NEW PAPER FROM ICCT -- THE HAGUE:
EXTREMIST CONSTRUCTION OF IDENTITY
This International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague, Counter-Terrorism Strategic Communications Project
Research Paper examines how the white supremacist movement Christian Identity emerged from a non-extremist forerunner known as British Israelism. By examining ideological shifts over the course of nearly a century, the paper seeks to identify key pivot points in the movement’s shift toward extremism and explain the process through which extremist ideologues construct and define in-group and out-group identities. Based on these findings, the paper proposes a new framework for analyzing and understanding the behavior and emergence of extremist groups. The proposed framework can be leveraged to design strategic counter-terrorism communications programs using a linkage-based approach that deconstructs the process of extremist in-group and out-group definition. Future publications will continue this study, seeking to refine the framework and operationalize messaging recommendations.
Read the full research paper
Related; The Dangerous New Americanism
COUNTER-TERRORISM STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS AT ICCT -- THE HAGUE
J.M. Berger is a fellow with the Counter-Terrorism
Strategic Communications (CTSC) Project
, led by the International Centre
for Counter Terrorism – The Hague, a collaborative project bringing together experts
from Europe, the United States and Australia as well as researchers from the
Middle East and South Asia. It was set up to tackle one of the most significant
national and global security challenges facing the world today: how to
understand and confront the propaganda messaging of violent extremists. Through
empirical research, based largely on primary source materials and in-country
fieldwork, the project aims to test assumptions and evaluate past campaigns in
order to develop key principles and guidelines for counter-terrorism strategic
communications efforts. Other CTSC fellows and experts include Dr. Alastair
, Dr. Haroro
. For publications and more information, click
HOW DONALD TRUMP WON THE VOTE FROM SKEPTICAL WHITE NATIONALISTS
Donald Trump has become a darling of white nationalists in the United States. He has been endorsed by the nation’s most prominent neo-Nazis
and both current
Klansmen, and he is supported online by a legion
of racist and anti-Semitic trolls
. The candidate
, his son
and his surrogates
have tweeted white nationalist content, and the RNC even displayed a white nationalist’s tweet during the Republican convention
But it wasn’t always like this. Even after years of championing racially tinged questions about President Barack Obama’s birthplace, as recently as 2015 Trump was treated with disdain and suspicion by most white nationalists. Many claimed he was secretly Jewish, or in thrall to Jewish interests. Others saw him as a blowhard and egomaniac, a mercenary who was out only for himself. This is the story of how Trump won not only their votes but, eventually, their enthusiasm.
Full story at Politico
Foreign Policy: ISIS and the Dystopian Spectacle
THE TURNER LEGACY
The Turner Diaries, the infamous racist dystopian novel by neo-Nazi William Luther Pierce, has inspired more than 200 murders since its publication in 1978, including the single deadliest act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history, the Oklahoma City bombing.
The book is arguably the most important single work of white nationalist propaganda in the English language, but it is not a singular artifact. The Turner Diaries is part of a genre of racist dystopian propaganda dating back to the U.S. Civil War. A new paper from J.M. Berger documents the books that directly and indirectly inspired Turner and examine the extensive violence that the novel has inspired.
Related posts on World Gone Wrong:
A new paper by J.M. Berger for George Washington University's Program on Extremism finds that white nationalists are thriving on Twitter and outperforming the Islamic State, which has been notorious for its success using social media, in both recruitment and messaging. The paper found that hashtags referring to presidential candidate Donald Trump outperformed almost every other subject. A companion article on INTELWIRE examines the outlook for extremist use of social media and forecasts dangerous times ahead.
MORE RECENT UPDATES
ICCT -- The Hague: Making CVE Work
One of the biggest barriers to designing a comprehensive Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program is defining its scope. This paper argues for a narrow approach, focusing on disengagement and the disruption of recruitment, a simplified model of radicalization, and concrete themes for disruptive intervention and messaging. After analyzing case studies of disengagement, a specific program of action is recommended.
Read the full paper (PDF) | Read the Policy Brief (PDF)
One of the most popular tropes in dystopian fiction is the “violent spectacle.” Immortalized in recent years by The Hunger Games series, the concept is simple: A corrupt society uses some public display or broadcast of violence to manipulate the masses. But it’s never been purely fiction.
