A lot of people have seen or heard of so called "de-radicalization" programs used to "bring youth out of activism." These programs brag about doing the "impossible" task of "helping people leave terrorism." Although most "de-radicalization" programs are seen in context of Islamic terror, most people are not familiar with many of the groups original focus, and forget that the first target of these "de-radicalization" was the far right.
Increasingly, law enforcement has been turning to the tactics used by groups such as "EXIT-Deutschland," a far left wing "de-radicalization" group in Germany, to break up right wing activism groups. Should you find yourself caught in the grasp of these exploitative groups, it is imperative that you understand the methodology that they follow, and how to break free from their almost Orwellian tactics. Although there is a large internal debate on what tactics work, almost all "de-radicalization" groups follow the same three step process: Identify, Exploit, and Isolate (IEI for short).
The first step of all "de-radicalization" groups is to understand your motivations and thought processes as a person. There are many ways to go about this. Traditionally, "de-radicalization" programs will utilize standard interrogation tactics to find out highly personal things about your life. However some groups have started to weasel their way into your mind by attempting to forge a false personal relationship with the target. By making you feel "connected to them" they will be able to exploit your feelings as a means to understand your goals in life and your current state.
Your interrogators will try to assess your position in these groups. They want to know your value as a target. They may ask preliminary questions about the activism group you are involved with and its activities. At this stage, these questions do not usually have to much in the way of depth, and are only designed to assess how much damage your absence from the group would cause.
Now that your interrogators think they have an understanding of your motivations, they will attempt to abuse your beliefs, ideology, and sometimes even the people around you in an attempt to convince you to leave. They will attempt to convince you that without them, you cannot leave the "far right" and that you might suffer physical damage if you do it without them. Of course this is a complete myth (remember this?), however, Hollywood myth or not, your interrogators will stop at nothing to convince you that you need them.
They will attempt to break you, by utilizing a complex series of lies and misdirections on their part. One common line used by these programs is that "you can't achieve your goals while inside these groups" or that "you will never become the person you wish to be unless you leave." Some groups have even used social pressure from academic or professional peers to advance their goals.
If all else fails, your interrogators will threaten legal and social repercussions against you unless you leave. They will attempt to make you unhirable and undesirable by anyone and everyone you come in contact with while dangling promises of a nice, comfortable future in front of you. Usually this scorched earth tactic is reserved for high value targets, however if you are viewed as important enough, the program will stop at nothing to "convince" you to leave.
In the case that the first two steps were successful, your interrogators will attempt to isolate you from your activist friends and may force you rat them out. This tactic, developed by the Oslo Municipality Police, is designed to help the program identify new and higher value targets to aid in their campaign to bring their enemies down. These programs often have limited resources, and will take any intelligence they can get.
These programs have no problem with using you against your friends when they begin to target them. They will show you off as a person who has "co-operated" and will tell your friend that "people who have co-operated are treated well." They also may solicit your testimonial as a "former member" of the group for media purposes.
Countering the program
Most people view these programs as a threat to their group. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, these groups are a complete godsend. When "de-radicalization" programs such as these use dishonest and underhanded methods like IEI, few expect the same tactics to be thrown back at them. These programs are the perfect opportunity for a bit of counter-intelligence. If an interrogator believes that they have you under their thumb, they will rarely question or verify the claims you make about the group. It quickly becomes possible to manipulate these programs into doing your own media dirty work. Remember: your power as a political group is only as much as what others think you can achieve.
What if one of these groups became convinced that it had found a "bombshell" about your group that they were going to release to the media. This "bombshell" is a game changer that will expose your group to the whole world, and everyone needs to know about this "bombshell." When the media reports come out, and their "bombshell" is proven to be fake, how much damage do you think it might cause to their image? How ridiculous do you think you can make the "bombshell?" Get creative, this is political trolling on a huge scale.
If you aren't interested in trolling these groups, and you just want out of their grasp, the path to escape isn't that far off. Remember these groups have extremely limited resources. They will only target people they view as being high value. The key is to make yourself look low value at the beginning, and then lead them on to a fake target that is supposedly a leader (again, an excellent place for trolling). Never appear submissive or aggressive, always be somewhere in between. Never make eye contact with your interrogators, they will attempt to watch the movements of your eye to gauge what effects their questions had. Train yourself to look strait forward when a question is asked or you are giving an answer. This will thwart much of their tactics in the identification stage. If an investigator attempts to befriend you, stay aloof. Remember that they will use this "friendship" to exploit you later. People in the program, even when acting friendly, do not view you as a good person, no matter what they claim. Their mentality is "once a nazi, always a nazi," this will not change. By giving them little to no information, they will not be able to proceed to the exploitation phase.
Although a main feature of these groups is pulling individuals out of "extremism," often their main focus is towards other tactics, such as online shilling and underhanded media reporting. In later articles, I will explain their methodology and provide some ideas for counter attacks. For further reading, you can check out some of their materials on this topic here and here.Posted on: 2017-07-17 02:40:36