• French Far-Right Militia Dissolved by Government Decree

    The French government yesterday voted to dissolve a far-right militia called Génération Identitaire (GI). The ministry of the interior has already used dissolution decrees against three Islamist groups, and, in October 2020, it dissolved the Turkish ultranationalist group “Gray Wolves.” The moves, led by the hard-charging Minister of the Gerald Darmanin, are part of the Macron government’s decision to confront extremists more forcefully.

  • FBI: No Evidence of Leftist Extremists Involved in 6 January Attack on Capitol

    DBI director Christopher Wray told lawmakers today (Tuesday) that there wasn’t any evidence to suggest that left-wing extremists or “fake Trump supporters” were involved in the 6 January attack on the Capitol. The claims about fake Trump supporters, and similar conspiracy theories about how it was violent leftist extremists rather than Trump supporters who were behind the violence on 6 January, have been promoted by pro-Trump media outlets.

  • Hate Crimes Targeting Asian Americans Spiked by 150% in Major U.S. Cities

    Hate-fueled attacks on Asian Americans spiked across major U.S. cities last year — in some cases by triple-digit percentages — even as overall hate crimes declined, newly analyzed police department statistics show. Moreover, the alarming trend has continued into this year, experts say.

  • U.S. Militias Want to “Blow Up” Capitol: Police Chief

    The acting chief of the US Capitol police urged for security measures to remain in place amid ongoing threats by extremists. “Members of militia groups that were present on January 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union,” Pittman told members of the House Appropriations Committee.

  • U.S. Strikes Iran-Backed Militias Blamed for Rocket Attacks in Iraq

    The United States launched air strikes in eastern Syria targeting facilities used by Iran-backed militias. The Pentagon said the strikes, the first military action undertaken by President Joe Biden’s administration since he was sworn into office last month, hit “multiple facilities” at a control point on the Syria-Iraq border used by several Iran-backed militias, including the Iraqi Shiite groups Kaitib Hizballah and Kaitib Sayyid al-Shuhada.

  • The Last Time the Justice Department Prosecuted a Seditious Conspiracy Case

    Lenawee County, Michigan, had an apocalyptic Christian nationalist militia problem about a decade ago. The group called itself the Hutaree, a name that members said meant “Christian Warriors,” though the FBI said it didn’t mean anything at all. The FBI had an informer inside the group, and nine of its members were charged with conspiracy, sedition, and various weapon charges. Judge Victoria Roberts acquitted the Hutaree members of the serious charges of conspiracy and sedition. Why should anyone care about the Hutaree now? Jacob Schulz writes that we should, “because one of those serious charges was seditious conspiracy under 18 U.S.C.§ 2384. It was the last time the Justice Department would use the statute until the present day.” It’s looking more and more like prosecutors might dust off the statute in response to the insurrection of Jan. 6. “The trial judge’s decision in the Hutaree case isn’t binding precedent. But the Hutaree are worth a second look.”

  • The Infrastructure of Hate: Epik Hosts Extremist Groups

    Social media platforms have received the lion’s share of attention for enabling users to spread hate and disinformation and plan and incite violence and terrorist acts. Flying under the radar are infrastructure providers like Epik, a domain registrar and web hosting company that works with nearly 750,000 websites and is ranked among the 50 largest web hosts. While some companies at the infrastructure level have acknowledged a level of responsibility for addressing abuse of their services—for example, this framework by domain registrars signed by leading companies such as GoDaddy, Tucows and Amazon—Epik is not among them.

  • Extremist Minds: These Psychological Traits Might Help Identify People Vulnerable to Becoming Radicalized

    The characteristics of peoples’ brains might offer clues about the political beliefs they hold dear. In a study of around 350 U.S. citizens, we examined the relationship between individuals’ cognitive traits – the unconscious ways in which their brains learn and process information from the environment – and their ideological worldviews. We found parallels between how those with extreme views perform in brain games and the kind of political, religious and dogmatic attitudes they adhere to.

  • Inoculating against the Spread of Radical-Islamist and Islamophobic Disinformation

    Misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda are core components of radicalization and extremism and apply equally to Islamist radicalization and the generation of Islamophobia. One method of countering disinformation is to inoculate the information consumer.

  • Not Your Father’s Extremists

    Two studies of the demographic characteristics of the rioters who stormed the Capitol on 6 January found a surprising, and disturbing, fact: The majority of those arrested for storming the Capitol were middle class, middle-aged, employed, earning more than the average household income, mostly college-educated, and had no ties with the extremist groups. One study says that the finding suggests that there is “a new kind of violent mass movement in which more ‘normal’ Trump supporters—middle-class and, in many cases, middle-aged people without obvious ties to the far right—joined with extremists in an attempt to overturn a presidential election.” The second study says its findings suggest the emergence of “a new breed of extremist, one foundationally animated by devotion to President Trump, placing him over party or country.”

  • Extremists, Old and New, Face Uncertain Future Following 6 January Insurrection

    An examination of the records of 212 of the more than 250 people arrested by the police for taking part in the 6 January 2021 attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, shows that only 25 percent of those arrested were affiliated with extremist groups such as Proud Boys or Oath Keepers. The other 75 percent appear to be the product years of lies and repeated conspiracy theories being circulated and amplified within a nearly hermetically sealed ecosphere of disinformation, fertilized by conspiratorial radio personalities, TV channels competing with each other in their support for Donald Trump, and Trump’s own unrelenting torrent of falsehoods with which he has fed his followers. We may be seeing a new breed of extremists, foundationally animated more by a devotion to Trump than a commitment to a specific ideology or party.

  • Congress Repeats Calls for Independent Commission to Probe U.S. Capitol Attack

    U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for a commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the latest in a long line of independent panels appointed by lawmakers and U.S. presidents to examine moments of national crisis as well as policy issues.

  • How the Federal Government Investigates and Prosecutes Domestic Terrorism

    In the aftermath of the 6 January riot at the U.S. Capitol, many politicians, including President Biden, and public commentators called for renewed efforts by the federal government to combat domestic terrorism. Eric Halliday and Rachael Hanna write that that reaction followed a pattern over recent years in which mass shootings and other violent attacks have spurred demands for an increased federal focus on domestic terrorism. “[I]t is important to understand exactly what powers the federal government can and cannot use when pursuing domestic terrorists. This is particularly relevant because domestic terrorism occupies a gray area in federal criminal law between international terrorism and nonterrorism criminal offenses,” they write.

  • Pelosi Announces 9/11-Style Independent Probe of 6 January Attack on the Capitol

    House speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced a probe into the breach of the U.S. Capitol by former President Donald Trump’s supporters on 6 January. Some Republicans have also expressed support for the idea.

  • Biden Aims to Shut Down Guantanamo Prison before He Leaves Office

    The Biden administration announced on Friday that it was launching a formal review of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo in Cuba, as the president has indicated his aim is to shut down the facility before leaving office.