Nationalism, Populism, Domestic Terrorism

Written by  //  February 19, 2022  //  Terrorism  //  Comments Off on Nationalism, Populism, Domestic Terrorism

National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism
Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR)
The OK sign is becoming an alt-right symbol
How populism emerged as an electoral force in Europe

Ross Douthat: A New Class War Comes to Canada
(NYT) On one side of the trucker protests you have Justin Trudeau, a condensed symbol of meritocracy-blurring-into-aristocracy — with degrees from two of Canada’s three best universities, but also the pedigree of being Pierre Trudeau’s son — and behind him a Canadian establishment that has followed public-health advice on Covid more closely than the United States, imposing more stringent restrictions throughout the pandemic.
Then on the other side you have the truckers and their allies: A complex mix of forces in the style of France’s gilets jaunes, organized in part by right-wingers but inclusive of all kinds of characters and ideas, defined by an exhaustion with pandemic restrictions and a strong connection to the physical portion of the economy, the part that relies on brawn and savvy, not just the manipulation of words and symbols on a screen.
…the class divide between the two categories is clear, and so is the gap between their respective influence over the central nodes of Western power. And their simmering conflict is most likely to flare up when plans devised by meritocrats create problems in the physical dimension — whether it’s a gasoline tax increase devised by French technocrats touching off protests among French drivers, or just an accumulating exhaustion with Covid restrictions among Canadians who work in the real world rather than on Zoom.
Moreover, as Lyons points out, in the Canadian clash each side has used the weapons appropriate to its position. The truckers have leveraged the imposing presence of their trucks and the sympathy of other Practicals — from tow-truck drivers to cops — to attack the physical underpinnings of the capital’s economy. Meanwhile the counterstrike, while it’s finally evolved to actual physical removal, has been strikingly virtual:first a PR blitz to encourage friendly media to brand all the truckers as racists and anti-Semites and Trump supporters, then the convenient hacking and “doxxing” of donors to the convoy, and then an invocation of the Emergencies Act which lets the government attack the protesters via the digital realm, freezing bank accounts and even cryptocurrency funds connected to the protests.

7-8 February
Protests in Canada inspire copycat convoys in Australia and New Zealand.
Thousands of people in cars, trucks, caravans and other vehicles have crossed New Zealand and Australia this week to protest pandemic restrictions.
The protests — including a “Convoy to Canberra,” the Australian capital — are an echo of the so-called “Freedom Convoy” that has swarmed Ottawa, the Canadian capital.
As Protest Paralyzes Canada’s Capital, Far-Right Activists Abroad Embrace It
The message at the heart of the protests — that government has been overreaching for too long — has resonated far away across Canada’s borders.
Donors have contributed millions of dollars in online campaigns with hashtags, images and messages of support spreading widely across social media platforms.
It may be only a few hundred demonstrators occupying Ottawa’s streets to protest government overreach, but their message has aroused passions around the world. …prominent far-right figures in numerous countries, including the United States, Australia and Germany, have praised the protests, spreading the images and arguments even more widely.

A Moment for Canada’s Far Right, Still Struggling for Support
By Max Fisher
The protests have paralyzed downtown Ottawa for 11 days
(NYT) The country’s political system has made it hard for fringe groups to gain influence. But a new cause, and fund-raising across borders, could begin to fuel Canadian populists.
The truck convoy protests in Ottawa and several provincial capitals represent an unexpected show of strength for the far right and populist right factions at their helm.
Those movements have, in years past, not made nearly as many inroads to the mainstream as their American and European counterparts have.
It is too soon to say, political experts caution, whether this indicates that the right-wing populist wave has now fully arrived in Canada.
But the protests’ sudden surge, coming amid a wider backlash to pandemic-related restrictions, illuminates the far right’s unique and potentially changing role in Canadian political and cultural life, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing it.

