• Perspective

    Is there a danger of overreaction to the mass shootings in El Paso,, Dayton, and other places? Should America confront its fringes with the wrath it brought to the Middle East after September 11, 2001? Two decades of evidence argues against changing the whole way we do business in the face of a few fanatics. In any event, what would a “war on white nationalism” actually entail? Will it be a decades-long slog, this time on American soil? Will it feature the mistakes of the war or terror? Curtis Mills writes: “Before it embarks upon a new, ill-considered crusade, America should contemplate the costs and consequences of its last war on terror.”

  • Perspective: White power

    It’s going to get worse. That’s the warning of a former violent extremist, Christian Picciolini, who joined a neo-Nazi movement 30 years ago and now tries to get people out of them. White-supremacist terrorists—the ones who have left dozens dead in attacks in Pittsburgh, New Zealand, and El Paso, Texas, in recent months—aren’t just trying to outdo one another, he told us. They’re trying to outdo Timothy McVeigh. Picciolini said that even if the U.S. could get a handle on its gun problem, terrorists can always find other ways. McVeigh had his car bomb, the September 11th hijackers had their airplanes, Islamic State attackers have suicide bombings, trucks, and knives. “I have to ask myself, Do we have white-nationalist airline pilots?

  • Perspective: Home-grown terrorism

    Federal and local authorities recently have said there are heightened concerns about domestic terrorism and white supremacy. In July, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that a majority of domestic terrorism cases the bureau has investigated are motivated by white supremacy. Wray assured the panel that the FBI was “aggressively” pursuing domestic terrorism and hate crimes. “Our focus is on the violence,” he said. “We, the FBI, don’t investigate the ideology, no matter how repugnant. We investigate violence.”

  • Perspective: Online radicalization

    The El Paso, Texas, mass shooting that left 22 dead may actually spell the end for one of white nationalism’s greatest resources: the online radicalization of potential domestic terrorists. The El Paso massacre may be the end of the free speech defense. On Sunday, federal authorities announced that they are not just charging the El Paso suspect with federal hate crimes as they did with the Poway shooter, but with domestic terrorism as well. The decision doesn’t just suggest the Department of Justice (DOJ) is reconsidering whether online forums for white nationalism are a threat worth pursuing at the federal level; by applying “domestic terrorism” to El Paso, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is also actively pushing boundaries of “association” beyond explicit membership.

  • Perspective: Online racism

    More and more experts classify mass shootings inspired by white nationalist ideology as terrorism — part of a global white nationalist movement that recruits or inspires potential shooters. The mechanisms of recruiting white nationalist terrorists work much as with other terrorist groups such as the Islamic State; they take lonely young men and give them a sense of purpose and identity. But instead of the alternative society offered by Islamic State membership, violent and racist online platforms build toward single murderous events. The language used on the forums to encourage potential shooters combines nihilism and toxic masculinity, goading them with anti-gay slurs and challenging them as “wannabes” if they fail.

  • Online hate

    El Paso, Texas. Poway, California. Christchurch, New Zealand. Three White Power-inspired attacks by three white supremacists who posted paranoid racist manifestos right before the attacks. Three killing sprees. One targeted Muslims, another Jews, the third Hispanics. What they all had in common was 8chan. In just six years, 8chan has achieved a rather unenviable reputation as one of the vilest places on the Internet.

  • Mass shootings

    Is person who commits mass murder mentally ill? Not necessarily. In psychiatry, we do not have diagnostic criteria for a mass murderer, terrorist or violent person. There are psychiatric conditions that may include anger, aggression, impulsivity, violence, or lack of remorse or empathy among their symptoms. But there is no one illness that would be found in all mass murderers, or murderers in general.

  • Online hate

    As Americans reflect on two mass shootings that claimed 31 lives last weekend, they’re asking how to stop the carnage. Researchers at a Los Angeles center devoted to tolerance say part of the answer lies in ending hate online. Political leaders and social media companies, they add, must help to tone down the hateful rhetoric.

  • Perspective

    Distributed leadership is more difficult to combat than more ordinary influence patterns, where one or two relatively prominent figures have a disproportionately large influence over a large number of people. Nevertheless, movements marked by distributed leadership can be addressed through a variety of methods, including countervailing messaging and deplatforming or disruption. If the leaderless paradigm remains complicated, so too does the resistance part of the equation.

