Library

Welcome to VOX-Pol’s online Library, a research and teaching resource, which collects in one place a large volume of publications related to various aspects of violent online political extremism.

Our searchable database contains material in a variety of different formats including downloadable PDFs, videos, and audio files comprising e-books, book chapters, journal articles, research reports, policy documents and reports, and theses.

All open access material collected in the Library is easy to download. Where the publications are only accessible through subscription, the Library will take you to the publisher’s page from where you can access the material.

We will continue to add more material as it becomes available with the aim of making it the most comprehensive online Library in this field.

If you have any material you think belongs in the Library—whether your own or another authors—please contact us at onlinelibrary@voxpol.eu and we will consider adding it to the Library. It is also our aim to make the Library a truly inclusive multilingual facility and we thus welcome contributions in all languages.

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TitleYearAuthorTypeLinks
Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System
2012 National Academy of Sciences Report
The National Academy of Engineering called the grid the world’s largest integrated machine and a central part of the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century—electrification of modern society. Reliable electricity service is essential to health, welfare, national security, communication, and commerce. Because of its scale, geographic reach, and complexity, however, the grid also poses many security challenges in maintaining reliable operation. Furthermore, more than 90 percent of the U.S. power grid is privately owned and regulated by the states, making it challenging for the federal government to address potential vulnerabilities to its operation, and perhaps especially its vulnerability to terrorist attack. This report examines those vulnerabilities.
Die Vermittlung arabischer Jihadisten- Ideologie: Zur Rolle deutscher Aktivisten
2012 Prucha, N. Article
Jihadistische Inhalte haben sich im Internet seit den Terroranschlägen vom 11. September 2001 massiv verbreitet. Trotz vielfacher Bemühungen, die jihadistische Webpräsenz zu bekämpfen, finden sich entsprechende Medien seit nunmehr knapp zwei Jahrzehnten in den virtuellen Welten. Ironischerweise nutzen die Jihadisten das modernste Mittel der Kommuni- kation, um im Namen einer primitiven Theologie gegen die Moderne zu kämpfen.1 Das jihadistische Online-Corpus besteht aus Schriften, Videos und Audiodateien, die von Unterstützern und Sympathisanten verbreitet werden. Dieses Material bietet der jihadistischen Szene weltweit ein kohä- rentes Wertesystem und ein Lebensmodell, dem es nachzueifern gilt. Seit 2005/2006 werden die jihadistischen Online-Inhalte auch ins Deutsche übersetzt, was das schnelle Anwachsen einer Szene in der Bundesrepublik begünstigt hat. Der Prozess wird von Predigern und Aktivisten voran- getrieben, die gezielt versuchen, jihadistische Konzepte auf die Lebens- wirklichkeit in Deutschland anzuwenden und damit junge Menschen zu rekrutieren.
Oversight of security-sensitive research material in UK universities: Guidance
2012 Universities UK Report
Universities play a vital role in carrying out research on issues where security-sensitive material is relevant. This guidance document concerns the storage and circulation of security- sensitive research material. If circulated carelessly, such material is sometimes open to misinterpretation by the authorities, and can put authors in danger of arrest and prosecution under, for example, counter-terrorism legislation. Certain procedures for independently registering and storing this material – through research ethics processes – are recommended in this guidance.
Right Wing Extremism In The Czech Republic
2012 Mareš, M. Report
An overview of right-wing extremism in the Czech Republic
Fighting Words- The Persuasive Effect Of Online Extremist Narratives On The Radicalization Process
2012 Braddock, K.H. PhD Thesis

