approximately £2.5 billion were spent on counterterrorism, a massive increase. The original aim was that this funding would have gone up to £3.5 billion next year, but the current economic climate has hindered or reduced that amount, although spending in this area has been relatively ring-fenced.

In terms of PREVENT, my figures differ a little from my colleague's, though we can argue about it later. However, a recent government report said about £140 million were spent last year on PREVENT-related work. This spending was about 5 per cent of the overall budget on counterterrorism, which is relatively small in terms of the size of the total budget.

I think there are a number of reasons why funding for PREVENT is modest compared to some of the other areas. One key reason is a lack of evidence. Almost no evaluations have been carried out of any PREVENT-related work, with the consequence that there are serious questions over what works and what does not.

When we do not have information on the impact of different initiatives, it is difficult to have evidence-led policy. Yet evidence of some types is available and out there. There have been a number of opinion polls and surveys of Muslim communities in the U.K., for example. These opinion polls have shown that attitudes towards the government seem to be improving in recent years. Back in 2006, 66 per cent of Muslim respondents in surveys reported they felt the British government was anti-Muslim in its policies and policing approaches. That number has now dropped to 33 per cent, which is still a sizable chunk of the population but it seems to reflect a shift in attitude and opinions.

This shift seems to be matched by what we are seeing in terms of fresh recruits to al Qaeda and linked extremism and, in the U.K., the number of plots and the number of convictions — all of this evidence seems to shows a reduction in the level of violence and activity that we are seeing in the U.K., compared to what we were seeing four years ago.

One issue that strikes me, and which will be controversial for some people, is that one of the tenets of many counterterrorism approaches to al Qaeda and al Qaeda-linked extremism is tackling the ideology. It is a fundamental issue in terms of dealing with this threat. I questioned this tenet to a degree as part of my work. I have been able to interview many prisoners convicted of terrorism offences in U.K. prison. Their understanding of the ideology, certainly when they were recruited and actively engaged in violence, is simplistic. These people were not scholars or deeply informed in the ideology. Their understanding of it was basic and, in some cases, fluid. For these types of people, an approach built around sending out counter-messages or counter-ideology would not have had much of an impact.

Foreign policy clearly plays a role. This is one of the key lessons from the U.K. in the past ten years. The British government, for much of that time, tried to resist the idea that foreign policy was having an impact on radicalization at home. Finally, there was acceptance that yes, it did have an impact. Iraq, in particular, was a key factor in radicalization. One thing we have seen in the U.K. is that a decline in radicalization at home has been associated with a decline in U.K. involvement in Iraq. Not all foreign policy is equally important. The conflict in Afghanistan, for example, does not seem to have the same level of traction and the same impact among Muslim communities in the U.K. as Iraq had.

Perhaps another surprising observation is that in the U.K. we have had over 400 al Qaeda-linked extremists convicted of terrorism-related offences since 2001. Approximately 300 of these people have been released already, and many have received relatively short sentences. Most of these people are on the streets in the U.K. One finding is that there does not seem to be any evidence of these people re-engaging in extremism or becoming involved in violence again. The re-conviction rate or the reoffending rate of these individuals is extremely low. It has surprised many people who assumed that if someone was radicalized, chiefly engaged in violence and had spent time in prison, they would still be dangerous when they came out. From most of them we see that prison represents a transition period where they move on to other issues and away from violence.

One key challenge facing the U.K. over the past ten years has been striking the right balance between the various aims of the counterterrorism strategy. The strategy has different objectives that are not always compatible with each other. For example, the push to increase police powers or to increase powers of detention has often worked against efforts to prevent radicalization and win hearts and minds. This challenge is one of the struggles that continue as we move forward. The other major challenge that the U.K. faces is that the nature of the threat does not stay the same. Al Qaeda-linked extremism is still a serious problem, but in the U.K. we have seen a major resurgence of dissident Irish Republic violence, which one can see from announcements from the Home Office and from various security agencies. They are beginning to shift resources more and more to meet this threat. What would be telling is how well this current CONTEST strategy faces up to dealing with dissident Irish Republican terrorism. Much of what we see of CONTEST is designed more specifically to deal with the al Qaeda-linked extremism. Maybe it will not work as well when we try to deal with the threat of dissident Irish Republicans.

The Chair: Professors, thank you both. We have a robust list of senators to pose questions. I call on Senator Jaffer, from British Columbia.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much for both presentations, which I found most interesting. Before I ask my question, I want you to know that I am a dual citizen. I spent most of my young days in England. I think I know some of the communities you speak about. One thing that I believe you have done better in Britain than we are doing is in the area of preventing people from becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremism, as suggested by the second of your four worksteams under CONTEST, PREVENT. I refer to the dialogue that you engage in, starting at the top with your Prime Minister and on down with the communities for intelligence gathering to win the hearts and minds of the people. I want both of you to educate us. When you talk about PREVENT, how are you trying to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim community?

Mr. Silke: There are a couple of different issues. PREVENT generally has taken the form of lots of relatively small projects funded at a local level. These projects take on a whole range. For example, projects range from talking to the children at school about exposing them to ideas on extremism and radicalization and what it looks like, to projects that attempt to work with vulnerable youth, sometimes by having former radicals come and work with them, and to initiatives that have attempted to challenge extremist ideology by attempting to have a counter-voice.

Many small projects like those examples have received tens of millions of pounds in funding. Whether the program works is a tough call. We have seen a decline in radicalization in the U.K. over the past five years. Supporters of PREVENT would say that this decline is the result of PREVENT-related work. For me, the evidence is not there to completely back up that claim. I would look at foreign policy and other things and say that those things are playing a bigger role.

