• Coronavirus

    The U.S. intelligence community, in a rare public statement on Thursday, said that evidence shows that the virus was not engineered in a Chinese laboratory. The U.S. intelligence community “concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said. Talk that the COVID-19 virus was created in a Chinese lab, or escaped from a lab, has persisted for weeks, as have other theories, many of which have been discredited as conspiracy theories or as part of disinformation campaigns.

  • Terrorism

    German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on Thursday banned all Hezbollah activities in the country. Until Thursday, Germany distinguished between the political and the armed wings of Hezbollah, banning the latter but allowing the former to operate in Germany. On Thursday, the German government designated the group in its entirety as a terrorist organization. The police raided several buildings, including four mosques and Islamic associations in Berlin, Dortmund, Bremen, and Münster where, the police said, Hezbollah supporters were active.

  • COVID-19 & terrorism

    The European Union (EU) on Tuesday, 28 April, 194 million euros in funding to the G5 Sahel countries to strengthen their security forces. In a videoconference, EU leaders said they would favorably examine a request to cancel African debt to allow African countries to continue to combat Islamist terrorism as they are facing a new challenge in COVID-19.

  • COVID-19 & terterrorism

    Senators Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire) and James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), both members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, called on the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and Intelligence Community to answer questions about what these agencies are doing to address ongoing and emerging terrorist threats amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The senators note that there is evidence of both foreign and domestic potential terrorists trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Perspective

    While the world’s attention appropriately focuses on the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, the threat of violent extremism remains, and has in some circumstances been exacerbated during the crisis. The moment demands new and renewed attention so that the gains made to date do not face setbacks. Eric Rosand, Khalid Koser, and Lilla Schumicky-Logan describe the six themes which their investigation shows as recurring.

  • Terrorism

    Last Wednesday, a Colombian court granted amnesty to three alleged IRA members, known as the “Colombia Three.” The decision put an end to a legal journey that saw the trio sentenced to seventeen years in jail for helping FARC, the Colombian leftist insurgency movement, produce explosives and build bombs. The court’s decision is likely to be controversial. Many Colombians did not support the 2016 peace and reconciliation deal between the government and FARC, with the main sticking point being the sweeping amnesty given to FARC commanders and fighters. During the 42-yer war (1964-2016), FARC killed 220,000 Colombians; drove 6.6 million Colombians out of their homes and into internal exile; and kidnapped 27,000 Colombians for ransom.

  • Extremism

    Among the protesters who demonstrated in several state capitals for ending the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, there were a noticeable number of far-right conspiracy theorists, white supremacists like Proud Boys and citizens’ militia members. As researchers of street gangs’ and far-right groups’ violence and recruitment, we believe these protests may become a way right-wingers expand the spread of anti-Semitic rhetoric and militant racism. Proud Boys, and many other far-right activists, don’t typically focus their concern on whether stores and businesses are open. They’re attending these rallies as part of their longstanding search for any opportunity to make extremist groups look mainstream – and because they are always looking for potential recruits to further their cause.

  • Extremism

    Far-right extremists have been linked to bombing plots tied to the coronavirus pandemic, spotted holding anti-Semitic signs at protests outside state capitols, and seen trafficking on fringe platforms in all manner of conspiracy theories about the virus. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage millions of lives and paralyze much of the economy, these extremists in the United States are seizing every opportunity to reach out to thousands of potential followers and expand their ranks.

  • Perspective

    The coronavirus pandemic and its social repercussions are fueling violence by both frustrated individuals and domestic terrorists, according to a new intelligence report by the Department of Homeland Security. Social distancing has meant the cancelation of mass gathering events that are historically appealing targets for both international and domestic terrorists, the report adds, but “the pandemic has created a new source of anger and frustration for some individuals. As a result, violent extremist plots will likely involve individuals seeking targets symbolic to their personal grievances.”

