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Where Terrorism Research Goes Wrong – NYTimes.com

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Where Terrorism Research Goes Wrong – NYTimes.com.

“TERRORISM is increasing. According to the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland, groups connected with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State committed close to 200 attacks per year between 2007 and 2010, a number that grew by more than 200 percent, to about 600 attacks, in 2013.

Since 9/11, the study of terrorism has also increased. Now, you might think that more study would lead to more effective antiterrorism policies and thus to less terrorism. But on the face of it, this does not seem to be happening. What has gone wrong?

The answer is that we have not been conducting the right kind of studies. According to a 2008 review of terrorism literature in the journal Psicothema, only 3 percent of articles from peer-reviewed sources appeared to be rooted in empirical analysis, and in general there was an “almost complete absence of evaluation research” concerning antiterrorism strategies…”

When Women Become Terrorists – NYTimes.com

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When Women Become Terrorists – NYTimes.com.

SINCE the terror attacks in Paris two weeks ago, the French police have been on the hunt for Hayat Boumeddiene, the partner of Amedy Coulibaly, one of the slain gunmen. She is now suspected to be in Syria. Some news reports speculate that Ms. Boumeddiene, 26, may have been “the more radical of the two.” Yet one of the first questions that French authorities intend to ask her is, they say, “if she did this under influence, if she did it by ideology, if she did it to aid and abet.”

While much will be made in the coming months of France’s intelligence failures, the West’s inability to appreciate the role that women play in terror should come under the highest scrutiny. Take the role of women in the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL. While the group oppresses many women, many also flock to its ranks. Roughly 10 percent of its Western recruits are female, often lured by their peers through social media and instant messaging. The percentage is much higher in France: An estimated 63 of the 350 French nationals believed to be with the group are women, or just under 20 percent.

This story is both a new one and an old one. Women have long been involved in terror of all stripes, from female neo-Nazis in Europe to Chechen “black widow” suicide bombers…

I am Charlie, but I am Baga too: On Nigeria’s forgotten massacre | Daily Maverick

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I am Charlie, but I am Baga too: On Nigeria’s forgotten massacre | Daily Maverick.

There are massacres and there are massacres. The Paris massacre was tragic, but it was hardly the worst thing that happened last week. Not even close.

For that, we must head to Nigeria, and to the town of Baga – or at least to the spot on the map where Baga once stood, because there’s not much left of it now.

Reports of the massacre there are necessarily hazy; the nearest journalists are hundreds of kilometres away (even there, they are not particularly safe), and information comes almost exclusively from traumatised refugees and unreliable government sources.

Still, enough facts have emerged to know that something terrible happened here; something apocalyptic.

Baga is in north-eastern Nigeria, on the border with Cameroon. It is no stranger to massacres. In April 2013, nearly 200 people, mostly civilians, were slaughtered by the Nigerian armed forces in a military offensive designed to push out Boko Haram. This, however, was just a teaser. A taste of the horror that was to come.

Over the course of five days, beginning on Saturday last week, Boko Haram fighters entered the city with Nigerian soldiers fleeing before them, and destroyed it and anybody that was too slow in escaping – men, women, children. “The whole town was on fire,” said one eyewitness, while others speak of roads lined with corpses. The body count varies, but Amnesty International puts it at over 2,000 deaths – or the rough equivalent of 133 Charlie Hebdo attacks…

I Am Not Charlie Hebdo – NYTimes.com

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I Am Not Charlie Hebdo – NYTimes.com

The journalists at Charlie Hebdo are now rightly being celebrated as martyrs on behalf of freedom of expression, but let’s face it: If they had tried to publish their satirical newspaper on any American university campus over the last two decades it wouldn’t have lasted 30 seconds. Student and faculty groups would have accused them of hate speech. The administration would have cut financing and shut them down.

Public reaction to the attack in Paris has revealed that there are a lot of people who are quick to lionize those who offend the views of Islamist terrorists in France but who are a lot less tolerant toward those who offend their own views at home…

‘Charlie Hebdo, Before the Massacre’ – NYTimes.com

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‘Charlie Hebdo, Before the Massacre’ – NYTimes.com.

In February 2006 the editors of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo met to discuss a matter of what turned out to be deadly consequence: Would they publish a satirical image of Muhammad on their cover? We were making a documentary about Jean Cabut, known as Cabu, one of the most famous cartoonists in France. So we were there, filming his conversation with his colleagues as they chose the cover. The issue that came out of this meeting — with a Cabu cartoon on the cover and the images they discussed here — turned out to be one of the most popular in the magazine’s history. Almost nine years later, gunmen stormed this very meeting and killed 10 editors and cartoonists, including three of the people in this film: Cabu, Bernard Verlhac (known as Tignous) and Georges Wolinski…

Top British Spy Warns of Terrorists’ Use of Social Media – NYTimes.com

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Top British Spy Warns of Terrorists’ Use of Social Media – NYTimes.com.

LONDON — One of Britain’s highest-ranking intelligence officials on Tuesday castigated the giant American companies that dominate the Internet for providing the “command-and-control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals” and challenged the companies to find a better balance between privacy and security.

The statements were made by Robert Hannigan, the newly appointed director of GCHQ, Britain’s electronic intelligence agency. They were among the most pointed in a campaign by intelligence services in Britain and the United States against pressure to rein in their digital surveillance after disclosures by the American former contractor Edward J. Snowden…

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