Table of Contents:
The Growing Threat of Online-Bred Right-Wing Extremism: Jörg Diehl, Alexander Epp, Ullrich Fichtner et al, Spiegel Online, Mar. 28, 2019
Standing Up to Far-Right Anti-Semitism: Rakib Ehsan, Spiked, May 1, 2019
The Far-Right and Islamism: A Complicated Love Story: Daniel Rickenbacher, European Eye on Radicalization, Nov. 29, 2019
Dayton Shooter Connor Betts May Be Antifa’s First Mass Killer: Andy Ngo. New York Post, Aug. 6, 2019
The Growing Threat of Online-Bred Right-Wing Extremism
Jörg Diehl, Alexander Epp, Ullrich Fichtner et al
Spiegel Online, Mar. 28, 2019
At around 1:30 p.m. on a recent Friday afternoon, some people on 8chan, an online message board, watched a mass murder unfold. Brenton Tarrant had just announced he would carry out a deadly attack and stream it live on Facebook. The first fans quickly voiced their support. “Good luck,” one user wrote; another: “Sounds fun.” A third person wrote that it was the “best start to a weekend ever.” When Tarrant’s head-mounted camera showed him murdering the first person at the entrance to the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand — someone who had just greeted him kindly — a fourth person wrote, “Holy fuck nice shootin.”
Around 200 Facebook users watched through their smartphones, tablets or computers as the 28-year-old got out of his car, opened his trunk where he kept his weapons, and began killing 50 people in and around two mosques. His victims included children, like the 3-year-old Mucad Ibrahim; students, like the 14-year-old Sayyad Milne; men, like the father Khaled Mustafa, and women, like Husne Ara Parvin, who was gunned down while trying to protect her wheelchair-bound husband.
A mass killing of Muslims, documented in real-time, filmed in the style of a first-person-shooter video game and cheered on like a football match. “This is how we win,” a fifth person wrote. It’s hard to imagine a greater contempt for humanity.
None of the 200 users flagged the video to Facebook, and thousands of people have watched the livestream after the fact. The social network, whose CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, likes to brag about the tens of thousands of moderators on its payroll who constantly monitor content, didn’t notice anything at first. Facebook didn’t receive the first notice until 12 minutes after the livestream ended. The company said it had removed 300,000 copies of the video within the first 24 hours and that its automated filters had blocked a further 1.2 million copies from being uploaded. But as with any data that’s shared quickly and widely via the internet, the expungement wasn’t entirely successful. If someone really wants to, they can still find the video online.
‘Propaganda of the Deed’
Brenton Tarrant achieved his goals. He garnered worldwide attention. He left behind 17 minutes of horror. And when it was all over, he received online respect and adoration from people who shared his views. These kinds of people live all around the world, including in Germany, and they don’t even attempt to hide their glee over the death of Muslims.
“Propaganda of the deed” is a political tactic first conceived by anarchists in the 19th century. Terrorists like Tarrant are now reviving the notion, using the tools of the digital era — livestreams on social networks, appeals to like-minded users, memes — to spread their ideologies. Certain images, such as of the backpack Tarrant wore during his attack, take on a symbolic, almost iconic quality and are used to encourage others to follow suit.
Is it permissible to write about — and therefore elevate, however unwillingly — a murderer like Tarrant? Is it OK to use his name? Or should journalists conceal it, as New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has done? Must we endure the hard truth that if Tarrant were to read this article, he may feel a sense of triumph? … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
The far-right terrorist attack in Poway, California on Jewish people celebrating Passover at their synagogue is the latest in an international wave of terror against places of worship. This includes the white-supremacist mosque shootings in Christchurch and the Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka.
While the incident in Poway does not rank highly in terms of casualties – with one person killed and several injured – it is part of a resurgent far-right anti-Semitism in the Western world. This includes the Pittsburgh terrorist attack, where 11 were killed at a synagogue by far-right white-supremacist Robert Bowers. In Europe there has been some electoral popularity for far-right political parties of a clearly anti-Semitic character. Outside of conventional politics, the continent has seen a wave of far-right demonstrations, including last September’s neo-Nazi protests in the east German city of Chemnitz.
