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  • Why Fight Terrorism with One Hand Tied Behind Our Back? | Charity & Security Network
    little more than a year 123 countries signed a comprehensive treaty ban on landmines 1 In December 1997 the Ottawa Process set the record for the fastest treaty to be ratified by such a large number of countries as of April 2010 156 countries had signed To this day it is a success story that demonstrates the possibilities when national leaders caucus with civil society groups in all phases of a plan from development to implementation to review That is why in today s battle against violent extremism the passing of counterterrorism measures CTMs that restrict or bar civil society groups makes no sense Through their first hand experience of working in conflict zones and among marginalized communities civil society actors have gained valuable insight about the causes and alleviation of insecurity The familiarity of civil society groups on a range of social and economic issues has been the catalyst for significant improvements in the quality of life and security for people around the world These groups should be embraced not restricted with counterproductive legislative and regulatory measures that jeopardize their abilities to meet the needs of vulnerable populations in the world s hot spots A May 2011 report from the Fourth Freedom Forum and the University of Notre Dame s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies traces the many harmful impacts of overly broad counterterrorism measures adopted since 9 11 Friend not Foe Opening Spaces for Civil Society Engagement to Prevent Violent Extremism emphasizes the positive contributions civil society make in reducing the conditions that give rise to terrorists More about the report can be found here It s time for governments to recognize and protect the work of these groups and eliminate counterproductive CTMs that hinder their missions 1 from Julian Davis paper The Campaign to Ban Landmines

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/One_hand_Tied_behind_our_back (2016-02-16)
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  • Time to Let the Experts Define Due Diligence, Vetting for Charitable Programs | Charity & Security Network
    organizations and their place in the community Ethical principles are also brought to bear on operations For example the International Committee of the Red Cross Code of Conduct requires that the humanitarian imperative comes first and bans discrimination in aid eligibility determinations The Do No Harm Handbook provides methods for avoiding negative impact for assistance programs in conflict areas It recognizes that assistance is often used and misused by people in conflicts to pursue political and military advantage and offers tools to understand how this occurs and prevent it The nonprofit sector is continuously evaluating and improving these practices to address current conditions on the ground Launched in 1997 the Sphere Project is a collaboration of humanitarian NGOs and the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement Th e Sphere Handbook was updated in April 2011 to improve the quality of humanitarian response to populations affected by disaster and armed conflict Bad due diligence measures The Department of Treasury s Anti Terrorist Financing Guidelines Voluntary Best Practices for U S Based Charities win the prize for bad due diligence practices These Guidelines drafted without consultation with the nonprofit sector have been consistently criticized by foundations and charities as unhelpful and potentially harmful However Treasury insists on keeping them Many of the due diligence practices it encourages such as anti terrorist certifications are unrealistic and ineffective As many nonprofits have noted there is nothing to stop a determined terrorist from signing a certification while charities operating in good faith cannot guarantee the future and are reluctant to sign certifications that attest to facts they have no way of knowing The Guidelines take a one size fits all approach that is ill suited to the variety of international charities and the different cultural economic and security situations in locations where they operate The emphasis on broad information collection and reporting suggest charities are agents of government undermining key relationships on the ground and threatening the safety of humanitarian workers Heavy reliance on checking names of board members key employees recipients and others against Treasury s terrorist list as a means of preventing diversion of funds to terrorists ignores alternative more effective due diligence practices Finally following the Guidelines does not give a charity any credit for operating in good faith should Treasury decide to shut them down The types of bad due diligence measures reflected by the Treasury Guidelines do not replace a charity s need to do good due diligence as described above Instead it creates additional work and expense that adds little or nothing in terms of protecting charitable resources For example many charities and grantmakers use expensive computer software to check names against watch lists but rarely if ever get a match When names do match further investigation usually proves it to be a false positive I have heard this story over and over but never heard about list checking coming up with a positive match The explanation is simple charities select the people they work with based on traditional

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Let_the_Experts_Define_Due_Diligence (2016-02-16)
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  • To Charities and Grantmakers: Don't Pass Up This Opportunity! | Charity & Security Network
    Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions which lays out the standards for relief to civilians in non international armed conflict This effort deserves the support of the U S nonprofit sector when it comes before the Senate for ratification The current ban on material support of terrorism is so broad that it is inconsistent with human rights obligations Executive Order 13224 s revocation of the humanitarian exemption in sanctions against terrorist groups also effectively bars aid to civilians in areas controlled by listed groups Both should be subject to review to make them consistent the humanitarian imperative not because charities want to aid terrorist groups we don t and we won t But we do want to be able to talk to them when necessary to gain access to civilians in need or to convince them to lay down their arms Under current law this risks a long jail sentence The U S also agreed to consider the recommendations for the UN s Special Rapporteur for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism These include best counterterrorism practices such as periodic review of emergency orders and minimum standards of due process for people and organizations put on terrorist lists EO 13224 signed within weeks of the 9 11 attacks needs such review Now nearly ten years old it created draconian powers to shut down charities without adequate notice of the reasons or opportunity to defend themselves It needs to be replaced with long term procedures that allow charities acting in good faith to resolve problems without being wiped out of existence Two federal courts have ruled the process under EO 13224 to be unconstitutional A review is an opportunity to create real due process procedures None of these things will happen on their own U S

