Can Western Governments Stop Their Citizens From Joining Terror Groups?

Source: Rayat al Tawheed Tumbler

Western nations are trying to stop citizens from leaving to fight with groups like ISIS.

What do counter-terror officials propose?

Counterterrorism officials recommend that countries share data to detect the recruitment of foreign fighters, monitor online communications more aggressively, share airline passenger information in advance, and criminalize travel abroad to fight.

How will they limit the surveillance to those who may want to join ISIS as opposed to regular citizens? My answer: They can't. So the rest of us should get used to to to the idea of ramped up intrusions on our civil liberties.

Most of the recruits are young -- in their 20's. Arresting them on their return, as some countries are proposing, or as they are about to leave, and giving them long jail sentences is a bad idea. Prison will further radicalize them. They will become more marginalized and feel more oppressed.
I doubt this will prevent any young adults from wanting to join them. [More...]

I also doubt threats of imprisonment are likely to be a deterrent. Closing the border at Turkey would probably help stop the recruits from succeeding, but I don't see any real effort on Turkey's part to do this.

In addition to You Tube, Twitter, Tumbler, and Facebook, a big recruitment tool for foreign fighters is Ask FM, where individual fighters answer questions and describe their daily lives, and offer advice on how to get across the border. For personalized advice, they ask people to contact them on kik and offer to connect them with someone who can help with particular issues. Their tone is conversational, even breezy, and they show a sense of humor. One fighter, who also works in the media department, has answered more than 1,500 questions in the past month or so. It was easy reading, so I made a compilation of what I found to be the more interesting questions and answers in his thread. You can read it here.

They are well aware these communications are monitored, and don't seem to care. They don't hesitate to disclose who is in their group, which ISIS big shots they've met, how long they've been there, etc. They even answer questions about food and cooking, bathroom and laundry facilities.

There's a lot of women asking them questions about whether they want to get married, how a "sister" would go about it, etc. They answer some, but don't hesitate to remind them they aren't providing a dating service.

One of the best ways to learn about ISIS is to read them in their own words. Unfortunately, Twitter keeps deleting their accounts, including official ISIS accounts. ISIS moved its accounts another site, which also deleted them. A few weeks ago they moved to VK, a Russian owned Facebook lookalike. Today, VK zapped all the official accounts. That leaves Justpaste.it where they post photos and communiques, but it's not searchable, so unless you read on Twitter they've posted something new, there's no way to know. That's a huge mistake in my view. Analysts, researchers and journalists learn a lot from following them online. Governments could too.

In any event, until the Governments of the world start paying attention to why their youth are disaffected, marginalized and feeling oppressed, and make an effort to provide supportive programs and other assistance, they will just lose more and more of them to extremist groups. The State Department's latest effort, a video that tries to scare them off, is a waste of time and money and a losing proposition.

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    Western recruits (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Uncle Chip on Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 08:53:24 AM EST
    I think some of these kids are going off to these places thinking that it will be some great adventure  but they soon learn the meaning of the words "war is hell".

    When you experience your first casualty, see your first headless corpse up close and personal, and hear those bullets whizzing past your head, it ceases being a glorious adventure.

    ISIL commanders probably see recruits from Western countries as cannon fodder and put them on the front line -- unless they believe that they will prove more useful to them back in their home countries.

    True but (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 10:02:55 AM EST
    In any event, until the Governments of the world start paying attention to why their youth are disaffected, marginalized and feeling oppressed, and make an effort to provide supportive programs and other assistance, they will just lose more and more of them to extremist groups.

    The governments are not teaching them that they are citizens of that country and they owe loyalty to that country. This is true in the US and all western countries.

    So, thinking they are citizens of the world they dash to support whatever group that flips their mostly uneducated minds.

    Look, this is really odd (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Dadler on Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 10:08:36 AM EST
    First and foremost, when you go off to join an organization that you KNOW relishes lopping off heads and raping children, you are a psychopath. THAT is who is joining these groups. Psychopaths. Let us absolve ourselves of the idea that there is ANYthing but psychopathy at work. Islam is alive and well all over that region, this is a sectarian psychopathic organization. Nothing more, nothing less. Short of stopping ALL travel for ALL people, no, you can't stop it. Can we, as a nation, stop acting psychopathic in our own ways abroad and make a difference? Of course. But so far we have proven far too stupid and disdainful of our freedom to actually do so.