This all gives rise to an important question: what is driving this resurgent, vitriolic anti-Semitism of the far right? Why do many of those on the far-right hate Jews?
Interestingly, there is an overlap of sorts between the anti-Semitism of the militant far left and the far right. These are the usual anti-Semitic tropes relating to supposedly Jewish control of international finance and a global capitalist system which prioritizes ‘profit over people’. Jewish people are ultimately held responsible for the capitalist exploitation of working-class, ordinary folk. Where anti-Semitic members of the far left and far right often differ is in their perspectives on global migration and the ethno-religious diversification of Western societies.
In far-left narratives, migration flows into Western societies are viewed as a kind of atonement for the legacy of colonialism and ill-conceived military interventions. With capitalist expansionism, both historical and contemporary, being blamed for the poverty-stricken conditions in the migrant’s country of origin, the opportunity to allow migrants to resettle in Western societies is treated as a form of global redistributive justice. In turn, this migration gives rise to a process of cultural enrichment in Western democracies, many leftists argue.
Some on the anti-globalist far-right view global migration and demographic shifts in a rather different light – and this is where the roots of their hatred towards Jews can be found. In their view, migration flows from poorer countries to the West represent the importation of cheap labour which helps to maximise the profits of Jewish-dominant financial elites in Western capitalist societies. This includes the inward migration of non-white people from countries with comparatively higher fertility rates – including from Muslim-majority societies. This is where the anti-Semitism of the far right truly lies – at a rather disturbing intersection between economy, culture, society and identity. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
The European Right is generally believed to be opposed to political Islam. This is certainly true for most right-wing conservative and populist parties. The story with the Far-Right, however, is different. While activists of the Far-Right regularly indulge in violence against Muslim immigrants, at the same time there is also a widespread but little-known affinity for political Islam in its circles, where it is seen as an ally against common enemies.
Two recent events illustrate this. First, in January 2018, Vona Gábor, the head of the Hungarian Far-Right party Jobbik, praised Islam as a bulwark against Western globalization and the decline of traditional values. He also advocates that Hungary’s foreign policy should move closer towards Iran.
Second, in December 2017, a German court convicted an ISIS sympathizer for having planned a terrorist attack against German soldiers. Interestingly, the wannabe-terrorist had been a Neo-Nazi just two years earlier. Before his conversion to Islam, he had published an article on a Far-Right blog crudely titled “He who incites against Islam hisses with the tongue of Judaism.” Similar stories of Neo-Nazis becoming jihadists can be found in other countries. This reflects a pattern. The love story between the European Far-Right and Islamism is in fact not a recent phenomenon, but now almost a century old.
One of the first Western Far-Right activists to openly flirt with political Islam was Robert Gordon-Canning, the foreign policy chief of the British Union of Fascists. An admirer of Islam who had become disaffected with the West and Christianity, he took up the Palestinian cause in the 1930s and tried to act as the Mufti’s spokesman in Britain. He pioneered an amalgam of Far-Right and Islamic anti-Semitism, presenting Zionism as a conspiracy of Jewish bankers, which sought to subjugate or eradicate the Arabs for their imperial interests. In language similar to al-Qaeda, which derisively calls its enemies the “Jewish-Crusader alliance”, Gordon-Canning referred to Zionism as the “tenth crusade”.
During World War II, German Nazi propaganda appealed to the Islamic world with a constant stream of anti-Semitic and anti-Western messages, often incorporating Islamic themes. One of the leading propagandists, Johann von Leers, argued that Judaism and Islam represented polar opposites, while Islam and National-Socialism were bound by their shared hatred of Jews.