2 February
Anti-vaccine mandate protesters say they will block Ottawa for as long as necessary
(Reuters) – Truck drivers who have been blockading downtown Ottawa for six days on Wednesday said they had no intention of leaving the Canadian capital until the government scrapped COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Despite increasing complaints from residents about noise, pollution and aggressive behavior from some truckers, Ottawa police have declined to end the protest, citing the risk of aggravating tensions.
The demonstration began as a move to force the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to drop a vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers. It has since turned into a more populist anti-Trudeau movement.

18 January
In an era of rightwing populism, we cannot destroy democracy in order to save it
Jeff Sparrow
(The Guardian) The recent anniversary of the Trumpian riot at the Capitol building highlighted a growing anxiety about the state of democracy both in America and around the world.
In a widely circulated article, the Canadian professor Thomas Homer-Dixon warned of a rightwing dictatorship in the US by 2030. At the same time, a Quinnipiac University poll found nearly 60% of Americans believed their democracy is “in danger of collapse”.
Internationally, the Stockholm based-NGO International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance says more nations than ever before faced “democratic erosion”, while Freedom House argues that “in every region of the world, democracy is under attack by populist leaders and groups that reject pluralism and demand unchecked power”.


The Global State of Democracy Report 2021
Building Resilience in a Pandemic Era
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA)
The world is becoming more authoritarian as non-democratic regimes become even more brazen in their repression and many democratic governments suffer from backsliding by adopting their tactics of restricting free speech and weakening the rule of law, exacerbated by what threatens to become a “new normal” of Covid-19 restrictions. For the fifth consecutive year, the number of countries moving in an authoritarian direction exceeds the number of countries moving in a democratic direction. In fact, the number moving in the direction of authoritarianism is three times the number moving towards democracy.
22 November
Democracy slipping away at record rate, intergovernmental body warns
(Reuters) – A greater number of countries are sliding towards authoritarianism, while the number of established democracies under threat has never been so high, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) said on Monday.
Populist politics, the use of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions to silence critics, a tendency of countries to mimic the anti-democratic behaviour of others, and disinformation used to divide societies are mainly to blame, the Stockholm-based intergovernmental organisation said in a report.

13 July
Why Is the Country Panicking About Critical Race Theory?
(NYT Opinion) Florida is one of six states in recent months that have passed such pedagogical regulations — which in some cases apply to public universities — and 20 others are considering measures to the same effect, often explicitly targeting critical race theory. Where did this movement come from, and what are the underlying disputes?
The furor over critical race theory owes its greatest debt to Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist and documentarian. Rufo came to prominence in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, which compelled millions of Americans — many of them white — to attend racial justice protests, read up on racial inequality and register for webinars on how to raise antiracist children.
Last September, Rufo appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to denounce critical race theory, which he claimed had “pervaded every aspect of the federal government” and posed “an existential threat to the United States.” The next morning, the Trump White House reached out to him and soon asked for his help in drafting an executive order canceling government contracts for sensitivity training.
More recently, Rufo has expanded his focus to “critical race theory in education.” Most of the 11 examples he cites of this supposed indoctrination revolve around diversity trainings that, broadly speaking, implicated teachers in white supremacy.
Critical race theorists tend to share several key assumptions, as Janel George, a law professor at Georgetown, explains at the American Bar Association website:
Race is not a biological fact but a social construction.
Racism is not aberrational but an inherited, ordinary feature of society.
Racial hierarchy is primarily the product of systems, not individual prejudice.
Racial progress is accommodated only to the extent that it converges with the interests of white people.
Lived experience, not just data, constitutes relevant evidence to scholarship.

