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
Risk Of Cyberterrorism To Naval Ships Inport Naval Station Everett a model based project utilizing SIAM
2007 Tester, R. R. A. MA Thesis
Based on numerous high level concerns that the cyber threat is expected to increase, as well as the already documented uses of cyber warfare, it is necessary to ensure our naval ships are hardened against such attacks. In doing so, an influence net model was designed to discover the likelihood of a successful cyber attack. However, first it was necessary to establish what the best mitigation tools are in defense of cyber attack methods. In order to do so, an expert opinion survey was designed and completed by individuals currently working in the field of network security. In combination with the expert opinion surveys and in looking at research and established security techniques it should become apparent whether or not ships are taking all the required steps to best secure themselves against an attack. Though the initial model was designed around a theoretical Naval Station Everett ship, with modification the model can be utilized for any naval asset throughout the United States and the risk for each particular U.S. asset can be evaluated. Additionally, this tool can also facilitate security funding as well as establishing a means of prioritizing the tools for protection if the network needs to be hastily re-established after an attack. Ultimately, the protection of a ship’s computer networks against cyber terrorist threats is fundamental in ensuring continued effective command and control and ultimately the security of this nation.
Users' Adoption Of Emergent Technologies: Towards an Acceptable Model for Safer Cyber-Assisted Olfactory Information Exchanges in Standard, Micro, and Nano Systems
2007 Hyacinthe, B. P. MA Thesis
The potential of terrorists and other enemies to use the Internet and/or other digital information technologies as transport vehicles of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is becoming more evident. This threat may involve cyber-assisted biochemical transactions, which can be performed through olfactory information exchanges, to attack civilian and military targets anytime. In response, this research is the product of a four-year investigation wherein the researcher went through a rich archive of declassified U.S. military reports (covering biochemical warfare and techno-terrorism)and a selective list of patent applications revealing several concepts related to users’ adoption of emergent cyber-assisted olfaction and aroma-embedded information systems. And after a rigorous analysis of the findings, the researcher hypothesized that careless adoption of unsafe technologies could accelerate a cyber-WMD-nexus.

Thus, the study conducted in support of this research sought to examine and explain the adoption of emergent cyber-assisted olfactory information technologies. Cyber-assisted olfaction is an emergent technology that involves the replication of the human sense of smell by computer systems. It can be manifested in the stimulation of human olfactory receptors by computer-emitted biochemical or aromatic particles. Certain olfaction-based biosensors, known as electronic noses, mimic the sense of smell to detect chemical plumes (aroma or warfare agents) in a variety of settings. Notably, the literature revealed an innovative dimension of multimodal, affective human-computer interactions involving scented emails, aroma therapy, and olfaction-based marketing. Unfortunately, the lack of security and safety persists at a potentially catastrophic cost, which is at the root of the researcher’s stated research problem below.

Largely supported by Everett Rogers’ innovation diffusion theory (IDT) and Fred Davis’ technology acceptation model (TAM), the researcher went beyond the “smell-o-vision” aphorism to offer a fertile ground for a new, comprehensive, and flexible framework to understand various aspects of cyber-assisted olfactory information systems, which may be usefully applied to a wide range of auxiliary information systems (i.e., standard, micro, and nano devices). In relation to national security and defense, the proposed Model for Safer Cyber-Assisted Olfaction (MSCAO) can be applied in subway systems, aircrafts, cruise ships, and various mixing/distribution systems (i.e., water systems and chemical plants) to automatically detect and neutralize a biological or chemical threat. Many military applications are also anticipated for emerging urban warfare and emergency rescue operations using devices such as miniature robots and nano air vehicles (NAVs).