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Dont_Pass_Up_This_Opportunity%21 (2016-02-16)
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  • Give Peacebuilding a Chance | Charity & Security Network
    means to promote international peace and the resolution of conflicts among the nations and peoples of the world without recourse to violence Since that time USIP has gained worldwide recognition for its training and projects The proposal to cut this crucial work has generated strong opposition from the likes of U S Army General David Petraeus U S Army Lt General Robert L Caslen Jr former Secretary of State George Shultz and U S Navy Admiral and Chief of Naval Operations G Roughead see their letters of support as well as members of Congress In an o p ed in Politico USIP President Richard Solomon recognized the need to rein in federal spending but noted that the value of USIP s work far exceeds its cost He noted its budget is miniscule one tenth of 1 percent of the State Department budget not even enough to cover 40 soldiers in Afghanistan for one year Father Ted Hesburg president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame and co chair of the USIP National Campaign of Peacemaking wrote in the Washington Post that Congress should know better Now is not the time in the face of global adversity to cut peace The United States must be a leader in nonviolent international management Cutting funding for USIP represents what my father would have called bass ackwards priorities Or as one colleague told me It s so deeply depressing that Congress has moved the way it has Pentagon endorsements of NASCAR sailed through to the tune of 30 million Hopefully the sponsors of this dangerous idea will re think it While they are at it they can also re think the material support laws that prohibit all peacebuilding groups from working to turn terrorist groups away from violence Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Give_Peacebuilding_a_Chance (2016-02-16)
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  • US Should Join the Movement Away from Long Term Emergency Powers | Charity & Security Network
    Amnesty International The summary of this consultation said The terms of reference for the review made it clear that the review should consider a wide range of views including those of civil liberty organisations and community groups To meet this commitment the Home Office wrote to key organisations civil liberty and human rights organisations organisations representing the legal profession victims groups and special interest groups making them aware of the review and providing advice on how they could contribute Although UK civil society groups did not think the resulting reform proposals go far enough they do go in the right direction providing protection from what the British Home Office describes as unwarranted state intrusion in their private lives with a return to common sense government This includes limits on surveillance detention and government databases with private information on citizens They also rejected a proposal to ban groups based on their ideology In the United States the recent Congressional debate on the Patriot Act indicates we may be ready for such an adult conversation about our own counterterrorism laws Congress can and should debate the need for these extraordinary post 9 11 powers and consider Sen Patrick Leahy s proposals for greater oversight and accountability Given the many documented abuses of Patriot Act Powers especially in the area of surveillance greater oversight is a necessity The Executive Branch has a role to play in this conversation as well President Obama acknowledged the anti democratic nature of long term emergency powers in his Feb 1 speech about Egypt when he said moving toward democracy there calls for lifting the emergency law Over a year ago I posted a blog calling for updating Executive Order 13224 signed by President George W Bush on Sept 23 2001 It noted a host of problems including

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/US_Movement_Away_LongTerm_Emergency_Powers (2016-02-16)
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  • Treasury Comment Shows Nonprofits are Right to End Unproductive Dialog | Charity & Security Network
    amounts Financial crimes experts believe most terrorist funding comes from organized crime film piracy illegal drug sales and the like Treasury is well aware of this In October 2009 David S Cohen the Treasury Department s Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing noted terrorist organizations reliance on crime to finance their operations appears to be expanding When challenged about their broad brush claims about charities and terrorist financing Treasury retreated to a vague complaint that charities are subject to exploitation and abuse by terrorists But the agency has never defined what this means and their examples provided in the Annex to the 2006 version of the Guidelines and this year s Frequently Asked Questions document refer almost exclusively to foreign charities What are U S charities and foundations to make of Treasury s inability to distinguish legitimate U S organizations from front groups or social wings of terrorist groups As Rob Buchanan President of the El Hibri Foundation and former Director of International Programs at the Council on Foundations noted in a May 2010 panel we would say to them as we often did if it s happening here in the United States we don t see it If you know something we don t know you should be telling us about it because we want to correct that problem Treasury s response to these overtures has been to repeat often at great length the same old line it gave the Chronicle That leaves me to wonder whether a they are incapable of understanding what they are hearing or b the unstated policy is to limit international charity Either way after seven years it makes sense for charities and foundations to end this fruitless effort Continued meetings would only create the appearance of a dialog that does not exist In the