  • Perspective

    Experts who have focused on both types of extremism—Islamist and white nationalist—tell me that a fundamental change in the way America views the latter would indeed help combat it, freeing up law-enforcement resources to address the growing problem. FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress last month that the bureau made about 100 domestic-terrorism arrests in the past nine months, putting it on pace to surpass the total from the previous year, and that the majority of the suspects were motivated by white supremacism. Since 9/11, far-right extremists have killed more people on American soil than Islamist terrorists have.

  • Perspective

    As white supremacist violence surges, a major hub for American intelligence has quietly expanded its focus on domestic terrorism, according to a senior U.S. counterterrorism official who spoke with The Daily Beast. It’s a small shift that draws accolades from veteran national-security officials. The shift also concerns civil-liberties advocates, who say it may point to an erosion of the boundary between law enforcement and America’s spies.

  • Terrorism

    U.S. plans to keep just a residual force in Syria to ensure the enduring defeat of the Islamic State may be on the verge of backfiring, with some military officials warning the strategy is giving the terror group new life. The doubts, raised in a Defense Department Inspector General report released Tuesday, come as Washington has struggled to secure additional on-the-ground help in Syria from allies and amid renewed warnings that while IS may have lost control of its self-declared caliphate, the group’s fighters are far from defeated.

  • Mass shootings

    Research shows that mass-shooting incidents usually occur in clusters and tend to be contagious. Moreover, contagion correlates with the level of intensity of media coverage: the more intense the coverage, the more likely it is that contagion will occur, researchers say.

  • Mass shootings

    In the past decade, the language of white supremacists has transformed in important ways. It crossed national borders, broadened its focus and has been influenced by current mainstream political discourse. I study political violence and extremism. In my recent research, I have identified these changes and believe that they can provide important insights into the current landscape of the American and European violent far-right. The changes also allow us to understand how the violent far-right mobilizes support, shapes political perceptions and eventually advances their objectives.

  • Considered opinion: Hate

    During the Cold War, Ian Fleming observed that “once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time it’s enemy action.” So it is here. It would be both too glib and too simplistic to smother the details of these attacks beneath a single word such as “horror” or a catch-all euphemism such as “senseless.” In America, as abroad, we see our fair share of inexplicable violence. But the patterns on display over the last few years have revealed that we are contending here not with another “lone wolf,” but with the fruit of a murderous and resurgent ideology — white supremacy — that deserves to be treated by the authorities in the same manner as has been the threat posed by militant Islam.

  • Perspective

    Senior United States military and intelligence officials are sharply divided over how much of a threat the Islamic State in Afghanistan poses to the West, a critical point in the Trump administration’s debate over whether American troops stay or withdraw after nearly 18 years of war. American military commanders in Afghanistan have described the Islamic State affiliate there as a growing problem that is capable of inspiring and directing attacks in Western countries, including the United States. But intelligence officials in Washington disagree.

  • Terrorism

    Hamza bin Laden, the son and heir of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, has been killed in a U.S.-supported operation, according to different media reports. U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, on Wednesday confirmed the death of Hamza bin Laden, who was in his early 30s. The younger bin Laden had been killed within the past two years, in an operation in which the United States was involved in some capacity. U.S. refused to provide any details on the operation.

  • Perspective

    Facebook Inc. doesn’t have to face a lawsuit by victims of Hamas attacks and their relatives who claimed that the social network unlawfully assisted the terror group, a federal appeals court ruled. the lawsuit was among several around the U.S. testing whether victims of terrorist attacks and their families can hold social-media companies to account for allowing violent extremists to use their platforms to recruit followers. The terrorism victims attempted for the first time to argue that social-media companies could be held liable under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act.

  • Home-grown terrorism

    In an Instagram post made not long before he attacked a food festival in California on 28 July, Santiago Legan quoted the book Might is Right, and urged people to read it. The book, originally published in 1896, has had an enduring history on the fringes of American thought and ideology. The book’s most appreciative modern audience, however, may be white supremacists.  Though Might is Right is not itself a work designed to promote or advance white supremacy, it contains many passages full of racist and anti-Semitic vitriol.

     

  • Terrorism

    The Islamic State terror group’s self-declared caliphate may be dead, but its leaders are hanging on in Syria and Iraq, dreaming of the day when they can again direct attacks on targets around the world. The conclusion is part of a sobering assessment in a newly released quarterly United Nations report on IS which warns the epicenter for the terror group’s budding renaissance is Iraq, “where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and most of the ISIL leadership are now based.”