9 July
Redefining Populism
A political philosopher offers a new way of looking at Donald Trump, Narendra Modi, Jair Bolsonaro, and other right-wing leaders.
By Isaac Chotiner
(The New Yorker) In 2016, the German historian and political philosopher Jan-Werner Müller published “What Is Populism?,” a well-timed examination of rising political movements, from the United States to India. He also offered a new definition of the term, proposing that populist leaders are defined less by anti-élitist rhetoric than they are by their insistence that they represent an unheard majority of the people.
Müller has now followed this work with a new book, “Democracy Rules,” which looks at the ways democracy has been weakened over the past several decades, and offers solutions for insuring its survival. “This can be done without simply reinstating traditional gatekeepers,” he writes. “The people themselves are able to determine the ways in which intermediary institutions—parties and media, above all—should be refashioned.”
I recently spoke by phone with Müller, who is a professor of politics at Princeton. …we discussed whether it makes sense to lay blame for populism’s rise at the feet of voters, the best ways to preserve democracy going forward, and whether right-wing populism can exist without bigotry.

Jonathan Kay: The performative snobbery of social justice invades the supermarket
Progressive ideological manias were once confined to a handful of privileged professional silos. Now, mass retail corporations are signing on, too
Conservative pundits have prattled on about “left-wing media bias” since the dawn of time. But what we often see nowadays goes beyond “bias”: progressives have crowdsourced what is effectively an entirely new dialect — one that’s unintelligible to the vast bulk of the population, especially immigrants and working-class people who lack entrée to college-educated professional circles.
The idea of social justice was once based on the widely shared desire to help the poor and underprivileged. And given the obvious overlap with the Christian tradition of alms, Muslim zakat, Jewish tzedakah and South Asian dāna, there is no reason why a sincere commitment to social justice couldn’t help bridge the political gap between liberals and conservatives in a multicultural Canada.
Alas, social justice has instead metastasized into a passcode-protected treehouse club, from which the privileged lecture those proles who lack fluency in the latest social-justice argot.

6 July
What The Biden Admin’s Countering Domestic Terrorism Plan Is Missing
By Dr. Jessica White, Research Fellow in the Terrorism and Conflict group at the Royal United Services Institute in London.
While the strategy includes a nuanced assessment of the challenges, there isn’t enough priority given to the role gender plays in extremism.
(Rantt media) The new National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism released by the White House last month seems to be a significant step in the right direction. Overall, the very creation of the Strategy signifies that the US government is committed to addressing an array of ideologies – prominently including white supremacist and anti-government ideologies from the radical right – as serious domestic threats to US national security.
The Strategy emphasizes the goal of addressing the underlying dynamics of the long-term threat of violence in the US and sets out the need for a multi-agency and multi-stakeholder approach – including contributions from across a spectrum of government organizations, social media companies, civil society organizations, local communities and others, as well the cooperation of foreign partners where the ideologies have a transnational reach.
The Biden administration has made good progress in acknowledging the growing threat of domestic terrorism – highlighting particularly the impacts of white supremacist and anti-government ideologies, while emphasizing that the definition itself is not limited to any particular set of ideologies.  However, more research and analysis are needed to investigate how current threats fit into traditional counter-terrorism structures and how programming will have to be adapted to effectively address these various forms of extremism. … [T]here needs to be course correct to include gender perspective across implementation of the new strategy as it moves forward, in order to ensure its effectiveness.

4 July
Why are states banning critical race theory?
Rashawn Ray and Alexandra Gibbons
(Brookings) Scholars and activists who discuss CRT are not arguing that white people living now are to blame for what people did in the past. They are saying that white people living now have a moral responsibility to do something about how racism still impacts all of our lives today. Policies attempting to suffocate this much-needed national conversation are an obstacle to the pursuit of an equitable democracy.
CRT does not attribute racism to white people as individuals or even to entire groups of people. Simply put, critical race theory states that U.S. social institutions (e.g., the criminal justice system, education system, labor market, housing market, and healthcare system) are laced with
racism embedded in laws, regulations, rules, and procedures that lead to differential outcomes by race. Sociologists and other scholars have long noted that racism can exist without racists. However, many Americans are not able to separate their individual identity as an American from the social institutions that govern us—these people perceive themselves as the system. Consequently, they interpret calling
social institutions racist as calling them racist personally. It speaks to how normative racial ideology is to American identity that some people just cannot separate the two. There are also people who may recognize America’s racist past but have bought into the false narrative that the U.S. is now an equitable democracy. They are simply unwilling to remove the blind spot obscuring the fact that America is still not great for everyone.
What to know about Rise of the Moors, an armed group that says it’s not subject to U.S. law
(WaPo) One expert on the group said its members see themselves as separate from the United States.
“They have the idea that they have the authority to essentially detach themselves from the United States,” said Freddy Cruz, a research analyst with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). “So they do things like refusing to pay taxes, get driver’s licenses, or register firearms, and they try to get their members to challenge those federal laws.”
Rise of the Moors draws a link between its members and Indigenous peoples of the Americas.
“Especially with these sovereign Moorish groups, there is this idea that is rooted in ancient civilizations like the Aztecs, the Olmecs, Incas,” said Cruz. “They have this belief that the U.S. government has no right to be enforcing or creating laws in territories that don’t belong to them, so they see themselves as forming their own sovereign nation.”

