• Trump's “Antifa” Accusations Spark Debate in Germany, the Movement's Birthplace

    After Donald Trump claimed most protesters in the U.S. were “antifa,” Germany’s Social Democrats rushed to declare solidarity with the movement. But which movement? And why did other politicians object? What the word means is simple enough in German. Antifa is short for antifaschistisch, or anti-Fascist. In the most literal sense, one might hope this label could apply to almost all modern German people and politicians. But does antifa refer to all those opposed to fascism, or does it refer only to black-clad anarchists and leftists staring down German police in the streets?

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

  • U.S. Domestic Islamist Extremism 2019

    There was a 50 percent increase in arrests and plots linked to domestic Islamist extremism in 2019, according to data released last week by ADL’s Center on Extremism. There were a total of 30 arrests linked to domestic Islamist extremism, nine of which were for terror plots. Of the nine individuals arrested for plotting attacks, seven were U.S. citizens. While there were no attacks or murders linked to domestic Islamist extremism last year, the findings indicate that Islamist extremism still poses a significant threat to the United States.

  • Germany Sees Rise in Anti-Semitic, Political Crimes

    Germany saw a rise both far-right and far-left crimes in 2019, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced at a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday. The country’s police recorded just over 41,000 cases of politically motivated crime last year, representing a rise of 14.2 percent compared to 2018, when there were just over 36,000. “The biggest threat comes from the far-right, we have to see that clearly,” Seehofer said.

  • IS Returnees Should Be Charged with War Crimes: EU Agency

    More than 13,000 citizens of European countries traveled to Syria and Iraq to join, fight, or work with ISIS. In addition to former fighters, this figure includes women and children. A new report from an EU-backed genocide investigation body says that adding war crimes and genocide to terrorism charges for IS fighters returning to the EU will lead to tougher sentences and “more justice” for victims.