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March 26, 2015 2

50 Years Later: Bending the Arc of the Moral Universe Towards Justice

Fifty years ago yes­ter­day Dr. Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. addressed a crowd of 20,000 peo­ple, many of whom had marched for a week from Selma to Mont­gomery, Alabama to advo­cate for vot­ing rights.  Their arrival was tri­umphant, after the first attempt had left the non-violent marchers blood­ied and beaten—but not defeated—by police offi­cers in Selma two-and-a-half weeks before. As he stood on the steps of the capi­tol build­ing in Mont­gomery and reflected on the jour­ney of the civil rights move­ment, Dr. King rhetor­i­cally asked, “How long will it take?” and famously answered, “Not long, because the arc of the moral uni­verse is long, but it bends towards justice.” martin-luther-king-jr

As with any long arc, it is almost impos­si­ble to see progress from up close.  Each small, incre­men­tal change seems insignif­i­cant from that van­tage point.  Yet tak­ing a step back and look­ing at the tra­jec­tory over the past 50 years reveals how every small step has con­tributed to bend­ing the arc just a lit­tle bit fur­ther towards justice.

Today, the United States has the first African Amer­i­can pres­i­dent and there are almost seven times as many African Amer­i­can elected offi­cials as there were in 1970, when researchers first began track­ing the num­bers. The 2012 elec­tion marked the first elec­tion in which African Amer­i­cans voted at a higher rate than whites.  None of that would have been pos­si­ble with­out the Vot­ing Rights Act of 1965, which in turn would never have come to be with­out the tire­less, daily efforts of count­less indi­vid­u­als.  From the Free­dom Rid­ers who risked their lives to reg­is­ter vot­ers, to the peo­ple who fear­lessly faced police offi­cers with billy clubs and tear gas on the Edmund Pet­tus Bridge, to the advo­cates who lob­bied for pas­sage of the bill and the lawyers who argued in court for it to be upheld, each had a small part in bend­ing the arc.

In other areas of civil rights, too, each incre­men­tal step seems small up close but con­tributes to the greater tra­jec­tory.  Today, as the United States hope­fully stands on the eve of mar­riage equal­ity for all, it is clear that many small steps com­bined to get us here.  From the pro­test­ers at Stonewall to the seven cou­ples who brought a case in Mass­a­chu­setts that would ulti­mately make it the first state with mar­riage equal­ity, from the mem­bers of the LGBT com­mu­nity who came out when it was very dif­fi­cult to do so to their allies who spoke up and spoke out about LGBT rights, each per­son and action had a small part to play.  In the area of women’s rights, the women who con­vened a meet­ing in Seneca Falls to write the Dec­la­ra­tion of Rights and Sen­ti­ments, the suf­fragettes, the women who had careers long before it was socially accepted, those who coura­geously came for­ward to speak about sex­ual harass­ment, and the men who sup­ported equal pay for equal work all put small cracks in the glass ceil­ing.  Together, all the advo­cates, activists, allies, and peo­ple who sim­ply spoke up played a part in bend­ing the arc.

The lessons of Selma are about secur­ing the fun­da­men­tal right to vote for all and civil rights more broadly.  But they are also about what can hap­pen over time if each per­son plays a part in advanc­ing civil rights, speak­ing up for social jus­tice, and mov­ing the ball for­ward just the tini­est bit.  Fifty years after Selma, we are much fur­ther along the arc and much closer to a per­fect union, but each of us has a role to play every day in deter­min­ing the tra­jec­tory from here.

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March 26, 2015 4

American White Supremacists Attend Russian Nationalist Conference

On March 22, Amer­i­can white suprema­cists Jared Tay­lor and Sam Dick­son addressed the Inter­na­tional Russ­ian Con­ser­v­a­tive Forum in St. Peters­burg, which fea­tured Russ­ian nation­al­ists and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from extreme-right par­ties in Europe. The extreme-right par­ties included Greece’s Golden Dawn, Germany’s National Demo­c­ra­tic Party and Italy’s Forza Nuova. The visit to Rus­sia is another exam­ple of Amer­i­can white suprema­cists try­ing to build ties with their Euro­pean counterparts.

Jared Taylor at Russian conference

Jared Tay­lor at Russ­ian conference

Tay­lor heads Amer­i­can Renais­sance (AR), an online jour­nal that hosts yearly con­fer­ences. He often speaks to audi­ences in Europe about white nation­al­ism in Amer­ica. Over the past three years, he has attended nation­al­ist gath­er­ings in France, Eng­land, Turkey and Hun­gary. The con­fer­ence in Hun­gary in Octo­ber 2014 was hosted by the National Pol­icy, Insti­tute, an Amer­i­can white suprema­cist think tank that also has close ties to nation­al­ists in Europe.

Dick­son is a reg­u­lar speaker at con­fer­ences spon­sored by AR and the white suprema­cist Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens. At the con­fer­ence in Rus­sia, Tay­lor and Dick­son both talked about pre­serv­ing the white race and bat­tling “Third-World immi­gra­tion” in the United States. Appar­ently, both men also lauded Vladimir Putin, the pres­i­dent of Rus­sia, who is seen as a pro­moter of tra­di­tion­al­ist val­ues in the West.

