• At least 13 killed, dozens injured in a terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain

    At least thirteen people were killed and scores injured when a terrorist drove a rented van into a crowded sidewalk in one of Barcelona’s busiest streets. The attack took place early evening Spain’s time (mid-day EST). In March 2004 Spain was hit by the deadliest jihadist attack in Europe, when bombs exploded on commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people. Al Qaeda took responsibility for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for Spain joining the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  • Anti-Semitism on full display in Charlottesville

    Alongside the racism, nativism, and xenophobia on display at Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the event was also an expression of the animating power of anti-Semitism. Marchers threw Nazi salutes as they waved swastika flags, proudly wore swastika pins and shirts, and shouted “sieg heil!” A sign carried by rally-goers warned that the “Jewish media is going down;” another declared that “Jews are Satan’s children.” “Blood and soil,” which the white supremacists chanted several times, is the translation of the Nazi slogan, “Blut und Boden.” these were only the external trappings of anti-Semitism. The entire Unite the Right rally was built on racial and conspiratorial anti-Semitism.

  • The focal point: White supremacy

    The weekend clashes between white nationalist demonstrators and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia., which killed a 32-year-old woman and injured others has reignited long-simmering fears that racist hate groups are resurgent nationally and now may feel emboldened to push their goals publicly. Bart Bonikowski, an associate professor in Harvard’s Sociology Department, has studied the discourse of populist movements in the United States and Europe, with an emphasis on the processes that animate nationalist political movements. He says that he doubts that he doubts that the widespread public backlash suggests these groups might dial back their incendiary efforts. “It’s hard to predict the future, but I doubt that this will be the case. As I mentioned, these movements thrive when they receive attention in the media, regardless of whether it’s good or bad. And in this case, they’re getting the media attention as well as support from the president. So, if anything, this is likely to give them an incentive to hold more rallies and become more extremist in their practices.”

  • The First Amendment and the Nazi flag

    In the wake of the 12 August confrontations between protesters and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, some progressives are calling for legal restrictions on the display of the Nazi flag. These arguments are entirely understandable, but they often misapply existing First Amendment law, and they suppress free speech values that progressives — more than anyone else — should want to defend, says a Constitutional law expert.

  • Terrorist attack deaths increase in Iraq, the West, despite decrease worldwide

    The number of terrorist attacks and resulting deaths worldwide decreased in 2016, but an increase in activity in Iraq and the ongoing violence of tISIS curbed the reduction, according to a new report from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism’s Global Terrorism Database (GTD). In 2016, more than 13,400 terrorist attacks took place around the world, resulting in more than 34,000 total deaths, including more than 11,600 perpetrator deaths. This represents a 9 percent decrease in the total number of terrorist attacks, and a 10 percent decrease in the total number of deaths, in comparison to 2015.

  • Far-right extremists far greater threat than left-wing militants: Experts

    Leaving aside the moral issues raised by President Donald Trump’s unsettling insistence on equating neo-Nazis and anti-Nazis, experts say that the president’s assertion, in his Tuesday’s press conference, that left-inspired violence in the United States is as bad as violence generated by the extreme right, is patently false. The FBI, DHS, and state and local law enforcement consider right-wing extremists to be an order of magnitude more dangerous to public safety in the United States than left-leaning extremists. Domestic security experts estimate that there are 400,000-500,000 Americans who are affiliated, in one way or another, with various right-wing extremist groups, compared with a few thousand Antifa, Black Box, and other militant left-wing activists.

  • The seeds of the alt-right, America’s emergent right-wing populist movement

    Over the past year, far-right activists – which some have labeled the “alt-right” – have gone from being an obscure, largely online subculture to a player at the very center of American politics. Long relegated to the cultural and political fringe, alt-right activists were among the most enthusiastic supporters of Donald Trump. Former Breitbart.com executive Steve Bannon – who declared the website “the platform for the alt-right” – is the president’s chief political strategist. To its critics, the alt-right is just a code term for white nationalism, a much-maligned ideology associated with neo-Nazis and Klansmen. The movement, however, is more nuanced, encompassing a much broader spectrum of right-wing activists and intellectuals. Unlike old-school white nationalist movements, the alt-right has endeavored to create a self-sustaining counterculture, which includes a distinct vernacular, memes, symbols and a number of blogs and alternative media outlets. Now that it has been mobilized, the alt-right is gaining a firmer foothold in American politics.

