• Sorting out Claims of Extremist Involvement in U.S. Protests is Challenging

    The series of nationwide protests the past nine days over the death of African American George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police have drawn a hodgepodge of outside agitators. They range from anarchists to anti-fascists, radical environmentalists, white supremacists, anti-government militiamen and just straight-up opportunists. All have been seen in numbers small and large at mass gatherings across the country. But sorting out their precise involvement in the demonstrations — and the related violence, burning and looting — has presented a challenge to law enforcement officials and researchers.

  • Germany Gets Tougher on Soldiers Engaged in Extremist Activities

    The German government on Wednesday approved a change to the Military Law which would make it easier to dismiss career soldiers who engage in extremist activities. The proposed changes must be approved by the Bundestag. The move comes after a series of incidents in which career soldiers were found to belong to extremist cells and shadowy far-right organizations. In a series of raids in the past few months, the police found these cells to stash arms caches and develop detailed plans for attacking Muslim immigrants and law enforcement personnel.

  • Extremists Weigh in on Nationwide Protests

    The demonstrations protesting the killing by the Minneapolis police of George Floyd – and, more broadly, systemic racism in America — have been mostly peaceful, but there have also been widespread incidents of violence and property destruction. And while some of this chaos may be an expression of protesters’ despair and anger against America’s long history of racism and inequality, it is important to note that antiracists are not the only – or even primary – cause of these incidents. Some individuals and groups, including a scattering of extremists, are taking full advantage of a national crisis to advance their own violent agendas.

  • Twitter Suspends Fake Antifa Account Created by White Nationalists to Incite Violence

    Twitter suspended a fake account, created by white nationalist group Identity Evropa, which pretended to be affiliated with Black Lives Matter and incited violence. The account called upon African American participants in the protests to use violence against law enforcement and places of business. “Tonight’s the night, Comrades,” one tweet had said, before encouraging users to “take what’s ours.”

  • Riots, White Supremacy and Accelerationism

    White supremacists are gleeful as police violence and the resulting rioting tear apart cities, Dan Byman writes. “Even if the unrest ends in the weeks to come, they may look back at the violence as a win for their side,” he writes. “Even if the violence declines, it may bolster an increasingly important white supremacist concept—’accelerationism.’”

  • “Domestic Terrorist Actors” Could Exploit Floyd Protests, DHS Memo Warns

    The DHS intelligence unit has sent out a memo to law enforcement officials around the country warning of the mobilization of far-right domestic terrorists and violent extremists in the context of a national crisis. Betsy Woodruff Swan and Natasha Bertrand write that this is at least the fifth DHS has sent out to law enforcement officials in the last two months warning of the growing danger of far-right violent extremists.

  • The Killing of Walter Lübcke: One Year Later, Some Questions Remain

    One year ago, Walter Lübcke, a member of Angela Merkel’s conservatives, was shot and killed in his garden, allegedly by a far-right extremist. Germany stepped up measures at tackling extremism, but has it been enough?

  • Pandemic and Responses to It Could Drive Violent Extremist Recruitment, Radicalization

    A new report from Reliefweb provides evidence on the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and response on violent extremist recruitment and radicalization. There are many drivers of drivers radicalization, and these drivers operate differently across individuals and communities — and may intersect. The COVID-19 pandemic and responses to it may amplify some of these drivers, acting as an additive factor.

  • IoT: Which Devices Are Spying on You?

    When hungry consumers want to know how many calories are in a bag of chips, they can check the nutrition label on the bag. When those same consumers want to check the security and privacy practices of a new IoT device, they aren’t able to find even the most basic facts. Not yet, at least.

  • Far-Right Infiltrators and Agitators in George Floyd Protests: Indicators of White Supremacists

    Mia Bloom, a Georgia State professor and an expert on political violence and terrorism, writes that the demonstrations in honor of George Floyd have been infiltrated by white nationalists who adhere to the accelerationist ideology, and that at least part of the violence and destruction – as clearly seen on TV screens – have been perpetrated by these extremists. “The accelerationists, if you have never heard the term, are an extreme subset of white nationalism whose goal is to bring about chaos and destruction,” she writes. Since Western governments are inherently corrupt, “the best (and only) thing supremacists can do is to accelerate the end of society by sowing chaos and aggravating political tensions.”

  • COVID Slows Central America-U.S. Migration

    From March to April, when the U.S. began to lock down, total apprehensions along its southern border dropped by 50 percent, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Apprehensions and expulsions have plummeted, going from 109,415 in April 2019 to just 16,789 in April 2020.

  • White Supremacist Groups Thriving on Facebook

    Dozens of white supremacist groups are operating freely on Facebook, allowing them to spread their message and recruit new members. The findings, more than two years after Facebook hosted an event page for the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, cast doubt on the company’s claims that it’s effectively monitoring and dealing with hate groups. What’s more, Facebook’s algorithms create an echo chamber that reinforces the views of white supremacists and helps them connect with each other.

  • Social Media Platforms Can Contribute to Dehumanizing Other People

    A recent analysis of discourse on Facebook highlights how social media and an individual’s sense of identity can be used to dehumanize entire groups of people. “Fundamentally, we wanted to examine how online platforms can normalize hatred and contribute to dehumanization,” says one researcher. “And we found that an established model of the role identity plays in intractable conflicts seems to explain a great deal of this behavior.”

  • Leading the Intelligence Community Will Be a Test for Ratcliffe

    Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) was confirmed last Thursday as President Donald Trump’s top intelligence adviser in a party line Senate vote, putting an inexperienced and highly partisan legislator at the top of the nation’s intelligence enterprise during a time of unprecedented threats to our security. Matt Olsen and Katrina Mulligan write that Ratcliffe made a name for himself defending the president, noisily and often falsely. At his confirmation hearing earlier this month, Ratcliffe vowed to “speak truth to power” and ensure the independence of intelligence agencies. But, will Ratcliffe keep those promises? Olsen and Mulligan are not sure:

  • The Justice Department’s Unconvincing Explanation for Its Reversal on FISA

    On 26 May, on the eve of a final vote on legislation to reauthorize recently expired Patriot Act provisions and enact numerous Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reforms, the Department of Justice issued an eleventh-hour about-face. Having previously stated its support for the bill on 11 March, just two months later the department now has announced its opposition to the legislation. Jake Laperruque writes that DOJ’s about-face – veering between supporting and opposing more FISA transparency and independent oversight – reflects the fact that it is based less a coherent legal theory and more on President Trump’s stream of tweets. The problem is, “Trump’s objections to FISA sway wildly between legitimate problems raised by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and baseless conspiracy allegations.”