1 July
How The Anti-Democracy Movement Is Weaponizing Conspiracy Theories
Chamila Liyange
(CARR) Conspiracy theories are increasingly intersecting with right-wing extremist ideologies. This is not happening by mistake. It’s a deliberate strategy.
Conspiracy theories hatch onto shadows, assuming that shadowy organizations or figures are behind every functioning of the world. Extremist ideologies are, instead, extreme views and extreme measures such as violence as means to achieve an end.
…recent evidence suggests that violent extremism increasingly overlaps with conspiracy theories. The latest examples are the Hanau shooter’s beliefs in fringe conspiracy theories and the storm of Capitol Hill by QAnon followers on January 6, 2021. How does this happen? Are conspiracy circles being radicalized? Do conspiracy theories intersect with extremist movements, or do conspiracy theories play a mobilizing role in radicalizing individuals?

9 June
Nigeria’s school kidnapping crisis is even worse than you think
By Bulama Bukarti, senior analyst on sub-Saharan Africa at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, a senior nonresident associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a columnist at Daily Trust
(WaPo Opinion) …there are simply no words to convey Nigerians’ horror at the endless cycle of national grief. Our country has so far been spared the worst of the covid-19 pandemic, but extremist violence, communal clashes and rising criminality are producing an epidemic of insecurity.
The latest alarming trend is a wave of mass kidnappings of students, endangering millions of children’s futures. At the end of May, dozens of kidnappers on motorcycles stormed a school in north-central Nigeria and whisked away 136 children aged 5 to 14 and three teachers, after killing one person. Two mothers collapsed and died upon receiving the news. The kidnappers have demanded 200 million naira (almost $500,000) for their young victims’ lives.

6 April
Brahma Chellaney: Global Terror and the Taliban’s Return
Far from offering America a face-saving exit from a 20-year war, a complete US military withdrawal from Afghanistan will make it an accomplice of the Taliban. And a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan will cause lasting damage to the interests of the United States and its friends.
(Project Syndicate) One of the most crucial early tests for US President Joe Biden concerns Afghanistan. An emboldened Taliban have escalated their campaign of assassinations and terrorist attacks since reaching a deal with Donald Trump’s administration that called for power sharing in Kabul and a full US military withdrawal by May 1. Biden’s policy course will not only determine Afghanistan’s fate, but will also affect regional security, the global war on terror, and America’s international standing at a time when its relative decline has become unmistakable.The United States came full circle in February 2020, when Trump, seeking to cut and run from Afghanistan, signed a “peace” agreement with the same terrorist militia that the US had removed from power by invading the country in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001. Trump’s , struck behind the back of the elected Afghan government, bestowed legitimacy on the Taliban. The surge in terrorist violence since then shows how little Afghanistan gained from the US-Taliban deal
Why the Khalistan Separatist Movement Is Neither Sikh Nor Liberal
The Khalistan movement not only adheres to the bigotry, extremism, patriarchy, and violence prevalent among the Jihadi terrorist groups but also has close ties with them in operational and strategic matters.
In 2007, Khalistan leader Gurpatwant Singh started the “Sikhs For Justice” (SFJ) forum to conduct “Referendum 2020“ (a referendum among the global Sikh community by 2020 to decide upon the separate homeland). In mainland Punjab, since 2015, its terror activities are seeing a revival. After the removal of Kashmir’s special status, Pakistan has intensified its activities to link Khalistan terrorism with Kashmir-centric terror groups especially, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the group responsible for the 2019 Pulwama attack, leading to the death of forty Indian soldiers and bringing India and Pakistan to the verge of war.
… This piece intends to debunk two powerful myths associated with Khalistan 2.0, giving it a degree of legitimacy among the religious Sikhs and the secular civil rights activists. The first myth is that the movement is rooted in Sikhism, fighting for its followers who are facing an existential threat from Hindu nationalism. The second myth is that the movement has firm faith in liberal values.

