• Not All Types of Extremism Are Terrorism – Conflating the Two Is Dangerous

    Extremism has tended to refer to both violent and non-violent forms of political expression, whereas terrorism is predominantly violent. To be an extremist could mean anything from being a nationalist, a communist, to being an animal rights activist – as long as this ideology is regarded as extreme relative to the government’s position. But extremism and terrorism should not be simply interlinked, and it is worrying that more and more the meaning of terrorism is extended to cover both violent and non-violent extremism.

  • The Outbreak of Violence in Northern Ireland, 50 Years On

    This month marks the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of violence in Derry, Northern Ireland, in what has become known as the Battle of the Bogside. The August 1969 riots, involving local communities and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), are often referenced as the events which marked the beginning of the 30-year conflict commonly known as the Northern Ireland Troubles.

  • The Shocking Paper Predicting the End of Democracy

    Democracy is hard work. And as society’s “elites”—experts and public figures who help those around them navigate the heavy responsibilities that come with self-rule—have increasingly been sidelined, citizens have proved ill equipped cognitively and emotionally to run a well-functioning democracy. As a consequence, the center has collapsed and millions of frustrated and angst-filled voters have turned in desperation to right-wing populists, says Professor Shawn Rosenberg. His prediction? “In well-established democracies like the United States, democratic governance will continue its inexorable decline and will eventually fail.”

  • U.K. Defense Minister Johnny Mercer Declares War on Far-Right Influence on Military and Veterans

    Far-right ideology in the military and among veterans must be stamped out as it has “nothing in common” with the U.K. armed forces’ values, Johnny Mercer, a new defense minister, has said. Mercer, now presiding over the new Office for Veterans’ Affairs, created by Boris Johnson, asserted that many voters feel dispossessed by the political make-up of parliament, and that hard-right groups were trying to attract soldiers and veterans with undeliverable promises. “I get it,” he said, “but going to these people is a fool’s errand and I’ll do everything I can to stamp it out. It’s totally out of keeping with our ethos, values and standing as an organization.”

  • Americans Pause to Remember the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

    Americans paused Wednesday to mark the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The deadliest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor in 1941, the events of September 11 permanently changed America’s perception of national security and prompted then-President George W. Bush to declare war on terrorism and invade Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda had training grounds.

  • How Disinformation Could Sway the 2020 Election

    In 2016, Russian operatives used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to sow division among American voters and boost Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. What the Russians used to accomplish this is called “disinformation,” which is false or misleading content intended to deceive or promote discord. Now, with the first presidential primary vote only five months away, the public should be aware of the sources and types of online disinformation likely to surface during the 2020 election.

  • These Dams Needed Replacing 15 Years Ago. Now Texas Will Drain Four Lakes Instead — Causing Other Problems.

    Texas officials will start draining four lakes next week in Guadalupe County in Central Texas without a plan in place for when the lakes, and the 90-year-old dams that support them, will be rebuilt. Area homeowners, who got barely a month’s notice, said they felt blindsided by the plan, and they say it will slash their property values, kill their beloved century-old cypress trees and render the lakes — which have hosted water skiing tournaments for decades — unusable.

  • It’s Hard to Commemorate 9/11 If You Don’t Understand It.

    Sept. 11, 2019 marks the 18th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack in world history. It also marks a generational shift, with American children born after that date entering adulthood having grown up with their country perpetually fighting a so-called war on terror. “The events of 9/11 are increasingly a memory, and without education that memory can easily become a caricature,” Daniel Byman writes in Foreign Policy. “Capturing all the nuances surrounding 9/11 is vital, but the proper response today also requires recognizing that terrorism is constantly evolving, and when it strikes again it may not come from an expected or familiar source.”

  • 9/11 Mystery Solved: World Trade Center Building Didn't Collapse Due to Fire – Study Finds

    Foreign interference and hostile state espionage are a bigger threat to Australia’s security than terrorism, one of the country’s top spy chiefs has warned. Duncan Lewis, the outgoing head of Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), identified three challenges security confronting Australians: terrorism, cyber warfare; and foreign interference and espionage. But the latter was on a “growth trajectory” and is a greater threat than terrorism, he told a Lowy Institute forum in Sydney.

