• Alt-right

    In response to recent events, including the deadly white nationalist violence in Charlottesville this weekend, the SPLC released a new edition of Ten Ways to Fight Hate, its guide for “effectively – and peacefully – taking a stand against bigotry,” as the organization describes it. The guide, which has been updated for 2017, sets out ten principles for taking action, including how to respond to a hate rally that has targeted your town.

  • Home-grown terrorism

    The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on President Donald Trump to follow up his words on Monday with a strong plan of action that will ensure the kind of white supremacist violence and anti-Semitic and racist incitement witnessed in Charlottesville will not happen again. Trump’s statement came two days after the events, and after a disappointing initial reaction from the president that seemed to equate the haters with counter protesters. “This is a moment when we desperately need leadership,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “But I think we should expect our leader in the highest office in the land to step above the lowest possible bar. Statements are not sufficient at this stage in the game. We need to move from words to action. The threat is not over.”

  • Home-grown terrorism

    Dealing effectively with far-right violence requires that we treat its manifestations as domestic terrorism. I consider domestic terrorism a more significant threat than the foreign-masterminded variety in part because it is more common in terms of the number of attacks on U.S. soil. The number of violent attacks on U.S. soil inspired by far-right ideology has spiked since the beginning of this century, rising from a yearly average of 70 attacks in the 1990s to a yearly average of more than 300 since 2001. This trend reflects a deeper social change in American society. The iceberg model of political extremism can illuminate these dynamics. Murders and other violent attacks perpetrated by U.S. far-right extremists compose the visible tip of an iceberg. The rest of this iceberg is under water and out of sight. It includes hundreds of attacks every year that damage property and intimidate communities. The significant growth in far-right violence in recent years is happening at the base of the iceberg. Changes in societal norms are usually reflected in behavioral changes. It is thus more than reasonable to suspect that extremist individuals engage in such activities because they sense that their views are enjoying growing social legitimacy and acceptance, which is emboldening them to act on their bigotry.

  • Assassinations

    Security around Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) has been increased for the last three weeks after U.S. intelligence has uncovered a possible plot by a powerful Venezuelan politician to assassinate the senator. Rubio has been outspoken in his criticism of the authoritarian rule of Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro. A memo DHS has circulated to local police agencies says the threat comes from Diosdado Cabello, a top Venezuelan lawmaker who is a former top military official.

  • Encryption & terrorism

    A new report details how extremists and terrorists like ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Hamas are increasingly relying on encrypted applications like Telegram to recruit new members, fundraise, incite to violence, and even coordinate terrorist activity without detection from law enforcement. Telegram’s public-facing “channels” and private messaging “chats” make it a useful weapon for extremist groups.

  • Radicalization

    Young men who leave their home countries to fight in the ranks of ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria mainly come from disadvantaged backgrounds, have low levels of education and vocational skills, and “lack any basic understanding of the true meaning of jihad or even the Islamic faith,” according to a new report by the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism. The study found that most of these fighters were “novices” in their religion and some did not know how to pray properly. “Religious belief seems to have played a minimal role in the motivation of this FTF sample,” the report concludes. Rather than being motivated by religion, many of the those who left for Syria were motivated by a sense of identity with — and a desire to help — co-religionists who were perceived as victimized. Specifically, those who left Europe for Syria felt empathy with the Sunni communities in Syria which are seen as being under attack.

  • Radicalization

    Muslim immigrants who feel marginalized and discriminated against in countries that expect them to integrate into their culture and society are more likely to experience psychological threats to their own significance that could be related to increased support of radicalism, according to new research. Marginalization and discrimination were found to predict feelings of insignificance, which became stronger with the experience of more discrimination and, in turn, predicted an attraction to fundamentalist groups and its extreme behavior, the research found.

  • Terrorism

    Young men who leave their home countries to fight in the ranks of ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria mainly come from disadvantaged backgrounds, have low levels of education and vocational skills, and “lack any basic understanding of the true meaning of jihad or even the Islamic faith,” according to a new report by the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism. The study found that most of these fighters were “novices” in their religion and some did not know how to pray properly. “Religious belief seems to have played a minimal role in the motivation of this FTF sample,” the report concludes. Rather than being motivated by religion, many of the those who left for Syria were motivated by a sense of identity with — and a desire to help — co-religionists who were perceived as victimized. Specifically, those who left Europe for Syria felt empathy with the Sunni communities in Syria which are seen as being under attack.