Consistent with the aim of this investigation, the researcher used a mixedmethods approach that combined (1) the content analysis of a series of declassified military reports on airborne warfare agents with that of (2) a patent search on aroma embedded information systems to examine, with the help of a carefully designed survey instrument, the perceptions of potential adopters of the proposed MSCAO. Further, in order to collect data and obtain statistical evidence linked to the selected variables (perceived credibility, ease-of-use, and usefulness), the researcher surveyed a diverse group of students from a major Engineering School in southeastern United States, which offers degree programs in Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. Based on the analysis performed, credibility, ease-of-use, and usefulness were found to be significant enough to be considered as positively influencing the acceptability of the MSCAO. In essence, the respondents expressed a significantly high level of need for harm-reduction and cyber security measures against potential threats and considered the MSCAO as meeting their need.

Perceived usefulness (67%) was identified as the principal determinant of the respondents’ intention to adopt the proposed model. Though less substantial than perceived usefulness, perceived ease-of-use (56%) appeared to have a greater influence on the MSCAO than perceived credibility (54%). In sum, extrapolating from the findings reported herein, the researcher concluded that potential users are more likely to accept an emergent technology that is useful, easy-to-use, and that offers credible harm-reduction measures.
Cyberterrorism: Cyber Prevention Vs Cyber Recovery
2007 DiBiasi, J. R. MA Thesis
The technological age has forced the U.S. to engage a new set of national security challenges. Several potential adversaries have cyberspace capabilities comparable to those of the U.S., and are constantly conducting surveillance, gathering technical information, and mapping critical nodes that could be exploited in future conflicts. How can the U.S. government best defend against future cyber attacks? Recent policy documents set out a strategy for securing all of cyberspace, which experts argue is impossible to implement, but also unnecessary. This thesis seeks to move the discussion beyond this stalemate by undertaking an analysis of the vulnerability of cyberspace to terrorist attacks. The first analysis examines the Code Red Worm and the Slammer Worm. These two worms were selected because they were highly destructive and spread faster than normal worms, making them well suited for assessing the existing security of computers and networks. The next analysis examines a staged cyber attack on critical infrastructure, entitled Attack Aurora. In the staged Aurora attack, researchers from the Department of Energy’s Idaho lab hacked into a replica of a power plant’s control system. This attack is the most recent staged attack and facilitates an analysis of vulnerabilities of critical infrastructures to cyberterrorism.
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.
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.
Internetnutzung islamistischer Terror- und Insurgentengruppen unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von medialen Geiselnahmen im Irak, Afghanistan, Pakistan und Saudi-Arabien
2010 Tinnes, J. PhD Thesis
The Semiotic Construction of Identities in Hypermedia Environments: The Analysis of Online Communication of the Estonian Extreme Right
2016 Madisson, M. PhD Thesis
My dissertation consists of six articles and the framing chapter. The framing
chapter begins with introducing the problem of online identity-creation and lays
bare the tendency of the formation of vernacular webs, which are opposed to
dominant media and state authorities. I point out the major reasons as to why it
is relevant, and highly topical, to study the extreme right grass-roots communities
and their prevalent ways of meaning-making. I also outline the main characteristics
that need to be present for defining some content as being extreme
right. The next sub-chapter gives a brief overview of the research, which has
concentrated on the extreme right communication and identity-creation. I highlight
the works of the critical discourse analysis, cultural studies and semiotics
and bring focus on certain papers that have concentrated on the specifics of the
extreme right online communication. Then I summarize the main purposes and
research emphases of my dissertation. I also explicate the reasons as to why it is
fruitful to apply the frameworks of cultural semiotics for comprehending the
processes of identity-creation of the contemporary extreme right. The next subchapter
introduces the sources that have been analyzed in my papers. I explain
why I concentrated on the particular web pages and how the style and the content
of the observed sources transformed during the years of my studies. Then I
elucidate the reasons why I decided to use the non-participatory covert observation
(as one of my research methods) and also unveil certain ethical dilemmas,
which accompany my research. Finally, I present short summaries of the
papers of this dissertation and envisage some possible future directions for my
research.
Online Territories of Terror – How Jihadist Movements Project Influence on the Internet and Why it Matters Offline
2015 Prucha, N. PhD Thesis
This doctoral thesis takes the reader into elements of the strategy of using modern
communication as well the advocated monopoly of truth by jihadist groups world
wide.