    Youth have always felt (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 12:55:45 PM EST
    Disaffected, marginalized, and oppressed.  It is all part of being a youth.

    but authoritarian responses are not the answer (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 02:08:32 PM EST
    to disaffected youth (who have not left or harmed their home countries) as we learned at Chicago in 1968, Kent State in 1970, and Ferguson last month. As to the ones returning, there should be some individualized proof they intend to harm their home country before jailing them. For those returning because they became disillusioned with the movement they joined, social programs, educational opportunities, job training, etc. could be much more helpful. Criminal charges and imprisonment and stripping of citizenship should be reserved for those whom the Governments can prove killed someone.

    For example, a young female who went there in hopes of marrying a fighter and never handled a gun, or a young male who went and was assigned to janitorial work instead of fighting and returned, should be treated differently than someone the government can point to in a video killing someone and proudly holding up their head.


    It is natural to question authority (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 03:59:35 PM EST
    Particularly in your youth.  That is how many of us come to understand the need for a system of authority, and most of us don't have to murder someone or lose our lives to come to understand those dynamics.

    Joining the ISIL cause is far different than that though.  And all of us who are functional members of civilized society have a level of respect for the authority that enables our society to be and remain civilized.

    Joining or supporting ISIL in any fashion is to celebrate rape, pillage, and murder.  There needs to be consequences.  So I disagree with you.

    When you marry a US soldier you marry someone who lives under standards and for which there are consequences if they violate basic laws. They are all under the UCMJ and the Geneva Conventions and various treaties and agreements along with the authority of the President of the United States and thereby the authority of the American voter.  ISIL operates under no such standards. And if you disagree with some things the United States military is undertaking, as a spouse of a soldier you can say so, out loud as publicly as you want.  There are no consequences dealt you by "the authority" in doing so.  I'd like to see the spouse of an ISIL fighter pull that one off and keep her pretty little head.

    We should do everything in our power to prevent ISIL from preying on our youth in their weakest growing up moments.


    Treason? And Godwin's Law. (none / 0) (#4)
    by thomas rogan on Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 10:22:34 AM EST
    How would we have handled the case of an American  who went to Germany to join the Nazis in 1942 and who fought in the Nazi army against Allied forces?  We can simply do the same here.  If it was good enough for FDR and Truman, it's good enough for me.  

    Another fine insult from Mordiggian (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 01:01:03 PM EST
    Perhaps you can explain to me how children develop loyalty to their country if not taught through out society. And that would include the home, school, movies, social media, etc....

    It is not done through osmosis.

    Without that base they are susceptible to pleas to join one group or the other.

    Only in this case the group is a terrorist organization and the duped lose their citizenship and their lives.

    I'm less concerned about (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by CST on Thu Sep 18, 2014 at 11:42:14 AM EST
    loyalty to country than I am about loyalty to humanity.  We don't need to teach them that team USA is number 1 for them to realize that joining ISIS is bad.

    This reminds me a bit of all the people who asked my (athiest) family where we got our morals from if not from God/the Bible.  If you need the Bible to have morals, you're doing it wrong. Likewise, if you need patriotism in order to not join a militant organization that is hell bent on killing people, there is something else wrong.


    that comment was deleted (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 01:53:33 PM EST
    as a personal insult to the commenter. Mordigan please follow the commenting rules.

    The process is called socialization, Jim (none / 0) (#12)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 08:05:14 PM EST
    It actually is a bit like osmosis.  Children absorb values and norms from their families and society surrounding them.

    Overt propaganda only works on the idiots.


    Osmosis was a poor analogy (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 08:22:59 PM EST
    and I agree. You have a good point.

    The question is this.

    If we do not make patriots out of them, should we expect ISIS, and other such, not to take advantage??

    And I admit that it is a difficult task to effectively "teach" that our country is the best in the world while, at the same time, admitting that we have done things that would not be acceptable in the world today.

    Perhaps we should take a more positive approach with our children while reserving critical thinking to college levels.


    Can anyone make their child a patriot? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 12:30:15 PM EST
    Seems a ridiculous notion to me.  And often when your children break away from you psychologically they will make some choices specifically counter to your liking in order to find their individuality.  I would think forced patriotism would lead to even more ISIS fighters.

    No, they can't "make" (none / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 02:46:17 PM EST
    them be anything.

    But if they are exposed to positive teaching about the country it is likely they will be patriotic as compared to a child that is not exposed to positive teaching.

    The problem is aggravated by teachers who believe the country is bad and who try and force their agenda on children. This is expanded by the continual rain of movies in which the government and/or or both the military/CIA is evil.

    Simply put children do not have the mental facilities to separate the bad from the good.


    Our founding fathers intended for our nation (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 03:24:11 PM EST
    And government to be openly criticized, and they intended full debate and critical thinking to be taught and experienced by every American.  No teacher teaches that the United States is bad.  Quite a few teach that the United States isn't perfect, and that is important to be able to understand.  You can love, defend, and serve this country while still grasping its imperfections.