Other white suprema­cists in the U.S. have embraced Putin for encour­ag­ing nation­al­ism and Ortho­dox Chris­tian­ity in Rus­sia. These extrem­ists believe that Putin and Rus­sia rep­re­sent the antithe­sis of the global, mul­ti­cul­tural, mod­ern soci­ety rep­re­sented by Amer­ica and West­ern Europe.

In Feb­ru­ary, William John­son of the Amer­i­can Free­dom Party (AFP) posted an inter­view he gave to Nicholas Truschalov of the nation­al­ist Russ­ian Impe­r­ial Party, who report­edly attended the con­fer­ence in St. Peters­burg. Like Tay­lor and Dick­son, John­son talked about pre­serv­ing the white race in Amer­ica. When Truschalov asked John­son about who was defend­ing national iden­tity and tra­di­tional val­ues in the U.S. John­son named Tay­lor and Dick­son as two sig­nif­i­cant thinkers in the white nation­al­ist move­ment. John­son also declared that the AFP sup­ports nation­al­ists world­wide when Truschalov asked what John­son would like to tell Russ­ian nationalists.

Matthew Heim­bach of the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work has also pro­moted Rus­sia. In a Feb­ru­ary arti­cle enti­tled, “The New Shin­ing City on the Hill: Mother Rus­sia,” Heim­bach praised Rus­sia as the “true defender of Tra­di­tion­al­ism.” He added that Putin is “doing the exact oppo­site of what the Bush and Obama admin­is­tra­tions are doing and that is why Tra­di­tion­al­ists should look to Rus­sia for inspiration.”

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March 26, 2015 0

ISIS Cyber Unit Announces More Hacks

Hacker(s) iden­ti­fy­ing as “ISIS cyber army” claimed respon­si­bil­ity for hack­ing fifty-one Amer­i­can web­sites on March 24.

Screenshot of the defaced websites

Screen­shot of the defaced websites

Each of the hacked web­sites was defaced with the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a state­ment that the web­site was “Hacked by Islamic State [sic],” and an e-mail address for the ISIS cyber army, the unit believed to be behind the cyber activ­i­ties of ISIS. In the past, the ISIS cyber unit  claimed respon­si­bil­ity for involve­ment in a series of attacks against a num­ber of Israeli web­sites.

The recent ISIS cyber-attack tar­geted a vari­ety of web­sites, rang­ing from sim­ple online retail stores to forums to help preg­nant women—all web­sites per­ceived to be tech­ni­cally vulnerable.While the attack does not show a high level of tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties by ISIS, it demon­strates their com­mit­ment to engag­ing directly in cyber warfare.

Tweet from ISIS Cyber Army: "...message to the dog of the Jews, #Obama"

Tweet from ISIS Cyber Army: “…mes­sage to the dog of the Jews, #Obama”

Accord­ing to a tweet by the ISIS_cyberarmy Twit­ter account , the recent cyber-attackwas a mes­sage to “the dog of the Jews, Obama.” ISIS and its sup­port­ers have reg­u­larly referred to Pres­i­dent Obama as a “mule of the Jews,” and the phrase “dog of the Jews” may be a vari­ant of this.

The ISIS_cyberarmy Twit­ter account, which appears to have been sus­pended as of March 25, was pre­vi­ously fol­lowed by more than a thou­sand ISIS supporters.The account pub­lished the urls of the hacked web­sites and linked to a state­ment on justpaste.it, a file-sharing web­site reg­u­larly used by ISIS and its sup­port­ers to post infor­ma­tion, which also included the list of hacked web­sites and the seal of what appears to be the ISIS cyber army. The state­ment on justpaste.it started with an Islamic prayer in Ara­bic and included the seal of the ISIS cyber army.

Record­ings show­ing the defaced web­sites were also posted on Aljyyosh (“the armies” in Ara­bic), an online forum for Arab hack­ers, which in the past has been a hub for anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hack­ers. The videos show the hacked web­sites defaced with ISIS flags and an e-mail address of the ISIS cyber army.

In the past, sev­eral promi­nent hacker groups launched cyber-attacks in sup­port of ISIS, but recently ISIS esca­lated its cyber activ­ity by claim­ing direct respon­si­bil­ity for hack­ing per­sonal infor­ma­tion of 100 Amer­i­can mil­i­tary per­son­nel and pub­lish­ing the infor­ma­tion on a “hit list.” These hack­ings are the lat­est exam­ple of what appears to be direct activ­ity by ISIS’s cyber unit.Earlier this year, social media accounts of the U.S. military’s Cen­tral Com­mand were hacked by a group that claimed to be act­ing in sup­port of ISIS.

This capa­bil­ity to engage in cyber-attacks may be a reflec­tion of ISIS’s calls for sup­port from indi­vid­u­als with var­i­ous skills, from media experts to doc­tors, to join and con­tribute to the group and its ter­ri­tory how­ever they can.

The tac­tic of hack­ing U.S. web­sites may also be related to ISIS’s calls for small-scale and lone-wolf attacks against the U.S. and its inter­ests. In the past, ISIS has recruited out­side hack­ers and hack­ing groups to under­take such cyber-attacks on its behalf.

Pro­mot­ing the hack­ings of Amer­i­can web­sites with anti-Semitic lan­guage demon­strates how ISIS’s anti-Semitic sen­ti­ment extends into its sub­di­vi­sions, includ­ing its cyber arm. Like other Islamic extrem­ist ter­ror groups, ISIS has been known to use anti-Semitism to appeal to fol­low­ers.

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