What would these US Psychologists Make of Britain’s PREVENT Strategy?

A recent article published in the US magazine Psychology Today by two professors of psychology, Dr. J Wesley Boyd of Harvard University and Dr. Alice LoCicero, ripped apart the very basis of the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda.  The CVE programme implemented in the US has been drawn from the UK’s PREVENT policy, which has been roundly condemned by hundreds of academics here in Britain for baselessly focussing primarily on ideology, and (resultantly) perpetuating a climate of suspicion against the Muslim minority.

The FBI’s approach in the US is similar to Britain’s.  Social service workers, teachers, mental health professionals, religious figures, and others intercept young people they believe are on a path toward “radicalisation”.

CVE “Misguided”, “Vicious”

The professors launch a blistering critique of the programme.  Likening it to the much derided Cointel-Pro carried out by the FBI, they state that CVE programmes “violate First Amendment rights and disproportionately affect Muslim communities. They are at best misguided, and at worst, vicious.”

CVE programmes attempt to create a psychological profile in order to predict an act of terrorism.  Commenting on the baselessness of this approach, the professors write,

“If the research were conducted and led to a psychological profile of someone who might ultimately commit violent acts, it would be a rough profile at best and would not have anything near perfect specificity or sensitivity—that is, it would not screen out everyone who is not at risk, nor would it screen in everyone who was, leaving us with the proverbially dangerous “little bit of knowledge.”

They then proceed to completely reject the programme providing their reasons:

“As mental health professionals, we are obligated to take action if we know that someone is imminently at risk of harming him/herself or others, such as when someone says, “After I leave your office I am going to try to kill someone” or “I am planning to kill myself in the next several days.”  But taking action along these lines is very different from what is being advocated by CVE programs.

“We will not be participating in any CVE programs, and we strongly encourage other mental health professionals to also refuse for the following reasons:

“We will not spy on our patients.

“We do not read minds, and we know that none of us can predict the future.”

This is indeed a damning verdict on CVE programmes like PREVENT, which employ psychology to determine vulnerability to radicalism.

Secretive ERG 22+

The question is, what would these psychologists make of those British psychiatrists whom secretly and actively helped develop a pre-crime model of intervention, which is now resulting state-sponsored emotional abuse of children?

If we recall, last year CAGE revealed through a letter to the Royal College of Psychiatrists that the government uses “Extremism Risk Guidance” factors, also referred to as ERG 22+. ERG 22+ appears to be a theory which underpins the entire counter-extremism strategy of the government. CAGE state, on the authority of Professor Andrew Silke, that a group of psychiatrists recommended ERG 22+.

In the US, psychologists are slamming such endeavours as dangerous academically, and a violation of human rights. Here in Britain, members of the same profession have already developed a spying programme for the state which has thus far left a trail of societal destruction, including psychological child abuse.

The scrapping of PREVENT is not about if, but when.  However, the damage wrought will require years if not decades to undo.

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