Terrorism experts see 'stunning,' terrifying parallels between ISIS and U.S. white nationalists

  
Via:  john-russell  •  3 weeks ago  •  19 comments

Terrorism experts see 'stunning,' terrifying parallels between ISIS and U.S. white nationalists
The parallels include an apocalyptic ideology that promotes a world-consuming civilizational conflict

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T







by   Peter Weber   via   The Week









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There are significant differences between the Islamic State and the white nationalist terrorists who have been  ramping up attacks in the U.S.,  but "the parallels are stunning," terrorism expert  Will McCants tells  The New York Times . In fact, writes Max Fisher at the  Times , "white nationalist terrorism is following a progression eerily similar to that of jihadism under the leadership of the Islamic State, in ways that do much to explain why the attacks have suddenly grown so frequent and deadly."


The parallels include an apocalyptic ideology that promotes a world-consuming civilizational conflict — for ISIS, Muslims versus the West; for white nationalists, nonwhites versus whites — showy and indiscriminate murders recorded and shared over social media, purportedly to hasten this global battle as well as recruit and radicalize new adherents, and new forms of communication that allow such violent ideologies to spread virulently, typically among young male loners.


"I think a lot of people working on online extremism saw this coming," J.M. Berger, author of the book  Extremism told the  Times . And there are good reasons to be very worried that it came to fruition, Fisher explains:


The feedback loop of radicalization and violence, once triggered, can take on a terrible momentum all its own, with each attack boosting the online radicalization and doomsday ideology that, in turn, drive more attacks. The lessons are concerning. It is nearly impossible to eradicate a movement animated by ideas and decentralized social networks. Nor is it easy to prevent attacks when the perpetrators' ideology makes nearly any target as good as the next, and requires little more training or guidance than opening a web forum. [ Max Fisher,  The New York Times ]

Read more about how the U.S. invasion of Iraq helped foster this new form of nihilistic terrorism and the nearly word-for-word similarities between the ISIS and white nationalist manifestoes  at  The New York Times .


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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/world/americas/terrorism-white-nationalist-supremacy-isis.html

Many scholars of terrorism see worrying similarities between the rise of the Islamic State and that of white nationalist terrorism, seen most recently in the carnage in El Paso, Tex.

"The parallels are stunning," said Will McCants, a prominent expert in the field.

And they are growing more notable with each new attack.

Experts say that the similarities are far from a coincidence. White nationalist terrorism is following a progression eerily similar to that of jihadism under the leadership of the Islamic State, in ways that do much to explain why the attacks have suddenly grown so frequent and deadly.

In both, there is the apocalyptic ideology that predicts -- and promises to hasten -- a civilizational conflict that will consume the world. There is theatrical, indiscriminate violence that will supposedly bring about this final battle, but often does little more than grant the killer a brief flash of empowerment and win attention for the cause.

There are self-starter recruits who, gathering in social media's dark corners, drive their own radicalization. And for these recruits, the official ideology may serve simply as an outlet for existing tendencies toward hatred and violence.

Differences between white nationalists and the Islamic State remain vast. While Islamic State leaders leveraged their followers' zeal into a short-lived government, the new white nationalism has no formal leadership at all.

"I think a lot of people working on online extremism saw this coming," said J.M. Berger, author of the book "Extremism," and a fellow with VOX-Pol, a group that studies online extremism, referring to the similarities between white nationalism and the Islamic State.

In retrospect, it is not hard to see why.

The world-shaking infamy of the Islamic State has made it a natural model even -- perhaps especially -- for extremists who see Muslims as enemies.

A set of global changes, particularly the rise of social media, has made it easy for any decentralized terrorist cause to drift toward ever-grander, and evermore nonsensical, violence.

"Structurally, it didn't matter whether those extremists were jihadists or white nationalists," Mr. Berger said.

White nationalism in all forms has been on the rise for some years. Its violent fringe was all but certain to rise as well.

The feedback loop of radicalization and violence, once triggered, can take on a terrible momentum all its own, with each attack boosting the online radicalization and doomsday ideology that, in turn, drive more attacks.

The lessons are concerning. It is nearly impossible to eradicate a movement animated by ideas and decentralized social networks. Nor is it easy to prevent attacks when the perpetrators' ideology makes nearly any target as good as the next, and requires little more training or guidance than opening a web forum.

And global changes that played a role in allowing the rise of the Islamic State are only accelerating, Mr. Berger warned -- changes like the proliferation of social networks.

"When you open up a vast new arena for communication, it's a vector for contagion," he said.

