Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) is a toxic mix of surveillance, profiling, and thought policing. DRAD has opposed the program since its inception, working with local and national coalitions to expose its dangers.
It’s based on demonstrably debunked theories that there is a set path to “radicalization” that can be used to predict who will become a terrorist. In seeking to reach people “before” they become terrorists, CVE casts suspicion on people for their First Amendment protected views. CVE has been used to disproportionately single out the Muslim community.
CVE is touted as an alternative to law enforcement interventions against terrorism, focusing on at-risk individuals and preventing them from becoming “extremists.” However, nothing could be further from the truth. CVE is jointly run by the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security. There is nothing to prevent these groups from using these programs as intelligence gathering. They also seek to transform teachers, social workers, and health care workers into informants.
In the wake of the horrific violence at Charlottesville, many looking for answers about how to deal with resurgent white supremacist movements have turned to CVE as a potential answer. However, Muslim, Arab, and South Asian civil rights groups that have long opposed these programs have made clear that they still do. Regardless of people’s good intentions, CVE programs will continue to single out the Muslim community for scrutiny. It is not possible to fight white supremacy by legitimizing a tool that will be used to criminalize the Muslim community.
Ahead of Hearing, Defending Rights & Dissent Urges Homeland Security Committee to Address Law Enforcement Abuses of Counterterrorism Authorities
With an uptick in white supremacist violence, the House Homeland Security Committee is holding a hearing on “Confronting the Rise of Domestic Terrorism in the Homeland.” Defending Rights & Dissent recognizes the real threat white supremacist violence poses to many communities. We also have deep concerns about how law enforcement routinely abuses their counterterrorism authorities. The framework of “terrorism” has been used to criminalize some of the very same communities most at risk from white supremacist violence. When investigating nonviolent activists, law enforcement frequently cite their counterterrorism authorities.
Defending Rights & Dissent has teamed up with the Justice for Muslims Collective to host an informative discussion for residents of DC, Maryland, and Virginia about the ways the Countering Violent Extremism program is impacting communities in the area.
“The first step is for DHS, DOJ, and the FBI to give us the records we’ve asked for so we can show the public what’s going on here,” said Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the AAAN. “And the next step is for the federal government to shut this program down, because we’re confident that by shedding light on these programs, it will be apparent that CVE is a domestic spy operation in Chicago’s backyards.”
A coalition of community civil rights organizations in Los Angeles forced the Mayor to turn down a $450,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security for a controversial Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program.
Color of Surveillance Delegation Takes DC By Storm, Demands Transparency and Accountability on Government Surveillance Aimed at Communities of Color
Community leaders from around the country participated in lobby visits, a Congressional briefing, and a full day conference at Georgetown Law last week as part of the Color of Surveillance delegation organized by the Center for Media Justice.