Mr. Feakin: We found that, contrary to your statement, Senator Jaffer, there has been at times a disconnect between what has been stated at the centre, especially in vocalizing what the programs are supposed to look like and what they are trying to achieve, and what has happened within the regions and where are being enacted. Often the core message of government has not been vocalized well to the local level. In that sense, at times some of the programs have gone awry in terms of their objectives. Maybe the U.K. government has been fairly successful at winning hearts and minds but there are still many ways one can be critical of the approach. In some areas, there is a feeling that a lot of money is thrown at the issue of PREVENT but perhaps not enough strategy and not enough thought went into exactly how to direct that money to ensure, as Professor Silke said, accountability and an understanding of exactly how successful they had or had not been. We have looked at the research and that situation seemed to be the case in certain regions where programs had been enacted. There seemed to be no feedback mechanism for understanding how successful they had been. These reviews were conducted on a highly subjective level of analysis.

Senator Jaffer: After 9/11, the Prime Minister of Britain dialogued with the Muslim leadership, which has continued to try to win hearts and minds. Does that group still exist? How effective is the dialogue with the leadership in the Muslim community?

Mr. Feakin: By reflecting on that initial dialogue with the Muslim leadership in the U.K., you highlighted one of the mistakes that the U.K. made. It may be something that others can learn from. There was a call for Muslim leaders from the U.K. to talk to the Prime Minister about these issues. In fact, many communities say that those people do not represent them, that they do not even know who they are, and that these leaders are self-appointed. One lesson we learned is to be careful about who states they are leaders, and ensure that it is the truth before engaging them. If then- Prime Minister Tony Blair had this to do over, perhaps he would have been more careful. It was the right thing to do but perhaps checks and balances need to be in place first to ensure that the leaders they are talking to are those who have the respect of the communities they serve.

Mr. Silke: I agree. There is general consensus that PREVENT is a good thing and that it is sensible and important as part of the counterterrorism strategy to have this strand focussed on hearts and minds specifically. That strand is definitely a strong aspect of the CONTEST strategy. The problem has been telling what is working.

The other part referred to is who we work with. That part has been controversial in the U.K. Some of the people asking for funding are people one does not want to be involved with. They are part of the problem, not the solution. There has been a learning process over the last couple of years where unsuitable individuals have been weeded out, but, unfortunately, they received funding. That issue is at the forefront of the prevention strategy; that is, we must work with the right people. For the government, initially that was a tough call to make.

Senator Smith: My question is to Mr. Feakin, but I am interested in Professor Silke's comments as well. I am intrigued that you completed your doctoral studies in Bradford. I am familiar with the ethnic composition of Bradford. Relatively speaking, it has one of the higher concentrations of the Muslim community than most parts of the U.K.

I am curious about something that involves Senator Jaffer's comments dealing with radical elements and trying to encourage de-radicalization elements. I seem to recall that some people were into violence from that area. On the academic side, when one thinks about the doctor who was in Scotland and blew himself up, one wonders why someone with an education in medicine could do something like that.

Can you take Bradford as an example? Maybe it was a coincidence that you studied there, I do not know. However, did the radical thinking penetrate the university area much? What was the thinking? How do you contrast that area with the community as a whole? Give us your thoughts on how whatever initiatives that have occurred have worked there?

We have heard, for example, from people in Mississauga, which is where the Toronto 18 crowd were based; and from groups from the Muslim community wanting support and assistance for their de-radicalization program. Do you have any thoughts on that issue, using the Bradford area as an example?

Mr. Feakin: I did not go to the University of Bradford with an agenda in that regard. However, it is surprising how many times this issue comes up in conversations. I lived there for seven years. It represents a good case study of how the issues play out. Within Bradford, a predominantly Pakistani community and a White working class community live side by side but are self-segregated. Having come from London to that area, I found the level of division between the sides shocking. The university itself is situated within that predominantly Pakistani community and I came into contact with women wearing the full burka and with a form of Islam that I had not experienced living in London.

The problems faced in Bradford are similar to a number of towns in the north of England. A number of lessons can be drawn from that experience. First, it seemed that the police and the intelligence networks of the U.K. were so London- centric that they did not have an understanding of what was happening and how much hatred was brewing within communities. I saw first-hand the kind of hatred between White and Pakistani communities that was brewing. Often, it was expressed through gang fights. Frequently, a number of Pakistani, White and AfroCaribbean gangs patrolled the area. There seemed to be an especially violent element to the Pakistani gangs that we came into contact with, as students.

There was a sense of disenfranchisement with their lot. There were few job opportunities and there was a disconnection between themselves and their relatives that highlighted the concerns that have come out in the academic literature about radicalization and the paths that lead to radicalization. A few of them played out here, one of which was the lack of economic opportunity; the other was a disconnection between their values and what they saw as their parents or grandparents selling out to the U.K. government because they experienced so much racial hatred during that initial time in the U.K.

There was also a strange connection between elements of extremist Islamic thought and U.S. gang culture as well. It was a strange blending to come into contact with.

That was one example. As you said, the individuals involved in the Glasgow bombing were well educated individuals with a hell of a lot of opportunity in life. There were leaked MI5 reports and all manner of other reports that support the thought that there is no one path to radicalization. However, a lot of lessons were learned. A lot of racially motivated riots had taken place there over the preceding 20 years. The de-centralization of counter intelligence capabilities were in direct relation to the disquiet in many places in the Midlands and in the north of England.

Senator Smith: Do you think the ideological difference is at the root of the problem or does it relate more to the lack of future economically? Some of the blue collar labour workers are permanently on welfare and these recent changes in the British budget will impact them. Do you think it is more economic than ideological?

Mr. Feakin: I think it is about people who are looking for something. They are looking for something to fill a gap, emotionally or otherwise. It is about people who want some kind of explanation or voice to express themselves. From what I have seen in my work, often it is people feeling lost in what they are doing, or people who have a real intellectual desire to understand and learn beyond their present being. That understanding and learning often comes in the form of an intelligent, influential individual who will show them that pathway into the literature and a reading of literature in a particular way. There are some people for whom lack of opportunity drove them toward this extremist ideology but lack of opportunity is not always the pathway; it is the combination of many. I seem to come back to the idea that it is people who are somewhat lost in life and are looking for something that mainstream life cannot offer them.