9/11 als Netzereignis: Zur Formation von Erinnerungskultur und Mediengedächtnis im World Wide Web
2018 Nachreiner, T. M. PhD Thesis
Die vorliegende Arbeit beschreibt den Zusammenhang zwischen den digitalen Erinnerungskulturen von ‚9/11‘ und der Mediengeschichte des World Wide Web im Zeitraum von 2001 bis 2016. Die darin angelegte Problemstellung behandelt das rekursive Verhältnis von Medialität und Historizität und lässt sich als Kombination von zwei Fragestellungen fassen: Welchen Einfluss hat der digitale Medienwandel – insbesondere in Form des World Wide Web – auf die Verarbeitung des Medienereignisses ‚9/11‘ in verschiedenen Erinnerungskulturen? Und welche Rolle spielen im Gegenzug das Medienereignis und die Erinnerungskultur von ‚9/11‘ für die Beobachtbarkeit des Web als historischer Medienkonstellation und für die Bedingungen der Internet- und Webhistoriographie? Bislang gibt es zu beiden Fragen lediglich punktuelle kulturwissenschaftliche Untersuchungen, die zwar einzelne Anwendungen oder bestimmte Zeitpunkte thematisieren, jedoch die strukturelle Koevolution von Medialität und Historizität nur unzureichend berücksichtigen. Die vorliegende Arbeit ist die erste medienhistoriographische Studie, die nicht nur einzelne webbasierte Erscheinungsformen des Erinnerungsortes ‚9/11‘ betrachtet, sondern ihre heterogenen Entwicklungslinien und transmedialen Verflechtungen genealogisch wie systematisch untersucht. Im Umkehrschluss besteht das Novum der Arbeit in der Ausarbeitung und Anwendung einer reflexiven Perspektive, die den Status von ‚9/11‘ als Element von webbasierten Gedächtnisformen und als Erkenntnisobjekt der Webgeschichte diskutiert.
Techniques for analyzing digital environments from a security perspective
2019 Shrestha, A. PhD Thesis
The development of the Internet and social media has exploded in the last couple of years. Digital environments such as social media and discussion forums provide an effective method of communication and are used by various groups in our societies.  For example, violent extremist groups use social media platforms for recruiting, training, and communicating with their followers, supporters, and donors. Analyzing social media is an important task for law enforcement agencies in order to detect activity and individuals that might pose a threat towards the security of the society.

In this thesis, a set of different technologies that can be used to analyze digital environments from a security perspective are presented. Due to the nature of the problems that are studied, the research is interdisciplinary, and knowledge from terrorism research, psychology, and computer science are required. The research is divided into three different themes. Each theme summarizes the research that has been done in a specific area. The first theme focuses on analyzing digital environments and phenomena. The theme consists of three different studies. The first study is about the possibilities to detect propaganda from the Islamic State on Twitter.  The second study focuses on identifying references to a narrative containing xenophobic and conspiratorial stereotypes in alternative immigration critic media. In the third study, we have defined a set of linguistic features that we view as markers of a radicalization.
