Clickbait and Conspiracies Understanding Extremist Communications for Public Safety Professionals

Clickbait and Conspiracies Understanding Extremist Communications for Public Safety Professionals
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2024-04-23
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Clickbait and Conspiracies Understanding Extremist Communications for Public Safety Professionals
Unit 2Transcript: Clickbait and Conspiracies Understanding Extremist Communications for Public Safety Professionals
Unit 3Workbook: Clickbait and Conspiracies Understanding Extremist Communications for Public Safety Professionals
Unit 4Recording: Clickbait and Conspiracies Understanding Extremist Communications for Public Safety Professionals

The threats of violent far-right groups are all too real as evidenced by years of data showing the lethality of these groups. This webinar aims to arm criminal justice professionals who interact with community members who might be part of these groups or are vulnerable to radicalization with the tools to help identify them, take proactive measures against these and keep the communities safe.

Leading the discussion is Katelyn Smith, a Doctoral student in the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, in the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice whose research focuses on terrorist and criminal actors, counterinsurgency, and conflict journalism. Also joining to lend his expertise on the topic is Dr. Arie Peliger, a professor and the director of the graduate program in security studies at the School of Criminology and Justice Studies, University of Massachusetts Lowell who has engaged in 20 years of extensive study of issues related to terrorism and political violence.

Specifics covered in this presentation include:

  • Defining extremism, the types of extremism that the public is familiar with, the lethality of extreme left and extreme right violence, and the increase in far-right violence.
  • The challenges and nuances of studying extremism and the state of the issue based on research data.
  • The three main themes from the ideology of the far-right – white supremacy, religious fundamentalism, and anti-government sentiment.
  • The core components of far-right ideology that center around extreme nationalism, nativism, tradition, and anti-liberal democracy.
  • Personal grievances, misinformation, and the allure of a shared interest community that facilitate radicalization.
  • How far-right recruitment strategies cleverly appeal to young males using sexualized propaganda while encouraging participation in mainstream society to avoid detection.
  • The leaderless resistance structure of extremist movements that complicates law enforcement efforts to identify and focus on potential violent actors.
  • How the far-right uses literature and nuanced written, spoken and visual cues to promote themes of dominance, segregation, patriarchy, and cultural superiority.
  • The shift from focusing on overt biological differences to cultural distinctions taken by far-right groups to adapt to modern mainstream sensibilities.
  • Themes, trends, and symbols across the main far-right ideologies.
    • White supremacy: The doctrine they live by, their views, how they identify themselves, the mission and goals the movement adheres to, and the symbols that signal participation in the movement.
    • Anti-government: How it disguises behind core American values, the characteristics and dynamics of the movement, specific groups within this ideology, and the icons and insignia indicating subscription to the ideology.
    • Religious fundamentalism: How it often revolves around apocalyptic scenarios and a twisted interpretation of Christian texts to justify racial and anti-Semitic violence.
    • Sovereign citizens: Who they are, indicators of participation in the movement, and the actions they take part in that may range from nuisance to severe threats.
  • How modern far-right extremist groups are adopting tactics that appeal to the public to rebrand their image, attract people into the movement, and expand their reach.
  • Using information presented to equip criminal justice professionals with the knowledge and skills to manage extremist communications and activities that may lead to violence.

Questions from the webinar attendees are about:

  • Sovereign citizens’ behavior within legal settings.
  • Managing extremist content on social media.
  • Characteristics of anti-abortion extremism.
  • Extremist violence during the election years.
  • Working with communities to identify and mitigate risks of radicalization and extremism.

 

Click here to view and register for other upcoming Law Enforcement webinars and recordings on the JCH Platform.

 

Resources and Handouts

 

 

Audience Comments

  • “Shows the current atmosphere of our culture. Informative but scary.”
  • “Very interesting. Learned a lot. Thank you!”
  • “The White Supremacist indicators/tattoos, specifically the Indiana ones as our city is along our state’s border with southern Indiana.”
  • “I enjoyed this topic of training on this complex issue.”
  • “Please, have these presenters back. This is a topic that needs more coverage.”
  • “Great webinar. The conversation should continue.”

 

Additional Resources
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