What causes an individual to take up violence against civilians for the sake of a political, religious, or social goal? Of course, there are many possible answers to this question. But, one view suggests that narratives may play an especially important role in changing the beliefs, attitudes, and intentions that are precursors to terrorism. There are at least three important implications of this position. First, it is necessary to determine what is meant by terrorism and related terms. Establishing the conceptual boundaries of these terms is a prerequisite to understanding the relationships among them and with narrative communication. Second, it must be established empirically that narrative has the persuasive potency that has been attributed to it. Although narrative has been compared to other forms of evidence, the impact of narrative communication (vs. none) on beliefs, attitudes, intentions, or behavior, has not been determined. Finally, it is important to directly assess the content of narratives that are intended to radicalize. A close examination of the content within terrorist narratives is needed to reveal the targets of belief and attitude change. By determining the persuasive efficacy of narratives and exploring the radicalizing potential of a specific set of extremist narratives, this project advances our knowledge of narrative persuasion processes and helps address the problem of terrorism by approaching it from a communication-based perspective. Chapters 1 and 2 are dedicated to the explication of key terms. Chapter 1 explores the notions of terrorism and extremism, two contested concepts within the literature. Terrorism is defined as the use of violence or threat of violence against civilians to achieve ideological goals. Extremism is defined as a psychological state in which an individual rigidly adheres to an ideology that is characterized by behaviors that marginalize other-minded individuals through a variety of means, up and including the use of physical violence. A model is proposed that suggests that extremism is a risk factor for engaging in terrorism. As Chapter 1 explored the psychological origins of terrorism, Chapter 2 investigates the psychological origins of extremism. This chapter argues that extremism results from a process referred to as radicalization. Radicalization is defined as an incremental social and psychological process prompted by and inextricably bound in communication, whereby an individual develops increased commitment to an extremist ideology resulting in the full or partial assimilation of beliefs and attitudes consistent with that ideology. Thus, it is proposed that those who undergo radicalization are at risk for extremism, and in turn, at risk for engaging in terrorism. After demonstrating radicalization to be a contributing factor for engaging in terrorism in Chapter 2, Chapter 3 illustrates the efficacy of one source with which radicalization can be promoted, narratives. In Chapter 3, meta-analytic techniques are employed to demonstrate that narrative communication positively affects beliefs (N = 4,510; r = .20), attitudes (N = 5,861; r = .21), and behavioral intentions (N = 4,218; r = .19), suggesting that extremist narratives have the potential to contribute to fundamental changes in beliefs, attitudes, and intentions in the direction of those promoted by a terrorist group. Given these results, a close examination of a terrorist group’s narratives would illustrate the beliefs, attitudes, and intentions that might be affected by exposure to those narratives. Thus, Chapter 4 features a theme analysis of the narratives of a terrorist organization, The Animal Liberation Front (ALF). This analysis reveals 10 distinct content themes that are geared towards radicalization. Taken together, the findings of Chapter 3’s meta-analysis and Chapter 4’s theme analysis show how the ALF’s narratives work to promote extremism. Chapter 5 summarizes the findings from the previous chapters and discusses the implications of them. Specifically, this chapter briefly details the ways in which this dissertation may inform future research on narrative communication and strategies to mitigate the impact of extremist narratives on the radicalization process.