Mr. Silke: The evidence on the U.K. Muslim communities is that they have the highest levels of unemployment, the poorest levels of education and they live in the most deprived neighbourhoods. Yet we know that many people who have become involved in extremism are not from the poorest backgrounds; for example, they are doctors. The doctors involved in the Glasgow attack are a good example. The MI5 report highlights the fact that many of them come from middle class-type backgrounds.

We know that the link between economic deprivation and violent radicalization is not a straightforward answer. It is more a facilitating factor rather than a key thing that strikes people. When they interview these people, they find out that there are a lot of other factors that played a role in them becoming involved in terrorism. It is difficult to pin down this factor here as the most important one. The factors contribute and act together. For some individuals, economic deprivation and coming from a deprived background played a role in their pathway. Another person in the same cell can have a different trajectory into radicalization. That difference backs up the general finding that there is no single profile to explain why these people become involved.

The Chair: Before I call on Senator Wallin, I want to ask a brief question about the prison experience, Professor Silke, as you engaged with it. I know Senator Wallin will share that interest because she had a background as a social worker in prisons in Saskatchewan many years ago and she understands what that experience is all about.

Based on your assessment of the lack of recidivism by the folks who were in prison for terrorism activities, was there something constructive, more than the normal prison activity, to help produce that positive outcome? Do you think these individuals also may have matured a bit and come to other conclusions about what is important in life? I am interested in your perspectives.

Mr. Silke: Of the people I have interviewed, none has been through a de-radicalization program in prison. One is in development and has been rolled out, but none of these people had gone through it. Most of the 300 have been released and they had not gone through anything like that program.

As for why they have changed, we can look at different factors but they themselves highlight the prison experience and the fact they paid a heavy price for what they have done, and they essentially want to get on with their lives. It is similar to what we hear from other types of offenders.

The difference with politically motivated offenders is this low re-conviction, partly because of the backgrounds they come from, which are different from other types of offenders. Similar work with para-militaries in Northern Ireland finds a similar picture emerging. While they do not necessarily turn away from the cause — they still support it, in terms of their personal involvement with the cause, they are no longer willing to break the law or engage in violence. They have moved away from violence and are more open and engaged with nonviolent strategies toward achieving their aims. We are seeing a similar thing with al Qaeda extremism.

The other thing with a lot of them is that they have a strong religious belief. For most of those I have interviewed in prison, their religious belief is deepened in prison. They regard themselves as more developed now than they were before they were incarcerated.

Part of this belief, certainly within Islam, is that God has a plan for them. For some of them, their belief says their life has been written, and part of that life was becoming involved in extremism. However, part was also being caught and convicted and then spending time in jail. For them, that means that God now intends for them to do something else. For some, it is that type of attitude — that they want to move on and do other things with their life and that this moving on can be compatible with their faith.

Senator Wallin: That was one of my questions to focus on because these numbers are counterintuitive. It does not reflect what happens in the general criminal population, so your last explanation was interesting.

It leads me to a recurring question — you will not know this but my colleagues will. If you say the prison experience was de-radicalizing, for whatever set of reasons but including their faith, what are your views on the prosecution of this crime?

We have the debate taking place about whether all these acts should be treated simply as criminal matters, other forms of criminal activity, or whether, in a more American way, we set separatist activity aside and deal with it in military tribunals.

The Chair: Did you mean to say "terrorist"?

Senator Wallin: Yes, terrorist tribunals — whether those two approaches, given what you have said on this other issue, would then create different outcomes?

Mr. Silke: In the U.K, about 50 per cent of the prisoners have been convicted under criminal legislation, not under terrorism legislation. Conviction is on possession of explosives or something else, but it is linked to terrorist activity.

My personal view is that it is better to deal with them in the criminal justice system rather than create a separate system to try them. I think that opens up all sorts of dangerous problems. Within the U.K., it seems to be working well enough.

There were big fears initially in the U.K. that having them in the mainstream prison system would lead to widespread radicalization and recruitment of other prisoners. That does not seem to have happened, although a lot of people are still concerned about it. The reality is, we have not seen a lot of it.

Senator Wallin: To back up again, you prefer the criminal process because you think it further radicalizes them or has a different kind of impact if you used the terrorist stream, is that right?

Mr. Silke: I think so. To implement a terrorist stream, one probably also needs specialist prisons to hold these prisoners. They would have a concentration policy. They would have one or two prisons in the U.K. that would hold these 150 prisoners or thereabouts. We know from past experience that is not always a good thing to have these people concentrated — the Northern Ireland experience is telling.

Naturally, there were fears about them being dispersed more generally. Certain prisoners were dangerous — ideologues who were charismatic. We would not want these individuals wandering around a wing talking to lots of prisoners. However, overall, I think the criminal justice approach has worked here.

Mr. Feakin: I think it is imperative that we deal with these issues through a due legal process and do not involve some kind of military element to the prosecution process. That legal process is one of the fundamentals of winning the hearts and minds battle: We will not treat you the same way that you treat us; we will give you the due legal process to go through.

That approach has caused difficulties at times, but I think it is the right way to do it. In that way, we do not elevate the status of terrorist in other people's eyes. By taking terrorism into that Guantanamo-like scenario, we can elevate the status of a suspected terrorist beyond what they should be allowed.

As my colleague said earlier on, for a lot of people convicted of terrorism, their understanding of Islam and their ability to vocalize that understanding is poor. What we should do as much as possible is to de-escalate the level of publicity we give these individuals.

Senator Wallin: My gut always takes me in the other direction, but you have made rational arguments.

Mr. Feakin, you talked about the way the terrorist looks for new approaches. In fact, al Qaeda announced on the weekend that they had a new strategy of smaller, more economically disruptive tactics in mind. They do not want to blow up the Twin Towers anymore; they want to send packages by United Parcel Service, UPS, because it causes more havoc in some sense.

