In Minnesota, Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, Abdullahi Mohamud Yusuf, and Hanad Mustafe Musse pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS. The defendants charged last April following an investigation into a network of young Somali-Americans involved in ISIS recruitment in Minnesota. ordered the four to undergo an evaluation by a visiting German scholar, Daniel Koehler, director of the German Institute on Radicalization and Deradicalization Studies in Stuttgart. His evaluation of the men will factor into Davis’ sentencing decisions, and will form the basis of a “de-radicalization program” to rid the men of their radical ideology.
The Star Tribune reports that the program will be the first of its kind in the United States. (Well that’s a relief.) Apparently such deprogramming treatments are used to “cure” radical recruits in Europe, as hundreds of young people have left to join Middle Eastern militants.
Wait, are anyone else’s ethics alarms ringing like crazy? Mine just busted an ear drum.
Here I am, trying to figure out how the United States was magically sucked into “All the King’s Men,” and I suddenly find myself in the middle of “A Clockwork Orange.” Under what provision of the Constitution is the government allowed to send citizens to brain-washing centers so they will stop thinking bad thoughts? Funny, I was taught that the Americans could say and think anything they wanted to, even terrorist thoughts. When did that change?
It didn’t change, of course. The culture has been slipping toward this evil for quite a while, with those who uttered politically unpopular positions in many workplaces being “sentenced” to diversity classes, or anti-bias classes, or other sessions where their anti-social, wrongful thoughts would be purged. The Soviet Union took this to the next stage, and apparently, we are too.
The judge’s rationalization is that the four men can refuse the order, and just accept prison for a longer term. This is not true consent under the law,. This is coercion, and when someone has a gun to your head, or a long prison sentence, you’re not consenting at all.
Reprogramming someone’s thinking is a human rights atrocity, whether the thoughts being banished are pro-terrorism, religious, gay or Republican. Even if the good German doctor’s ingenious mind-wipe somehow manages to slither though a legal loop-hole, though I don’t know how, since it seems to be a uniquely sick hybrid of a First Amendment violation and cruel and unusual punishment, it is unequivocally wrong.
Terrorists are scary, but judges, scientists and policy-makers who think the solution to any problem is to forcibly alter how people think are far scarier.