16 March
Mozambique insurgency: Children beheaded, aid agency reports
(BBC) A leading aid agency says that children as young as 11 are being beheaded in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province.
One mother told Save the Children she had to watch her 12-year-old son killed in this way close to where she was hiding with her other children.
More than 2,500 people have been killed and 700,000 have fled their homes since the insurgency began in 2017.
Militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) group are behind a conflict in the province.


14 March
Populism Is Meaningless
By reducing the term to a political pejorative, we risk rendering it worthless.
By Yasmeen Serhan
(The Atlantic) One spring weekend, dozens of academics from around the world gathered at the London School of Economics with an ambitious goal: to define populism. None were under any illusions about how difficult this challenge would be. “The term continues to be used in many different ways,” one participant observed, noting its association with issues as disparate as McCarthyism in the United States and Maoism in China. In the end, they failed to settle on a single definition, concluding that “there can, at present, be no doubt about the importance of populism. But no one is clear what it is.”
(See Populism as an Expression of Political Communication Content and Style: A New Perspective


19 August
Enemies of liberty? Nationalism, immigration, and the framing of terrorism in the agenda of the Front National
Rachel D Hutchins and Daphne Halikiopoulou
This paper systematises the framing of the terrorism issue in the programmatic agenda of the Front national (FN) by focusing on nationalism. We argue that the FN’s position on terrorism constitutes part of its strategy to justify its anti‐immigrant agenda by offering ideological rather than biological rationalisations for national belonging. To test our argument empirically, we operationalise four categories of nationalism, including ethno‐racial, cultural, political‐civic, and economic, and code official FN materials published in reaction to seven terrorist attacks on French soil during the period 1986–2015.

24 April
Picture emerges of well-to-do young bombers behind Sri Lankan carnage
(Reuters) – Details began to emerge in Sri Lanka on Wednesday of a band of nine, well-educated Islamist suicide bombers, including a woman, from well-to-do families who slaughtered 359 people in Easter Sunday bomb attacks. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks on three churches and four hotels. If that connection is confirmed, the attacks looks likely to be the deadliest ever linked to the group. Both the Sri Lankan government and the United States said the scale and sophistication of the coordinated bombings suggested the involvement of an external group such as Islamic State.
It has also exposed a significant Sri Lankan intelligence failure, with warnings of strikes not acted on and feuds at the highest levels of government.
Lakshman Kiriella, the leader of parliament, said senior officials had deliberately withheld intelligence about possible attacks.He said information about possible attacks was received from Indian intelligence on April 4 and a Security Council meeting was chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena three days later, but it was not shared more widely.
Sri Lanka’s Perfect Storm of Failure
The bombings represent an intelligence failure of massive proportion. But a failure this big is not just confined to Sri Lanka. Jihadi terrorism is a global threat. When the networks are international, attacks in one country demand concerted action to prevent such mistakes from happening again.
(Foreign Policy) There were many chances to stop the Easter Sunday attacks. The government missed them all.
Although more evidence will emerge over time, the information trickling out paints a damning picture. The attacks were preventable, but compound failures let them happen. Sri Lankan authorities failed to anticipate the threat from Islamist groups with potential international networks, ignored warning signs, and failed to share information among themselves.
Why did no one act on these advance warnings? Probably because the Sri Lankan government remains bitterly divided, with the president and prime minister at war with each other.
Sri Lanka is still feeling the reverberations of the constitutional crisis last year, where the president (and defense minister), Maithripala Sirisena, attempted to remove Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe from office and replace him with the authoritarian former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Although this political coup failed, the division between president and prime minister continues, and control of the security services has been a key potential battleground. In an environment where information has become a political tool, and where Sirisena has taken the defense and police ministries under his own control and excluded the prime minister from the national security council, it’s hardly surprising that lower-level officials were reluctant to take action unilaterally.

