Fighting Far-Right Extremism #42

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Deepnews Digest #42

Fighting Far-Right Extremism

The killing of nine people at shisha bars in Hanau, Germany, highlights what Angela Merkel called the”poison” of racism in society. Alarms have been raised by groups across the world in recent years as they worry about many different forms of far-right violence and extremism, the broad subject of this week’s digest. Articles from the last two weeks found by the Deepnews Scoring Model use in-depth reporting and analysis to cover a wide range of angles on politics, misinformation and the fears of those targeted.

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The Daily Beast
ERFURT, Germany — A conservative regional politician, who’d been hounded online by the far right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, was shot dead on his porch last June by a man who’d previously volunteered to hang AfD campaign posters.

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Bloomberg
Gunman is thought to have acted alone, investigations ongoing

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Bellingcat
In March of 2019, Facebook banned white nationalist and white separatist statements from its platform. White supremacism had been forbidden for some time, but last year’s Christchurch massacre seems to have convinced the social network that a more aggresively anti-racist approach was necessary. This ban is not comprehensive, and there are numerous holes in enforcement. This article is about one such hole: the vibrant community of American racists who “hide their power level” just enough to avoid being banned, while subtly pushing their views on friends and family.

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The Guardian
Julia Ebner spent two years infiltrating far-right networks. The counter-extremism expert discusses fear, loathing and democracy in an age of disinformation

Editor’s Note: This piece from the Guardian also appeared in our Matter of Facts Distill, which covers all things misinformation. It explores how Julia Ebner, a fellow at the counter-extremism organization Institute for Strategic Dialogue in London, got inside a far-right movement to study it.

CBC
For years, Canadian authorities downplayed the danger of right-wing extremism, however, they are gradually taking it more seriously.

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The New York Times
HADDINGTON, Scotland — In August 2017, Ben Nimmo was declared dead by 13,000 Russian bots on Twitter.

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Reuters
TOPOLCANY, Slovakia – Slovakia’s far right leader began the year on trial on charges of spreading hate but could end up as kingmaker in a tight parliamentary election next week, adding to nationalist challenges confronting the European Union.

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Sydney Morning Herald
For would-be Romeos, whose views are too extreme for mainstream dating apps, there are radical alternatives. One London-based counter-extremism expert scores plenty of matches as she goes undercover into the online world of white supremacists.

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Al Jazeera
Chinese-Italian community subjected to assaults, insults and boycotts of businesses following deadly epidemic in China.

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AFP
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged Germans to “defend democracy” on the 75th anniversary of the destruction of Dresden in World War II on Thursday, as the emboldened far right rattles the political establishment.

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Financial Times ($)
Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats have prided themselves on the strict cordon sanitaire they built around the far-right Alternative for Germany — ruling out any co-operation or contact. Many now wonder whether it is time for the barrier to come down.

Editor’s Note: Though the party’s leaders condemn violence, the rise of the AfD is the background for discussion of the far-right in Germany today. Several articles on this list deal with the scandal that erupted after conservatives worked with the AfD to elect a leader in Thuringia.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency
BERLIN — Following multiple high-profile attacks by far-right nationalists, German officials are ramping up their efforts against extremists in a move that Jewish leaders in Germany are carefully watching.Both the Yom Kippur attack on a synagogue in Halle last October and the assassination in June of a pro-refugee politician, Walter Lubcke, were carried out by assailants affiliated with the far right.

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Cato Institute
Shutting out the AfD, as the mainstream parties are trying to do, will only make it more extreme.

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AP
HANAU, Germany – In the German town of Hanau, a longtime immigrant destination with decades of coexistence between people of different origins, residents were left with the fear Thursday that their community was targeted after a gunman shot and killed nine people of foreign background.

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Slate
What a Canadian journalist learned while going undercover into an international white supremacist network.

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Al Jazeera
Hanau, Germany – On an unassuming street corner in the centre of Hanau, locals arrived on Thursday afternoon with flowers to pay their respects, placing bouquets on the pavement just under the red and white tape that marked off the scene of the previous night’s massacre.

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High Country News
Despite 10 years of nonpayment on their mortgage, a protracted court battle, foreclosure and the armed police officers who removed them from the property — called Peace of Heaven Ranch — the Nickersons assured anyone who would listen that they weren’t going anywhere. They claimed their eviction had nothing to do with mortgage payments. “It’s because we are Christian,” Donna Nickerson told me one cold afternoon.

Editor’s Note: A different form of right-wing extremism is the anti-government extremism seen in the 2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff in the U.S. Here Leah Sottile of High Country News goes in-depth on what its leader Ammon Bundy is doing now.

The Buffalo News
A self-proclaimed Lockport white supremacist said he defied Cheektowaga police after they charged him with littering for tossing Racial Nationalist Party of America literature onto lawns and driveways.

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Visegrad Insight
The Czech Republic is testing an approach that deals with the potential threats posed by paramilitary groups through the issue of access to firearms rather than through that of extremism. Finding a reasonable balance to deal with ambiguous and multifaceted groups will not be an easy task.

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The Atlantic
Mainstream parties need to consider broader coalitions if they want to avoid partnering with the extreme right.

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The Guardian
Muslim communities in Germany have called for more police protection following the arrest of members of a rightwing extremist group that is believed to have been plotting large-scale attacks on mosques around the country.

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Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona
The study, which focused on the federal elections in Germany held in 2013 and 2017, involved Toni Rodon, professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences at UPF

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Homeland Security Today
Members of the military who claim membership in white supremacist or other domestic extremist groups have to be active in a group in order to warrant investigation, and even then may face an administrative reprimand but not expulsion, Congress heard this past week.

Editor’s Note: The far-right in the U.S. also includes a presence in the U.S. military. Here Bridget Johnson reports on discussions after a poll found alarming numbers of servicemembers had seen evidence of white supremacist ideology.

Belfast Telegraph
Ian Acheson, the England-based counter-terrorism expert who gave countless interviews to newspapers and broadcasters across the world in the wake of this week’s Islamist knife horror in London, can’t disguise the emotion in his voice as he talks about another atrocity nearly three decades ago in Enniskillen.

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The Guardian
The mass shootings targeting two bars in the German town of Hanau appear to be the latest in a series of global attacks motivated by white nationalist ideology, experts said.

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