Boston's "Countering Violent Extremism" Program: The Dangers of Reliance on a Debunked Theory of Terrorism

November 19, 2014

The Brennan Center, in conjunction with Harvard Law School and the ACLU, is pleased to invite you to:

Boston's "Countering Violent Extremism" Program:
The Dangers of Reliance on a Debunked Theory of Terrorism

Harvard Law School
1585 Massachusetts Avenue
Austin Hall 101
Cambridge, MA 02138

Wednesday, November 19, 6:30 p.m.

The program is free and open to the public

The Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) pilot program, soon be launched in Boston, is said to be aimed at deterring U.S. residents from joining "violent extremist" groups, but it may in fact endanger civil rights and prove counterproductive for our security.

Despite overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary, the CVE framework of counterterrorism is rooted in theories that adopting "radical" ideas or pursuing other constitutionally protected behaviors (such as forms of worship) may be a first step toward terrorist violence, and that interventions may be implemented to prevent people from becoming "violent extremists." The announced Boston CVE program raises strong concerns among many civil rights advocates as well as counterterrorism experts about the ways that flawed models of so-called radicalization may undermine Constitutional rights, stigmatize certain individuals and sow distrust -- particularly between Muslims and federal authorities as well as internally within Muslim communities.

An expert panel discussion featuring:

  • MICHAEL GERMAN, Liberty & National Security Program Fellow, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law
  • FAIZA PATEL, Co-Director, Liberty & National Security Program of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law
  • DAVID SCHANZER, Director, Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security
  • Moderated by SHANNON ERWIN, Board Member, American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts