On February 23, the U.S. Department of Justice met with officials from Facebook, Twitter, and Google to discuss how online social media firms can take the lead in disrupting online radicalization.
Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, attended the meeting and told Reuters it was “a recognition that the government is ill-positioned and ill-equipped to counter ISIS online.”
George Selim, director of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office for “countering violent extremism” activities, said the federal government is not equipped to push back against “online recruitment efforts” from terror groups. Selim said the objective is to help “communities and young people to amplify their own messages.”
Reuters reports that the U.S. government is also investing in “counter-narrative” programs “at schools and community groups.” Another program, funded by Facebook and the U.S. government, involved “peer-to-peer (P2P) college courses that teach students to create their own anti-militant messaging.”
A senior FBI official told Reuters that the bureau works with many other non-governmental organizations on spreading “counter-narrative” programs.
This latest meeting between social media firms and the U.S. government represents a continuation of policies the Obama Administration sought to enact at the end of 2015. In December 2015, President Obama gave a speech urging“high-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice.” The speech came after the terror attack in San Bernardino, California.
Despite the Obama administration’s push for closer relationships, it seems that many tech companies may be resistant to working with the government. Reuters reported in December that former employees of Facebook, Google and Twitter, stated that the companies “all worry that if they are public about their true level of cooperation with Western law enforcement agencies, they will face endless demands for similar action from countries around the world.”
In January 2016, The Guardian reported that senior intelligence officials were flying to California to meet with executives from Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, YouTube and others.
The Guardian obtained a copy of the agenda which showed the White House’s desire to channel the tech firms’ talent into a fight against radicalization.
It states: “In what ways can we use technology to help disrupt paths to radicalization to violence, identify recruitment patterns, and provide metrics to help measure our efforts to counter radicalization to violence?”
The meeting involved Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, National Security Agency chair Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of national intelligence, James Clapper and FBI director James Comey.
What does the increasingly cozy relationship between government and technology companies mean for the privacy of Americans? Should the people continue to use these services if they agree to operate more closely with the already intrusive U.S. government?
We should remain skeptical of the government’s claims regarding their need to access private information shared through social networks.
PARIS- Following the deadly attacks in Paris on November 13th, seventy workers of the Paris airports have had their security passes revoked after suspected ties to radical Islam.
“Nearly 70 red badges were withdrawn after the attacks, mainly for cases of radicalization,”said Augustin de Romanet, chief executive officer of ADP, the company who operates the two Paris airports.
French security personnel also searched the lockers of some 4,000 workers at the Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in an attempt to locate potential terrorists employed at the Paris hubs.
Plans to attack Charles de Gaulle, France’s largest international airport, were found by French security forces during raids in Paris suburbs five days after the November 13th attacks.
Concerns over airport employees were first initiated in October after Western intelligence officials voiced concerns that the bomb which destroyed a Russian passenger aircraft was planted by Egyptian airport personnel.
85,000 people are said to have secure-zone clearance between the two Paris airports, mostly consisting of airline personnel or several hundred firms subcontracted to work on the premises.
The red badges are specifically issued to individuals employed to work secure areas in positions such as baggage handling, suppliers and aircraft cleaning.
“To be issued with a red badge, you have to be cleared by police, and if you work for a company that carries out security checks of in-flight luggage, you need three police checks,” De Romanet said.
State of emergency powers implemented by the French government allowed to a number of airport workers with suspected links to radical Islam to be placed under house arrest.
Information releases following the November 13th attacks state that dozens of personnel had security passes revoked following the January attack of the Paris based magazine Charlie Hebdo. Other individuals were allowed to maintain security access despite being flagged as potential Islamic extremists.
The Paris region maintains concern about radicalized bus, metro and rail operators following news that Samy Amimour, an attacker of the Bataclan rock venue the night of November 13th, had worked as a bus driver even after being flagged on an intelligence watchlist.
How many Westerners who changed updated their Facebook profiles with a Tricolore on Friday updated them with the Lebanese flag the day before, when dozens of Lebanese were killed in Beirut in another Islamo-extremist attack?
If you did the one and not the other, don’t feel bad. You – like they – are victims of the Western media, just as much as of Western foreign policy.
With all the usual (but nevertheless important and true) qualifiers that those who bear all the moral responsibility for the recent deaths in Paris are those who pulled the triggers and detonated their suicide vests, it must be said that we, the West, are collectively doing nothing to help ourselves.
On the contrary, we continue to make it worse – in two main ways. And importantly, the reason we cannot stop doing making it worse, it seems, is that across the West, the political Left are committed to making things worse in one way, and the political Right are committed to making things worse in the other.
What are these two things we are doing to exacerbate the actions of extremists against us?