  • Terrorism

    More than fifty young people were shot dead or beheaded in northern Mozambique as an Islamist insurgency gains strength. Local and national security forces, as well as foreign mercenaries hired by the government – including the notorious Wagner Force from Russia — have been unable to keep the militants in check. The insurgents began their operations in 2017, and were initially claiming to represent the region’s resident in their disputes with the central government, but earlier this month the group’s leadership announced that the group’s aim was to turn Mozambique into a Muslim “caliphate.”

  • Extremism

    The leaders of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) said that already in the first few months since the global breakout of the Coronavirus, there has been a rise in antisemitic manifestations relating to the spread of the disease and the economic recession triggered by the pandemic. “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant rise in accusations that Jews, as individuals and as a collective, are behind the spread of the virus or are directly profiting from it,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the EJC, said.

  • Extremism

    On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb in front of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The blast destroyed the building, killing 168 men, women and children and injuring hundreds more. Twenty-five years later, the Oklahoma City bombing remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history.  McVeigh and his accomplice, Terry Nichols, were not part of any large, well-funded terrorist organization; they were American extremists acting on their own. Today, their deadly legacy is one of the inspirations for a new and violent segment of the white supremacist movement.

  • Argument

    Germs have killed more people than all the wars in history, and people have been trying to make use of them throughout all those wars. In the U.S., we have seen small-scale bioterrorist attacks – the Rajneeshee poisoning of restaurants in 1986 and the Amerithrax letters that were mailed in 2001. Still, the years running up to this current coronavirus pandemic not only saw the gutting of U.S. national health institutions but also a cultural groundswell of science denial in the anti-vaccination movement. Today the United States in particular is paying for that denial in livelihoods and lives. The warnings were clear. If 9/11 was a “failure of imagination,” then history will no doubt judge the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19 as a failure of courage, compassion, and, most of all, competence.

  • Terrorism

    German police have arrested four members of the Islamic State militant group for planning attacks on U.S. military bases in Germany. The suspects, all migrants from Tajikistan, were also keeping critics of Islam under surveillance, with the goal of assassinating them later.

  • Extremism

    Can one form of extremism feed off and magnify other forms of extremism? Is there a positive extremist feedback loop, and, if so, can a cumulative perspective on extremism help us understand the ebb and flow of political violence, radicalization, and mobilization? The left- and right-wing extremism in Europe in the last four decades does exhibit an interdependency between mutually hostile movements, and the study of mutually reinforcing forms of extremism in Denmark offers a microcosm of a broader phenomenon.

  • Terrorism

    Two weeks ago, the U.S. State Department has added a Russian far-right, white-supremacist group to the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organization. It is the first white supremacist group on the list (there are 80 other groups on it). Analysts say that it is high time for world governments to recognize the rapidly growing threat of far-right terrorism.

  • Perspective

    MI5 is aware of more than 43,000 people who pose a potential terrorist threat to the U.K., according to a government report — almost twice the number of terror suspects previously disclosed. David Gadher writes that after the 2017 attacks at London Bridge and Manchester Arena, it was revealed that MI5 had about 23,000 current and historic suspects on its radar, divided into 3,000 subjects of interest (SOIs), and 20,000 closed” subjects of interest (CSOIs). The Home Office has been quietly recategorizing its lists, and now says that there are 40,000 CSOIs, “where MI5 judges there to be some risk of re-engaging in terrorist activity.”

  • African security

    In the past two weeks, the jihadists who have been spreading terror in the far north of Mozambique have carried out a series of spectacular attacks – but also, finally, made public their objective: to establish a caliphate in northeast Mozambique, and impose strict Islamic law within it.

  • Biosecurity

    Perhaps the most important lesson we can learn from the current coronavirus pandemic is how to learn future lessons without having to experience a pandemic, whether natural in origin or made by humans. We must rethink and test assumptions about relationships between biological research, security, and society to plan for biosecurity threats.

  • Terrorism

    The United States has designated the ultranationalist Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) along with three of its leaders as terrorists, marking the first time the classification has been applied to a white supremacist group. The decision comes after Trump signed an executive order in September 2019 that expanded sanctions for combating terrorism by allowing the terrorist designation to be applied to groups that provide training to terrorists.