Unless any of us have been living under a rock for the last few days, or decided this would be a good time to spend vacay out in the wilderness or a deserted island, we are all well aware of the awful mosque shooting that happened in New Zealand. As of the last time I checked, the terrorist in that attack managed to kill 50 worshippers and injured many others. He’ll never see the light of day again once New Zealand’s judicial system is finished. Apparently, there is reason to believe that New Zealand will be making some modifications to its gun laws. All well and good.
There is a nagging concern though: we notice an increase in white nationalist terrorism in the US, the EU and elsewhere. The FBI has been reporting on that trend since at least the start of the 21st century. What is fueling this increase? It would be useful if the Five Eyes were communicating with each other about potential international coordination. Apparently that has not happened.
My understanding from the WaPo article is that the Five Eyes have largely tended to view terrorist attacks like the sort that occurred in NZ as concerns for domestic law enforcement, rather than an international concern. There are some constraints that may prevent the Five Eyes from coordinating efforts to counter white nationalist terror threats. As the article mentions, the US has some privacy laws that would prevent some info sharing. However at minimum:
But the Five Eyes countries are collecting information that speaks to trends, including how nationalists are becoming radicalized, the common grievances they share and the methods they’re using to communicate when they do try to forge alliances.
That information, experts said, could be shared more easily among nations with an eye toward improving their efforts to prevent attacks and, in the long run, counter radical ideologies and stop susceptible people from joining the ranks of militant groups.
Understanding how individuals are groomed, how white nationalist propaganda is mainstreamed and by whom (looking at you, Fox News and Breitbart, for example), as well as the extent to which any of these activities are in any way, shape or form bankrolled by international enemies strikes me as critical to containment. Not sure how helpful the US will be at the moment. After all, Individual-1 is one of those whom potential terrorists might cite as an influencer.
Anyway, I am just thinking out loud here. Please indulge me as I try to gather my thoughts. I used to blog a long time ago about authoritarianism and right-wing violence. What we’ve experienced in recent years is, as I understand it, the product of decades of cultivation. I’ve primarily focused on what was going on in my proverbial back yard. That said, I can no longer ignore that there is a striking similarity in rhetoric among those who have been responsible for right-wing terrorist attacks recently, and apparently I am not the only one who needs to view this serious problem from a broader lens.