21 April
Sri Lanka Bombings Live Updates: ‘It Was a River of Blood’
As Christians in Sri Lanka gathered on Sunday morning to celebrate Easter Mass, the culmination of Holy Week, powerful explosions ripped through three churches packed with worshipers, leaving hundreds of victims amid a havoc of splintered and blood-spattered pews.
In what the police said were coordinated terrorist attacks carried out by a single group, bombers also struck three hotels popular with tourists. At least 207 people were killed and 450 others injured, a police spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekera, said.
Ruwan Wijewardene, the defense minister, said that seven people had been arrested and identified in connection with the attacks. The government also said that suicide bombers had set off the explosions.
“We believe these were coordinated attacks, and one group was behind them,” Mr. Wijewardene said. He urged the news media not to report the names of the attackers or to make them “martyrs.”
World leaders including Pope Francis, Donald Trump, and Barack Obama offered their support after Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka claimed hundreds of lives

17 March
The fight to reclaim holy ground from Steve Bannon
Local residents are trying to halt a move to turn an 800-year-old abbey in Italy into an academy for populists.
(Politico) Those opposed to the project say Bannon’s academy would transform a place of peace and hospitality into a stronghold of international populism and anti-European nationalism. “That would be in stark contrast with the spirit of this monastery, which has long been a route of peace for pilgrims and walkers,” said Chiarina Ianni, a 58-year-old lawyer who came to march from Frosinone, a few kilometers away.
See: Italian monastery turns into hotbed of Bannon-fueled nationalism
(Deutsche Welle) To general consternation, educational courses are to be held in a secluded monastery to create a populist political vanguard capable of “launching an assault on Europe.” Megan Williams reports from Collepardo.
Benjamin Harnwell [is] the 43-year-old former British parliamentary assistant and Catholic convert who last year moved into the crumbling Trisulti Charterhouse perched above the town of Collepardo. Harnwell is the Steve Bannon-anointed head of a future “gladiator school for cultural warriors” of the far-right.
Last year, backed by Bannon, Harnwell’s ultra-conservative Institute for Human Dignity (DHI) won a public tender to occupy the monastery for 19 years. … Brought together by conservative Catholicism, hostility to the EU, and support for nationalist movements, the two men enjoy a fulsome, if not exactly equal bromance. Harnwell calls Bannon “one of the great human beings walking on the face of the planet today.” Bannon, who does not speak Italian, gives Harnwell the dubious distinction of being “the smartest guy in Rome.”