The Geneva Conventions in Modern Warfare: A Contemporary Analysis of Conflict Classification, Combatant Status, and Detainee Treatment in the War on Terror
2012 Hardwick, P. A. MA Thesis
This study is focused on three topics regarding Geneva Convention III. First, is the process of classifying conflicts either as a Common Article 2 or Common Article 3 armed conflict at the onset of hostilities. Conflict classification is critical to the implementation of the Geneva Conventions in warfare and carries with it vast implications dependent upon that decision. The criterion for this classification is presented and, by using the United States as a case study, evaluated to determine whether this aspect of the conventions remains not only applicable but adequate to states who are a party to the treaty. Determinations of the United States and the legal support backing these decisions are thus investigated.
Understanding and Influencing Public Support for Insurgency and Terrorism
2012 Davis, P.K., Larson, E.V., Haldeman, Z., Oguz, M. and Rana, Y. Book
The monograph focuses on public support for insurgency and terrorism and how it can be influenced. It is organised around the testing and refinement of conceptual models that seek to integrate much of what is known from relevant social science about public support.
An Analysis of Interactions Within and Between Extreme Right Communities in Social Media
2012 O’Callaghan, D., Greene, D., Conway, M., Carthy, J. and Cunningham, P. Report
Many extreme right groups have had an online presence for some time through the use of dedicated websites. This has been accompanied by increased activity in social media websites in recent years, which may enable the dissemination of extreme right content to a wider audience. In this paper, we present exploratory analysis of the activity of a selection of such groups on Twitter, using network representations based on reciprocal follower and mentions interactions. We find that stable communities of related users are present within individual country networks, where these communities are usually associated with variants of extreme right ideology. Furthermore, we also identify the presence of international relationships between certain groups across geopolitical boundaries.
Mobilisation and Violence in the New Media Ecology: the Dua Khalil Aswad and Camilia Shehata Cases
2012 Al-Lamia, M., Hoskins, A. and O'Loughlin, B. Journal
This article examines two cases in which political groups sought to harness the new media ecology to mobilise and justify acts of violence to public audiences and to supporters. In each case, a woman's suffering is presented and instrumentalised. However, the new media ecology offers an increasingly irregular economy of media modulation: digital footage may emerge today, in a year or never, and it may emerge anywhere to anyone. The cases analysed here allow for reflection on the tension between contingency and intentionality as that irregular economy brings uncertainty for the political actors involved. Dua Khalil Aswad, an Iraqi teenager of the Yazidi faith, was stoned to death by a Yazidi mob consisting of tens of men, mostly her relatives. One Yazidi uploaded a film of the killing. This led to violent reprisals against the Yazidis. Camilia Shehata is a young Coptic Egyptian who, after allegedly converting to Islam, was returned to her church with the help of Egyptian security forces and kept in hiding despite public protests. Extremists in Iraq and Egypt seized on the Shehata case to justify violence against Christians. In both instances, the irregular emergence of digital content and its remediation through these media ecologies enabled distributed agency in ways that empowered and confounded states, terrorists and citizens.
Cyber-Terrorism - Finding A Common Starting Point
2012 Jeffrey Thomas, B. MA Thesis
Attacks on computer systems for both criminal and political purposes are on the rise in both the United States and around the world. Foreign terrorist organizations are also developing information technology skills to advance their goals. Looking at the convergence of these two phenomena, many prominent security experts in both government and private industry have rung an alarm bell regarding the potential for acts

of cyber-terrorism. However, there is no precise definition of cyber-terrorism under United States law or in practice among cyber-security academicians. The lack of a common starting point is one of the reasons existing law fails to directly address cyberterrorism.

This paper furnishes a lexicon of cyber-related malicious activities and argues for a common working definition of cyber-terrorism. This definition can be both incorporated into current counter-terror legislation and used by government agencies to combat cyberterrorism.

This paper arrives at that definition by analyzing the various definitions proposed by security experts and those in use by governmental organizations. This paper builds on these definitions to arrive at a new definition that is at once broad enough to cover the potentially unique effects of a weapon of cyber-terrorism, while narrow enough to exclude computer network attacks that are relatively minor in nature. Second, analyzing several recent cyber attacks, this paper finds that, while we have not yet faced a “cyber 9/11,” computer network attacks for political purposes are on the rise and becoming increasing complex. Third, this paper analyzes current law related to both cyber-crimes and terrorism, finding that while these laws are applicable in many instances, they fall short in adequately focusing on the most important factor when addressing cyber-terrorism: prevention. This paper concludes by recommending that cyber-terrorism, as defined in this paper, be incorporated into some of our most frequently used laws to combat terrorism.
Cybercrimes against the Electricity Infrastructure - Exploring Hacker and Industry Perceptions
2012 Rege, A. PhD Thesis
The US electricity infrastructure uses Industrial Control Systems (ICS) to oversee its operations. These systems are connected online for better efficiency, making them susceptible to cyberattacks. Current research has extensively addressed ICS vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals. Vulnerabilities, however, are only one of the many factors influencing offender decision-making in cyberattacks. Furthermore, numerous conceptions of threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences exist, which further complicate ICS security assessments. This exploratory study therefore has two main goals. First, it seeks to compare industry and hacker perceptions on electricity ICS threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences. Second, it seeks to identify a broader set of factors that influence offender decision-making in ICS cyberattacks.

