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Twitter suspends dozens of white nationalist accounts that spread Christchurch shootings conspiracy theory

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Twitter suspends dozens of white nationalist accounts that spread Christchurch shootings conspiracy theory

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Dozens of white nationalist Twitter accounts that spread a conspiracy theory which inspired the Christchurch shooter and other terrorists have been suspended.

Key figures in Generation Identity saw their profiles shut down alongside national and regional factions in Germany, Austria, Italy, France and Denmark.

The pan-European group calls for a remigration of Muslims from Europe and spreads a conspiracy theory claiming that white people are being eradicated.


The theorys name the great replacement was the title of a manifesto posted by Brenton Tarrant before the Christchurch shooting, which itself inspired several other terror attacks.

Tarrant donated money to the Austrian branch of Generation Identity and exchanged friendly emails with its leader Martin Sellner, who has been banned from entering Britain and the US on security grounds.

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He and other leading figures in the network had been allowed to remain on Twitter, despite widespread calls for action following the March 2019 Christchurch shootings, until Friday.

NBC said more than 50 white nationalist accounts had been removed but Twitter would not publicly confirm the figure.

The accounts in question were suspended for violating our policies in relation to violent extremism, a spokesperson said.

It came after the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism released a critical report saying Twitter and YouTube had allowed Generation Identity to run rampant.

The report said its core ideology had inspired six fatal attacks since October 2018, in Christchurch, two US synagogues, El Paso, Halle and Hanau in Germany.

It would be inconceivable for social media platforms to allow Isis propaganda to spread and grow unchecked, but that is exactly what is happening with Identitarianism, it added.

Researchers found 67 Twitter accounts for Generation Identity chapters in 14 countries, with nearly 140,000 followers.

Sellner has already gathered more than 50,000 followers on the Telegram encrypted messaging app, where he told followers that he had expected Twitter to remove his account last year.

Julia Ebner, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), told The Independent that the delay had given him and other leaders time to prepare for a shift off mainstream platforms.

Thats the massive issue with a time-lag in taking down accounts, she added.

I think thats a really big mistake and hopefully thats something the tech platforms will learn for the future so they have better coordination on these things.

Matthew McGregor, campaigns director at Hope Not Hate, said: Any action against those disseminating hate and division on popular social media platforms is always welcome, though it has in truth taken far too long for Twitter and others to wake up to the problem – we fear the damage is now already done.

Tech companies are still way behind the curve when it comes to taking racists offline, despite these bans Twitter still seems content to let former KKK leader David Duke use their platform to spread antisemitic conspiracies and hate.

Ms Ebner said that several groups and think-tanks had previously warned Twitter that Generation Identitys propaganda was inspiring attacks around the world, but that it was good to see theyve given into the pressure.

In the past few months Generation Identity outlets in different countries have been spreading really disinformation and conspiracy theories around coronavirus, she added.

They include attempts to link migration to coronavirus, including allegations that the first case in Italy was a migrant, and that asylum seekers in France are committing robberies during the pandemic.

The UK branch of Generation Identity was formally dissolved in January, after infighting caused the group to split from the European leadership and rebrand itself as the Identitarian Movement.

A Generation Identity training camp in summer 2016 (YouTube)

Ms Ebner said that although there were indications that the groups offline structures had been weakened, their online networks had not.

Its becoming more of a loose network than the top-organised group with a standardised strategy, she explained.

Its more fragmented right now but that doesnt mean we should underestimate the danger from their overarching ideology.

Last year, the head of UK counterterror policing named far-right extremism as the fastest growing terror threat, despite Islamist-inspired plots and attacks remaining more frequent.

But when asked by The Independent how Generation Identity was being combatted in September, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said he had no plan because the group did not cross the threshold for current terror laws.

Last month, a review was launched over concerns there were gaps in the law which allow extremists including Generation Identity to operate with impunity.

The former head of counterterrorism, Sir Mark Rowley, is leading the inquiry which will examine whether existing legislation adequately addresses hateful extremism.

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

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My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

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