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Global Terrorism and Collective Moral Responsibility: Redesigning Military, Police and Intelligence Institutions in Liberal Democracies

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - GTCMR (Global Terrorism and Collective Moral Responsibility: Redesigning Military, Police and Intelligence Institutions in Liberal Democracies)

Berichtszeitraum: 2020-07-01 bis 2021-09-30

The main problem is countering international jihadist terrorism by liberal democracies in a manner that is effective but also consistent with liberal democratic principles. The main question is: What ought a morally permissible and efficacious (i) structure of counter-terrorist institutional arrangements, and (ii) counter-terrorist tactics, for a contemporary liberal democracy facing the common problem of international jihadist terrorism consist of?
Subsidiary questions are:
- What is the nature and causes of international terrorism, e.g. use of social media to propagate ideology?
- What is the analysis of collective moral responsibility applicable to institutional actors?
- What forcible counter-terrorist tactics, e.g. preventative detention, targeted killing, are morally permissible?
- How are these tactics to be integrated with an overall counter-terrorism strategy?
- How ought some features of some of the key security agencies – police, military and intelligence – be redesigned to combat international terrorism, e.g. re terrorist use of WMDs?
- What significant powers of security agencies constitute overreach, e.g. bulk data collection of citizens?
- What are some of the main accountability mechanisms that need to be designed in relation to the use of counter-terrorist tactics, e.g. judicial oversight of drone strikes?

The main conclusions consist of a set of effective and ethically sustainable policies and measures to address the above-described issues, e.g. conditions under which preventative detention, drone strikes, bulk data collection, infringements of freedom of communication, right to privacy, etc., might be justified, if proven to be effective.
In the first three phases, the focus of the research was on: What is the nature and causes of international terrorism? What is the analysis of the notion of collective moral responsibility? What forcible counter-terrorist tactics, e.g. preventative detention, targeted killing, are morally permissible?

The theoretical, empirical and applied ethics research completed formed the basis for addressing: How are ethical and effective counter-terrorist tactics to be integrated within an overall counter-terrorism strategy? How ought the key security agencies – police, military and intelligence – be redesigned to combat international terrorism? What accountability mechanisms need to be designed in relation to counter-terrorist tactics?

Thirteen workshops have been conducted in The Hague, Washington DC and Oxford University involving academics, senior police, military and intelligence personnel and policy-makers making presentations on issues such as the use of lethal force, detention, undercover operatives, interrogation of detained terrorists, extremist jihadist use of social media, and counter-radicalization. Twenty-five in-depth semi-structured and unstructured interviews have been conducted with key informants in The Netherlands, UK. USA, India, Israel, Australia and Canada. The interviewees include former heads of intelligence agencies, such as the CIA, and senior military commanders who have served in Iraq and elsewhere.

The original partnership in this ERC project of TU Delft (host institution) and the University of Oxford has been extended to include the Centre for National Security and Law at Georgetown University in Washington DC, and the Australian Centre for Policing and Security at Charles Sturt University in Canberr. These partners provide additional resources, e.g. senior academic input and research assistants.

Research achievements up till now:
1. Seventy-five research papers have been prepared and presented at thirteen workshops organised by the Principal Investigator.
2. Twenty-five key informant semi-structured in-depth interviews.
3. Two authored books published by leading international publishers in open access; two other authored books are under contract.
4. Four edited books published by leading international publishers in open access.
5. The two PhDs have been successfully completed and PhDs awarded.
6. Fifty-four academic articles published by researchers.
5. Project Website www.counterterrorismethics.com (to be updated)
6. PI et al researchers have made 20 presentations at non-ERC funded international workshops and conferences.
7. Final Conference in The Hague in September 2022 (delayed due to COVID).
Progress beyond the state of the art:

The fruits of project’s progress beyond the state of the art in terms of impact will, it is expected, be evidenced in coming years. However, at this time a novel disciplinary direction for applied philosophy has been established consisting of a new research program within counter-terrorism studies, namely philosophically grounded, moral analysis which is both legally and empirically informed. This is evidenced by the preparation and publication of research papers on both the ethics and efficacy of various counter-terrorism tactics. Hitherto philosophers have focused on ethics issues while practitioners, social scientists et al have focused on the efficacy issues. However, the ERC’s multidisciplinary team working with practitioners has been able to produce output which addresses the ethical and efficacy issues simultaneously.

Results so far and expected results up till the end of the project:

(i) A Major Report has been prepared, outlining for policy-makers what the morally permissible, efficacious (i) structure of counter-terrorist institutional arrangements, and (ii) set of counter-terrorist tactics, for a contemporary liberal democracy collaborating with other liberal democracies facing the common problem of international terrorism ought to consist of. It is to be presented at the international conference in the Hague in September 2022 (delayed due to COVID). Discussions of many of the specific issues dealt with in this report have been published in refereed international journals and in the authored and edited books mentioned below.

(ii) x 5 Authored (by PI) Academic Books published in open access with leading international publishers.

(iii) x 5 Edited (by PI and researchers) Academic Books published in open access with leading international publishers.

(iv) x 2 PhDs have been successfully completed: (1st) Collective Responsibility, Counter-terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs); to be published in book format; (2nd) Bulk Data Collection and Analysis for Counter-Terrorism: Efficacy and Ethics; published as journal articles/book chapters.

(vi) Website: Global Terrorism and Collective Moral Responsibility – continue to enhance the website offerings so that it becomes a one-stop-shop for an extensive range of material on issues dealt with in this research project and on relevant academic, policy, practitioner and other events world-wide.

(vii) x 13 Workshops have been conducted and 75 papers have been presented at these workshops.

(viii) Final Conference on Global Terrorism and Collective Moral Responsibility at which major findings are to be disseminated is to be held in The Hague, Netherlands in September 2022; .
PI Miller and 7 of 8 researchers plus the administrator