How do we deal with that issue in general, but specifically when it comes to homegrown radicals and the increasing tendency of individuals to act alone, motivated by the power of one? This situation could be more serious than the one we face right now.

Mr. Feakin: As I said, the biggest headache that a government and those responding to terrorism acts must respond to is an individual, separate from a network group. It is far easier to pick up a group of individuals who have lines of contact than it is one person or even two people. That situation becomes difficult.

If we look at the kind of core ideology of al Qaeda back to 9/11, Osama bin Laden was quick to point out the economic symmetry of the 9/11 attack and how little that cost them. It is a core aim of al Qaeda and has been from the outset. When you look back at "Knights under the Prophet's Banner" and texts like that, it is always referred to — that the economic case symmetry is pivotal to what they are doing. Al Qaeda constantly tries to point out security weaknesses we have to try and prompt a big economic response.

That was something I was trying to highlight. We have to be careful, when we respond to discovery of packages in cargo, that we do not immediately jump on the bandwagon and spend billions of dollars or whatever it might be in responding to that one particular threat. By al Qaeda stating they intend to conduct smaller, more economically viable operations, they are pushing for a response. That is exactly what they want.

Senator Wallin: If we do not react, which is the other side, then complacency grows and there is no appetite to spend the money we need on security to deal with this situation.

Mr. Feakin: I am not saying we should not respond at all, but responses should not be vocalized within the first hour of a plot taking place, which we have seen occur in the U.K. a number of times.

It is about strong governance. We must say okay, this has happened; we will sit back and listen to the experts and then react. I know it takes a brave person to to do that, but personally, I think that is the right way to go about this situation. However, I am not a politician and I do not have the pressures that politicians have.

Senator Wallin: I think you would have to convince the media to change their ways too, and that might be tougher than the other issues.

Senator Furey: Thank you for taking time to be with us today.

My first question is for Professor Feakin. When you spoke about proactive programs to address root causes of terrorism, you indicated that a certain amount of confusion and mistrust arose, particularly over the PREVENT Programme. I can understand mistrust and confusion arising when people view the program as intelligence gathering, but what did you mean when you talked about it being a social program or security work?

Mr. Feakin: I referred to some of what Professor Silke spoke about. If you saw a lot of the projects involved in PREVENT, you probably would not immediately recognize them as being aimed at countering terrorism. You likely would think it is an after-school club or a group of guys playing football together. You would not perhaps immediately associate that activity with countering terrorist ideology within a community.

The confusion and suspicion has arisen from the communities when they look at these programs. They ask whether the program is funded through the PREVENT Programme. Is it only intelligence gathering? If so, they say, leave that program alone and do not go to that football club or youth group.

It is difficult. If you had access to the projects funded under PREVENT, I think it might become clearer to you. I do not know what right or privilege you have to to ask for some of that information from the U.K. but it might be worthwhile to look at some of the projects funded under PREVENT, and the issues would be become clear immediately.

Senator Furey: I will use the number used for the PREVENT Programme, which is £60 million. If we were to create such a program, what advice would you give us to avoid those kinds of complications?

Mr. Silke: My key piece of advice is that some of the money has to be spent on evaluation. At the moment, almost none of it has. Therefore, after spending what one estimate puts at £60 million and another puts at £140 million, we do not know exactly what works and with what impact. Whatever you do, ensure some of it is spent on evaluating different projects.

The other element is that you must invest time and energy in selecting the partners to work with, so that you work with the right people. There has been a problem with PREVENT regarding the wrong people being involved. The other issue with PREVENT is that some groups they want to work with and that would be good partners will not engage because there is a stigma attached to PREVENT-related funding. There is a sense that it is intelligence gathering, and funded by security services. People are reluctant to become involved with the program because of that stigma. That is a pity. Therefore, any effort that can go into ensuring there is not such a stigma would be valuable, as would selecting the right partners.

Mr. Feakin: I want to reiterate a point I made during my introduction. Ensure the linkages and messages between the centre and the community level — the people having to enact the PREVENT work, if you like — are translated in the right way and that there is a good dialogue between the two. Also ensure it is transparent. Then, perhaps, you can get through some of the issues around that security-community work difficulty.

Senator Furey: I have one other short question. Professor Silke, you indicated in your comments that the rush to increase police powers often can be counterproductive. We know that most, if not all, law enforcement and security agencies constantly say they need more power. Are you advising us against going down that road?

Mr. Silke: Yes; I have never met a policeman who would not like extra powers or resources, and I have worked with many of them. We all would. However, the reality is one my colleague here has emphasized: Countering terrorism is a public relations exercise, to a degree, in the sense that they have to win hearts and minds. That is about propaganda; they have to look like they are the good guy.

That was one of the problems in the U.K. As powers were increased, such as how long they can hold people, the control orders, et cetera, they began to undermine the appearance of having the moral high ground. That was an argument the extremists could use.

Therefore, one thing you have to remember is that, whether there are powers and other things you might like to do, it is sometimes better in the grander scheme to hold off and try and play by the rules. You will get benefits from doing that. It is because the terrorists break the rules so blatantly and in such extreme ways that they isolate and marginalize themselves. A key thing is not to fall into the trap the terrorists want.

We know one the key strategies for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups is that they want to provoke the government into introducing these measures because they hope the payoff will benefit them once the measures have an impact. We saw that impact in 2006 when Muslim communities in the U.K. were unhappy with the government, policy and policing. That impact has improved steadily over the past four or five years, and restraint of the use of a lot of powers has increased. For example, control order is controversial but it has been used only in 13 cases.

Senator Furey: I will save my question about control orders for the second round.

Senator Tkachuk: Welcome, gentlemen. Thanks very much for being with us today.

I want to pursue a point Professor Silke raised regarding foreign policy. I think you said that you thought foreign policy was either a partial cause or the cause of much of the terrorist thinking. You used Iraq as an example where you thought that the decreasing involvement in Iraq was the reason terrorism sentiment decreased. Can you expand on that, please?

