• U.S. Mired in “Heightened Threat Environment”: DHS

    DHS, in its updated National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin released Monday, says that the prevalence of conspiracy theories and bad or misleading information, online and in social media forums, is keeping the United States in a state of heightened alert when it comes to possible terror attacks. DHS warns that while many of the top threat streams have changed little over the past year, almost all of them are being amplified by the information environment.

  • How Radio Programming Can Fight Violent Extremism in West Africa

    A new study shows the potential of storytelling and narratives to address violent extremism. Radio dramas can increase intentions to collaborate with the police, increase prioritization of violent extremism as an important issue to be addressed by the government, and reduce justification of violent extremism, new experimental research shows.

  • Islamic State Leader Killed in U.S. Raid – Where Does This Leave the Terrorist Group?

    The operation against Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi arrives at a precarious time for the Islamic State group. The organization’s transition from an Iraq-centric movement to a global insurgency with affiliates dotted across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia is still relatively fresh. Leadership decapitation – or the targeted killing of militant groups’ top leaders – is a key component of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. It is widely used by many nations, including the United States.

    But terrorism experts don’t agree on how effective killing top leaders is.

  • Threats to the U.S. Jewish Community: The Facts

    According to the FBI’s annual data on hate crimes, defined as criminal offenses which are motivated by bias, crimes targeting the Jewish community consistently constitute more than half of all religion-based crimes.

  • What Does the Seditious Conspiracy Indictment Mean for the Oath Keepers?

    The Justice Department has raised the stakes with the seditious conspiracy charges filed on Jan. 12 against the Oath Keepers founder, Stewart Rhodes. Jon Lewis and Seamus Hughes write that “The anti-government movement in America is not based on one man or even one organization. There will be more extremist leaders like Stewart Rhodes in the future. However, the most recent prosecution may set the precedent of how to handle those who come after him.”

  • Warnings of “Civil War” Risk Harming Efforts Against Political Violence

    A year on from the Jan. 6 riots, experts warn of catastrophic political violence, while political commentators invoke the specter of the 1860s. Anjali Dayal, Alexandra Stark, and Megan A. Stewart write that the emerging cottage industry of speculation and alarm specifically about a civil war in the United States worries them. “The shape and content of this debate … risks mis-framing an urgent problem for non-specialist audiences.”

  • Hostage Situation Continuing in Texas

    The FBI joined local and state police to surround a synagogue in Coleville, Texas, a city of about 26,000 residents about 15 miles northeast of Fort Worth, where a man has been holding the rabbi and four other people hostage since late morning. A few minutes ago, the hostage taker released a man who was suffering from a medical condition.

  • U.S. Judge Orders Colombia’s Now-Demobilized Insurgents to Compensate Family of Kidnapped Politician

    A Pennsylvania federal judge ruled on Thursday that Colombia’s now-demobilized Marxist guerrilla, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), will have to pay $36 million in compensation to the son of Ingrid Bentacourt, a Colombian politician who was kidnapped by FARC in 2002 and held hostage for six years.

  • Civil War in the U.S. Is Unlikely Because Grievance Doesn’t Necessarily Translate Directly into Violence

    Claims that America is at the greatest risk of civil war since, well, the Civil War, recently received additional support from some experts in the field of political science. But civil wars are rare events. But even if a civil war in America is unlikely, this does not preclude the occurrence of other forms of less intense violence. Concerns about increased violent extremism in the United States recently led the U.S. Justice Department to establish a new domestic terrorism group.

  • DOJ Adding New Unit Dedicated to Combatting Domestic Terrorism

    The Justice Department’s National Security Division is adding a new unit, dedicated to combatting domestic terrorism, as attacks, threats, and associated cases continue to grow. The FBI tells lawmakers that the greatest threat of mass casualty attacks against civilians in the United States comes from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.

  • Radicalization Pipelines: How Targeted Advertising on Social Media Drives People to Extremes

    Behind-the-scenes mechanisms feed an item you search for on Google, “like” on social media, or come across while browsing into custom advertising on social media. Those mechanisms are increasingly being used for more nefarious purposes than aggressive advertising. The threat is in how this targeted advertising interacts with today’s extremely divisive political landscape. As a social media researcher, I see how people seeking to radicalize others use targeted advertising to readily move people to extreme views.

  • We Don’t Need a Civil War to Be in Serious Trouble

    With extremist movements and rhetoric on the rise, a growing number of people, including some historians and many opinion writers, believe the U.S. is on the brink of disaster. “There are so many bad things that can happen well short of civil war that I wish we, as a country, were talking more about,” says Harvard University’s Jay Ulfelder, a political scientist who studies civil wars.

  • The Metaverse Offers a Future Full of Potential – for Terrorists and Extremists, Too

    The metaverse is an immersive virtual reality version of the internet where people can interact with digital objects and digital representations of themselves and others, and can move more or less freely from one virtual environment to another. As terrorism researchers, we see a potential dark side to the metaverse. Although it is still under construction, its evolution promises new ways for extremists to exert influence through fear, threat and coercion. Considering our research on malevolent creativity and innovation, there is potential for the metaverse to become a new domain for terrorist activity.

  • What Prevention and Treatment of Substance Dependence Can Tell Us About Addressing Violent Extremism

    Hate, violence, and their co-occurrence—violent extremism—represent increasing threats to society. Experts say that in order to deal effectively with extremism, there is a need for new approaches and frameworks that go beyond the counterterrorism approach that has dominated the battle against global jihadism. They suggest is applying a public health model to understand and counter violent extremism. Specifically, research shows that there is a striking resemblance between attachment to violent extremism and addiction.

  • A Year After January 6, Is Accelerationism the New Terrorist Threat?

    Far-right extremists are attempting to incite an insurrection to hasten the downfall of what they see as a deeply corrupt U.S. government. Some could resort to deadly acts of terrorism.