  • Threat perception

    People around the globe identify ISIS and climate change as the leading threats to national security, according to a new Pew Research Center report based on a survey of thirty-eight countries. The survey asked about eight possible threats: ISIS, global climate change, cyberattacks, the condition of the global economy, the large number of refugees leaving Iraq and Syria, and the power and influence of the United States, Russia, and China. While the level and focus of concern varies by region and country, ISIS and climate change clearly emerge as the most frequently cited security risks across the thirty-eight countries polled.

  • ISIS

    The United Kingdom has stripped more than 150 suspected jihadists and other criminals of their British citizenship in an effort to block them from returning. The government has issued what is called a “deprivation orders,” anticipating that the coming collapse of the Islamic State caliphate will leads to an influx of British Islamist militants from Syria.

  • Terrorism

    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) earlier today (Wednesday) has rejected a request to take the Palestinian militant group Hamas off the EU’s list of terrorist organizations. The tribunal has referred the case back to a lower court. The decision overturns a 2014 ruling by the EU’s second-highest court to remove Hamas from the EU’s terror watch-list.

  • Illegal arms

    New report, based on first-ever study, looks at the size and scope of the illegal arms trade on the dark web. European purchases of weapons on the dark web generate estimated revenues five times higher than the U.S. purchases. The dark web’s potential to anonymously arm criminals and terrorists, as well as vulnerable and fixated individuals, is “the most dangerous aspect.”

  • African security

    Boko Haram militants have killed more than 20,000 people and displaced more than two million others in north east Nigeria since 2009. The militants left government and its security forces looking powerless and people in the region helpless. No place was safe. Rather than flee, join the insurgents, or risk being killed, some chose a fourth option – self- defense. People began to organize into emergency community vanguards to defend themselves. The involvement of vigilantes in counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria has been a subject of contentious debate. It’s apparent that they have contributed to improving security for some communities. But there are also concerns that in the long run they could pose a threat given their heavy-handed approach. Examples include extra-judicial killings, violation of human rights, extortion and criminal impunity.

  • Terrorism

    Interpol, in a 27 May circular to European intelligence and law enforcement agencies, has listed of 173 ISIS militants the international police agency says could have been trained to launch mass-casualty suicide attacks in Europe. The agency says the purpose of the coming attacks is revenge for the jihadist group’s military defeats in the Middle East, defeats which will soon put an end to the group’s effort to create an Islamist caliphate.

  • Extremism

    The German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) have reported that the followers of the right-wing Reichsbürger movement could engage in “extreme violence, including terror acts.” A comprehensive report, compiled by German law enforcement services, concluded that the movement is more dangerous to public safety than other right-wing and nationalist German political movements. The Reichsbürger movement – which is somewhat similar to the U.S. Sovereign Citizen movement – is not considered the most extreme right-wing politically, and its followers are not organized in the traditional sense.

  • Gene editing

    Gene editing technologies have captured increasing attention from healthcare professionals, policymakers, and community leaders in recent years for their potential to cure disease, control mosquito populations, and much more. The potential national security applications and implications of these technologies are equally profound, including protection of troops against infectious disease, mitigation of threats posed by irresponsible or nefarious use of biological technologies, and enhanced development of new resources derived from synthetic biology, such as novel chemicals, materials, and coatings with useful, unique properties. DARPA is funding the efforts of seven teams aiming to develop new knowledge and tools to support responsible innovation in gene editing and protect against threats to genome integrity.

  • Extremism

    The “It Takes Just One” campaign, launched by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) minor program students in September 2016, rose above forty-nine competing teams from across the United States to win the Peer to Peer Challenging Extremism Initiative on Tuesday,18 July. The competition is a U.S. government effort aimed at finding new ways to challenge extremism and is led by the Department of Homeland Security.

  • Syria

    The Trump administration has pulled the plug on the largely ineffective CIA’s covert program to equip and train moderate Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad. The move will strengthen the regional position and influence of Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah – and would worry U.S. allies in the region such as Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States. Analysts say that the move was inevitable, and that the Obama administration was about to make the same decision.

  • Syria

    Iran’s efforts to build a “direct corridor” from Baghdad to the Mediterranean Sea and further entrench itself militarily in Syria are two of Israel’s most pressing concerns, Israel’s former national security adviser said. The corridor, referred to as a “Shiite crescent” by Jordan’s King Abdullah, would place Israel’s borders in “direct connection to Iran—a long line but still very easy to move forces, capabilities and everything that the Iranians will want to build around Israel,” Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror said.

  • Terrorists & lie detectors

    The British intelligence and law enforcement agencies have begun subjecting informants to lie detection tests in an effort to improve the quality of information on terror suspects and plots. The use of lie detectors to verify the information provided by paid and unpaid sources of information has been implemented at the insistence of the Scotland Yard. It was taken after the police and counterterrorism officials began to suspect that some of the information provided by informants was, in fact, misinformation.