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CVE Watch

The programs being designed and implemented across the country under the auspices of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) have drawn fire from Muslim community members and civil rights activists. They are criticized for unfairly targeting Muslims, being used for surveillance under the pretext of community outreach, and being based on an unfounded theory of radicalization. Despite the heavy criticism CVE has been subjected to, there remain lingering questions about precisely which communities are targeted, what research (and which experts) agencies are relying on for their approaches, how (or if) government agencies are planning to safeguard civil liberties, which community leaders are being supported and for what reasons, etc. By making the relevant government documents public, we hope to help answer some of these questions.

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National Counterterrorism Center handbook lists "dissatisfaction with job" as a potential sign of extremism

National Counterterrorism Center handbook lists “dissatisfaction with job” as a potential sign of extremism

Countering Violent Extremism initiatives rest on the core assumption that it is possible to detect and stop violent extremists before they carry out attacks, through theories of radicalization which identify behaviors that are thought to be “indicators” or “risk factors.” This logic is the driving force behind the National Counterterrorism Center’s annual handbook for law enforcement agencies, which provides guidance for spotting these indicators - from legitimate calls to violence, to more troubling grey areas, such as “expressing frustration with employment situation.”

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FBI struggled with "messaging challenges" surrounding its controversial counterterror program for teens

FBI struggled with “messaging challenges” surrounding its controversial counterterror program for teens

FBI officials fretted over critical press coverage of their interactive website and online game on violent extremism aimed at high school students and attempted to assuage concerns raised by civil liberties and Muslim organizations, according to documents released through a FOIA request.

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Nebraska’s counterterror proposal doubles down on discredited science

Nebraska’s counterterror proposal doubles down on discredited science

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency is the latest, and possibly last, recipient of an Obama-era counterterrorism grant, which awarded the state $300 thousand towards “countering violent extremism in rural and small to mid-sized communities.” NEMA’s proposal, released through a public records request, shows the agency aims to accomplish this by relying on the same flawed, problematic psychology of its predecessors.

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UNC-Chapel Hill won a $866 thousand grant to produce counter-jihadist propaganda for Homeland Security

UNC-Chapel Hill won a $866 thousand grant to produce counter-jihadist propaganda for Homeland Security

In the last days of Obama’s presidency, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill won a grant worth $866,687 under the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism initiative to produce counter-jihadist propaganda. According to the proposal, the University will invest the money in hiring 36 undergraduate students with a background in “study of jihadist messaging strategies, video game design, and media production.”

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Denver’s counterterror program sets sights on Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ groups, and refugees

Denver’s counterterror program sets sights on Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ groups, and refugees

Records show Denver Police sought a $480 thousand grant from Homeland Security to develop a counterterror program targeting communities it identifies as “at-risk” of violent extremism, which include Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ groups, and refugees.

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