• Extremism

    A potent combination of technology and a fractured extreme-right is producing innovative organizations that are harder to police. Anonymous networks can draw on a pool of ready-politicized recruits and offer internet-bound activists an opportunity to get involved in physical activism at minimal cost and seemingly with little risk. The scope for more coordinated forms of direct action seems limited under this organizational arrangement, but this type of activity is a good opportunity for those looking to make the leap from digital-only to real-world activism.

  • Perspective

    Though the United States may be drawing down its forces in Western Africa, France, the other foreign power operating in the Sahel, has boosted troop numbers in the region from 4,500 to 5,100. Jacob Zenn, the author, most recently, of Unmasking Boko Haram: Exploring Global Jihad in Nigeria, writes that the increase came as a response to a January meeting with the G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) that affirmed the Sahel’s top security threat is the Islamic State’s local affiliate, popularly known as the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS), which is formally part of the Islamic State’s West African Province.

  • Perspective

    On 6 April 2020, the U.S. State Department designated the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) as a terrorist organization and placed its leaders on its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists. Mariya Omelicheva writes that this unprecedented move—the first time in history the State Department has deployed tools reserved for jihadist groups against a white supremacist organization—comes at a time of rising right-wing extremism and violence in the United States and around the globe as well as the internationalization of white supremacist movements.

  • The Russia connection

    Militant far-right extremists from Germany, Sweden, and Finland are receiving combat training in Russia. IntelThe training camps are run by the right-wing extremist Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), which, in April, was designated by the United States as a terrorist organization – the first white supremacist group to be so designated. Russia’s active campaign to weaken the West and undermine liberal democracies has so far been limited to covert and overt support of populist, far-right, polarizing leaders and political movements in the West. Western intelligence services are worried that military training of far-right extremists is part of the next chapter in Russia sustained, disciplined campaign to undermine Western democracies.

  • Militias

    So-called “militias” and “patriot groups” have different beliefs and viewpoints, but most of these citizen-focused organizations share a concern about government infringement on individual liberties. The protests over the killing of George Floyd saw largely peaceful demonstrations being met by well-armed police, often equipped with military gear, and National Guard troops. That puts these groups in a curious position. Their public activity has long championed the importance of individual constitutional rights, and they believe in the right to use armed resistance against government overreach. But many of these groups’ members have also been supporters of the president, who is now speaking openly of taking the sort of far-reaching government action these groups have long warned against.

  • Extremism

    Militant far-right extremists from Germany, Sweden, and Finland are receiving combat training in Russia. The training camps are run by the right-wing extremist Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), which, in April, was designated by the United States as a terrorist organization – the first white supremacist group to be so designated. Russia deployed the foreign nationals to Russian militias operating in eastern Ukraine. Sources in German intelligence said they were worried that when the Germans come home from their stint in Ukraine, they would add military know-how and experience to the rising tide of far-right terrorism in Germany.

  • Bioweapons

    Experts discussing the lessons of the coronavirus epidemic for preparations for a bioweapon attack, are worried that the failures to detect, mitigate, and respond to COVID-19 may make a future biological weapon attack more likely. These experts agree that the U.S. has a long way to go in addressing biological threats from natural and man-made sources. Further, the U.S. needs to adapt to new realities – a time where citizens’ trust of government is significantly lower, where citizens actively protest experts and their recommendations, and where misinformation is one tap on a smartphone away.

  • Perspective

    President Trump on Sunday tweeted that the United States should designate Antifa, a movement of leftists radicals prone to violence, as a “terrorist” organization. Shirin Sinnar writes that leaving aside the fact that current law does not grant the president the authority to designate the movement a terrorist organization, the deeper issue is this: “The sad irony in all this is that, over the past two years, some on the left have vocally supported an expansion of domestic terrorism frameworks” – calls which neglected the many concerns that civil rights groups.

  • Extremism

    After Donald Trump claimed most protesters in the U.S. were “antifa,” Germany’s Social Democrats rushed to declare solidarity with the movement. But which movement? And why did other politicians object? What the word means is simple enough in German. Antifa is short for antifaschistisch, or anti-Fascist. In the most literal sense, one might hope this label could apply to almost all modern German people and politicians. But does antifa refer to all those opposed to fascism, or does it refer only to black-clad anarchists and leftists staring down German police in the streets?

