• Terrorism

    On Monday, as the U.S. Department of State, for the first time ever, designate a white supremacist group as a terrorist organization, a new report on white supremacist terrorism was released, analyzing the evolution of the threat presented by violent white supremacists. The report notes that, until Monday’s announcement of the Department of State’s decision, none of the 69 organizations designated by the U.S. Department of State as Foreign Terrorist Organizations is a white supremacist organization, despite the dramatic uptick in that threat.

  • Perspective

    Over the past eight years, one of Russia’s more effective strategies to weaken the West, subvert liberal democratic societies, sabotage the U.S.-created post-WWII world order, and facilitate the expansion of Russian influence has been to provide active support – at times overt, often covert — to various far-right, ethnonationalist, and populist political parties and movements. Russia has been providing support not only to political parties and movements. As part of its effort to undermine the West and weaken democracies, the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence, has been supporting an assortment of violent, white supremacist groups in many European countries: fight clubs, neo-Nazi soccer hooligans, motorcycle gangs, skin heads, and neo-fascist rock groups. These groups are serving as conduits for the Kremlin’s influence operations in Western countries.

  • Terrorism

    As panic and fear spread with the COVID-19 pandemic, stupid, or malicious, acts may soon be considered criminal offenses and subject to terrorism laws. DOJ has circulated a memo to law enforcement and federal prosecutors saying that deliberate acts to spread the coronavirus could be prosecuted under federal terrorism laws given that the virus is a biological agent.

  • Extremism

    The UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) has just issued a new report on the dangers posed by the rise of right-wing terrorism. The report cites experts who have identified extreme right-wing terrorism as a unique form of political violence with often fluid boundaries between hate crime and organized terrorism. It is a not a coherent or easily defined movement, but rather a shifting, complex and overlapping milieu of individuals, groups and movements (online and offline) espousing different but related ideologies, often linked by hatred and racism toward minorities, xenophobia, islamophobia or anti-Semitism.

  • Perspective

    The possibility that extremist groups may attempt to deliberately spread SARS-CoV-2—the virus causing the current pandemic—should not be ignored. In fact, one of the primary limiting factors to such an attack—recruiting humans willing to infect themselves—does not apply in this case; potential perpetrators would come from the ranks of those already infected with the virus. We are faced, therefore, with a genuinely challenging task: preemption.

  • Homegrown terrorism

    FBI agents on Tuesday shot and killed a white supremacist in Belton, Missouri while trying to arrest him for plotting to use a car bomb to blow up a local hospital overflowing with patients. Timothy Wilson, 36, was initially considering blowing up a mosque or a synagogue, but with the onset of the epidemic, he reasoned that blowing up a hospital would allow him to kill more people.

  • Extremism

    German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer last week banned a faction of the far-right “Reichsbürger” movement, also known as the Imperial Citizens’ Movement, a group which combines far-right nationalism and yearning to 1930s Germany. The movement rejects the legitimacy and authority of the modern-day German government, because all post-Second World German governments were not interested in reclaiming the territories Germany gained under Adolf Hitler – what the movement calls the German Empire — but was forced to relinquish when the Allies defeated Nazi Germany.

  • Perspective

    In a situation where most, if not all of us are potential patients, few government-provided services are more important than the efficient delivery of health care. The strain on hospitals around the world is rapidly growing, to which states have responded by mobilizing military medical units, nationalizing private medical facilities, and building emergency hospitals. All of this underlines the urgent need to understand what protections the law offers against attacks – including cyberattacks – on medical facilities.

  • Cybersecurity

    Someone pulled a fire alarm during the February 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 students and teachers. The alarm caused more students to move into the hallways and into harm’s way. “Hackers no longer use cyberattacks to cause cyber damage,” says an expert. Instead, “they are using these attacks to cause physical damage or put people in locations to maximize physical damage.” Sports venues, with tens of thousands of spectators, are especially vulnerable. To combat the cyber threat in sports, scientists built an assessment tool for team and stadium owners to fix vulnerabilities.

