• Prosecutors Shift Focus to Possible Seditious Conspiracy in Capitol Insurrection Probe

    Since launching a wide-ranging investigation into the U.S. Capitol riot nearly three months ago, federal prosecutors have charged nearly 400 participants in the bloody insurrection with a variety of charges. That represents about half of the estimated 800 supporters of former President Donald Trump who breached the complex on January 6 to try to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the November election. By far the most serious charges have been brought against three dozen or so members of three far-right groups: the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters and the Proud Boys. Prosecutors are increasingly focused on building the conspiracy cases and considering upping the ante by bringing the little used but far more serious charge of seditious conspiracy.

  • Gulf of Guinea Piracy: A Symptom, Not a Cause, of Insecurity

    Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea appears to be worse than ever, judging by recent headlines. But these accounts and the data they rely on must be approached with caution. Figures on piracy and armed robbery at sea are susceptible to under-reporting and problems of definition. Over-hasty responses could lead to narrow solutions that fail to solve the underlying causes of maritime insecurity.

  • Think Global, Act Local: Reconfiguring Siege Culture

    It is not an easy time to be in a branded neo-Nazi group. Some groups have dissolved themselves, other groups have been proscribed by different governments, while group members of some groups have been arrested for a variety of offenses across the U.S., U.K., Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. Societal attitudes towards the broader extreme-right are hardening, and for the most extreme right-wingers, the future may be less digital, more local, and harder to police.

  • Australia Bans Far-Right Extremist Sonnenkrieg Division

    Australia has designated the right-wing extremist group Sonnenkrieg Division as a terrorist organization. The ruling allows authorities to imprison members of the U.K.-based neo-Nazi group. The Sonnenkrieg Division (SKD) became the first far-right organization to be listed as a terror group in Australia on Monday.

  • A Dozen Experts with Questions Congress Should Ask the Tech CEOs — On Disinformation and Extremism

    On Thursday, 25 March, two subcomittees of the House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a joint hearing on “the misinformation and disinformation plaguing online platforms. Yaël Eisenstat and Justin Hendrix write that Thursday hearings will be the first time the tech CEOs will face Congress since the January 6th siege on the U.S. Capitol, where different groups of individuals sought to prevent the certification of the presidential election because they were led by Donald Trump to believe in the lie that the election was stolen. “Should social media companies continue their pattern of negligence, governments must use every power – including new legislation, fines and criminal prosecutions – to stop the harms being created,” says one expert. “Lies cost lives.”

  • U.S. Officials Reject Claims Terrorists Trying to Enter from Mexico

    U.S. homeland security officials are pushing back against claims that known and suspected terrorists are trying to sneak into the country from Mexico, calling such incidents “very uncommon.” The U.S.-based news site Axios, citing a congressional aide briefed on correspondence from CBP, reported late Tuesday that, since October 2020, four people on the FBI’s terror watchlist were caught trying to enter the U.S. from the southern border — including three people from Yemen and one from Serbia.

  • Extremism in the U.S. Military: Problems and Solutions

    Extremist movements pose many problems to society, from spreading hate and intolerance to engaging in significant and deadly violence.  It is particularly problematic when adherents of extreme causes are able to persist in key institutions dedicated to protecting the people of the United States, institutions such as emergency response units, law enforcement and the military.

  • Racially Motivated Violent Extremists Pose Most Lethal Domestic Threat: U.S. Intelligence

    Domestic violent extremists pose the most serious threat to public safety, says the unclassified summary of an intelligence community report released Wednesday. The intelligence report, echoing academic studies, stressed that white supremacists – to which the report also refers as “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists” — and militia extremists pose the most lethal threat among domestic extremists. In addition to racial and ethnic hatred, domestic extremists are motivated by the false “narrative of fraud” in the 2020 presidential election; the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol; Covid-19 restrictions; and conspiracy theories. The report found that extremists motivated by biases against minorities and “perceived government overreach” will continue to drive radicalization and violent mobilization. The report was prepared by the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

  • The German Far Right Doesn’t Need to Win Elections to Be Dangerous

    On March 3, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency placed the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) under observation as a suspected far-right extremist organization. “The challenge posed by the German far right goes beyond the AfD, Sam Denney writes. “the AfD’s relative success and the growth of increasingly vocal far-right street movements is concerning enough. More ominous still, though, is the fact that significant numbers of far-right extremists have been uncovered in Germany’s security services.”

  • Are Telegram and Signal Havens for Right-Wing Extremists?

    Since the violent storming of Capitol Hill and subsequent ban of former U.S. President Donald Trump from Facebook and Twitter, the removal of Parler from Amazon’s servers, and the de-platforming of incendiary right-wing content, messaging services Telegram and Signal have seen a deluge of new users. Steven Feldstein and Sarah Gordon write that the two services rely on encryption to protect the privacy of user communication, which has made them popular with protesters seeking to conceal their identities against repressive governments in places like Belarus, Hong Kong, and Iran. “But the same encryption technology has also made them a favored communication tool for criminals and terrorist groups, including al Qaeda and the Islamic State.” Telegram has purged Islamic State from the platform, and it could the same with far-right violent extremists.

  • After the Insurrection, America’s Far-Right Groups Get More Extreme

    As the U.S. grapples with domestic extremism in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, warnings about more violence are coming from domestic intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Two experts – the authors of a recent book on extremist violence in the United States – say that some members have left extremist groups in the wake of the Jan. 6 violence. But the members who remain, and the new members they are attracting, are increasing the radicalization of far-right groups.

  • Psychological “Signature” for the Extremist Mind Uncovered

    Researchers have mapped an underlying “psychological signature” for people who are predisposed to holding extreme social, political, and religious attitudes and supporting violence in the name of ideology.A new study suggests that a particular mix of personality traits and types of unconscious cognition – the ways our brain takes in basic information – is a strong predictor for extremist views across a range of beliefs, including nationalism and religious fervor.

  • How the Quest for Significance and Respect Underlies the White Supremacist Movement, Conspiracy Theories and a Range of Other Problems

    The quest for significance and respect is a universal and immutable aspect of human nature. It has the potential to inspire great works but also tear society asunder. The path ultimately taken depends on the narrative that identifies significance-bestowing actions in a given situation. Depending on one’s moral perspective, such actions may be seen as “good,” “bad,” or “ugly.” One might have an entirely different moral evaluation of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Proud Boys and yet recognize that, psychologically, both represent routes to significance.

  • Fighting Domestic Extremism: Lessons from Germany

    As the U.S. Capitol insurrection, the prevalence of the QAnon conspiracy, and widely believed claims of election fraud indicate, potentially tens of millions of Americans are outside the consensus on the most fundamental U.S. democratic values: faith in official election results and the peaceful transfer of power. Daniel Koehler writes that, as a German, he is “frightfully reminded” of the Weimar Republic, which resulted in the end of Germany’s first democracy and the rise of domestic extremism from within. “Modern Germany is built on the legacy of the failure of its first democratic experiment and the unspeakable global suffering and destruction that followed,” he writes. The success of German democracy today “offers lessons for the United States as well as other countries seeking to counter extreme ideologies.”

  • Syria's Hospitals Face Systematic Attacks: Report

    Over the past decade, hospitals across Syria have been attacked more than 400 times. The attacks formed part of a larger strategy by the Assad regime and Russia to cripple access to medical facilities in rebel-held areas.