The postwar European Far-Right continued this tradition. One of the leading proponents of an alliance between the Far-Right and political Islam was the Swiss Holocaust denier Ahmed Huber, who reached out to both Neo-Nazis and Islamists. Originally a socialist journalist, Huber converted to Islam in the Muslim Brotherhood mosque in Geneva in 1961 out of sympathy for Arab nationalism, not realizing that the Egyptian regime under Nasser bitterly fought against the Islamists. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Over the weekend, America suffered two mass shootings within hours of one another, in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. These followed another mass shooting in Gilroy, Calif., a week earlier. The alleged perpetrators of the attacks were young, “lone-wolf” gunmen. All three carried out carnage against innocents using high-power rifles. All told, Santino Legan (Gilroy), Patrick Crusius (El Paso) and Connor Betts (Dayton) killed 34 people and injured dozens more.
While the attacks are similar, the response from liberals and leftists has been anything but.
Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders succinctly condemned white nationalism — the ideology espoused by the El Paso shooter in his purported 2,300-word manifesto. However, when it comes to condemning the Dayton shooter’s militant far-left views, all remain mum. Others, such as anti-police activist Shaun King, even claimed the Dayton shooter targeted blacks in a hate crime, though racism doesn’t appear to have been a component of his twisted worldview.
While Betts, the Dayton shooter, didn’t leave behind a manifesto, his extensive social-media footprint provides clues as to what may have inspired him. Federal investigators announced Tuesday that they are looking into his exploration of violent ideologies.
Betts had long expressed support for Antifa accounts, causes, and individuals. That would be the loose network of militant leftist activists who physically attack anyone to the right of Mao in the name of “anti-fascism.” In particular, Betts promoted extreme hatred of American border enforcement. “Kill every fascist,” the shooter declared in 2018 on twitter, echoing a rallying cry of Antifa ideologues. Over the next year, his tweets became increasingly violent. “Nazis deserve death and nothing else,” he tweeted last October. Betts frequently flung the label “Nazi” at those with whom he disagreed online.
By December, he reached out on Twitter to the Socialist Rifle Association, an Antifa gun group, to comment about bump stocks, and the SRA responded to him. (A bump stock is an attachment for semiautomatic rifles that allow them to fire much faster.)
In the months leading to his rampage, Betts expressed a longing for climactic confrontation. In response to an essay by Intercept writer Mehdi Hassan titled, “Yes, Let’s Defeat or Impeach Trump—but What If He Doesn’t Leave the White House?” the shooter wrote: “Arm, train, prepare.”
By June he tweeted: “I want socialism, and I’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round understanding.” Last week, he promoted posts that demonized Sens. Ted Cruz and Bill Cassidy’s resolution against Antifa extremism.
America’s historical and contemporary struggles with fringe far-right violence have provided politicians, leaders, and media with blueprints to identify and confront that form of extremism. The national unity in rejecting violent white-nationalist ideologues like James Fields and Dylan Roof are emblematic of America’s resolve against the far right. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
On Topic Links:
Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America: Annelies Pauwels, European Eye on Radicalization, June 26, 2019 — Everything You Love Will Burn presents a fascinating account of the far-right scene in the United States.
Far-Right Extremist Groups and Hate Crime Rates Are Growing In Canada: Jacky Habib, CBC, The Passionate Eye, July 13, 2019, Includes access to documentary. — Neo-Nazi groups in the United States are the focus of Documenting Hate and Documenting Hate: New American Nazis,both documentaries from The Passionate Eye.
Canada is Starting to Outlaw Far-Right Groups, and It’s About Time: Jessica Davis, Amarnath Amarasingam and Leah West, Just Security, July 9, 2019 — When the Canadian government listed Blood & Honour, a neo-Nazi group, and its armed branch, Combat 18, as terrorist organizations last month, it marked the first time that any extreme-right organization in Canada had been publicly named as such.
Founder Of 8chan After Mass Shootings: ‘Shut The Site Down’: Hank Berrien, Daily Wire, Aug. 6, 2019 — On Sunday, following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the founder of 8chan, where various shooters have posted their intention to harm others, called on the people who currently run it to shut it down.