CLC – Cyberterrorism Life Cycle Model
2014 Veerasamy, N. PhD Thesis
The rise of technology has brought with it many benefits but also the potential for great dangers. In particular, Information Communication Technology (ICT) is involved in many facets of life-influencing systems, which range from power plants to airports. Terrorists are now realising the great possibilities of interfering with critical infrastructure. Remote access, reduced costs, automation, replication, speed, direct effect, varied targets and anonymity are all benefits that make attacking computers and networks in cyberspace an attractive solution. ICT could thus serve as a powerful instrument to advance political and ideological viewpoints. The ICT landscape now faces an emerging threat in the form of cyberterrorists. However, it is important not to incorrectly perceive ordinary cyber attacks as cyberterrorism. Cyberterrorism is different from cybercrime in that is has differing motives, attack goals, techniques and intended effects. The motivation for cyberterrorism largely stems from political and ideological views (religious, social activism, retributional). Cyber attacks are mainly driven by financial theft, fraud or espionage, whereas cyberterrorism aims to create publicity for a cause and leave a high impact. In this study, a Cyberterrorism Life Cycle (CLC) Model is developed in order to demonstrate the various factors that lead to the establishment and growth of cyberterrorism. The model depicts the various strategic and technical issues that are relevant to the field. Overall, this model aims to structure the dynamic interaction of the behavioural and technological factors that influence the development of cyberterrorism. Throughout the research, various factors that are influential to cyberterrorism are investigated. The research follows a systematic approach of revealing various underlying issues and thereafter compiling the holistic CLC model to depict these critical issues. Part 1 introduces cyberterrorism and provides the background to the field by discussing incidents and example groups. Initially, the concept of cyberterrorism is explored and the proposed definition tested. Part 2 looks at investigating cyberterrorism more deeply. A conceptual framework is presented that introduces the most pertinent factors in the field of cyberterrorism. Next, the traditional and innovative use of the Internet to carry out and support terrorism is explored. Then, the study addresses the determination of additional social factors using Partial Least Squares Path Modelling. In Part 3, the field of cyberterrorism is more intensely studied. Cyberterrorism is mapped to the Observe-Orient- Decide-Act (OODA) loop, which will form the basis of the CLC model. Thereafter, the most influential concepts essential to the field of cyberterrorism are applied in order to classify attacks as cyberterrorism using ontologies. Furthermore, in Part 3, countermeasures are discussed to look at ways to combat cyberterrorism. Part 4 forms the crux of the research. The CLC model is presented as a structured representation of the various influential factors relevant to cyberterrorism. Thereafter, the CLC model is simulated to show the field more dynamically. Overall, the CLC model presented in this study aims to show the interaction of the various strategic, behavioural and technical issues. The CLC model can help elucidate the reasons for attraction into extremist groups and how attacks are carried out.
Framing Online Communications Of Civil And Uncivil Groups In Post Conflict Northern Ireland
2007 Reilly, P. PhD Thesis
This thesis explores the ways in which civil and uncivil groups in Northern Ireland use the Internet to generate soft power. This research assesses whether the Internet creates a critical multiplier effect for marginal groups, such as terrorists and interface communities. A coding scheme, adapted from previous studies of political part websites, is used to determine whether these groups have realised the potential of the Internet as a tool for political mobilisation. The dissertation considers whether there are any qualitative differences between the online framing of terrorist-linked parties and the constitutional parties in the region.
Combat Branding And The Islamic State: A Missing Link To Generating A Terrorist Recruit Profile
2017 Micuda, K. M. PhD Thesis
Profiling has its traditions in criminal investigations where it is used to assist in apprehending an offender by examining and attempting to understand his or her psychological motivations and personality. Terrorist specialists and theorists have applied traditional profiling techniques in hopes of distinguishing nonterrorists from terrorists and in an endeavor to understand the motivators for radicalization. However, these attempts have created a divide between the theorists resulting in contradictory data and debate. With the rise of social media, the methods of terrorism have changed. The Islamic State (IS) in particular has tapped into using media, not only to recruit, but as a form of technological combat, which in turn has added to their success and strength. This dissertation introduces the theory of Combat Branding. The findings of this dissertation suggest that it is possible to create a deductive profile of Western IS recruits by beginning with the examination of IS’s Combat Brand. This is a qualitative visual narrative study of official IS media consisting of video and still images. It is my hypothesis that starting with an analysis of the Combat Brand is a missing link to approaching a deductive profile of the intended target audience.