  • Al-Qaeda’s Continuing Challenge to the United States

    Al-Qaeda has diminished in policy and public debates. U.S. policymakers have shifted their attention to countering an assertive China and a vicious Putin, and in recent intelligence assessments of threats, al-Qaeda has dropped on the priority list. The U.S. public’s concern about the threat of international terrorist groups has declined over the past few years. In addition, there is policy fatigue toward counterterrorism. While many politicians still worry about the electorate’s sensitivity to terrorism by groups like al-Qaeda, they also question the cost of maintaining the fight. The current policy mood and competing national security priorities need calibration with al-Qaeda’s trajectory. Al-Qaeda remains committed to targeting the United States, has improved political control of major factions and rebuilt meaningful capabilities, and now seems poised to take advantage of a permissive strategic environment in Afghanistan. Addressing these strengths will continue to be a challenge for the United States and deserves sustained attention from U.S. policymakers.

  • Foreign Interference Threat Bigger than Terrorism, Warns Spymaster

    Foreign interference and hostile state espionage are a bigger threat to Australia’s security than terrorism, one of the country’s top spy chiefs has warned. Duncan Lewis, the outgoing head of Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), identified three challenges security confronting Australians: terrorism, cyber warfare; and foreign interference and espionage. But the latter was on a “growth trajectory” and is a greater threat than terrorism, he told a Lowy Institute forum in Sydney.

  • Lega Nord’s Bedfellows: Russians Offering Illicit Funding to Italian Far-Right Party Identified

    In the last four years, the Kremlin has engaged in a broad, systematic campaign – consisting of hacking, a vast social media disinformation effort, and illicit funding – to weaken the West by helping far-right, populist, pro-Russian politicians and movements reach power. One of their successes was in Italy, where the far-right, anti-EU, anti-immigrant Northern League and the eclectic, anti-establishment 5 Star Movement won enough seats in the Fall 2017 election to form a coalition government (which collapsed last week, after more than a 1.5 years in power). Prosecutors in Milan have launched an investigation of The League after recordings emerged of meetings between League leaders and Kremlin emissaries, in which a scheme to secure funding for The League in the upcoming European parliament elections was discussed. The funding – in the millions of Euro – was to be funneled via artificially underpriced Russian oil export transactions.

  • The BBC Joins Up with Google, Facebook, and Twitter to Try to Tackle Misinformation Online

    The BBC is teaming up with some of the biggest names in tech to coordinate a defense against the online disinformation campaigns endemic to some of their platforms, the outlet announced Saturday. Google, Twitter, and Facebook said that they, and the BBC, would come up with a targeted approach which, in part, uses an early warning system during critical periods when the spread of misinformation “threatens human life or disrupts democracy during election,” per the BBC.

  • How to Keep the Colombian Peace Deal Alive

    Last week, several former commanders of Colombia’s largely demobilized rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) released a video in which they announced a “new phase of armed struggle.” Only three years ago, those same men—known best by wartime aliases, Iván Márquez and Jesús Santrich—participated in negotiating the end of a decades-long conflict with the Colombian government. But in the video, their presence was a stark reminder of the fragility of the peace accords on the ground.

  • Outrage as Neo-Nazi Elected Town Council Leader in Germany

    The unanimous election of a neo-Nazi politician in Germany as the head of a town council, thanks to votes from rival party members, has sparked outrage among senior political figures. Stefan Jagsch of the far right-wing extremist National Democratic Party (NDP) became the council leader for Waldsiedlung, in the district of Altenstadt, 30 kilometers (18 miles) northeast of Frankfurt, on Thursday. Jagsch was appointed with help from local members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), plus opposition groups Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Free Democratic Party (FDP), prompting calls from these parties’ national leaders for the decision to be reversed. The Altenstadt city council members representing the CDU, SPD, and FDP said they had no choice since Jagsch was the only candidate on the ballot.