  • New edition of Ten Ways to Fight Hate guide released

    In response to recent events, including the deadly white nationalist violence in Charlottesville this weekend, the SPLC released a new edition of Ten Ways to Fight Hate, its guide for “effectively – and peacefully – taking a stand against bigotry,” as the organization describes it. The guide, which has been updated for 2017, sets out ten principles for taking action, including how to respond to a hate rally that has targeted your town.

  • White House needs clear action plan in wake of Charlottesville: ADL

    The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on President Donald Trump to follow up his words on Monday with a strong plan of action that will ensure the kind of white supremacist violence and anti-Semitic and racist incitement witnessed in Charlottesville will not happen again. Trump’s statement came two days after the events, and after a disappointing initial reaction from the president that seemed to equate the haters with counter protesters. “This is a moment when we desperately need leadership,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “But I think we should expect our leader in the highest office in the land to step above the lowest possible bar. Statements are not sufficient at this stage in the game. We need to move from words to action. The threat is not over.”

  • Charlottesville attack shows homegrown terror on the right is on the rise

    Dealing effectively with far-right violence requires that we treat its manifestations as domestic terrorism. I consider domestic terrorism a more significant threat than the foreign-masterminded variety in part because it is more common in terms of the number of attacks on U.S. soil. The number of violent attacks on U.S. soil inspired by far-right ideology has spiked since the beginning of this century, rising from a yearly average of 70 attacks in the 1990s to a yearly average of more than 300 since 2001. This trend reflects a deeper social change in American society. The iceberg model of political extremism can illuminate these dynamics. Murders and other violent attacks perpetrated by U.S. far-right extremists compose the visible tip of an iceberg. The rest of this iceberg is under water and out of sight. It includes hundreds of attacks every year that damage property and intimidate communities. The significant growth in far-right violence in recent years is happening at the base of the iceberg. Changes in societal norms are usually reflected in behavioral changes. It is thus more than reasonable to suspect that extremist individuals engage in such activities because they sense that their views are enjoying growing social legitimacy and acceptance, which is emboldening them to act on their bigotry.

  • Venezuelan assassination plot targets Sen. Marco Rubio

    Security around Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) has been increased for the last three weeks after U.S. intelligence has uncovered a possible plot by a powerful Venezuelan politician to assassinate the senator. Rubio has been outspoken in his criticism of the authoritarian rule of Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro. A memo DHS has circulated to local police agencies says the threat comes from Diosdado Cabello, a top Venezuelan lawmaker who is a former top military official.

  • Encrypted app allows extremists to plot attacks without detection

    A new report details how extremists and terrorists like ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Hamas are increasingly relying on encrypted applications like Telegram to recruit new members, fundraise, incite to violence, and even coordinate terrorist activity without detection from law enforcement. Telegram’s public-facing “channels” and private messaging “chats” make it a useful weapon for extremist groups.

  • Religious beliefs play minimal role in motivating foreign fighters to joined ISIS: UN report

    Young men who leave their home countries to fight in the ranks of ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria mainly come from disadvantaged backgrounds, have low levels of education and vocational skills, and “lack any basic understanding of the true meaning of jihad or even the Islamic faith,” according to a new report by the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism. The study found that most of these fighters were “novices” in their religion and some did not know how to pray properly. “Religious belief seems to have played a minimal role in the motivation of this FTF sample,” the report concludes. Rather than being motivated by religion, many of the those who left for Syria were motivated by a sense of identity with — and a desire to help — co-religionists who were perceived as victimized. Specifically, those who left Europe for Syria felt empathy with the Sunni communities in Syria which are seen as being under attack.

  • Marginalization, discrimination contribute to feelings of radicalization

    Muslim immigrants who feel marginalized and discriminated against in countries that expect them to integrate into their culture and society are more likely to experience psychological threats to their own significance that could be related to increased support of radicalism, according to new research. Marginalization and discrimination were found to predict feelings of insignificance, which became stronger with the experience of more discrimination and, in turn, predicted an attraction to fundamentalist groups and its extreme behavior, the research found.

  • ISIS and climate change leading security threats: Global survey

    People around the globe identify ISIS and climate change as the leading threats to national security, according to a new Pew Research Center report based on a survey of thirty-eight countries. The survey asked about eight possible threats: ISIS, global climate change, cyberattacks, the condition of the global economy, the large number of refugees leaving Iraq and Syria, and the power and influence of the United States, Russia, and China. While the level and focus of concern varies by region and country, ISIS and climate change clearly emerge as the most frequently cited security risks across the thirty-eight countries polled.