Welcome to the latest edition of “CTEC in the News,” where we round up all of our recent activities. Over the past two weeks, CTEC has been hard at work in building new teams of Middlebury Institute and Middlebury College students as the new semester starts up, and we’ll have more to say on what they’re up to very soon.
Before I get into what we have been able to do, though, I want to take a moment to affirm that, unequivocally, Black lives matter. CTEC supports the ongoing fight for social justice, especially in the wake of Kenosha, WI, police shooting unarmed Black man Jacob Blake seven times in the back.
We tragically witnessed the vital importance and necessity of social change—not in several years, but now—when a 17-year-old shot and killed protesters in Kenosha earlier this week. The shooter’s social media revealed admiration for right-wing reactionary movements, such as “Blue Lives Matter.” CTEC has tracked right-wing attitudes toward Black Lives Matter protesters for months, and calls for deadly violence against them have become dangerously common. We call for increased action to disrupt the normalization of anti-protester violence.
All people have the ability and the responsibility to take action. The best thing you can do right now is make sure you’re registered to vote, and make sure you have a plan to vote. It’s upon all of us to engage in the process, especially at the local and state levels. You can use this site to check your registration.
In the Washington Post’s Technology 202 newsletter, I was interviewed about Facebook’s recent crackdown on QAnon communities for inciting violence. I argued that this action should’ve come sooner—QAnon has inspired attempted acts of violence for three years now—but, overall, it is still a positive that Facebook is enforcing against them now instead of letting it continue to ramp up as we near the Presidential election.
Check out the whole newsletter, which also includes interesting insights from other researchers, like Zarine Kharazian from the Digital Forensic Research Lab.
CTEC Director Jason Blazakis appeared on the radio station of the UK newspaper, The Times, to discuss the Islamic State and the possible prosecution of two British Islamic State members. Blazakis, who worked on the so-called “Beatles” case (referring to the British accents of these ISIS members), spoke about how the case has been complicated by opposed interests between the UK and the United States governments; namely, the UK has blocked intelligence transfer to the US until American officials promised to take the death penalty off the table. Last week, Attorney General William Barr indicated that the US Department of Justice would not seek the death penalty, which should allow the intelligence to be transferred and the prosecution to continue.
That’s all for this week! We’ll see you next week with more.