New blog: World Gone Wrong
After years of rumours, Syrian jihadist group Jabhat al Nusra is expected to sever its longstanding affiliation with al Qaeda at any moment. As news of the impending split broke, many questions arose: Was it simply a smokescreen? Would al Qaeda still be pulling al Nusra’s strings? Won’t al Nusra still represent an extremist, violent ideology? Healthy skepticism is definitely called for, but this extraordinary development is far from inconsequential. Even if the ideology remains the same, even if al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri continues to influence al Nusra’s ranks and its leaders, the shift in allegiance will reverberate around the globe.
New GWU Paper: What Sovereign Citizens Believe
Members of the sovereign citizen movement are increasingly in the news for their violent confrontations with law enforcement, but their confusing ideology can be difficult to understand. This paper explains in simple language what sovereigns believe, and where those beliefs originated. | Read the full paper (PDF)
The Islamic State's Diminishing Returns on Twitter
Since late 2014, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) social networks on Twitter have been subjected to periodic account suspensions. In a study of metrics for a network of English language ISIS supporters active from June to October 2015, suspensions held the size and reach of the overall network flat, while devastating the reach of specific users who have been repeatedly targeted. | Read the full paper (PDF)
BOOKS BY J.M. BERGER
"...smart, granular analysis..."
ISIS: The State of Terror
"Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger's new book, "ISIS," should be required reading for every politician and policymaker... Their smart, granular analysis is a bracing antidote to both facile dismissals and wild exaggerations... a nuanced and readable account of the ideological and organizational origins of the group." -- Washington Post
Foreign Affairs: Best books of 2015
Wall Street Journal: Must-reads on terrorism
Washington Post: Notable nonfiction of 2015
New York Times: The top books of 2015
More on ISIS: The State of Terror
"...a timely warning..."
Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam:
"At a time when some politicians and pundits blur the line between Islam and terrorism, Berger, who knows this subject far better than the demagogues, sharply cautions against vilifying Muslim Americans. ... It is a timely warning from an expert who has not lost his perspective." -- New York Times
More on Jihad Joe
All recent posts
Politico: The Dog-Days of Terrorism
Politico: Misunderestimating ISIS
Politico: Al Qaeda's American Dream Ends
ISIS: State of Terror Review Roundup
Social Media: An Evolving Battleground
Documents: Garland shooter's jihadist history
Berger's Rule of Radicalization
About J.M. Berger
EXCLUSIVE: THE 9/11 ARCHIVE
FBI Documents on 9/11:
By 9/11 Report Chapter
1995 to 2000
1/1/2001 to 9/10/2001
9/13/2001 to 9/30/2001
10/01/2001 to 12/31/2001
01/01/2002 to 04/30/2002
5/2002 to 12/2002
1/2003 to 12/2003
1/2004 to FBI FOIA complete
CIA Documents on 9/11:
FBI Chronology of Hijackers'
FBI Timeline of Investigation, Sept. 12-13, 2001
June 2001 Warning of Terrorist Attack
State Dept. Secret Post-9/11 Briefing to World
Al Qaeda Internal Records of Its Founding in 1988
1994 State Dept. Document Referencing Al Qaeda
Anwar Awlaki FBI Investigative Documents
Descriptions of U.S. Border Security Programs
9/11 Commission Memoranda, State Dept. Interviews
9/11 Commission Memoranda, CIA Budget
9/11 Commission Memoranda, Extremism In Pakistan
9/11 Commission Memoranda, Various Interviews
9/11 Commission Memoranda, FBI Interviews, Part I
9/11 Commission Memoranda, 1990s CT Policy
State Department Analysis: Exporting Terrorist Tactics From
ARTICLES BY J.M. BERGER
Al Qaeda's American Dream Ends
The public first met Adam Gadahn in October 2004, under the name "Azzam the American," in an Al Qaeda video Q&A that seems almost quaint by today's gruesome standards. Gadahn's real name and strange life story soon emerged. A Jew raised on a California goat farm who dabbled in heavy metal before converting to Islam and subsequently joining Al Qaeda, he became one of the most prominent members of the pantheon of Americans in the terror group. His death closes a chapter. Al Qaeda's array of American recruits once inspired alarm at the highest levels of government; today they are a spent force.
Europe's New Crackdown
They can take our lives, but can they also take our freedom? The Charlie Hebdo assault in Paris last week is only the latest chapter in a months-long series of attacks, which built in turn on a yearlong escalation of concerns about the extraordinary number of Europeans traveling to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State, al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, and a host of other jihadi groups.
The Islamic State's Irregulars
In a number of recent cases, it's unclear whether jihadist-style attacks were inspired by the Islamic State and its extremist ideology, or whether IS provided a convenient excuse for violence that was already brewing in the hearts of the perpetrators.
Full story at Foreign Policy