The first is the one already mentioned – favored by the standard neo-con sensibility (Bush, Hillary Clinton et al.) – to go pound the hell out of (or into) cultures and countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc. ) that we don’t control, to affect the dynamics of long-standing conflicts that we don’t understand, in ways that do damage that we cannot contain.
Ron Paul for years was warning us about blowback. It’s a real thing – and, it always has been, throughout history – because human nature is largely constant.
Don’t take my (or Dr Paul’s) word for it: take the word of the United States’ own Department of Defense, which commissioned a study, headed by Robert Pape of the University of Chicago, that collected and analyzed huge amounts of data on suicide terrorism — which is 12 times more dangerous than other forms of terrorism when measured by the number of people killed per act. In this U.S. government study, speakers of the local languages of the families of suicide bombers were sent to speak with family members of the terrorists to gain as much information as possible about the context and the people involved. The database thus obtained on suicide terrorism is, as far as we know, the most comprehensive in the world.
The most astonishing conclusion of this work was as follows; 95 percent of all suicide terrorist attacks — going back to the 1980s — are against countries that the terrorist deems to be occupying (in the sense of a military presence) physical territory that that the terrorist regards as a homeland. The reason this is astonishing is that this 95 percent figure includes all those radical Islamic groups who have attacked Israel and the USA, but it explains why the U.S., for example, has only experienced such attacks (such as 9/11 itself), from citizens of countries in which it has a military presence: that’s why, says the DOD study, we were hit by Saudis on 9-11, but not Iranians, Sudanese or representatives of other countries with a large radical Islamist contingent.
So one way of helping to protect ourselves from extremists might be just to stop with all those self-righteous “Freedom bombs” that kill children in places whose names we cannot even spell.
Of course, one might object that France is hardly intervening globally on the scale that America does, so isn’t the fact that Paris is getting hit more than, say, New York or D.C., evidence against the thesis?
No – because not imposing one’s will on others in their homes is only half the story: it’s only the “Let Live” part of “Live and Let Live”.
In the West, we have also forgotten that “Live and Let Live” has a first part, which is usually overlooked: that is simply “Live”.
The same Western polities that feel perfectly (and illiberally) righteous in intervening with physical force in other countries are paradoxically caught up in a faux progressivism at home that prevents them from defending their own.
It’s an absolute contradiction that goes like this: “we must attack them over there because they are dangerous and evil – but we don’t need to monitor and control those who flow across our borders because to do so would be intolerant, prejudicial and even racist”. In other words, “they” are dangerous enough that we need to kill them where they cannot hurt us, but not so dangerous that we need to stop them coming to hurt us.
Only ideological (or power-driven) politicians could maintain that kind of contradictory nonsense without painful cognitive dissonance.
The first responsibility and primary justification of government is the security of its own citizens – to whom it is accountable. And the first line of the security of a nation is its borders, which must be controlled to prevent the entry of those who wish to do harm. That is a moral good. In contrast, hurting innocents who are nowhere near one’s borders is a moral evil.
Making a real assessment of the risk associated with largely or partially unmonitored immigration – and in particular, making a proper distinction between genuine refugees (from messes that we helped to create) and economic migrants to whom our moral responsibility is clearly different – is not intolerant, prejudiced, or racist. It is reasonable, sensible, and just.
Here’s a thought experiment that doesn’t take much imagination at all.
And since I write for an American audience, if you were an ISIS fighter, how would you get in to the US to launch an attack? Of course you’d walk over the Mexican border because you can.
Mark Steyn insightfully observed that
“… multiculturalism is a unicultural phenomenon”.
He might have overstated there, but if we add one word, he is painfully accurate: pathological multiculturalism is a unicultural phenomenon.
So what makes multiculturism pathological? I’ll offer a very precise definition: pathological multiculturalism is the over-accommodation by one culture of others by denigrating or hiding its own values, its own history, its own identity, and its own self-celebration.
Why is it that we in the West are so bad at overtly celebrating our history, our values, and our culture. We don’t even teach any of these in our schools in any serious way in the developed West. I hate to give a cliché as an answer, but it just fits so well – especially in Europe. Our white Liberal guilt has gotten the better of us. Because we did bad things in our history, we don’t celebrate the good things we did. Because we have oppressed people, we don’t point to the thousand-year long march of history that has freed millions. Because cultural minorities in our countries find it harder to get mainstream exposure (inevitable by virtue of their numbers), we stay quiet about our own culture, lest we cause offence.
Live and Let Live is – as it has always been and forever will be – the right motto for our times. But the West, in a kind of vicious cycle of fear, has (at least since 2001) been doing the opposite: “Kill and Let Be Killed”.
For those who prefer concrete political concepts to four-word idioms, the problem and its solution can be framed it in terms of self-determination – a concept right there in Article 1 of Chapter 1 of the United Nations charter.
