• Record expansion of U.S. hate groups slows during Trump’s first year

    A new analysis explains why, as President Donald Trump goes past his first year in office, the pronounced, decades-long expansion of U.S.-based hate groups has slowed to a crawl during the first year of his administration. “[H]ate groups tend to grow in response to threats emerging from environments where social groups perceive their standing to be uncertain or at risk,” says an expert on hate-based social movements. “Hate incidents, in contrast, are most likely to rise primarily in response to expanding opportunities to act. Whether perpetrated through established extremist organizations or by free-standing adherents, such actions are most likely when those who desire to commit them perceive lower costs or risks.”

  • Extremists exploit gun control debate to promote hatred of Jews

    White supremacists are attempting to exploit the tragic mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the ensuing debate over gun control to push an anti-Semitic agenda. Many of these white supremacists are publicly framing the battle over gun control as a struggle between beleaguered whites who want to preserve their traditions in the face of a Jewish onslaught. The ADL says that white supremacists’ anti-Semitic attacks intensified in the wake of NRA head Wayne LaPierre’s 22 February speech to CPAC. LaPierre, perhaps unknowingly, used terms which are buzzwords white supremacists associate with Jews, such as “European-style socialists.” LaPierre said, “A tidal wave of new European-style socialists [has seized] control of the Democratic party.” The only people LaPierre mentioned as examples of people using “social engineering” to try to take away the guns and freedoms of Americans were two Jewish businessmen, Michael Bloomberg and George Soros.

  • Suspected nerve-agent attack in U.K. an “appalling, reckless crime”

    The substance used on 4 March to injure an ex-Russian spy ad his daughter was a nerve agent – but the British police say it was rarer than sarin or VX nerve agents, thus making the involvement of Russian state labs in the production of the substance certain. A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack on Skripal and his daughter was an “appalling and reckless crime.” Skripal’s son Sergei, 44, died on a visit to Russia last year under mysterious circumstances.

  • Russians are hacking our public-commenting system, too

    Russia has found yet another way surreptitiously to influence U.S. public policy: Stealing the identities of real Americans and then using these identities to file fake comments during the comment submission period preceding the formulation of public policies. For example, in the course of its deliberations on the future of Internet openness, the FCC logged about half a million comments sent from Russian email addresses – but, even more unnerving, it received nearly eight million comments from email domains associated with FakeMailGenerator.com with almost identical wording. Researchers, journalists, and public servants have found a wide range of fake comments and stolen identities in the public proceedings of the Labor Department, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Goodbye James Bond, hello big data

    Just as the technological revolution has transformed how people live and do business, it has upended the often hidebound field of intelligence gathering. Where once the focus might have been on the savvy agent clandestinely dashing around the world, like James Bond, now it’s on something far less sexy but no less vital: big data. “That [Bond] model, if it was ever true, is completely over,” said Sir John Sawers, chief of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), known to fans of spy novels as MI6, from 2009 to 2014. “Now, the most important person in any intelligence service is the data analyst, because it’s the data analyst who will tell you where the threats are coming from and where the opportunities are emerging that you as an intelligence agency can exploit.”

  • U.K. counterterrorism unit takes over probe into Russian ex-spy's illness

    Britain’s counterterrorism police took over the investigation into the sudden and severe illness of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter as media reported that Skripal’s son died last year of unknown causes on a visit to Russia. Scotland Yard announced that its counterterrorism unit would take charge due to the case’s “unusual circumstances” after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned that any involvement of a foreign government in the incident would not go “unpunished.”

  • Name your poison: Exotic toxins fell Kremlin foes

    The sudden illness in Britain of a Russian former spy has drawn comparisons with another poisoning in the United Kingdom – the 2006 assassination by Vladimir Putin’s agents of Russian former-spy-turned-Kremlin-critic Aleksandr Litvinenko. In using various poisons – some of them esoteric — to have his critics and adversaries killed inside Russia and abroad, Putin is continuing a storied KGB tradition. Here is a closer, if brief, look at some of the poisons Russian government agents have used on their lethal missions.

  • Women’s March organizer again attends Farrakhan speech

    The ADL has called him “the leading anti-Semite in America,” and the SPLC has designated his Nation of Islam a hate group. True to form, Rev. Louis Farrakhan, in his annual Saviors’ Day address in Chicago on 25 February, claimed that “the powerful Jews are my enemy”; that “the Jews have control over agencies of those agencies of government”; and thatJews are “the mother and father of apartheid.” These anti-Semitic rants did not prevent Tamika D. Mallory, one of four presidents of the Women’s March, to participated in the 25 February rally. Mallory has on multiple occasions posted on her social media platforms about attending events with Farrakhan, and two other co-founders of the Women’s March, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez, have also praised and appeared at events with Farrakhan.