Mr. Silke: Initially, for quite a period, the U.K. government's official line was that foreign policy is not a driver of radicalization. The government had pointed to the existence of extremists in the U.K. prior to 9/11, with the fact that terrorist attacks took place in the 1990s, as being proof.

That line did not wash well. There was a lot of anger among Muslim communities in the U.K. about those kinds of comments. People who have interviewed terrorists, and researchers who have worked in the area, have countered this view. The U.K. government now accepts that foreign policy does play a role. People can quibble over how much a role it plays, but it is a factor.

Iraq had much more of an impact than Afghanistan. That impact related primarily to the fact that Iraq was seen within the U.K. as a questionable conflict. It was potentially illegal and morally dubious, and that view was among only the general population. Among the Muslim population, the conflict was seen as completely unjustified, especially when weapons of mass destruction were not found.

The images of violence that came from Iraq were galvanizing. Innocence played a bit part in fuelling radicalization. The 7/7 bombers made explicit reference in their statements to Iraq as a reason they carried out their acts of violence.

Foreign policy can play a role. The evidence of the U.K. supports that view. However, not all foreign policy has the same impact. For example, we have not seen the Afghanistan conflict having the same impact in the U.K. as Iraq had. Iraq was much more emotive for a range of different reasons.

Now that the Iraq conflict has passed in a sense, at least from the U.K. consciousness, it has been associated with a definite cooling in terms of tension here.

Mr. Feakin: I think we have seen that view reflected as well in U.K. policy. There is a clear acknowledgement now within our national security strategy and it has existed since its first incarnation in 2008. It states clearly that there is a direct linkage between foreign policy decisions abroad and what happens in the U.K. Admitting a mistake on that front was a difficult process for the U.K. government to go through. If we look at the way the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, FCO, conducts its counterterrorist work, it is tied into the whole PREVENT agenda and linking up with the U.K. Home Office officials who deal with the area, as well, to try and ensure those particular areas are linked up.

I agree with everything Professor Silke said on that front. The U.K. government now understands 100 per cent that the statements it makes and actions it undertakes abroad will have direct reflections back in U.K.

Senator Tkachuk: Foreign policy may have an effect but of course the kind of foreign policy may be a difference of opinion. For example, what is the rationalization for more radicalization when a secular government in Iraq, not a Muslim government, created more of a problem than attacking a Taliban government in Afghanistan, which is probably more associated with Muslim extremism?

Why would Afghanistan not be a problem? It would seem that Afghanistan would be more of a problem as far as the doctrine is concerned than Iraq.

Mr. Silke: One of the key things with Iraq was the justification for the conflict. The al Qaeda narrative is that the West is in Islamic lands for its own gain and benefit and is out to exploit them. Iraq tied nicely into that narrative.

As we now know, the war was unjustified because Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. The legality was always questionable. It was sold as a U.S.-led grab for oil in Iraq. As a result, the war tied into al Qaeda's narrative that this grab is what the West does and what it is about.

That is why the war had such an impact. It was basically an illegal war that seemed to be unjust. The images of violence that came out of the war of people being killed, bloodshed and destruction was blamed on the West. It was an easy sell for al Qaeda.

The images of Abu Ghraib prison were highly damaging. Most of the people who have been involved in plots in the U.K. have watched many DVDs and jihadi-related propaganda on the Internet. Images from Iraq play a prominent role in this type of footage. It is emotive and one-sided but it paints the West in a negative light. In a sense, it provides a moral justification for those who become involved.

Afghanistan it is not as straightforward. The 9/11 attacks provided a rationale for intervention there. There is also the fact that the communities in the U.K. from which most recruits have come have been Pakistani in origin. In terms of the bleed over into Pakistan, suicide attacks are taking place in civilian areas in Pakistan. These attacks have muted the moral legitimacy of the Taliban or al Qaeda message in that particular conflict.

Afghanistan was seen as more justified and Iraq was not seen that way. That is one reason that there was such a different reaction to Iraq.

al QaedaSenator Tkachuk: I am not sure of this impression, but it seems that al Qaeda changes its story when it feels it can gain a little momentum from a foreign policy story. I will use Israel as an example. Al Qaeda was not big on the Palestinians until they thought they might recruit more people by coming onside with the Palestinians on the anti-Israel front. Most probably it was because of how people at home saw, over time, the actual foreign policy decision. Initially, when there was a lot of success against Iraq, there was not much mobilization of terrorists. However, as the war became more unpopular at home, they smartly were able to galvanize and use that as an excuse. They were not able to do that with Afghanistan because that war is still supported by the population, and therefore not fertile ground. I do not think it is the decision but rather how the domestic audience in the West sees the decision that causes the terrorist to use that situation as an example to recruit young people to their cause.

Mr. Feakin: You are right in the sense of al Qaeda — do not underestimate the power of their narrative and how they manipulate that narrative. Backing up your example are the 2004 bombings in Madrid. They attacked Madrid and pretty much forced the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq off the back of that attack. We only need to look at what is going on in Europe currently. Supposedly, Osama bin Laden is making statements about the French and the banning of the burka. There is a heightened terrorist alert in France, where attacks could occur. Germany is under a heightened threat level, which is in no small way related to their deployment in Afghanistan as well as to statements by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that multi-culturalism has not worked in Germany. Al Qaeda has a propensity to jump on the back of Western decisions made at home. The group manipulates and splits populations. The key point is that we seem to lose this battle of the narrative too easily at times, although not always.

Senator Tkachuk: I have one more observation for your comment. Radicalization is part of a community and culture when a culture teaches that violence is the way to solve problems. India was changed by peaceful means because it was part of the culture and part of the preaching of the culture, which led to an independent India.

However, part of this culture is to solve problems by cutting people's heads off or stoning them. When someone lives in such a culture and that is what is taught, it is easy to radicalize the community and say, "Why do we not just blow up a few buildings and kill a few thousand people? Maybe that will change their minds."

