I received an invitation from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) to attend a conference on April 8 at the John Jay College on Criminal Justice titled “First Preventers: Policing After 9/11.” At first I was tempted to dump it in the (virtual) garbage can. But when I took the time to examine the invitation, the panels and participants caught my interest. For example, “Radicalization in the West” by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Madeleine Gruen.
Mr. Gartenstein-Ross is the vice president of research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Ms. Gruen is the author of “Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s Activities in the United States” (Terrorism Monitor. Vol. 5, No. 16. 2007) and former intelligence analyst for the NYPD.
Another presentation of interest is “Hezbollah Criminal Activities in the United States” by retired North Carolina sheriff’s deputy Bob Fromme. As reported on the FBI’s website (“Law Enforcement and the National Security Branch: A Partnership to Protect America”), Fromme:
[O]bserved something out of the ordinary while working off duty in a tobacco company outlet store. Bob became suspicious when he witnessed a group of men carrying Wal-Mart bags filled with cash. Acting on his instincts, he returned and watched a scene that kept repeating as one individual would purchase 299 cartons of cigarettes at a time, while another individual would pay for the purchase. Operation Smokescreen came about thanks to the instincts of a law enforcement officer from a small town, and eventually led to the discovery of a terror cell connection to Hezbollah, and the convictions of 20 individuals who were part of that cell.
I can’t wait to hear the inside scoop on that story!
The tie that binds all of the panels in this conference is the local emphasis. This is encouraging. I find this local dimension is often lacking in discussions of terrorism and terrorist groups, even in books on the subject. Authors tend to focus on the national or transnational aspects. They are sexier and more likely to grab a headline. As well as sell books…
Here is the other info on the conference if you are interested and in the area:
TUESDAY, APRIL 8, 2008
12:00 PM–6:30 PM
(Program Begins at 12:30 PM)
JOHN JAY COLLEGE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE
899 10TH AVENUE (BETWEEN 58TH & 59TH STREETS)
HAAREN HALL, 6TH FLOOR, ROOM 630-T
NEW YORK CITY