• Sri Lanka attacks: government’s social media ban may hide the truth about what is happening

    Sri Lanka has temporarily banned social media and messaging apps in the wake of the coordinated Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels across the country, which killed at least 290 people. The ban is ostensibly to stop the spread of misinformation – but in Sri Lanka Facebook and social media platforms generally have created a positive space for public conversation that did not exist before. Shutting down social media, leaving its citizens reliant on state messaging and a weak and beaten down form of journalism, the government now risks preventing Sri Lankans from finding out the truth about what is happening in their fragile and delicately balanced country.

  • Nearly 300 killed, 500 injured in Easter Sunday attacks on churches, hotels in Sri Lanka

    In the worst wave of terrorist violence in Sri Lanka in ten years, a series of blasts on Sunday have hit churches and hotels in and near the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. The nearly simultaneous blasts targeted churches during Easter services and hotels frequented by foreign guests. Sri Lankan officials said 290 people, including at least 27 foreigners, had been killed in the blasts in Colombo and elsewhere. More than 500 more have been injured.

  • Sri Lanka attacks among the deadliest terrorist attacks since 9/11

    The Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka – nearly 300 killed and more than 500 injured — places the bombings on a par with other high-casualty terrorist atrocities since September 11, the single deadliest terrorist attack in history, in which 2,977 people were killed.

  • The first lone-wolf terrorist

    Muharem Kurbegovic is considered the first “lone-wolf” terrorist. He was born in Sarajevo in 1943 and immigrated to the United States in 1967 to pursue a career in engineering. In 1973 he launched a series of bombing in and around Los Angeles. What especially alarmed the authorities was his interest in building chemical weapons, including nerve-gas munitions, to use in his planned attacks:

  • Analyzing lone-actor terrorism in context

    Assessing and managing the risk of lone-actor terrorism is a challenge, as events around the world continue to show. Noémie Bouhana of the Department of Security and Crime Science at University College London suggests a shift in focus from “who and why” to “who and where.” This approach is captured in the S5 framework, which builds on the findings of PRIME, an international project led by Bouhana and funded by the European Commission to understand and counter lone-actor terrorism.

  • UN calls for repatriation of IS wives, children in Syria

    The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is calling on countries to repatriate thousands of wives and children of Islamic State militants in Syria, who are living in dire conditions in the al-Hol camp in al-Hasakeh governorate in northeast Syria.

  • Deterring Russian intimidation and aggression: Unconventional approaches

    Amid concerns that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are vulnerable to Russian intimidation and hybrid warfare, experts conclude that unconventional defense plans could help deter and counteract Russian aggression.

  • Exposure to mass violence on the media leads to cycle of distress

    The more people watch, listen or scroll through hours of news coverage of events such as terrorist attacks, the more likely they are to develop stress symptoms that in turn increase their media consumption during the next mass violence event, according to a nationwide study.

  • U.S. allows lawsuits against foreign companies using property seized by Cuba

    The U.S. will allow U.S. citizens to sue foreign companies and individuals who use property confiscated from them decades ago by the government of then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The decision likely will hinder Cuba’s efforts to encourage foreign investment to the island.

  • Social media networks aid, abet white supremacist terrorism: Study

    A new study reveals how fringe social media sites such as Gab, 4 Chan and 8chan act like virtual “round-the-clock white supremacist rallies” where hateful notions of Jews and other minorities are openly espoused and closely associated with violence as a solution.

  • New air link evidence of Iran's growing influence in Venezuela

    This month’s re-opening of an air link between Tehran and Caracas as the latest evidence of Iran’s growing role alongside Russia and Cuba in bolstering the multilayered security apparatus keeping Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in power.

  • Russia targeted Sanders supporters, pushing them to vote for Trump

    As part of Russia’s broad 2016 effort to ensure Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, Russian hackers targeted supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), following his primary loss in 2016, trying to push them to vote for Donald Trump instead of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Daren Linvill, the Clemson University researcher who conducted the research of the Russian campaign, said the Russians saw Sanders as “just a tool.” “He is a wedge to drive into the Democratic Party,” resulting in lower turnout for Clinton, he said.

  • Studying Perry Mason to combat “innocence fatigue”

    Forensic science historian Professor Ian Burney is studying the influence of Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of renowned TV attorney Perry Mason, in a bid to reveal the roots of the fascination with stories about wrongful criminal conviction. Burney hopes the study will help better understand some of the challenges facing today’s worldwide “innocence projects.”

  • Israeli air strike destroys Iranian missile production, storage facility in Syria

    Satellite images released Sunday by ImageSat International (ISI) showed the impact of an airstrike, blamed on Israel, on a missile base in Syria on Saturday evening that reportedly killed Iranian personnel. Israeli analysts say that recent Israeli air strikes in Syria probably would not have passed without public Russian comment had Israel and Russia not reached an understanding designed to reduce possible friction and improve early warning between Israeli and Russian armed forces operating in Syria.

  • Weapons of mass distraction

    A sobering new report from the U.S. Department of State’s Global Engagement Center details the reach, scope, and effectiveness of Russia’s disinformation campaigns to undermine and weaken Western societies. “The messages conveyed through disinformation range from biased half-truths to conspiracy theories to outright lies. The intent is to manipulate popular opinion to sway policy or inhibit action by creating division and blurring the truth among the target population,” write the authors of the report.