Race And Online Hate: Exploring The Relationship Between Race And The Likelihood Of Exposure To Hate Material Online
2018 Hall, L.L. PhD Thesis
This research examines the relationship between race and exposure to online hate material. The utilization of websites, weblogs, newsgroups, online games, radio broadcasts, online newsletters and a myriad of other online platforms has proliferated race-based hate groups in the US (Shafer 2002). According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the number of hate groups has been on the rise since the 1990s and continues to gain momentum with the advent of social media (Potok 2017). Exposure to separatist ideologies has propelled these radical rightwing groups into the mainstream by way of social media platforms, as they are "the most active producers of online hate material" (Costello, Hawdon, Ratliff, and Grantham 2016: pg. 313). That dissemination of radical rightwing ideologies, such as white supremacy, racial purity, and racial solidarity, exists is not enough in understanding what individuals are exposed to race-based hate ideologies in online platforms. Exposure is the key to understanding the growth of these race-based hate groups and ways of countering the efforts to disseminate radical rightwing ideologies due to its relationship to hate group emergence and persistence. More so, understanding how these groups target individuals and recruit through social networking sites can provide insight into exposure. Exposure to hate material aids groups in recruiting new members and victimizing potential targets. In the same manner, exposure to hate material is victimization of those who are exposed. In a sample collected by Costello et al. (2016a), of those exposed to hate material online nearly half centered on race. Thus, it is tantamount that research is conducted examining the role that race plays in determining who is exposed to hate material online, and how individuals react to hate material based on race. This dissertation will examine the importance of exposure to hate. Specifically, this dissertation will analyze survey data gathered from the Online Extremism Survey using logistic regression analysis and linear regression to understand exposure to hate material online and routine activity theory.
Mapping Extremism: The Network Politics Of The Far-Right
2016 Jones, S. PhD Thesis
In recent decades, political parties espousing extreme nationalist, xenophobic, and even outright racist platforms have enjoyed variable success in national elections across Europe. While vibrant research literature has sought to better understand the sources of support for such parties, remarkably little attention has been paid to the interplay between parties and the broader social networks of extremism in which they are embedded. To remedy this deficiency, the present study examines the relations between far-right parliamentary parties and their extra-parliamentary networks. One level of analysis tests whether there is a relationship between a party’s position within a network and its sustainability. Social network analysis is employed to assess the nature and structure of ties between Belgian organizations online. In addition, systematic textual analysis of website content is used to determine how a party ideological position within the network impacts its sustainability. The second level of analysis is a qualitative study based on in-depth interviews with members of the Flemish nationalist organization in order to better understand how actors experience social networks. Evidence suggests that the most sustainable parties are those that have dense connections with other nationalist organizations. Mapping relations between far-right parties that compete openly within the rules of institutionalized democracy and their wider social networks can provide important policy-relevant insight into contemporary challenges posed by illiberal forces.
Terrorism, Islamophobia, And Radicalization
2017 Tamar, M. PhD Thesis
Why do ordinary people become supportive of violent, extremist ideologies? Over the past several years, tens of thousands of individuals across the world have become attracted to propaganda disseminated by the Islamic State (ISIS), and many have left their home countries to join the organization. This dissertation closely examines possible explanations for pro-ISIS radicalization in Europe and the United States. I argue that anti-Muslim hostility is an important driver of pro-ISIS radicalization, leading individuals who feel isolated to become attracted to the organization's propaganda. I also contend that groups like ISIS are aware of this pattern, and thus seek to purposefully provoke hostility against potential supporters by carrying out terrorist attacks. I maintain that efforts to stop radicalization should focus on ways to reduce hostility and increase the inclusion of minorities in the West. The various dissertation papers empirically examine different aspects of these arguments. In the first paper, I examine whether anti-Muslim hostility might be driving pro-ISIS radicalization in Europe, by analyzing the online activity of thousands of ISIS sympathizers in France, Germany, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. Matching online radicalization indicators with offline data on vote share for far-right, anti-Muslim parties, I show that the intensity of anti-Muslim hostility at the local (neighborhood/municipality) level strongly correlates with support for ISIS on Twitter. In addition, I show that events that stir anti-Muslim sentiments, such as terrorist attacks and anti-Muslim protests, lead ISIS sympathizers to significantly increase pro-ISIS rhetoric, especially in areas with high far-right support. In the second paper, I argue that armed groups strategically use terrorism to manipulate levels of anti-Muslim hostility in Western countries. I test whether terrorism leads to greater expressions of anti-Muslim hostility using data on thirty-six terrorist attacks perpetrated by radical jihadists in the West from 2010 to 2016, examining how they shaped anti-Muslim attitudes among individuals in targeted countries. I find that individuals systematically and significantly increase the posting of anti-Muslim content on social media after exposure to terrorism. The effect spikes immediately after attacks, decays over time, but remains significantly higher than pre-attack levels up to a month after the events. The results also reveal that the impact of terrorist attacks on anti-Muslim rhetoric is similar for individuals who already expressed hostility to Muslims before the attacks and those who did not. Finally, I observe that the impact of terrorist attacks on anti-Muslim hostility increases with attacks resulting in greater numbers of casualties.  In the third paper, I examine what might be done to stop online radicalization and support for ISIS in the West. I collected data on community engagement events performed in the United States by the Obama Administration, which aimed to increase trust and relationships between the Muslim population and the American government, and combined them with high-frequency, geo-located panel data on tens of thousands of individuals in America who follow Islamic State accounts on Twitter. By analyzing over 100 community engagement events in a Difference-in-Differences design, I find that community engagement activities are systematically and significantly associated with a reduction in pro-ISIS rhetoric on Twitter among individuals located in event areas. In addition, the observed negative relationship between community engagement activities and pro-ISIS rhetoric is stronger in areas that held a large number of these events.
