Americans in Al Qaeda
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Making Sense of Jihad
THE ROOTS OF RADICALIZATION
The Stream, on Al Jazeera English, hosted a discussion of radicalization with Haris Tarin, director of the Washington office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); Mubin Shaikh, a former undercover operative with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS); and Intelwire's J.M. Berger.
When Boston Marathon runners rounded the bend from Beacon Street last week, they were in the home stretch of the race. As they poured through the closed intersection, they ran past a nondescript address: 510 Commonwealth Avenue.
The location was once home to an international support network that raised funds and recruited fighters for a jihadist insurgency against Russian rule over Chechnya, a region and a conflict that few of the runners had likely ever given any serious thought.
One mile farther, life in Boston was transformed in an act of horror that killed three and injured scores. And one week later, everyone in Boston and around the United States is thinking and talking and asking about Chechnya.
Full story at Foreign Policy
RECENT STORIES AND BLOG POSTSThe Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Inspire
Myths of Radicalization
Forecasting Terrorist Attacks With Big Data
Extremist Chatter on Boston Massacre
J.M. Berger on Marathon Bombings
Marathon Bombing: Issues to Watch
Background on Marathon Bombers Tamerlan Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
On Comparing White Nationalists to Anarchists
A Closer Look at the SPLC's Hate List
J.M. Berger discussed the Boston Marathon bombing with BBC television and radio, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Berger also wrote about the attack for Foreign Policy and spoke with reporters from The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, the Christian Science Monitor, Radio Australia, AFP and many others.
WHO MATTERS ONLINEIt is relatively easy to identify tens of thousands of social media users who have an interest in violent ideologies, but very difficult to figure out which users are worth watching. For students of extremist movements and those working to counter violent extremism online, deciphering the signal amid the noise can prove incredibly daunting.
A new paper by J.M. Berger and Bill Strathearn published by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) offers new metrics for evaluating engagement and influence in social media networks related to extremism, analyzing thousands of followers of Twitter accounts for prominent American white nationalists and anarchists. The metrics were extremely effective at identifying highly engaged extremists in large data sets.
The new research also sheds light on the relationship between mainstream and extremist politics, showing that followers of white nationalists on Twitter were highly engaged with mainstream Republican party politics, according to an analysis of the hashtags and links they tweeted.
For the full study, click here
RECALCULATING THE SPLC'S HATE LISTThe Southern Poverty Law Center released its annual "Year in Hate and Extremism" report last week, and as usual, it was terrifying. In an article for the SPLC's Intelligence Report magazine, researchers said they had identified an "all-time high" of 1,360 antigovernment groups active during 2012 and about the same staggering number of hate groups as last year, a total of 1,007. But those numbers are not what they seem.
Full Story at Foreign Policy
Somali al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab woke up one January morning to discover that its popular English-language Twitter account -- @HSMPress -- had been suspended, apparently because it had issued a direct, specific threat of violence in breach of Twitter's terms of service. This rare termination dusted off one of the counterterrorism industry's most-cobwebbed debates: Should we let terrorist groups use the Internet, or should we try to knock them offline?
Full story at Foreign Policy
RECENT BLOG POSTS:
PANEL: TERRORIST USE OF THE INTERNET
J.M. Berger took part in a panel discussion on terrorist use of the Interent for the Huffington Post Live news channel.
THE FBI'S SECRET WAR WITH THE PATRIOTS
An FBI undercover program known as PATCON spent more than two years collecting intelligence on the Patriot movement, without producing a single conviction. Timothy McVeigh was in contact with members of the targeted groups at the time of the investigation, but those links escaped notice, even after the Oklahoma City bombing.
COUNTERING VIOLENT EXTREMISM (CVE)
JIHAD JOEJihad Joe: Americans Who Go To War In The Name Of Islam, the new book by INTELWIRE's J.M. Berger, is now available in both Kindle and hardcover editions. Order today!
Jihad Joe is the first comprehensive history of the American jihadist movement, from 1979 through the present. Click here to read more about the critical acclaim Jihad Joe has earned so far, including from the New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, Redstate.com and more.