That is the issue we need to come to grips with. Those are the kinds of things we have to deal with in those communities that these young people come from.

Mr. Feakin: You have to be careful about saying it is a culture of violence. I do not think many Muslims I know would agree that it is a culture of violence. People have an interpretation of that culture.

Senator Tkachuk: Do not get me wrong.

Mr. Feakin: In responding, I want to emphasize that you have to be careful with the way you frame your thoughts.

Senator Tkachuk: Why do we have to be careful?

Mr. Feakin: People will jump on the back of that wording and use it for their own narrative. It comes down to the difficulty of our language and the way in which we frame responses to terrorism. The U.K. learned the hard way about the use of language and the way in which we describe various acts or groups. It is a hugely difficult area to reconcile.

Senator Plett: Professor Silke, I want to return to your response to Senator Segal's question about prisons, et cetera.

I believe I heard you say that many people tried in the U.K. have been convicted, served time and are out on the streets. Many have experienced conversion, are no longer a threat and have gone on to other things.

I do not share your optimism. Obviously, al Qaeda has not had the same change of heart as you suggest that these individuals have had. These people have been serving al Qaeda for some time, and that is why they did what they did. Now, you are saying that they believe God has told them to move on and do other things. The God they have served in the past has been closely related to al Qaeda, and al Qaeda has not had that change of heart.

How are you keeping an eye on these people? Will they be considered a threat that you will continue to watch forever and a day? In the past, we have seen that these people are patient. They do not need to do something today or tomorrow. They can wait years and continue to mount their attack.

How are you keeping an eye on them? Is there a period of time after they are released from prison that they are deemed to be rehabilitated and no longer a threat to the U.K or other countries?

Mr. Silke: Some prisoners in the U.K are under Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements, MAPPA. They are risk management arrangements where the police, probation services and other agencies are involved in the supervision and monitoring of what the person does. These arrangements are time limited. After a period of time, these arrangements will stop; that is, the surveillance and the monitoring will stop. In some cases, arrangements last for years; in other cases they may only last for months.

There are former prisoners out there who have not been monitored formally and are not under formal surveillance. In the U.K., there are many fears about the potential for these people to become re-involved. If we look at the re-arrest and the re-conviction statistics, they are extremely low for these individuals. We tend to assume with terrorism, once a terrorist, always a terrorist. That is, once they are involved they never leave. That was said about the Irish Republican Army as well. The reality is that, for these people, their involvement in what they see as violent jihad is not meant to be a forever thing. It is not meant to be for their whole life. It is something that they do, and then they come away from it. They serve a tour and that is it. They do not constantly re-engage and they do not spend their whole life in violent jihad. It is something that they do, but for most people it is not meant to be something that they spend their whole life doing.

It is similar for people who join the conventional military, either in Canada or in the U.K. On average, in the U.K. most people are in the military only for about seven or eight years and then they will leave. How many rejoin after they leave? Extremely few rejoin. In a sense, they move on and that is part of their life that they put behind them.

One key thing is that in terms of how they view the cause, many of them are still sympathetic to the cause and they still believe in it. One of them told me that the cause is a moral cause. He believed that morality was on his side or was on the side of the cause, and that they were doing just things. However, he is no longer willing to break the law; he has done his time. He has paid for his part. It is now up to other people, and not him, to carry the burden. He is disengaging from terrorism. Within the academic literature, the term "disengagement from terrorism" has taken on more traction than the term, "de-radicalization." We now believe that disengagement is common and de-radicalization may be more questionable.

Senator Plett: Thank you for the answer. I do not know that we will have entire agreement on this issue. I think that the criminal that is out there to kill people, to steal, to do whatever, but still considers his or her life valuable, is a person we might be able to rehabilitate. You talked about how home-grown terrorism is the biggest threat. These people, from childhood to adulthood, are being trained for one act, namely, to strap on a bomb, blow themselves up and kill as many western infidels as possible.

You do not need to respond if you do not want to; however, you are welcome to do so. I am not sure that someone who trains for 20 or 25 years — for example, the doctor we were talking about was a highly educated individual who decided to become a human bomb — can be rehabilitated.

I am hopeful that our government will at least keep an eye on those people for the rest of their lives, if we have those people here. I encourage you to make sure you keep them on a watch list.

The Chair: Before we go to a second round, I will use my prerogative as chair to put questions to our distinguished guests, based on some of the things they have said and some of the things in their initial statement.

I think it was Dr. Feakin who made reference to the growing influence of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen and his celebrity status; that is, he is central to media reports, was American born, and so on. I want to try to understand and ask your advice on the way in which — and I think we saw some of this same trend in the early days of organized crime — the journalistic trend was to create a kind of character of cults around various organized crime figures, which added to the drama, interest and, to some extent, charismatic impact of these people. Of course, the police took the view that they were common criminals and had to be addressed, not made heroes of.

To what extent is the propensity that you both referenced of rapid response by governments such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to target individuals and to create a greater sense of their personality and its importance deeply counterproductive from the point of view of assisting in not radicalizing more young people and not creating subjects or objects of hero worship and pursuit that end up becoming counterproductive and making our own task problematic?

My next question relates to the teenaged male, if I may say so — Christian, Catholic, Islamic, and of no particular faith. We know certain things, and I will ask our professor of psychology to help with this question. We know that the male brain develops more slowly than the female brain. We know that the full development — and I have heard this from a distinguished anatomy professor at Queen's University — of the male brain is not completed till about age 18 or 19.

Senator Wallin: Ever!

The Chair: Senator Wallin said "Ever," but that is a whole other debate — for another committee, I hasten to add.

Seriously for a moment, the civilized world and the uncivilized world are dotted with thousands of parents who are trying to figure out how to manage the adolescent male.

Senator Tkachuk: They obviously have not had 14-year-old girls.

The Chair: I have, and from her opinion of the guys in her class, it was clear that the mental development of the guys was not as progressive as one might have hoped.