    So?? (none / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 04:10:41 PM EST
    Quite a few teach that the United States isn't perfect, and that is important to be able to understand.

    I posit that this acceptable, even desirable, when the person is old enough.

    And it's a tough call but I'd say 16 and younger is too young.

    Yet we see teachers doing such in middle school.

    That's wrong. That's a teacher with an agenda trying to create a true believer.


    Good god (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 04:34:03 PM EST
    They understand long before 16 when you are lying to them.  You are going to have a passel of pissed off hating your guts teenagers Jim.

    You don't want to do what you just proposed.  The only thing you will end up with in your camp in the end are those too stupid to know you were a liar, and those without any sort of courage at all...just professional brown nosing ass kisser that in the end you can't trust as far as you can throw them :)

    Nah, just be honest...and tell them no!  No! You can't join ISIL!  Too effing bad :)!


    Hmmmm (none / 0) (#24)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 05:10:46 PM EST
    I see that you don't have a clue about what I speak of.

    Oh well.


    There is a huge difference (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 05:16:43 PM EST
    between a parent and a middle school age child having a discussion about the Iraq war and a teacher comparing Bush and Hitler.

    As a parent I trust you won't disagree.


    What teacher compared Bush to Hitler? (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 05:41:53 PM EST
    Now you are just pulling stuff out of your arse.

    Put down the Fox :)


    Hey, and how about the teacher (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 05:49:55 PM EST
    In 7th grade here who taught Joshua's class that the reason why African Americans have higher mortality rates is because white people have stronger immune systems?  How bout that piece of work?

    But I know of more teacher who made a Bush/Hitler comparison.


    The teacher should be (none / 0) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 08:55:46 PM EST
    warned and closely watched. S/he appear to have issues.

    Just as this teacher should be.

    Bless you.


    And the CIA and the military (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 03:26:00 PM EST
    In the past did do some really evil $hit

    And yes, they did some bad things (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 04:05:59 PM EST
    And I am not saying we shouldn't criticize them.

    But being critical all the time is just as bad as been non-critical all the time.

    And remember. I am speaking of children and how we insure they grow up as patriots and not as people who can be turned to follow evil because of what we did 100 years ago.

    I repeat. Children are not mature enough to understand the evils that are in the world and we do them a great disservice when we continually play the "government always bad" card.

    Think of the confusion created when we say "government bad" but "government will take care of you....."


    I agree with you (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 04:26:35 PM EST
    That being knee jerk critical is just as destructive in attempting to get to truths.

    And I agree with you that children need to placed under certain protections.

    Human beings mature differently, isn't one size fits all, and not all of them will experience the same struggles in reaching their maturity.  I think what you may be meaning here is respect for their nation though...maybe not patriotism.  Patriotism seems to be something developed after several learning experiences in which those growing up experience their nation dealing with individuals as fairly and equally as possible while protecting the small, the weak, the needy.  Patriotism I believe is something a nation earns from its young people.  When the leaders of a nation begin to think that no longer has to be earned, that's when we are heading into a grave darkness.

    I am not willing to allow ISIL to recruit freely among our young people, in our youth most of us made poor enough choices without throwing beheading, rape, and genocide in there.

    I see what war experiences did to our very young people in uniform, and some of them we probably won't be able to save and that is with all of us working to have their backs.  I don't think anyone takes off with ISIL and comes home sane ever again.

    Gotta tell ya though, I was having a discussion about those too young being sent into war zones and brought up that perhaps a United States soldier shouldn't be able to go into combat until they were 21 and a senior Army leader told me, "Oh no, we have to have some of them too young and too unable to comprehend their own death to get them all to do the things we order them to do."  No kidding, he said that, shamelessly.  And I don't think that is any sort of majority notion or idea, just saying one of the big shots said it :)


    Really?? (none / 0) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 05:22:49 PM EST
    a senior Army leader told me, "Oh no, we have to have some of them too young and too unable to comprehend their own death to get them all to do the things we order them to do."  No kidding, he said that, shamelessly.

    You lead an interesting life.

    No, I mean patriotism.

    I think we are in general agreement on the end but disagree on the means.


    You can't be forced to have love for your (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 05:46:29 PM EST
    Country.  We are talking about the same thing Jim.  How can you make someone love their country when they can be arrested or shot for walking or kissing while black?  We must repair ourselves, and when our children watch our nation operate as a humanist nation and experience that the system of repairing ourselves exists.....they can feel the love.

    What you are talking about is brainwashing, not love.


    I have not been talking about adults (none / 0) (#31)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 08:50:44 PM EST
    How can you make someone love their country when they can be arrested or shot for walking or kissing while black?