A New Kind of Terrorism

The nihilism that increasingly defines global terrorism first emerged in the sectarian caldron of American-occupied Iraq.

A washed-up criminal from Jordan, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, exploited the chaos brought by the American-led invasion to slaughter occupiers and Iraqi Muslims alike, circulating videos of his deeds.

Al Qaeda, for all its religious claims, had, like most terror groups, killed civilians in pursuit of worldly goals like an American withdrawal from the Middle East.

But Mr. Zarqawi seemed driven by sadism, a thirst for fame and an apocalyptic ideology that he is thought to have only vaguely grasped.

Al Qaeda objected, fearing he would alienate the Muslim world and distract from jihadism's more concrete goals.

Mr. Zarqawi instead proved so popular among jihadist recruits that Al Qaeda let him fight under its name. After his death, his group re-emerged as the Islamic State.

His group's unlikely rise hinted at a new approach to terrorism -- and sheds light on why white nationalist terrorism is converging on similar beliefs and practices.

Most terrorists are not born wishing to kill. They have to be groomed. Where past terror groups had appealed to the political aspirations and hatreds of its recruits, Mr. Zarqawi's found ways to activate a desire for bloodshed itself.

The American-led invasion of Iraq had seemed, for many Middle Easterners, to turn the world upside down. Mr. Zarqawi and later the Islamic State, instead of promising to turn it right side up, offered an explanation: The world was rushing toward an end-of-days battle between Muslims and infidels.

In that world, Mr. McCants wrote in 2015, "the apocalyptic recruiting pitch makes more sense."

This gave the group justification for attacks that otherwise made little strategic sense, like killing dozens of fellow Muslims out shopping, which it said would help usher in the apocalypse foretold in ancient prophesy.

Because the attacks were easier to carry out, almost anyone could execute their own and feel like a true soldier in the glorious cause.

Jihadism retained its core political agenda. But the things that made the Islamic State's form of terrorism so infectious also made it less strategically rational.

With an ideology that said anyone could kill for the movement and that killing was its own reward, much of the violence took on a momentum of its own.

That, some scholars say, is what appears to be happening now with the extreme wings of the white nationalist movement rising globally.

Seeing a Global Race War

The ideological tracts, recruiting pitches and radicalization tales of the Islamic State during its rise echo, almost word-for-word, those of the white nationalist terrorists of today.

For the latter, the world is said to be careening toward a global race war between whites and nonwhites.

"The Camp of the Saints," a bizarre 1973 French novel that has since become an unofficial book of prophesy for many white nationalists, describes a concerted effort by nonwhite foreigners to overwhelm and subjugate Europeans, who fight back in a genocidal race war.

So-called manifestoes left by the terrorist attackers at Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso, Tex., have warned of this coming war too. They also say their attacks were intended to provoke more racial violence, hastening the fight's arrival.

Radicalization requires little more than a community with like-minded beliefs, said Maura Conway, a terrorism scholar at Dublin City University. While white backlash to social and demographic change is nothing new, social media has allowed whites receptive to the most extreme version to find one another.

Mr. Berger, in his research, found that these deadly messages, which have had mixed success in traditional propaganda channels in all but the most dire historical moments, can spread like wildfire on social media.

He termed the message one of "temporal acceleration" -- the promise that an adherent could speed up time toward some inevitable endpoint by committing violence. And the "apocalyptic narratives," he found, exploit social media's tendency to amplify whatever content is most extreme.

As with the Islamic State's calls for mass murder, this worldview has resonated among young men, mostly loners, who might have previously expressed little ideological fervor or experienced much hardship. It offered them a way to belong and a cause to participate in.

And, much like the Islamic State had found, social media gave white extremists a venue on which to post videos of their exploits, where they would go viral, setting off the cycle again.

In 2015, Mr. Berger wrote that the Islamic State had been "the first group to employ these amplifying tactics on social media." But, he added, "it will not be the last."
 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 weeks ago

That makes sense since both are hard core extremist in nature.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2  seeder  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago
White nationalism in all forms has been on the rise for some years. Its violent fringe was all but certain to rise as well.

The feedback loop of radicalization and violence, once triggered, can take on a terrible momentum all its own, with each attack boosting the online radicalization and doomsday ideology that, in turn, drive more attacks.

The lessons are concerning. It is nearly impossible to eradicate a movement animated by ideas and decentralized social networks. Nor is it easy to prevent attacks when the perpetrators' ideology makes nearly any target as good as the next, and requires little more training or guidance than opening a web forum.

There are at least 50 times more white people in America than there are Muslims.  The potential for violence from this source goes far beyond what Islamic jihadists could do on our soil. 