I ask the question as a clinical question because if we look at the radicalization of the young, if we look at young teenagers and young adults — that is, people who begin to look for other things in their lives — clearly the understanding of the physiology and the psychology is an important part of what our strategic approach should be, along with what the tactical approach should be by educational institutions, by police agencies, and by the prevent program, such as it exists in our two countries.

I am interested in your perspective as to whether, from the British perspective, there has been that kind of clinical work unrelated to terrorism, because we have data sets on some of this area that relates only to adolescent driving. The insurance companies have vast amounts of data about why young men of a certain age have to pay a higher premium than young women of a certain age.

I am interested whether, in your judgment, in terms of the British anti-terrorist operation, these data sets are figuring into the analysis, or whether they are not being integrated because they come from another area of concern.

The third question, and I think it was Professor Silke who said this but I may be wrong, was that a lot of young people who are attracted to a kind of radicalized and violent option are very, very angry at their parents and grandparents for selling out. By that statement, I want to make sure I understand your meaning. Do you mean the problem is that they have become integrated into the mainstream of British life and are not as openly — perhaps in appearance, clothing, or demeanour — associated with a traditional early version of the new immigrant to Great Britain from an Islamic country but they have changed over time, as is the case with many other immigrants and continuing generations? Is the issue a cultural one or is it because it is part of what renders these young people a sense of loss and therefore a sense of looking for something else to grab on to, to identify who they are and to establish an identity for themselves, which young people go through in a whole bunch of different ways — sometimes with respect to ethnicity, sometimes with respect to gender and sometimes with respect to what they want to do in life.

I am interested in your sense of how those issues come into play, and whether you think there is fertile ground for educational institutions and others to support our police and other agencies in this "prevent" function by coming to grips with that particular process. I am sorry the questions are so convoluted, but I hope you have some sense of where I am looking for your advice.

Mr. Feakin: In terms of the role of the media, you point out one of the difficulties, which is that the media love a cult figure. Osama bin Laden was that and still is; as to whether he is alive or not is another matter.

However, Anwar al-Awlaki fits that bill. He is an American-born citizen who, at one point, was a close friend of the U.S. government in terms of talking to them about radical issues and how to engage with Muslim youth. He speaks fluent English, so he can engage with Western Muslim youth. He has access to individuals who can build incredibly complex bombs. He is clever in terms of the way he tries to interact with Western Muslim youth, especially through the use of the English language in Inspire magazine.

It is difficult for the press not to leap to this guy immediately because he is an interesting character for them to deal with, and for good reason. He is obviously an influential figure.

However, there is a difficulty, as you say, with the media reporting. In the U.K., after the 2005 bombings, the U.K. media were often incredibly quick to report anything that even hinted at a terrorist plot in the U.K. There was a quiet dialogue that went on behind the scenes with the government and the media saying, look, please give us a hand here; you need to calm down a little bit, and be a little more measured before you respond to these events, because it can create more hysteria than is necessary.

That dialogue is difficult because we are entering the whole freedom-of-the-press debate. However, with most members of the press, they are more than happy to have a conversation about the issue. The unfortunate thing we have now, or the fortunate thing for citizens, is the unsolicited press — individuals reporting themselves.

One cannot control the way that a story will be released because people will call it what they see. I remember the first recordings of the attempted Glasgow bombings at the airport were from people's hand-held mobile phones. Often a story will unfold by itself.

The influence the media have is huge. Ideally, building up these figures to almost mythical status is something that should be pulled back from. However, again, I am not a member of the media as much as I am not a politician. These individuals represent attractive stories for the media to build up and relate these issues back to the public constantly.

As to how we resolve that issue with the media, it is important to have a mature dialogue. Make sure the government is prepared to speak to the media about certain things so that their perspectives are put across before the media create their own story. The issue requires that mature dialogue between the two.

Mr. Silke: I agree. I think the problem in the U.K. now is a media one. The media focus on the key figures and give them the attention. The focus is not one that is coming from the government side. The government now is keen not to focus attention on certain individuals.

I remember visiting Belmarsh Prison last year at one stage and the staff complaining that any time anything happened in Belmarsh — this is where most of the terrorist prisoners are held while they are on trial in London — the media always mentioned Abu Hamza because he is the most famous terrorist prisoner they have. Regardless of what the story was about, Abu Hamza was mentioned. It is that media profile. They were not keen for it to be there, but it is a media thing, not one that we find coming from the government side.

In terms of the issue on young people, it is unquestionably true, when we look at people who are recruited to extremist groups, almost all of them are aged between 17 and 25. Some people will still be there in 10 or 15 years, but 17 to 25 is the age of recruitment. Most of them, for every group, are male.

In theory, yes, if we could lock up every male between the ages of 17 and 25, we probably would wipe out terrorism stone dead very quickly.

The Chair: Senator Wallin wants to know why there is an age limit on that lock-up, but that is another question.

Mr. Silke: My wife might agree.

What we are tying into here, when we look at males in their late teens and early 20s, is that there is an attraction to risk and danger. We also tie in to the psychological need for power and to prove themselves. Therefore, what we have found across the board is that young males are involved in all the high-risk dangerous activities. They are the ones that drink too much, who are into high-risk sports, who drive too fast and who become involved in fights. They are the perpetrators of most violence and they are the victims of most violence.

Involvement in terrorism is tied into that behaviour; but I also think that, for example, joining the military is tied into that as well. Most recruits to the military are aged between 17 and 25 and most of them are male as well.

The problem we have is what has come to be called, in psychology, the specificity problem. We have a huge number of 17- to 25-year olds out there, but only a tiny handful of them will become involved in terrorism. What is it about the ones who become involved in terrorism that sets them apart from all the rest of the young men who do not? That is where we are struggling, and psychological research is trying to come up with answers there. We have had about 400 convictions in the U.K. Out of a U.K. male Muslim population aged between 17 and 25, probably about 350,000 people fall into that category, and only 400 of them became radicalized.