Self-determination demands that we respect the sovereignty of other self-identified communities, nations and cultures. But it’s the very same self-determination that leaves us with the responsibility of respecting and protecting our own from those who would infiltrate to disrupt our own communities, nations and cultures.
In short, the fundamental question for the West at this time in history seems to be: must our open societies tolerate the intolerance that seeks to destroy our tolerance?
The answer is No – because that is what self-determination means.
When we understand that, we might be able to make two existential changes: the first will be to stop hurting others where they live – which requires us to recognize and end our self-righteousness and arrogance. The second will be to start protecting ourselves where we live– which requires us to recognize our cultural guilt and be able to talk about Western values as something worth proactively, even preemptively, protecting and asserting – but not exporting.
If we in the West must feel so guilty, let’s feel guilty about the children we’ve killed in Muslim lands – rather than about protecting ourselves from “Muslims” – and others – who would kill us in our own.
A new report from a Washington-based research center found that the majority of terror attacks since September 11, 2001 have come from so-called “homegrown” extremists rather than radical Muslims.
New America has found that nearly twice as many people were killed by individuals espousing white supremacist and anti-government rhetoric than by those preaching radical Islam. The report calculates that 48 people were killed by non-Muslim extremists, and 26 were killed by self-proclaimed jihadists.
Non-Muslims have launched 19 attacks since 9/11, while Islamic extremists launched 7 lethal attacks for the same time period. The New York Times reported that a new survey to be published this week found that police have a greater fear of domestic extremism versus radical Islam. Researchers with the University of North Carolina and Duke University took a survey of 382 police and sheriff’s departments nationwide and found that 74 percent believe anti-government violence is the greatest threat to their safety. The survey found that only 39 percent of the departments fear “Al Qaeda-inspired” violence.
In February, Truth In Media reported on an intelligence report produced by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigations which called attention to an apparent domestic terror threat from ”right-wing sovereign citizen extremists.” The mainstream media was all over the report, complete with headlines proclaiming the growing “right-wing” threat. However, it was found that CNN and other outlets did not read the actual report.
Despite CNN claiming that the threat from sovereign citizens was greater than ISIS and included “right-wing” extremists, the report does not state that at all. In fact, the entire report does not even use the term “right-wing” or even mention the Islamic State. Statements on the alleged danger of right-wing extremists came from a separate report and quotes from the Southern Poverty Law Center, not the actual report itself.
Whether a creation of the mainstream media or a reality check for tyrants, government agencies are, without a doubt, spreading the idea that homegrown, domestic civilians are to be feared.
In June 2014, Truth In Media reported on the creation of a new Department of Justice task force to combat “escalating danger” from “homegrown” terrorists in the United States. At the time of the announcement, Attorney General Eric Holder said, “We face an escalating danger from self-radicalized individuals within our own borders.”
The DOJ is not alone in monitoring domestic activity, however. Jay Syrmopoulos elaborated on the increasing focus on “domestic” or “homegrown” extremists:
“First there was the MIAC report, which claimed that potential terrorists include people who own gold, Ron Paul supporters, libertarians, and even people who fly the U.S. flag.
Then in 2012, there was a leaked Homeland Security study that claimed Americans who are “reverent of individual liberty,” and “suspicious of centralized federal authority” are possible “extreme right-wing” terrorists.
More recently, there is a Department of Defense training manual, obtained by Judicial Watch, using a FOIA request, which lists people who embrace “individual liberties” and honor “states’ rights,” among other characteristics, as potential “extremists” who are likely to be members of “hate groups.”
This document goes on to call the Founding Fathers extremists, stating, “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements, “ including, ‘The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule.'”
So what’s the truth?
Do groups like ISIS pose a threat to the liberty of the American people? Is the “threat” from “domestic” or “homegrown” extremists truly increasing? And to whom are they a threat ? The people or the government?
Perhaps the greatest threat to Liberty lies in the people issuing these reports and passing laws that work to limit the freedom of the people.
Despite a widely circulated article from CNN, the latest DHS report on extremism does not state that Right-Wing Extremism is more dangerous than ISIS.
Last weekwe reported on the newly released intelligence report produced by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigations which called attention to an apparent domestic terror threat from ” right-wing sovereign citizen extremists.”
The report claimed that there have been 24 sovereign citizen attacks in the United States since 2010. According to the report these “extremists” believe they are not bound by the law and will assert their rights on a regular basis when confronted by police. This could be a traffic stop or refusing to obey court orders.
Now Reason.com has obtained the actual report – CNN failed to show a copy of the report – and it offers stark contrasts from what was originally reported. Despite CNN claiming that the threat from sovereign citizens was greater than ISIS or included “right-wing” extremists, the report does not state that at all. In fact, the entire report does not even use the term “right-wing” or even mention the Islamic State. Statements on the alleged danger of right-wing extremists came from a separate report and quotes from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Not the actual report itself.