  • AI profiling: the social and moral hazards of “predictive” policing

    While the use of AI predictions in police and law enforcement is still in its early stages, it is vital to scrutinize any warning signs that may come from its use. One standout example is a 2016 ProPublica investigation which found that COMPAS software was biased against black offenders. Society needs to maintain a critical perspective on the use of AI on moral and ethical grounds. Not least because the details of the algorithms, data sources and the inherent assumptions on which they make calculations are often closely guarded secrets. Those secrets are in the hands of the specialist IT companies that develop them who want to maintain confidentiality for commercial reasons. The social, political and criminal justice inequalities likely to arise should make us question the potential of predictive policing.

  • Small-drone threats to infantry units require development of countermeasures

    The emergence of inexpensive small unmanned aircraft systems (sUASs) that operate without a human pilot, commonly known as drones, has led to adversarial groups threatening deployed U.S. forces, especially infantry units. Although the U.S. Army and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) are developing tactics and systems to counter single sUASs, a new report emphasizes the need for developing countermeasures against multiple sUASs — organized in coordinated groups, swarms, and collaborative groups — which could be used much sooner than the Army anticipates. The committee that conducted the study developed a classified report that details its findings and recommendations, along with an unclassified public version that discusses key background issues presented in this news release.

  • Critically ill woman is daughter of ex-Russian spy, BBC reports

    Sergei Skripal, 66, a former colonel in Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, was convicted of passing state secrets to Britain in 2006, but was released from prison and — sent to the West — in a spy swap in 2010. He is in a critical condition in hospital after being found unconscious on a bench near a shopping center in Salisbury in southern England on 4 March. A woman found unconscious on a bench next to him has now been identified as his 33-year old daughter. The unexplained incident drew comparisons with the death of Aleksandr Litvinenko, a former Russian security agent who became a Putin critic, who fell ill and died in London in November 2006 after ingesting radioactive polonium-210. A high-level British investigative commission has established that two Russian GRU agents poisoned Litvinenko on orders from Vladimir Putin. Andrei Lugovoi, one of the two Russian killers, has been awarded a medal by Putin, and is now a leading member of United Russia, Putin’s political party, in the Russian parliament.

  • Ecoterrorists suspected in acid attack on German energy executive

    German ecoterrorists are the main suspects in an acid attack on a German energy executive, which has left him badly injured. Bernhard Günther, the CFO of energy giant RWE’s green subsidiary, Innogy, was struck as he crossed a park in Haan, a well-to-do suburb of Düsseldorf, on Sunday. Left-wing groups – the most famous one the Rote Armee Fraktion (aka Baader-Meinhof group), which was active in West Germany from the early-1970s to the mid-1980s – have attacked and killed a score of German business people in the last four decades.

  • Atomwaffen, extremist group whose members have been charged in five murders, loses some of its platforms

    At least four technology companies have taken steps to bar Atomwaffen Division, a violent neo-Nazi organization, from using their online services and platforms to spread its message or fund its operations. The action comes after ProPublica reports detailing the organization’s terrorist ambitions and revealing that the California man charged with murdering Blaze Bernstein, a 19-year-old college student found buried in an Orange County park earlier this year, was an Atomwaffen member.

  • Bioengineers today emphasize the crucial ingredient Dr. Frankenstein forgot – responsibility

    Mary Shelley was 20 when she published “Frankenstein” in 1818. Two hundred years on, the book remains thrilling, challenging and relevant — especially for scientists like me whose research involves tinkering with the stuff of life. Talk of “engineering biology” makes a lot people squeamish, and technology can turn monstrous, but I read Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” not as an injunction against bioengineering as such. Rather, the story reveals what can happen when we – scientists and nonscientists alike – run away from the responsibilities that science and technology demand. Victor Frankenstein was certainly careless and perhaps a coward, unable to own up to the responsibility of what he was doing. We now know that science is best conducted with humility, forethought and in the light of day.

  • Judge orders Boeing to give details of $16 billion Iran deal to terror victim’s kin

    A federal district judge ordered airplane manufacturer, Boeing, to make terms of its $16 billion contract with Iran available to the family of an Israeli terror victim. The family of Noam Leibovitch, a 7-year-old girl who was killed when Iran-backed terrorists from Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired on their car in 2003, requested the contract in order to assess what assets may be available to satisfy a $67 million judgment against Iran. The judgment was awarded when Iran failed to respond to the lawsuit filed by the family in the United States District Court.