The Chair: I take it there have been no longitudinal studies that give any confidence that we are any closer to an answer. Would part of the PREVENT activity be spent in funding some of these longitudinal behavioural studies, because we have a large universe now of behavioural people, in the hundreds in your country? Would those studies be of value or would they not be of value?

Mr. Silke: We have had longitudinal studies looking at crime. We have had these types of studies that have followed people from a young age through the teenage years into their 20s and beyond, looking at involvement in ordinary crime. The problem with terrorism is that it happens so rarely — 400 people out of a population in the U.K. of 50 million plus.

We could follow a sample of 1,000 people, even if they all came from the Muslim communities, and the odds, statistically, are that none of them will become involved. That study would be expensive. That is the problem we have. The general approach taken instead has been to look at people who have been convicted and try to backtrack their past histories. That approach is not ideal, but that is the approach that has been taken.

The Chair: The sell-out comment that was made earlier by one of you — there is some interference on the line; hopefully it will clear up.

Mr. Feakin: The final one — sorry, I am being distracted by the interference there. I made the comment about third- generation immigrants. It was in relation to one that was occurring in the north of England.

I guess the issue is a disenfranchisement with the family roots. We look at the grandparents who originally came into the U.K. under the promise of employment. In the north in the U.K., they often worked in the milling industry. Essentially, those jobs were lost, so the primary reason for them being in the country was lost. They suffered a lot of racism but put up with it to try to integrate as best they could.

Once we reach the third generation of the youngsters, they perceive they are living in areas where there are no job opportunities. They feel their grandparents are trying to integrate when they perhaps should not because they have suffered so much at the hands of racist individuals. They are still encountering racism on a high level. Certainly, I saw that happening in Bradford.

It begins to be expressed in a way that is almost identical to the issues they face. I saw firsthand a lot of racist abuse being dealt out by third generation immigrants themselves. I cannot explain that abuse. There was a lot of resentment going back to previous generations and what they put up with. Essentially, they are saying they will not put up with that treatment. In that way, as you rightly said, there is a lack of identity and an understanding of where they fit within this society. It is that feeling of being lost, if you like.

At the time, Bradford was being filled up by gang culture. I was good friends with an ex-gang leader who had been pulled away from gang culture by his love of tae kwon do and an influential individual who was the leader of a tae kwon do club. He said, "If I had been the same person today as I was 10 years ago before I was pulled out of the gangs, it might have been me."

At the time, he was feeling lost within his family, area and region. His way of expressing himself was through gang violence. He said it could have been him who was a radicalized individual drawn to that violence because he was feeling lost.

Senator Furey: Professor Silke, you mentioned control orders in your last comments to my questions. I am interested in your general views on control orders. I understand they have been used two to three times a year since they were created back in 2005. Some would say, that is two or three times a year too many.

More particularly, what are your views on the impact, if any, the decision of your court of appeal had this year? I refer to the decision that allows terrorist suspects to sue governments for damages for wrongful use of these orders.

Mr. Silke: In looking at the history of control orders in the U.K., my own view is that, as a policy, control orders were introduced at a time when resources were more stretched in terms of intelligence services and the police. The control order regime allowed the government essentially to detain an individual who was suspected of being involved in serious activity but who would have been difficult to monitor otherwise.

Personally, I think it was a bad idea. I think now that the resources available have become much greater, the regime has been allowed to die a natural death. The problem was that it was impossible for the individuals under the regime to defend themselves because they were never made aware of the charges against them, so it was not possible to present a defence. As a result, not surprisingly, the legal justice system viewed the regime as illegal, and rapped the government's knuckles sharply about it.

The difference perhaps between control orders and internment in Northern Ireland was one of scale. Control orders were used sparingly. At the regime's height, I think only 13 people were under control orders, in comparison to internment in Northern Ireland where there were 1,300 people at its height. That internment was damaging and counterproductive. If we had seen large numbers, they would have had the same impact.

I think the regime was one of those policies that caused more trouble than it was worth. I suspect the current government will allow it to die a natural death.

Mr. Feakin: I do not have much to add to that, apart from the idea that it is almost unknown for us, anyway, because we are not party to this level of knowledge. However, having discussed control orders with our independent reviewer of counterterrorist legislation, Lord Carlile, it was something he seemed deeply frustrated by because he disliked control orders. From the outside, I disliked them immensely. They seemed limiting to our civil liberties at large.

I have heard — and we have seen this with the present government, who are wrangling or discussing internally whether to get rid of control orders altogether and what form they should take — the minds of people who were against control orders prior to entering government seemed to be swayed once they were given a level of intelligence they had not had access to. This is something Lord Carlile referred to. As much as he does not like control orders, he cannot see an alternative.

The argument is difficult to make because the debate for control orders is being made on the basis of evidence we are not allowed to see. As much as we dislike them, it would be wonderful to see this evidence that requires that potentially there is no viable alternative.

I am not so sure it will die out with this present government. I think they are already worried, internally. One of the policies they came in with quickly was the fact that these are the kinds of civil liberties they will reinstate. As they go deeper into the internal debate, and are given access to increased information, they are finding they are not so clear on the approach they should take.

The Chair: On behalf of the members of Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism, I want to thank Professor Feakin and Professor Silke for their generosity, in terms of their perspective, thoughts, expertise and their time.

We appreciate your help very much and wish you well in your continuing service to the academic, research and other requirements necessary to help keep one of our mother countries as safe as humanly possible. We appreciate that very much.

Colleagues, we gather next on December 6. Our witnesses will be Thomas Hegghammer, a specialist of Terrorism Studies at the Kennedy School who is currently at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies; and Brian Jenkins, Senior Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer of the RAND Corporation, who has authored a substantial, research- based monograph on terrorism and nuclear threats within countries.

We look forward to that meeting. If I can have a motion to adjourn, I will accept it. Thank you, Senator Plett. Colleagues and witnesses, thank you very much.

(The committee adjourned.)

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