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Treasury_Comment_Shows_Nonprofits_are_Right_to_End_Unproductive_Dialog (2016-02-16)
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  • Experts at Fear Mongering | Charity & Security Network
    on on air consultant to CNN and others has ended due to concerns about his reliability and while newspapers and other main stream media outlets tend to avoid quoting him Emerson is know to be quite litigious Consequently the media has tended to place a discrete distance from him rather than to question his expertise directly Emerson has also developed an expertise for being a force behind the scenes in events Newspapers that won t quote him directly will use him as a primary source for stories He plays a major role in criminal prosecutions In the Sami Al Arian case he was a major source of information and advice to the federal prosecutors and the Tampa Tribune His close relationship to Gordon Kromberg a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Virginia is well known The Holy Land Foundation prosecution relied on evidence produced by Emerson s Investigative Project and two groups with ties to Emerson the NEFA Foundation and the International Assessment Strategy Center IASC The relationships between Emerson and these two groups illustrate the collaboration and networking that goes on among the community of experts on Islam Both NEFA and IASC are linked to the Counterterrorism Blog which describes itself as a unique multi expert blog dedicated to providing a one stop gateway to the counterterrorism community Emerson and his Investigative Project are listed as the leading experts on the blog Douglas Farah is affiliated with both organizations and serves as the blog s editor NEFA s Evan Kohlmann a former Emerson employee is a key expert on the blog IASC s Susan Schmidt and Glenn Simpson are former journalists from the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal respectively who used Emerson as a source for their reporting Similarly Jeff Brienholt whom IASC describes as one of the nation s leading prosecutors of terrorist financing relied upon Emerson during his tenure at the Justice Department IASC s President Thor Ronay is a director of the Counterterrorism Foundation which publishes the Counterterrorism Blog He also served as executive vice president at Frank Gaffney s Center for Security Policy and is a board member of Family Security Matters a project of CSP None of this suggests a vast right wing conspiracy Much of the motivation for all these connections seems to be entrepreneurial networking However there do seem to be common perceptions both factual and political at play here NEFA s founder Michelle Hayes said about her group This is not work Not to one of us This is a cause The mindset of this group is not that of the academic dispassionately sifting evidence to identify alternative theories and reach reasonable conclusions but rather that of an advocate who uses evidence selectively to advance a pre determined position Of course there is nothing wrong with advocacy As a lawyer and lobbyist advocacy is what I do for a living But even in the rough and tumble of Washington the system works fairly well because advocates for one

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Experts_at_Fear_Mongering (2016-02-16)
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  • The G-Men Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest | Charity & Security Network
    which indisputably waned with the election of Barack Obama the spark activists say it needed So what were the G Men thinking They aren t saying and we can only speculate Here are two possibilities that have occurred to me Maybe they thought the peace groups could be intimidated from their anti war advocacy and from pursuing international alliances with human rights groups If so they have badly misjudged their target Maybe they think that the Supreme Court s ruling in Holder v Humanitarian Law Project means that supporting human rights in places where listed terrorist groups operate like Columbia or Gaza now constitutes material support of terrorism Much of the public reaction has cited this possibility which demonstrates the need for Congress and the administration to fix the law so that nonviolent advocacy is not treated in the same way as providing explosives Whatever they are thinking these G Men stirred up a hornets nest and the anti war bees are agitated and looking for places to sting back So who are these G Men Although this has happened under the Obama administration federal criminal investigations are carried out under the director of U S Attorneys who are supposed to be independent and politically neutral That makes U S Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of the Northern District of Illinois appointed by President George W Bush in 2001 and retained by President Obama the person in charge of this investigation Fitzgerald is known as an ambitious prosecutor of high profile cases Examples include the Valerie Plame case which resulted in the conviction of then Vice President Richard Cheney s chief of staff Scooter Libby corruption charges that landed former Illinois Governor George Ryan in prison and charges against Governor Rod Blagojevitch for trying to sell Obama s Senate seat to the highest bidder That ended in a mistrial on all corruption charges although Blagojevitch was convicted of lying to investigators Fitzpatrick has been mentioned as a possible replacement for FBI Director Robert Mueller whose term ends next year The FBI appears to be spearheading the investigation and carried out the searches of the activists homes and offices There isn t room in this blog post to list all the problems the FBI seems to be having particularly in figuring out the difference between free speech dissent and actual terrorism Suffice it to say that the 2008 FBI Domestic Investigative Operational Guidelines DIOG give the FBI overly broad powers such collecting and mapping demographic data using criteria such as behaviors lifestyle characteristics and cultural traditions in communities with large ethnic populations The DIOG needs to be revised and perhaps this incident will lead to the kind of Congressional oversight that will force reforms The Joint Terrorism Task Forces which the FBI said cooperated in the Sept 24 raids are multi agency effort led by the Justice Department and FBI designed to combine the resources of federal state and local law enforcement according to DOJ They have been criticized for several documented instances

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/The_GMen_Who_Kicked_the_Hornets_Nest (2016-02-16)
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