Routine activity and rational choice theories guided this study. Nine preliminary offender decision-making factors were organized to create the PARE RISKS framework: Prevention Measures; Attacks and Alliances; Result; Ease of Access; Response and Recovery; Interconnectedness and Interdependencies; Security Testing, Assessments, and Audits; Knowledge, Skills, Research and Development; and System Weaknesses. A total of 323 participants from both industry and (ethical) hacking communities completed PARE RISKS surveys, which were analyzed using non-parametric statistical tests and exploratory factor analysis. Seven interviews were conducted and subjected to a thematic analysis to supplement survey findings.

The hypotheses that guided this research were all confirmed. It was found that hackers and industry experts differed in their perceptions of threats, consequences, system vulnerabilities and prevention measures. Hackers were more likely than industry respondents to believe that cybercriminals accessed hacking forums, exploited internet and email access, and exploited poor password practices. Industry respondents were more likely than hackers to believe that the desired outcomes of cyberattacks included information corruption, inaccurate information processing, and denial/disruption of service.

The PARE RISKS framework was also found to be useful in identifying factors in the pre-attack and attack-in-progress environments that influenced offender decision-making. Hackers and industry respondents believed that cybercriminals engaged in extensive research to select targets; used an assortment of techniques; operated in anonymous, compartmentalized groups; required adequate skills, money, and time; and employed cost-benefit analysis and strategic attack plans both before and during attacks.
Political Extremism in Denmark: A Pre-Investigation for Mapping of Right-Wing and Left-Wing Extremism
2012 Holmsted Larsen, C. Report
The purpose of this status report is to create an overview of the challenges related to right-wing and left-wing extremism in Denmark. The report will form part of a more comprehensive mapping launched partly with a view to concretising and targeting the preventive effort. The present report is based on existing and ongoing research in the area. It is a concrete and fact-based report which aims to identify where in present-day Denmark extreme political problems exist – and what kind of issues the Danish society is facing as a result of this. The report is not a mapping or an exhaustive account of the right-wing and left-wing extremist environments, but rather an attempt to establish a knowledge base which may serve as a foundation for such an investigation. Thus, the report reflects existing research on political extremism in Denmark, which is still relatively limited in scope. Consequently, the report also reflects the researcher‟s own observations and analyses of current developments in political extremism. Furthermore, the future mapping will be based on a quantitative investigation.
Politics and Media 13 February 2012
2014 Islam Channel Video
Part 1 of a panel discussion of February 2012 report by British House of Commons describing the internet as 'a fertile breeding ground for terrorism'. Originally uploaded by 1IslamChannel on 28 March 2012.
Jihad.De
2012 El Difraoui, A. Article
Spätestens seit der Kosovo-Albaner Arid Uka Anfang März 2011 am Frankfurter Flughafen zwei US-Soldaten tötete, hat das Bewusstsein für die Gefahren jihadistischer Internetpropaganda stark zugenommen. Der 21-Jährige erklärte, zu der Tat habe ihn ein Internetvideo bewogen. Wie soll man in Deutschland mit der Propaganda im Internet umgehen und ihrem radikalisierenden Einfluss entgegensteuern? Sie völlig aus dem Netz zu entfernen ist unmöglich. Ohnehin sollte eine gewisse Anzahl für durchschnittliche Internetnutzerinnen und -nutzer schwer zugänglicher Webseiten toleriert werden, um hier relevante Informationen zu gewinnen.
C
Bei dem in dieser Studie vorgeschlagenen Konzept sollte die Bundesregierung federführend in Kooperation mit den Landesregierungen vielversprechende Initiativen identifizieren oder anregen, sie finanziell und logistisch fördern und lose, aber effizient koordinieren. Um diesen schwierigen Balanceakt zu bewältigen, sollte eine unabhängige Struktur geschaffen werden, etwa in Form einer Stiftung oder eines Instituts.