Iraqi Insurgents' Use Of Youtube As A Strategic Communication Tool: An Exploratory Content Analysis
2009 Rheanna, R. PhD Thesis
This dissertation study is a baseline investigation into Iraqi insurgents' use of YouTube as a strategic communication tool. The study utilized a content analysis of videos from October 28, 2008, to December 1, 2008, for the search term 'Iraqi resistance' on YouTube that met stated criteria. Overall framing devices and themes found in the collection of videos were examined. While not a random sample, the collection of videos was selected as a representation of the overall population of Iraqi insurgent videos for the time frame examined. Along with a more open interpretation of frames, the study examined those which may be used to recruit and/or send anti-U.S. sentiment. It builds upon previous research in related areas and applies theory with a focus on Social Identity, Diffusion of Innovation, Cultivation, and Framing in an attempt to explore the phenomenon. The methodological design establishes a baseline for future comparison and study since the topic of Iraqi insurgents' use of YouTube has yet to be examined extensively in the academic arena. Overall, there were 54 videos that met set criteria examined for this study. Of these, most were documentary attacks. While there were 28 Iraqi insurgent groups represented in the videos, only 4 Iraqi insurgent groups were identified in five or more videos. These were Islamic State of Iraq (25.9%, n=14), Iraqi Resistance (24.2%, n=13), Ansar al-Islam (18.5%, n=10), and Jaish al-Mujahideen (13%, n=7). Two of these four groups have a media arm devoted to creating their video content and acting as a media representative to the public and members of the group. There was not a large difference in quality or appeals used between groups with and without a media arm. Analysis of the data suggested Iraqi insurgent groups are using YouTube to recruit and send Anti-U.S. sentiment. There was a presence of several framing devices some of which included religious, nationalistic, anti-U.S., intimidation, and defenses. Overall, videos in the sample had a large presence of violence depicted, especially against U.S. military members.
The Chosen: An Examination Of Extremist Muslim Narratives, Discourse And Ideologies In Cyberspace
2011 SAIFUDEEN, O.A. PhD Thesis
This thesis examines extremist Muslim narratives, discourse, and ideologies over the internet by using content analysis to thematically delineate and reconstruct them for the purpose of discovering the argumentation mechanisms through which they become persuasive and appealing. The research problem is that dominant theories in social sciences and popular literature create 'taken for granted' inferences that relegate extremist ideologies and narratives to the realm of structural contingencies, psychological pathologies, emotive appeal, manipulated religious ideologies, peculiar and unique rationalities or group dynamics. This thesis hypothesizes instead of the existence of a `logical structure` in extremist Muslim narratives. This logical structure is predicated on rationally persuasive arguments (which employ epistemic and instrumental rationality coupled with inductive/deductive reasoning) that appeal to any rational individual but are ultimately leveraged on for morally wrong end-state choices. Unfortunately much of the counter-narratives today seldom address this logical structure and choose to address the more traditional explanations cited above. Themes and argumentation mechanisms stemming from an examination of extremist Muslim narratives in this study demonstrate the presence and workings of this logical structure.