  • Floyd protests

    The series of nationwide protests the past nine days over the death of African American George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police have drawn a hodgepodge of outside agitators. They range from anarchists to anti-fascists, radical environmentalists, white supremacists, anti-government militiamen and just straight-up opportunists. All have been seen in numbers small and large at mass gatherings across the country. But sorting out their precise involvement in the demonstrations — and the related violence, burning and looting — has presented a challenge to law enforcement officials and researchers.

  • Extremism

    The German government on Wednesday approved a change to the Military Law which would make it easier to dismiss career soldiers who engage in extremist activities. The proposed changes must be approved by the Bundestag. The move comes after a series of incidents in which career soldiers were found to belong to extremist cells and shadowy far-right organizations. In a series of raids in the past few months, the police found these cells to stash arms caches and develop detailed plans for attacking Muslim immigrants and law enforcement personnel.

  • Extremism

    The demonstrations protesting the killing by the Minneapolis police of George Floyd – and, more broadly, systemic racism in America — have been mostly peaceful, but there have also been widespread incidents of violence and property destruction. And while some of this chaos may be an expression of protesters’ despair and anger against America’s long history of racism and inequality, it is important to note that antiracists are not the only – or even primary – cause of these incidents. Some individuals and groups, including a scattering of extremists, are taking full advantage of a national crisis to advance their own violent agendas.

  • Extremism

    Twitter suspended a fake account, created by white nationalist group Identity Evropa, which pretended to be affiliated with Black Lives Matter and incited violence. The account called upon African American participants in the protests to use violence against law enforcement and places of business. “Tonight’s the night, Comrades,” one tweet had said, before encouraging users to “take what’s ours.”

  • Argument

    White supremacists are gleeful as police violence and the resulting rioting tear apart cities, Dan Byman writes. “Even if the unrest ends in the weeks to come, they may look back at the violence as a win for their side,” he writes. “Even if the violence declines, it may bolster an increasingly important white supremacist concept—’accelerationism.’”

  • Perspective

    The DHS intelligence unit has sent out a memo to law enforcement officials around the country warning of the mobilization of far-right domestic terrorists and violent extremists in the context of a national crisis. Betsy Woodruff Swan and Natasha Bertrand write that this is at least the fifth DHS has sent out to law enforcement officials in the last two months warning of the growing danger of far-right violent extremists.

  • Extremism

    One year ago, Walter Lübcke, a member of Angela Merkel’s conservatives, was shot and killed in his garden, allegedly by a far-right extremist. Germany stepped up measures at tackling extremism, but has it been enough?

  • Extremism

    A new report from Reliefweb provides evidence on the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and response on violent extremist recruitment and radicalization. There are many drivers of drivers radicalization, and these drivers operate differently across individuals and communities — and may intersect. The COVID-19 pandemic and responses to it may amplify some of these drivers, acting as an additive factor.

  • Argument

    Mia Bloom, a Georgia State professor and an expert on political violence and terrorism, writes that the demonstrations in honor of George Floyd have been infiltrated by white nationalists who adhere to the accelerationist ideology, and that at least part of the violence and destruction – as clearly seen on TV screens – have been perpetrated by these extremists. “The accelerationists, if you have never heard the term, are an extreme subset of white nationalism whose goal is to bring about chaos and destruction,” she writes. Since Western governments are inherently corrupt, “the best (and only) thing supremacists can do is to accelerate the end of society by sowing chaos and aggravating political tensions.”

  • Extremism

    Dozens of white supremacist groups are operating freely on Facebook, allowing them to spread their message and recruit new members. The findings, more than two years after Facebook hosted an event page for the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, cast doubt on the company’s claims that it’s effectively monitoring and dealing with hate groups. What’s more, Facebook’s algorithms create an echo chamber that reinforces the views of white supremacists and helps them connect with each other.

  • Extremism

    A recent analysis of discourse on Facebook highlights how social media and an individual’s sense of identity can be used to dehumanize entire groups of people. “Fundamentally, we wanted to examine how online platforms can normalize hatred and contribute to dehumanization,” says one researcher. “And we found that an established model of the role identity plays in intractable conflicts seems to explain a great deal of this behavior.”