    The fact is that unless we start teaching our children to love and defend our country... both militarily and culturally... we won't have a country where the majority condemn the actions of the police.

    It would not happen in any Islamic theocracy.

    It is silly for Obama to say that ISIS is not Islam. Of course it us their brand of Islam and it is instructive to note that none of the other Islamic countries are rushing to join us in fighting ISIS.

    Why aren't they?

    It is silly for us to allow any government function to be guided by or influenced by any Sharia law or Koran writing. Yet, as I have posted, it happens.

    Now, how do you do it?? You don't allow things like the DC teacher assigning homework to 6th graders comparing Bush and Hitler. You don't allow tax payer money used to built facilities to enable Muslim prayers. You close down Muslim schools that teach violence. When some Imam condemns a cartoon of Mohamed every newspaper in the country publishes it on their front page. When some nut "disses" a Koran you shrug your shoulders and say, "Sorry. It's in bad taste but it's their right."

    Our failures in these, and others, send the wrong message to our children and our enemies.


    Oh, dear G0d (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Yman on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 10:38:07 PM EST
    The best you can do is try to claim a couple of extreme examples is representative of public schools in general?


    Want to see how easy it is to do with private "Christian" schools?

    Christian school bars students with homosexuals in their family.

    Christian school offers racist menu for Black History month.

    Ridiculous, but easy.


    What is the military supposed to do (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 12:03:10 PM EST
    With the mosques we have on bases and posts now Jim?  Even the United States military agrees ISIS is not Islam because Islam exists on every base and post now.

    Ketchup baby tomato :)


    I say watch them very close.. (none / 0) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 07:42:44 PM EST
    Pretty Sure... (none / 0) (#23)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 04:38:49 PM EST
    ...your beef is with the government and all the BS it keeps getting caught doing that are not American values.  Like waging wars because it can, spying on it's own citizens, creating a prison on foreign land for the soul purpose of bypassing the Constitution, torturing people, dropping bombs on innocent people with the hopes of hitting a target and missing frequently.  Then lying about it, and and lying about the lie, followed up with even more lies, to the point that only a fool believes anything they say.

    Telling kids that is not true or that because they are the American government it's OK, is not going to work without some sort a massive propaganda campaign.

    You complain about the head of the government every single day, yet you want to teach kids that what you say doesn't mean anything.  That the current government is really bad, at times, you have claimed the worse ever, and yet the country that elected them, that they run, is the bestest ever.

    You also put down anyone who doesn't wave their flag as high as you with regularity.  How exactly are you going to persuade impressionable minds that they should love America, yet fear the people who run it ?

    People will stop hating America when it stops doing stuff people hate.  It's that simple.  All the flag waving and name dropping jesus isn't going to work, no matter how much you want it to.

    Where is your national pride, you wave the biggest flag, but you can't even be prideful of your service.  Yeah, wave that flag a little higher, maybe no one will notice that you are scared to come clean because of online commentators.

    But do what you do best and infer that I somehow don't love my country as much as you because i don't wave a flag as big as your or as often as you do.  Like the teachers in your comment, who don't love it as much as you because they don't want god in the classroom.


    You just make stories (none / 0) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 05:11:44 PM EST
    up as you go along.

    I have made exactly no comment that even infers that that I want religion taught in a public school. Neither do I want secularism taught.

    But I am always happy to let you play psycho babble and vent your hatred of people who disagree with you.

    So let's return to your random wild comments.

    I have no beef with "government." I think that our current "government" has grown to large in the EPA area and too small in the area occupied by the ethics of the IRS. Does the NSA spy on us?? Yes. I have no doubt. Your side made a big deal about it until its man was elected. Now you are quiet as a graveyard at midnight.

    As for the prison on foreign lands I assume you are referring to Gitmo which is leased from Cuba. Someone else can argue freehold vs leasehold I'll just say we needed a place to hold captured terrorists and Gitmo works well.

    Of course we could close and release the prisoners. ISIS, et al, needs some more fighters.

    You speak of kids yet you offer no definition. While a 17 year old may be mature enough to understand the discussion of our NA's treatment, a 14 year old is not. A 17 year old may be old enough to know that comparing Bush to Hitler is idiotic and insulting to their intellect. A 14 year old not so much.

    And you can't make a comment without bringing up the fact that I have served 10 years in Naval Aviation but decline to provide a autobiography to people such as you.

    And understand that I have no desire, or right, to know the details of your life or service.

    So get over it. It is the adult thing to do.


    OT? It appears they killed another hostage (none / 0) (#11)
    by nycstray on Sat Sep 13, 2014 at 06:18:47 PM EST
    there's a new thread on that (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Sep 14, 2014 at 02:52:56 AM EST
    here, thanks.