• Terrorism

    A team of UMass Lowell students, graduates and researchers working to stop young people from joining terrorist organizations has been awarded $1 million from the U.S. Department of Justice to support that goal. Operation 250 - named for the number of Americans believed to have left the U.S. to join the Islamic State group (ISIS) when the venture launched in 2016 - was created by UMass Lowell students to teach youths, parents and educators how to recognize and avoid falling prey to radicals’ recruitment methods.

  • Terrorism

    The impact of terrorism on post-traumatic stress may be less significant than we thought, argue the authors of a significant new study. A major review of over 400 research articles studying the association between acts of terrorism and mental health has reached the significant conclusion that “terrorism isn’t terrorizing” – at least not in a way that causes increases in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) greater than would be expected from any other distressing event.

  • Hate

    Continuing what began during the 2016 presidential election, the members of far-right extremist groups and the so-called “Alt Right” have stepped up “online propaganda offensives” in the runup to the upcoming midterm elections to attack and try to intimidate Jews and especially Jewish journalists, according to a new study. The most popular term used by Trump supporters “by one or two orders of magnitude” was “Soros,” referring to George Soros, the Jewish billionaire that anti-Semites use to blame for anyone who resists conservatives.

  • Hate

    Robert Bowers, the suspect in Saturday’s deadly shooting spree in Pittsburgh, appears to have hated Jews for a variety of reasons, but one anti-Semitic trope in particular seems to have motivated him in the days prior to the shooting, and may have even played a role in his decision to unleash his hateful attack: the common white supremacist conspiracy theory that Jews are behind efforts to impose mass immigration on the United States, with the goal of harming or destroying the white race.

  • Considered opinion: Hate

    Blaming Jewish outsiders for dissent and social unrest isn’t new. On Monday eight days ago, a pipe bomb was sent to the home of George Soros, the billionaire whose Open Society Foundation supports many liberal causes in many countries. Soros’s name has also become a central element in conspiracy theories around the world. Talia Lavin writes in the Washington Post that it is no surprise that Soros would wind up as a target of a bomber who appears to have been an avid consumer of conspiracy theories. Soros has become the subject of “escalating rhetoric on the right… which posits Soros as a nefarious force, fomenting social dissent and paying members of a migrant ‘caravan, that has been the subject of intense right-wing fearmongering leading up to the November midterms. And that rhetoric draws on old, and deep-rooted, anti-Semitic ideas that have been deployed by the right for decades.”

  • Political violence

    What drives someone to support or participate in politically or religiously motivated acts of violence, and what can be done to prevent them? While one factor may be a search for meaning in life, research published by the American Psychological Association suggests people may be further driven by an increased need for excitement and feeding that need with thrilling but non-violent alternatives may curb the desire.

  • Home-grown terrorism

    Federal authorities have detained a person in connection with a series of 12 mailed suspicious packages. The suspect was identified as Cesar Sayoc, 56, a resident of Plantation, Florida. He has a criminal record. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said Friday an 11th suspicious package addressed to Democratic Senator Cory Booker, and that a 12th suspicious package targeting former National Intelligence Director James Clapper.

  • Extremism

    Far right parties and groups have been enjoying increasing support across Europe. However, the term “far right” tends to subsume a broad range of parties and groups that differ significantly in agenda and policy – especially economic and welfare policies – as well as the extent to which they support and employ violence. For this reason, the use of the term “far right” is often contested. So is it appropriate to group such different organizations under the same label? The short answer is “yes.”

  • Hate

    The Road to Power, a white supremacist and anti-Semitic broadcasting outlet based in Sandpoint, Idaho, continues to ramp up its tactic of robocalling communities nationwide with racist, anti-Semitic and bigoted language. The calls, which have targeted communities in California, Idaho, Iowa, Florida and Pennsylvania, seek to exploit current events by disseminating vile, offensive commentary.  Robocalls are a relatively low-cost and easy means of communicating hate and allow callers to mask their identity while reaching a wide audience.

  • Terrorism

    We leave behind digital traces all the time. This information reveals a lot about people. Intelligence agencies like to collect as much data on people as possible in the fight against terrorism. But it won’t help us catch terrorists, one researcher says.

  • Home-grown terrorism

    The U.S. Secret Service says it has intercepted two suspicious packages with “possible explosive devices,” one of them addressed to former President Barack Obama and the other to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Within hours, the Time Warner Center in New York, where news network CNN has studios, was evacuated Wednesday morning after a suspicious device was found in the mail room there.

  • Hate

    The New York police said that a package containing an explosive device has been found in a mailbox outside the New York residence of billionaire financier George Soros. Soros, a Hungary-born billionaire, has become one of the world’s biggest funder of politically and socially liberal groups and causes. He has become a hate figure for right-wing movements in the United States and eastern Europe, and the target of a hostile, even anti-Semitic media and political campaign by the nationalist government of Victor Orban in his native Hungary.

  • Hate

    ADL has released a new report that examines the current state of white supremacy. The report is a deep dive into the forces behind this extremist ideology — from the emergence of the alt right to the ongoing threat posed by more established elements of the movement.

  • Patterns of violence

    New Research predicts reliable patterns in violent events occurring within wars and terrorism, regardless of geography, ethnicity and religion. The researchers can predict with reasonably accuracy the mixtures of events of different sizes, for example, the number of events killing 10 or more people compared to the number of events killing 20 or more people.  

  • Terrorism & health

    The children of mothers exposed to terror attacks during pregnancy are 2.5 times more likely to develop schizophrenia than mothers not to exposed to terror during pregnancy. This was the finding of a comprehensive new study. “It is possible that the psychosocial stress of terror attacks in the mothers occurred during a critical period of fetal brain development. Insults during such a critical period of neurodevelopment were so potent that years later the risk of schizophrenia increased.” explained Prof. Stephen Levine, one of the authors of the study.

  • Biowarfare

    Owing to present-day armed conflicts, the general public is well aware of the terrifying effects of chemical weapons. Meanwhile, the effects of biological weapons have largely disappeared from public awareness. A project funded by a research agency of the U.S. Department of Defense is now giving rise to concerns about being possibly misused for the purpose of biological warfare.

  • Terrorism

    Germany’s intelligence services thwarted a 2016 Islamic State attack. A German couple traveled to Syria to try to send teams of militants back to Germany. The woman, a German convert to Islam, tried to recruit women in northern Germany to marry IS members so that they could be granted permission to enter Germany. One of the women she contacted was an informer for the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, and she alerted authorities.

  • Conspiracy theories

    Hungarian Jewish billionaire, philanthropist and Holocaust survivor George Soros is widely recognized for funding progressive political and social causes, usually through grants made by his Open Society Foundations. As a result, Soros has become a lightning rod for conservative and right-wing groups who object to his funding of liberal causes.

  • Surveillance

    People often say that they never forget a face, but for some people, this claim might actually be true. So-called super recognizers are said to possess exceptional face recognition abilities, often remembering the faces of those they have only briefly encountered or haven’t seen for many years. Their unique skills have even caught the attention of policing and security organizations, who have begun using super recognizers to match photographs of suspects or missing persons to blurry CCTV footage. But recent research shows that the methods used to identify super recognizers are limited, and that the people recruited for this work might not always be as super as initially thought.

  • Terrorism

    An average of 8,338 people died and 10,785 people were injured every year in domestic and international terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2016. Terrorist attacks injure far more people than they kill, leaving victims with lost limbs, hearing loss, respiratory disease, depression and other issues — but little research has measured the impact of that damage beyond the number of people who are hurt.