Culture Wars/Current Controversies

High-Level Biden Appointees Exposed as Iranian Agents

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The Extremism Roundup

Promoting Civil Discourse and Marginalizing the Extremes
A weekly compilation of the most important developments in the struggle against radical ideologies

Islamist Extremism

Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants take part in a rally to celebrate shooting attacks in Israel, in the Gaza Strip, April 8, 2022 – Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images
US State Department Gives $90K to Islamic Terror-Supporting NGO

  • The U.S. State Department has provided over $90,000 in grants to the Phoenix Center for Research and Field Studies, an organization that has expressed support for Palestinian terrorist groups, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
  • The grants were allocated for projects in 2023-2024, one aimed at developing IT skills and networking opportunities and the other for enhancing public speaking, storytelling, and digital networking skills among “Palestinian USG alumni.”
  • The Phoenix Center has hosted conferences and panels expressing support for “armed resistance” against Israel, with participation from senior members of Palestinian terrorist organizations. It has also received European funding for a workshop expressing support for the PFLP, a U.S.- and EU-designated terrorist group. Read More

US Pro-Palestinian Groups Celebrate Terror Anniversary

  • The U.S. National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) celebrated the anniversary of the start of the Second Intifada, referring to it as the “Al-Aqsa Intifada” and stating that it “renewed the flame of resistance” and still terrifies Israel.
  • The Second Intifada, which occurred from 2000 to 2005, was marked by numerous suicide bombings in which over 1,000 Israelis and dozens of Americans were killed.
  • SJP’s post praised the Second Intifada, claiming that it forced Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and celebrated ongoing terror attacks against Israelis.  More

Militant-Right & Militant-Left Extremism

Alleged avatar of Nicholas Welker – FBI via Vice screenshot
White Supremacist Group Leader Pleads Guilty in Connection to Threats Against Journalist

  • Nicholas Welker, leader of the extremist group Feuerkrieg Division (FKD), has pleaded guilty to conspiring to make interstate threats in Brooklyn federal court.
  • He posted death threats against a Brooklyn-based journalist in an attempt to stop him from reporting on the extremist group.
  • Welker faces up to five years in prison when sentenced. Feuerkrieg Division is an international racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist group known for advocating violence against various communities and institutions.  Read More

Neo-Nazis Harass El Dorado County Board of Supervisors Meeting

  • Antisemitic diatribes were directed at the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors during a meeting regarding the repeal of American Christian Heritage Month. The decision to repeal this proclamation followed opposition from various groups, including Jewish residents and the American Civil Liberties Union.
  • Several individuals, some associated with the white supremacist group Goyim Defense League, used the meeting to express antisemitic views, including blaming Jews for the slave trade, asserting Jewish control of the media, and claiming the Holocaust was a hoax.
  • While some attendees expressed shock and dismay at the hate speech, the board of supervisors did not take immediate action to address the issue, citing concerns about free speech and the difficulty of controlling conduct in public meetings. However, the issue of hate speech at board meetings was left open for further consideration.  Read More

Looters in Philly Invoke BLM

  • Looting broke out in Philadelphia, with masked individuals, including juveniles, stealing merchandise from various stores in Center City and other areas, leading to more than 20 arrests as police worked to restore order.
  • The looting occurred shortly after a judge dismissed murder charges against a former police officer who shot Eddie Irizarry, an armed Black driver. While the acting police commissioner stated that the looting was unrelated to the court ruling, looters attempted to connect their crimes to earlier Black Lives Matter demonstrations that took place after the dismissal.
  • Dayjia Blackwell, an Instagram influencer with 181,000 followers, urged her followers to gather on Walnut Street in downtown Philadelphia at 9 p.m. By 10 p.m., she was filming a mob looting Apple, Lululemon, Footlocker, and a liquor store. She confidently live-streamed the events, not realizing she would be arrested a few hours later.  Read More

Antifa Smashes Timber-Industry Conference

  • A timber industry conference called “Who Will Own the Forest?” at the World Forestry Center in Southwest Portland saw at least a dozen windows smashed during ongoing protests.
  • The vandalism was claimed by an anonymous blog post on an anti-fascist website, with the post stating that anarchists were responsible for the attack.
  • Activists from the Pacific Northwest Forest Climate Alliance blocked the entrance to the conference Wednesday morning, chanting “Shame” and “Clean water, clean air, not another billionaire.”  Read More