  • Better protection

    To deter attempts to disable U.S. electrical utilities and to defend U.S. nuclear weapon systems from evolving technological threats, Sandia researchers have begun two multiyear initiatives to strengthen U.S. responses.

  • Bioweapons

    As the threats posed by bioterrorism and naturally occurring infectious disease grow and evolve in the modern era, there is a rising potential for broad negative impacts on human health, economic stability and global security. To protect the United States from these dangers, researchers are taking on the ambitious goal of making bioweapons obsolete.

  • Bioweapons

    A bioterrorist attack could kill thirty million people — and such an attack is becoming more likely because it has become much easier to create – or “design” — deadly pathogens and spread them. Two years ago Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, spoke in London, saying that an outbreak of a lethal respiratory virus like smallpox would be more dangerous than even a nuclear attack. Anyone can now purchase chemistry kits which allow genetic editing, and do so online for under $150.

  • Perspective

    The 9 October 2019 attack on a synagogue in Halle, in eastern Germany, highlights terrorists’ growing affinity for homemade firearms as a means for leaderless resistance, a decentralized strategy of guerrilla warfare popularized by Ku Klux Klan member Louis Beam. Eric Woods write that “This presents particular legal challenges to the United States, more so than other countries. The United States has an idiosyncratic approach to homemade production of firearms, rooted in its history as a frontier country where informal networks of artisan producers existed for decades before federal armories.”

  • African security

    Western-backed efforts to counter terror groups across Africa are falling short, increasing the chances one or more affiliates of Islamic State or al-Qaida could try to carve out their own caliphate on the continent, according to the latest assessment by a top U.S. commander. The stark warning, shared with lawmakers Tuesday, builds on previous intelligence showing Africa-based groups have been growing more ambitious and more capable, with some increasingly bent on targeting the West.

  • African security

    Western-backed efforts to counter terror groups across Africa are falling short, increasing the chances one or more affiliates of Islamic State or al-Qaida could try to carve out their own caliphate on the continent, according to the latest assessment by a top U.S. commander. The stark warning, shared with lawmakers Tuesday, builds on previous intelligence showing Africa-based groups have been growing more ambitious and more capable, with some increasingly bent on targeting the West.

  • Perspective

    The State Department is pushing to designate at least one violent white supremacist group as a foreign terrorist organization, an unprecedented move which national security experts say would be a big step toward fighting a growing threat on U.S. soil.

  • Perspective

    Rising authoritarianism is curtailing individual freedoms around the globe. Jon Temin and Isabel Linzer write that in an alarming development, however, the region that showed the fastest decline in political rights and civil liberties last year was West Africa, which had long been a driver of democratic gains. The warning signs have failed to spur corrective action.

  • Extremism

    The German Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) has classified 14 members of the armed forces as extremists in 2019. Eight soldiers were members of far-right extremist groups; four soldiers had ties with Islamist organizations; and two soldiers belonged to a violent anarchist movement which does not recognize the German state and its laws. The cases of more than 500 other soldiers and civilian employees of the Defense Ministry suspected of extremism are still being investigated. In the last three years, MAD has increasingly focused on combatting the spread of far-right extremism in the ranks of the Bundeswehr – especially in the ranks of elite units — in the wake of soldiers being found to have been involved in acts of terrorism against migrants.

  • Extremism online

    In an increasingly connected world, there are plenty of opportunities for extremists to communicate, recruit, spread propaganda, and incite violence. From videos being shared on Facebook and Twitter, to more niche instant-messaging services such as Telegram, to coded postings on Gab, 4 Chan, and 8chan — the number and reach of communications channels available to extremists has never been greater. The Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI), a non-partisan organization, has developed a platform – Contextus – which uses machine-learning to track and expose extremist discourse online.

  • Homegrown terrorists

    Right-wing extremists were responsible for the vast majority of extremist-related murders in the United States in 2019, with the El Paso shooting capping off a bloody decade during which the far right was responsible for 76 percent of all extremist-related murders. A new report found that of the 42 extremist-related murders in the U.S. last year, 38 were committed by individuals subscribing to various far-right ideologies, including white supremacy.