 
 
 
WallyW
2.1  WallyW  replied to  JohnRussell @2    3 weeks ago
The parallels include an apocalyptic ideology that promotes a world-consuming civilizational conflict........
Oh the horror!
Oh the humanity!
Oh the hysterical hyperbole!
Talk about moronic BS.....  jrSmiley_78_smiley_image.gif
 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  WallyW @2.1    3 weeks ago
The parallels include an apocalyptic ideology that promotes a world-consuming civilizational conflict........

Then I assume you believe that Islamic ideology has been overblown in the United States as well. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
2.1.2  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1.1    3 weeks ago

I don't know about Wally, but the threat of terrorism from radical Islamists is far more worrisome than an isolated loon who might profess to be a far right winger. Numbers simply are not sufficient to indict all right wing males and/or supporters of Trump, as terrorists.

Which is what you are attempting to do.

 
 
 
MrFrost
2.1.3  MrFrost  replied to  Greg Jones @2.1.2    3 weeks ago

Every single act of violent extremism in the US in 2018 was right wing. It's hardly, "an isolated loon". 

Let me put it another way, Greg. 250 mass shootings in the USA so far this year. Would you be upset if they were all ISIS attacks? Of course you would. Why then if these shootings are done by your fellow Americans, you don't seem to care at all, and want nothing done to stop them? 

 
 
 
Ozzwald
2.1.4  Ozzwald  replied to  Greg Jones @2.1.2    3 weeks ago
I don't know about Wally, but the threat of terrorism from radical Islamists is far more worrisome than an isolated loon who might profess to be a far right winger.

300px-Murders_by_extremist_ideology_US.p

 
 
 
Heartland American
2.2  Heartland American  replied to  JohnRussell @2    3 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Heartland American @2.2    3 weeks ago

Not sure why you thought posting something that agrees The Week is a credible source was a good idea, but thanks for the endorsement. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
2.2.2  Greg Jones  replied to  Heartland American @2.2    3 weeks ago

It appears we have an emotionally charged title here...with no basis in fact or logic.

 
 
 
Heartland American
2.2.3  Heartland American  replied to  JohnRussell @2.2.1    3 weeks ago

It’s interesting that when a liberal quotes MBFC regarding a conservative site, it’s just fine but if a conservative does regarding a liberal site, it it’s not. Typical though. 

 
 
 
MUVA
3  MUVA    3 weeks ago

I'm not white but can see the racism in saying white people have more potential for violence bigotry at its finest.  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  MUVA @3    3 weeks ago

Is it your belief that white people have never been violent through the centuries? 

 
 
 
WallyW
3.1.1  WallyW  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1    3 weeks ago

Some have..

Same could be said of any culture or race.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3.1.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  WallyW @3.1.1    3 weeks ago
Same could be said of any culture or race.

Uh, thats kind of the point Wally. Whites can become homegrown radicalized terrorists too. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
3.1.3  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.2    3 weeks ago

But most of them?

That's what you have been peddling here for weeks, whining about Trump's supporters, and all.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
3.2  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  MUVA @3    3 weeks ago
I'm not white but can see the racism in saying white people have more potential for violence bigotry at its finest. 

Please point out where in the article it said that "white people have more potential for violence". I read it several times and can't find that statement anywhere.

The only place I've seen the use of the word "potential" was in Johns comment where he said "The potential for violence from this source goes far beyond what Islamic jihadists could do on our soil." Still not saying "white people have more potential for violence". When he says "from this source" I know he's referring to white supremacists and white nationalist extremists, not "whites" in general. And yes, "this source" has more "potential" for violence because it has a much larger pool to draw from here in the US. And the facts show John is right, we're all far more likely to be killed or injured by a right wing domestic terrorist than we are to be hurt by an Islamic terrorist here "on our soil".

We all seemed fine when we increased surveillance of Muslims who exhibited signs of being radicalized, was that not based on a perception that they had "more potential for violence and bigotry"? Why would it be any different to do the same for whites who exhibit signs of being radicalized?

"white nationalist terrorism is following a progression eerily similar to that of jihadism under the leadership of the Islamic State, in ways that do much to explain why the attacks have suddenly grown so frequent and deadly."

Nothing in the article suggests simply increasing surveillance on "whites" in general, in fact it doesn't suggest anything at all, it simply states that white nationalist terrorism is "eerily similar to that of jihadism".

 
 
 
It Is ME
4  It Is ME    3 weeks ago

"Terrorism experts see 'stunning,' terrifying parallels between ISIS and U.S. white nationalists"

Light Bulb ? jrSmiley_88_smiley_image.gif

 
 
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