16 March
John Cassidy: It’s Time to Confront the Threat of Right-Wing Terrorism
Around the world, we are being confronted with the rise of a murderous and hateful ideology that targets minorities, glorifies violence, and thrives on modern communications technology. The response needs to be commensurate with the threat, which is spreading ominously, and to the most unlikely of places. Even bucolic New Zealand, a place where Silicon Valley billionaires are buying personal retreats in case it all comes down closer to home, couldn’t escape the plague.
(The New Yorker) “Right-wing extremists were linked to at least 50 extremist-related murders in the United States in 2018, making them responsible for more deaths than in any year since 1995,” the Anti-Defamation League noted in January. Even the Trump Administration’s own report, “National Strategy for Counterterrorism,” which was published last year, acknowledged that “domestic terrorism in the United States is on the rise,” and it cited “racially motivated extremism” as one of the causes. Another factor, undoubtedly, is the role that social media plays in cultivating the growth and amplifying the impact of extremist groups.
New Zealand attack exposes how little the U.S. and its allies share intelligence on domestic terrorism threats
(WaPost) The United States and its closest allies have spent nearly two decades building an elaborate system to share intelligence about international terrorist groups, and it has become a key pillar of a global effort to thwart attacks. But there’s no comparable arrangement for sharing intelligence about domestic terrorist organizations, including right-wing extremists like the one suspected in the killing of 50 worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, according to current and former national security officials and counterterrorism experts.
The Endgame of White Supremacy Is Always Death
(New York) There exists no degree of policing, no border security measure strong enough, no military action, or immigration restriction tough enough to quell the anxiety of people who see themselves as white when they are convinced that their social precarity is caused by people whom they consider not-white. There is no magic number or silver-bullet policy that can allay their fears. Friday was a predictable outcome of this reality. The endgame of white supremacy will always be deaths of those who aren’t white, because there is no such thing as an acceptable nonwhite presence under white supremacy.
If reports are accurate, Friday’s shooter was deeply preoccupied with the idea that white people were being “replaced” — a preoccupation he shared with the marchers that took Charlottesville, Virginia, by storm in 2017

Christchurch: how quiet city became target for terror
“The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the alt-right around the world, and New Zealand is no exception to that.
“The alt-right in this country has been invigorated over the last few years and part of that has to do with the fact they weren’t under the scrutiny of the security services that the Muslim community was.”

15 March
A Mass Murder of, and for, the Internet
(NYT) New Zealand authorities have identified an accused gunman as Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, but it remains unclear if he acted alone.
The details that have emerged about the Christchurch shooting — at least 49 were killed in an attack on two mosques — are horrifying. But a surprising thing about it is how unmistakably online the violence was, and how aware the shooter on the videostream appears to have been about how his act would be viewed and interpreted by distinct internet subcultures.
In some ways, it felt like a first — an internet-native mass shooting, conceived and produced entirely within the irony-soaked discourse of modern extremism.
The attack was teased on Twitter, announced on the online message board 8chan and broadcast live on Facebook. The footage was then replayed endlessly on YouTube, Twitter and Reddit, as the platforms scrambled to take down the clips nearly as fast as new copies popped up to replace them.
It would be unfair to blame the internet for this. Motives are complex, lives are complicated, and we don’t yet know all the details about the shooting. Anti-Muslim violence is not an online phenomenon, and white nationalist hatred long predates 4Chan and Reddit. But we do know that the design of internet platforms can create and reinforce extremist beliefs
The Shooter’s Manifesto Isn’t in Code
(New York) The Christchurch shooter himself stated that his attack and his writing were in the interest of “further destabilizing and polarizing Western society.” This is the same general MO… of groups like the Internet Research Agency, the Russian-government-backed troll farm. The shooter writes that he is aware the attack will heighten the intense debate over the Second Amendment in the U.S., a target shared by the aforementioned Russian group. The shooter’s plainly stated desire to murder Muslims — due to his (needless to say) erroneous belief that they represent a threat to white people — and to create confusion and further polarization seems like the most important component of his manifesto to pay attention to, rather than whatever social media content he might invoke.
Right-Wing Terrorism Has Gone Global
To counter violence like the New Zealand mosque attacks, we need to target white nationalism in the worldwide war on terror.
(Slate) …  [Anders] Breivik is more than an ideological model—he is also a model for action. His mix of attacks, a car bombing and a shooting spree, combined with posting a long “treatise” to justify his murder offers a template for other white nationalists to follow, just as Columbine offered a model for troubled youths to conduct school shootings.
Boundless racism, zero remorse: A manifesto of hate and 49 dead in New Zealand
(WaPost) The alleged shooter, like many mass murderers in recent years, appears to have studied his predecessors, copying moves that promised either to heighten the death toll or the sensationalism of the slaughter.
Once again, a white supremacist choosing to attack a minority group selected a “soft target,” a house of worship.
Once again, the alleged shooter wore tactical gear, adopting the identity of what academic researchers call a pseudocommando.
Once again, there was a desperate narcissism to the massacre, a cry for attention by someone whose life appeared to be without distinction or social success.