Von al-Zarqawi bis al-Awlaki: Das Internet als neue Form des radikalen Milieus.
2012 Conway, M. Chapter
Chapter in Stefan Malthaner and Peter Waldmann (eds.) Radikale Milieus: Das soziale Umfeld terroristischer Gruppen.
What’s Love Got To Do With It? Framing ‘JihadJane’ in the US Press
2012 Conway, M. and McInerney, L. Journal
The purpose of this article is to compare and contrast the US press coverage accorded to female terrorist plotter, Colleen LaRose, with that of two male terrorist plotters in order to test whether assertions in the academic literature regarding media treatment of women terrorists stand up to empirical scrutiny. The authors employed TextSTAT software to generate frequency counts of all words contained in 150 newspaper reports on their three subjects and then slotted relevant terms into categories fitting the commonest female terrorist frames, as identified by Nacos’s article in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism (2005). The authors’ findings confirm that women involved in terrorism receive significantly more press coverage and are framed vastly differently in the US press than their male counterparts.
Exploring the Form and Function of Dissident Irish Republican Online Discourses
2012 Bowman-Grieve, L. and Conway, M. Journal
This article seeks to contribute to broadening the focus of research in the area of violent online political extremism by examining the use of the internet by dissident Irish Republicans and their supporters. The argument here is not that the internet substitutes face-to-face contacts amongst Irish Republicans, including violent dissidents, nor that it currently plays a central role in processes of radicalisation into violent dissident groups, but that it has an important support function in terms of providing an ‘always-on’ space for discussion, consumption, and production of Irish Republicanism and thus a potentially useful educative role in terms of introducing ‘newbies’ to violent dissident Republicanism while also acting as a ‘maintenance’ space for the already committed. This exploratory study considers the importance of these functions in the context of repeated suggestions that the dissidents have no significant support-base or constituency as internet activity certainly gives the appearance of some such support.
Hacktivism: An Analysis of the Motive to Disseminate Confidential Information
2012 Held, W. V. MA Thesis
Anonymous, LulzSec, and the AntiSec movement are Internet-based organizations seeking to obtain and disseminate confidential data. Governments worldwide have made an attempt to crack down on these groups in response to the actions taken by them. Several countries, including the United States (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2011a; 2011b; Department of Justice, 2011), the United Kingdom (Halliday, Arthur, & Ball, 2011; Halliday, 2011b), Spain (Tremlett, 2011), France (Manach, 2012), the Netherlands (Associated Press, 2011), Italy, Switzerland, Turkey (Harris, 2011), Argentina, Chile, and Colombia (Associated Press, 2012) have made arrests and have raided residences belonging to Anonymous and LulzSec members. It is believed that hacktivist groups were responsible for more stolen data than cybercriminals during 2011(Verizon, 2012), the first year that cybercriminals’ participation in hacking was surpassed by another type of cyber actor. The infamy and notoriety gained by these organizations makes it clear; disseminated confidential information is a threatening phenomenon on the rise in the 21st century affecting governmental security worldwide. The Internet, the most crucial element for the facilitation of these groups’ actions, is responsible for bringing them together.
Digital Terrorism and Hate 2012: The Power of Social Networking in the Digital Age
2012 Abraham, R. and Rick Eaton, C. Report
Analysis of 'digital terrorism' and hate on the Internet
New Approaches to the Analysis of Jihadism: Online and Offline
2012 Lohlker, R. Report
This volume is a result of a research project at the University of Vienna (Austria). The project “Jihadism online” aims at a multi-dimensional analysis of online presence of the transnational tendency often called Jihadism.