  School Threats

 Eddie Manuel Nunez Santos, 33, in custody of Peruvian police  – Peru National Police via The Jewish Chronicle  screenshot
Peruvian National Arrested for Sending 150+ Hoax Threats to US Schools

  • A Peruvian man, Eddie Manuel Nunez Santos, has been arrested for sending more than 150 fake bomb threats to schools and various locations across the U.S.
  • Nunez Santos is charged with sending threatening communications and soliciting explicit photos from a 15-year-old child online, posing as a teenager named “Lucas.” When the child and others refused his requests, he retaliated by emailing bomb threats to school districts, synagogues, airports, hospitals, and a shopping mall.
  • The threats were sent between September 15 and 21 to multiple states, including Alaska, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Arizona. Federal authorities estimate that thousands of schoolchildren were evacuated in response to these threats. The charges carry a potential prison sentence ranging from 30 years to life.  Read More

Virginia Teen Arrested for School Threat

  • A 14-year-old student has been arrested by the Hopewell Police Department in Hopewell, Va., for allegedly creating a Snapchat post that contained threats against students and staff at Hopewell High School.
  • The post was shared over several social media platforms and led to increased security measures at the school.  Read More

Hostile Foreign Influence Operations

Robert Malley, former Biden administration special envoy for Iran, waits to testify during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations on Capitol Hill, May 25, 2022 – Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images
High-Level Biden Appointees Exposed as Iranian Agents

  • Robert Malley, the now-suspended Iran envoy in the Biden administration, is alleged to have funded, supported, and directed an Iranian intelligence operation designed to influence the U.S. and allied governments, according to leaked Iranian government emails.
  • The emails reveal that Malley helped infiltrate Ariane Tabatabai, an Iranian agent of influence, into sensitive positions in the U.S. government, first at the State Department and then at the Pentagon.
  • The emails show that Tabatabai was part of a regime propaganda unit created in 2014, known as the Iran Experts Initiative (IEI), which aimed to promote Iranian interests during negotiations with the U.S. over its nuclear weapons program. Members of this unit used their Iranian heritage and Western academic positions to influence U.S. policy toward Iran, both inside and outside the government.  Read More

US, Japan Authorities Issue Joint Warning About Chinese Hackers

  • The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), FBI, Japanese police, and cybersecurity agencies issued a joint advisory warning multinational companies about the China-linked hacker group BlackTech. The advisory urged firms to review the internet routers at their subsidiaries to reduce the risk of potential attacks from this group.
  • BlackTech has been conducting cyberattacks on governments and tech-sector companies in the U.S. and East Asia since approximately 2010. These warnings come amid increasing tensions between the U.S. and China over various issues, including cyberattacks. The FBI has recently emphasized China’s significant cyberattack capabilities.  Read More

US Warns of China’s Plans for Information Domination

  • A report from the State Department’s Global Engagement Center warns that China is investing billions of dollars in reshaping the global information environment to control the flow of critical information, seeking to create a world where Beijing has dominance, either explicitly or implicitly.
  • Left unchecked, these efforts could reshape the global information landscape, potentially leading nations to make decisions that align with Beijing’s interests.
  • The report highlights China’s multifaceted approach, involving state-run media, surveillance technologies, financial and political coercion, and Chinese-language media. While these efforts have faced setbacks, particularly in democratic countries, China continues to invest in information manipulation, posing challenges to Western nations.  Read More

Research and Trends in Extremism

Photo illustration showing a page of ‘X’ (formerly known as Twitter) – Harun Ozalp/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
EU Study Claims X Has Highest Disinformation

  • A European Commission study found that X (formerly Twitter) has the highest proportion of disinformation among six major social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and YouTube.
  • The study, conducted by TrustLab, analyzed over 6,000 unique social media posts in Spain, Poland, and Slovakia, which are considered at risk of disinformation due to elections or their proximity to the war in Ukraine. Twitter had the largest “ratio of discoverability” of disinformation, while YouTube had the lowest.
  • The European Union’s Values and Transparency Commissioner, Vera Jourova, warned X to comply with the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), as the voluntary code of practice on disinformation will be turned into a code of conduct under the act.   Read More

Have You Found A Story You Think We Should Cover?

If you see an article on violent extremism in the U.S. or hostile foreign influence that is reliable, timely, and fits into one of the six categories that we cover in this newsletter, please send us a note, either by replying directly to this email or by submitting a contact form under the appropriate “news tip” category.

“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.”

– Hannah Arendt

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