• Designer pathogens

    Since the onset of the pandemic, theories – or, rather, conspiracy theories – and no-evidence assertions argued that the coronavirus was intentionally engineered by Chinese scientists as a potential bioweapon, despite the consensus of scientists and intelligence experts that the virus’s genetics indicate that it is most likely a zoonotic pathogen. The scientists relied on a Finding Engineering-Linked Indicators (FELIX) analysis to reach their conclusion, but there are other detection tools – trouble is, these other tools may be used to engineer viruses for bioattacks.

  • Terrorism

    While government leaders are focused on fighting COVID-19, the threat of terrorism has not gone away. In fact, homeland security experts have warned that violent extremists may seek to take advantage of the fear and disruption around the pandemic to further their agenda and recruit new members.

  • Terrorism

    Two years after a pan-European military initiative was first proposed to help tackle the Sahel’s Islamist insurgency, the Takuba task force is finally becoming reality, as its first troops arrive amid the coronavirus pandemic, political turmoil and spreading unrest.

  • Poison

    While targeted chemical attacks on civilians tend to make headlines, the most common poisoning reports in the United States are from accidental exposure to household chemicals such as insect sprays, cleaning solutions or improperly washed fruit or vegetables. In any case, the remedy is a fast-acting, poison-chasing drug compound, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory says it is on the forefront developing a new generation of life-saving antidotes.

  • Domestic terrorism

    The FBI has opened more than 300 domestic terrorism investigations since late May and arrested nearly 100 people in Portland, Oregon, a focal point of the George Floyd protests, a top federal prosecutor said on Tuesday. The investigations are conducted by a recently formed Justice Department task force on “antigovernment extremists.” Last year, FBI Director Christopher Wray said most of the bureau’s domestic terrorism cases are linked to white supremacy, but the when lawmakers pressed Erin Nealy Cox, co-director of the task force, why the Justice Department “has stopped tracking white supremacist incidents as a separate category of domestic terrorism,” Cox said she did not know.

  • Extremism

    Despite public announcements of efforts to curb hateful speech and misinformation across its platform, Facebook still hosts many spaces in which this content propagates and thrives. While some of these problematic activities occur in small groups, a number of problematic Facebook groups have grown to a significant membership size, yet are still allowed to exist by Facebook. This is not by accident. Facebook has a history of overlooking this kind of behavior, arguing that some hateful content does not go against their Community Standards.

  • Terrorism

    Terrorist attacks often feature the use of homemade explosives. For the police and security forces to be able to take appropriate precautions and assess the damage after an attack, they need access to the right kind of tools. Researchers have now developed a sophisticated risk-analysis system to help prevent such attacks. At the same time, the software-based system assists with the forensic investigation of such incidents.

  • Anthrax

    The microorganism that causes anthrax, the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, has infected people and animals since ancient times. Anthrax is one of the most likely agents to be used in a biological attack, because the anthrax bacteria exist in the natural environment, can be easily disguised in powders, sprays, food or water, and have been previously used as a biological warfare agent.

  • Biosecurity

    The response to COVID-19 has exposed a world that is largely unprepared to deal with emerging and novel biothreats, whether the outbreak is natural or intentional. The Global Health Security Network brought together two biosecurity experts to discuss how current projects to improve global health security can adapt during the pandemic and what changes the world needs to make to improve biosafety and biosecurity.

  • Terrorism

    How do citizens respond to terrorist events? Drawing on a recent study, researchers find that citizens do not necessarily respond in the way we might expect. Citizens do not increase hostility toward ‘out-groups’ as a direct response to terrorism, rather they increase solidarity within their ‘in-group’ and come together following an exogenous shock.

  • Extremism

    Anti-Semitism has stained the speeches and statements of Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan for decades. This past 4 July was no different, as Farrakhan delivered an address replete with anti-Semitic lies and stereotypes, and calls for his listeners to speak out against Jews. Farrakhan’s speech has been viewed over 1.2 million times (as of 15 July) on numerous YouTube channels.