10 March
Opinion: EU immigration policy is grist to the far-right mill
(Deutsche Welle) A final attempt by EU interior ministers to find agreement on a common immigration policy ahead of European parliamentary elections has collapsed. And that is just what some wanted, says DW’s Bernd Riegert.

15 February
Another chance for Nigeria to get counter-terrorism right
After the presidential election, the new administration must learn from past mistakes in countering extremism.
By Akinola Olojo
(ISS) Nigerians will vote for a president on 16 February. Much is anticipated regarding the new leader’s strategy to end the deadly Boko Haram insurgency in the country’s north-east. Whoever is elected cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of previous administrations or ignore lessons learnt since the Boko Haram crisis began 10 years ago.
The new leadership must recognise the distinct threats posed by Boko Haram’s two factions. This is critical for strategic and operational responses. It must also address human rights concerns relating to trials for terrorism-related offences.
A closer look at the setbacks and criticisms facing the military is crucial, as is deeper engagement of the private sector in counter-terrorism. The new leadership must realise the potential role that dialogue can play in complementing the use of force.

14 February
How Global Is The Global War On Terrorism? For The U.S., Very Global.
In the wake of the September 11th attacks, President George W. Bush launched The Global War on Terrorism to bolster U.S. military defense across the globe — starting in Afghanistan.
Nearly two decades later, the counter-terrorism initiative has taken American military forces to 80 countries on six continents. The U.S. and the Taliban are edging toward Afghan peace negotiations, but what about our involvement elsewhere?

21 January
Taliban kills Afghan forces as it resumes truce talks with U.S.
The attack began after a vehicle loaded with explosives rammed into the entrance of a compound in Maidan Shahr — the capital of Wardak province that lies about 30 miles south of the capital Kabul.
At least three gunmen stormed the base following the explosion, igniting a firefight with Afghan security forces. All three gunmen were later killed in the exchange, according to a provincial official. … The attack came a day after a Taliban suicide bomber targeted the convoy of Logar province’s governor, killing at least seven security guards

17 January
At least 21 killed as Kenya hotel siege is declared over
(CNN) Men armed with guns and explosives burst into a hotel complex in Nairobi, killing at least 21 people in an attack that lasted hours and ended Wednesday morning.
Sixteen Kenyans, one Briton, one American and three unidentified people of African origin are among the dead, he said. Twenty-eight others have been hospitalized.
Al-Shabaab claims responsibility
Somali Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was a response to US President Donald Trump’s 2017 decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, according to a statement circulated Wednesday.

10 January
Our Lawsuit Against the Trump Administration Revealed How It Lies About Terrorism
By Faiza Patel and Raya Koreh
The President has repeatedly used faulty data to invent national security justifications for flawed policy, including the Muslim Ban … But presidents, with all their power, can’t just make up facts. That’s why last year, the Brennan Center, Protect Democracy and other groups filed a joint petition under the Information Quality Act, which requires all federal agencies to adhere to certain standards of “quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity” when providing information to the public.
We argued that the report artificially inflated the threat of foreign-born terrorism, in part by excluding all instances of domestic terrorism from its analysis. The report also cherry-picked eight unrepresentative cases of Muslim men as “illustrative examples” of the 402 foreign-born individuals convicted of international terrorism-related charges.
To support the President’s demand for a border wall, his administration has misrepresented the threat of terrorists crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Both Vice President Mike Pence and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have suggested that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stopped nearly 4,000 terrorists at the border last year. In fact, CBP reported just six “known or suspected terrorists” encountered at the border, while 3,755 were stopped at all ports of entry, mainly airports.

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