Some key points CNN failed to mention include the fact that the majority of individuals who identify as sovereign citizens are nonviolent. Instead the report focuses on “sovereign citizen extremists,” or SCEs. The report finds that violence from these individuals is at best sporadic and expected to stay “at the same sporadic level” in the coming year. The violence in these cases is rarely planned in advance, the report concluded. This can include plotting a murder or sending threatening letters, however they tend to be traffic stops gone wrong. Twenty-four cases of violence connected to this apparent movement have been documented since 2010. Only 2 of those 24 cases involved SCEs successfully killing anyone. Hardly the growing threat CNN wants you to believe.
As I wrote last week, when governments criminalize innocent actions of free people there will be resistance. When governments propagandize the people to mistrust those who assert their rights, there will be division. Ultimately it is up to each of us to communicate with our neighbors and family members so they understand the difference between those pursuing violence and those attempting to live free. A full list of the incidents from the DHS report appears below.
One last thing to remember as you look at these 24 incidents: At least one of them (Schaeffer Cox) was arrested after being encouraged and essentially entrapped by federal authorities. Knowing the FBI’s history with creating or encouraging terror attacks using confidential informants, it is important to take the information provided by the DHS with a grain of salt.
Click here for an interactive map of the incidents.
• March 2010: Brody James Whitaker shoots at the Florida State Highway Patrol after a traffic stop.
• April 2010: Walter Fitzpatrick plans a “citizens’ arrest” of a Knoxville jury foreman who refused to indict President Barack Obama.
• May 2010: Jerry and Joseph Kane get into a shootout with the police after a traffic stop. They kill two officers and are themselves killed.
• June 2010: A sovereign citizen begins a multi-year series of written and verbal threats against law enforcement officials in Sweetgrass, Montana.
• September 2010: Victor Dwayne White of West Odessa, Texas, shoots and wounds two sheriff’s deputies and a utility worker who came onto his property to access an oil well. A 22-hour standoff ensues.
• January 2011: David Russell Myrland is arrested after threatening to use “deadly force” if necessary to “arrest” the mayor of Kirkland, Washington, and other officials.
• March 2011: Francis Shaeffer Cox conspires with confederates to kill a judge and an IRS officer in Anchorage, Alaska.
• June 2011: A domestic disturbance call brings police to the home of William Foust in Page, Arizona; Foust is shot and killed in the ensuing altercation.
• July 2011: James Tesi of Colleyville, Texas, fires on police after an attempted traffic stop.
• November 2011: A property dispute brings the authorites to Rodney Brossart’s home in Lakota, South Dakota. He threatens to shoot the officers, and a stand-off follows.
• February 2012: Vahe Ohanian visits a California Highway Patrol station and a sheriff’s station in Santa Clarita, California, threatening to “snipe” officers. (*)
• February 2012: Matthew O’Neill pleads guilty to sending an envelope containing white powder to the Colorado Department of Revenue.
• August 2012: In LaPlace, Louisiana, a traffic stop leads to two shootouts with members of a small sovereign-citizen group headed by Terry Lyn Smith, one at the vehicle and the second at a trailer park. Two police officers are killed and three wounded.
• September 2012: Phillip Monroe Ballard attempts to solicit the murder of the judge presiding over his tax trial. • March 2013: Jeffrey Allen Wright of Navarre, Florida, threatens officers with a gun when they try to serve a warrant. He is shot and killed.
• June 2013: In Snellville, Georgia, a man sends police a letter threatening death if they interfere with members of a sovereign-citizen group called the “Embassy of Granville.”
• June 2013: Lewis Pollard points a gun at officers at his Fruita, Colorado, residence. He is shot and killed.
• July 2013: Eric Stanberry Jr. pulls a gun on a security guard outside a Nashville strip club, identifying himself as a “sovereign peace officer.” Police tase him.
• July 2013: An incarcerated sovereign citizen plans to kill a federal agent and a witness.
• July 2013: David John McCormick refuses to let the Coast Guard board his boat. After lunging at one of the crew, he is arrested for assaulting a federal officer.
• August 2013: David Allen Brutsche and Devon Campbell Newman are arrested for allegedly planning to “arrest,” “try,” and “execute” police officers.
• March 2014: Israel Rondon of Middleburg Heights, Ohio, fires at deputies serving a warrant. He is killed.
• June 2014: When deputies try to serve an eviction notice on Earl Carlson Harris of Ashland, Oregon, he threatens them with a rifle and is killed.
• June 2014: On federal land in Nevada County, California, Brent Douglas Cole allegedly fires at employees of the Bureau of Land Management and the California Highway Patrol as they attempt to tow vehicles from Cole’s unsanctioned campground.