  • Extremism

    As is the case in other countries, the U.K. is facing a sharp rise in activity extremist groups. The U.K. Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE) has launched a legal review to examine the effectiveness of existing U.K. legislation in dealing with hateful extremism. The CCE’s recommendations will be submitted to the Home Secretary.

  • PERSPECTIVE: Terrorist designation

    From both the right and the left, there have been calls to designate various domestic organizations – the KKK, antifa, white supremacists – as “terrorists.” Anna Meier writes there is no legal mechanism in the United States for labeling purely domestic organizations as terrorist groups, but while there is no purely domestic terrorism statute in the United States, nor is there a domestic terrorism proscription mechanism, the “terrorist” label, even when not a formal legal mechanism, signals what kinds of political behavior cross the line from nonideal to unacceptable. “Trump’s threatened antifa designation, then, may not carry any legal weight, but it does signal to the public—and to law enforcement—an unacceptable form of contention in the eyes of the administration,” she writes.

  • Terrorism

    Hopes of delivering the Islamic State a lasting defeat in Iraq and Syria have, for now, fallen by the wayside, according to officials with the U.S.-led coalition, despite a ramped-up crackdown on the terror group’s network of cells and facilitators.

  • Extremism

    German security experts warn about the lax, ineffective way in which German security authorities have dealt with the growing presence of extreme far-right elements in police ranks, calling the rejectionist attitude of the police leadership dangerous. This is consistent with findings from Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). On 9 July, Interior Minister Seehofer presented the BfV’s 2019 annual report. He spoke of sharp rises in anti-Semitic, right-wing extremist and racist crimes in Germany, and called right-wing extremism the country’s greatest security threat.

  • PERSPECTIVE: Vehicle ramming

    Vehicle ramming has been the weapon of choice among Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank. Mia Bloom writes that it is now a weapon used with increasing frequency by white supremacists against racial justice protesters in the United States. Both tech companies and law enforcement need to do better if this escalating tactic is to be addressed before it causes more injury and death,” she writes.

  • Terrorism

    Until recently, the coronavirus had reduced opportunities for terrorism. The lockdown had seen U.K. high streets and public spaces almost deserted, with most non-essential businesses forced to close, lowering the number of potential terrorist targets. However, lockdown and social distancing measures are now being relaxed, and the government is promoting greater use of open public spaces to try to kickstart the economy while keeping transmission of the virus low. While this response is likely to benefit businesses and the economy, there’s a real risk these new outdoor arrangements may become attractive targets for terrorists.

  • Extremism

    The U.K. Home Secretary has the other day moved to outlaw the far-right terror group, Feuerkrieg Division. Priti Patel has asked Parliament for permission to proscribe the white supremacist group, which was founded in late 2018 and operates across North America and Europe.

  • PERSPECTIVE: Prosecuting domestic terrorists

    Since 9/11, national counterterrorism strategies have focused largely on foreign terrorist groups—like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda—and federal prosecutors have used specifically tailored criminal statutes to prosecute individuals affiliated with these groups. Emma Broches and Julia Solomon-Strauss write that over the past few years, however, the domestic terrorism landscape has shifted as a result of a growing threat from individuals and groups with racially motivated violent extremist ideologies—including white supremacist and anti-government views. This means that law enforcement groups face a different, and potentially more challenging, set of obstacles to successfully counter this threat.

  • Terrorism

    The new  Global Terrorism Overview highlights trends in worldwide terrorism in 2019. In 2019, there were nearly 8,500 terrorist attacks around the world, which killed more than 20,300 people, including 5,460 perpetrators and 14,840 victims. 2019 was the fifth consecutive year of declining global terrorism since terrorist violence peaked in 2014 at nearly 17,000 attacks and more than 44,000 total deaths. The total number of terrorist attacks worldwide decreased 50 percent between 2014 and 2019, and the total number of deaths decreased 54 percent.