Assemblages Of Radicalism: The Online Recruitment Practices Of Islamist Terrorists
2014 Salihu, F. PhD Thesis
This dissertation explores the various online radicalization and recruitment practices of groups like al-Qaeda and Hezbollah, as well as Salafi Jihadists in general. I will also outline the inadequacies of the federal government's engagement with terrorist / Islamist ideologies and explore the ways in which early 20th century foundational Islamist theorists like Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, and Abul ala Mawdudi have affected contemporary extremist Islamist groups, while exploring this myth of the ideal caliphate which persists in the ideology of contemporary extremist Islamist groups. In a larger sense, I am arguing that exploitation of the internet (particularly social networking platforms) in the radicalization of new communities of followers is much more dangerous than cyberterrorism (as in attacks on cyber networks within the government and the private sector), which is what is most often considered to be the primary threat that terrorists pose with their presence on the internet. Online radicalization should, I argue, be given more consideration when forming public policy because of the immediate danger that it poses, especially given the rise of microterrorism. Similarly, through the case studies that I am examining, I am bringing the humanities into the discussion of extremist (religious) rhetorics, an area of discourse that those scholars have largely ignored.
White Hoods And Keyboards: An Examination Of The Klan And Ku Klux Klan Websites
2011 Selepak, A.G. PhD Thesis
The Ku Klux Klan is the oldest and most well-known extremist group in the United States with a history dating back nearly 150 years. The Klan has been featured in numerous movies, books, documentaries, and been the center of countless news stories. But, in recent years, the Ku Klux Klan has been all but forgotten by researchers who believed the Klan was a dying organization with a nearly extinct membership of individuals who could not accept the end of segregation and the Klan‟s defeat during the Civil Rights Movement. But, recent research by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows the Klan is not extinct, nor is the Klan dying. Instead, the Ku Klux Klan is growing with new members joining across the country and the world. Research has shown the recent growth in membership has been caused by the election of the first black President of the United States, a poor economy and high unemployment, and an increase in the minority population of the United States brought on by immigration. In addition, research has suggested the growth in groups like the Ku Klux Klan has been caused by an increase in the number of Ku Klux Klan web sites on the Internet. This study used grounded theory and a mixed-method approach to examine the proliferation of Klan web sites and to achieve a better understanding of the Ku Klux Klan and its recent rise in membership. Using content analysis of current Klan web sites and in-depth interviews with current Klan leaders, this study examined the beliefs of the Ku Klux Klan, the purpose of the Ku Klux Klan in the 21st Century, why the Klan creates and maintains web sites, and examined the membership of the Ku Klux Klan. Based on analysis of Klan web sites and interviews with Klan leaders, Ku Klux Klan beliefs fall under two general themes. First, the Klan believes white Christians are held to a double standard and not allowed to have pride in their culture and heritage, while at the same time treated unfairly by the media, society, and the government. Second, the Klan believes in racial separation, and the need for whites to either remove themselves from a society perceived as against them or to combat that society through political and legal involvement. Results suggest the Klan creates web sites not for the sole purpose of recruit, but instead, to inform the general public of the Klan‟s goals to combat a double standard in society, and to market the Klan to greater segment of the American population, by using the Internet to rebrand the image of the Klan as an organization dedicated to preserving white, American, and Christian culture. In addition, results indicate no one group exists that can claim the title of “Ku Klux Klan.” Instead, this study found a variety of Klan organizations exist with competing ideologies and beliefs. Using a mixed-methods approach of incorporating quantitative and qualitative data, this study found two types of Klan organizations exist. One Klan is a traditional fraternal organization, while the other is a more radical and extremist organization intent on becoming a paramilitary organization, church or political party. Members of the Klan were generally observed to be average American citizens with families. More specifically, Klan members were revealed to be white, politically and religiously conservative Christians, many of whom were military veterans and owned their own business, and in general were opposed to a changing world and changing American society.