MEMRI releases ‘The Eye Of The Storm: [Domestic] Terrorists, neo-Nazis and white supremacists using cryptocurrency – Part II’ – A landmark follow-up study on neo-Nazis using cryptocurrency as jihadists did before them


WASHINGTON, DC / ACCESSWIRE / July 19, 2022 / In a follow-up to the landmark 2019 Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) report on jihadist use of cryptocurrency by MEMRI Executive Director Steven Stalinsky, working as part of the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) and Cyber & Jihad Lab (CJL) projects, MEMRI today releases a landmark study on the use of cryptocurrency by domestic terrorist groups. Entitled “The Eye of the Storm: [Domestic] Terrorists Using Cryptocurrency – Part II – Following In Jihadis’ Footsteps, Neo-Nazis Turn To Cryptocurrency”, this study was authored by Mr. Stalinsky, R. Sosnow and the MEMRI Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor (DTTM) team including A. Agron , R Dressler, Simon Purdue, PhD, Szerman N, Parker J, Aaron Wolfson, and Strandberg A.

In the foreword to this new study, General (Retired) Michael V. Hayden, four-star Air Force general, former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and a member of MEMRI’s Board of Advisors, writes : “This second major study by MEMRI on the use of cryptocurrency by terrorist organizations, in progress for more than two years, focuses on the use of cryptocurrency by the sector, which is now a priority concern of counter-terrorist and intelligence organizations both in the US as well as worldwide. The report focuses on its use by racially motivated violent extremists, mainly neo-Nazis and white supremacists.”

General Hayden stressed its importance, adding: “This report is an important contribution to understanding how neo-Nazis and white supremacists are acting in the face of increased scrutiny of their financial activities. It is required reading for national security officials. MEMRI’s Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor (DTTM) project and Cyber ​​Jihad Lab are critical. I know of no other organization that produces reports with this level of detail on domestic extremist individuals and organizations that use, promote, and share information on this important issue to American security.”

Fully eligible members of the media and government agencies may request a full copy of the report [email protected].

The 350-page study spans two years of extensive research, both published and unpublished, from the MEMRI Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor (DTTM) and Cyber ​​& Jihad Lab (CJL) projects. It includes insights from the comprehensive, ongoing daily monitoring by the MEMRI DTTM team, covering the US, Canada, UK, Eastern and Western Europe including Russia and Ukraine, Australia and New Zealand.

The DTTM monitors daily online activity across a range of platforms – both open and password-protected – and establishes trends, identifies threats and alerts authorities where warranted, in over a dozen languages ​​- English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Ukrainian, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Danish, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, Flemish and more.

Follow DTM on Twitter here; Sign up for free DTMM emails here; apply for a DTM subscription here.

Since its release, MEMRI’s August 2019 report on jihadist use of cryptocurrency has been shared with dozens of U.S. and foreign government agencies, as well as academics and other policymakers focused on the issue. This authoritative study on the use of cryptocurrency by terrorists was published over a year before the publication of the first government report on the subject – Cyber ​​Digital Task Force on Cryptocurrency – Attorney General’s Enforcement Framework in October 2020 – which contained similar content.

Speaking of the new study, lead author Mr. Stalinsky explains: “While neo-Nazis and white supremacists have been using cryptocurrencies since 2012, two key events led to a sharp increase in this use. The first was the “Unite the Right” rally in August 2017 in Charlottesville, VA, after which many of these extremists were kicked off their platforms by mainstream crowdsourcing platforms, had their credit cards suspended, and their accounts with online payment processors like PayPal and Stripe were suspended , Apple Pay and Google Pay will be discontinued. Second, following the January 6 events at the Capitol, groups and individuals known to be among the rioters were banned from major banking and money transfer platforms, including credit cards. Payment platforms like PayPal and Venmo have severed ties with organizations that played a role in these events. These extremists have benefited greatly from the proliferation of cryptocurrencies, which allow them to raise, transfer, and spend funds very quickly. Their need for alternative means of conducting transactions is the same as criminals’ need for such means.”

This new study, adds Mr. Stalinsky, will assist Western government agencies in their fight against extremist groups. Their efforts to combat the use of cryptocurrencies by these groups are currently years behind what they need to be – as was the case with jihadists and their use of cryptocurrencies a few years ago. However, he added that this use of cryptocurrency in the Russia-Ukraine war could very well prompt authorities to regulate it; while extremists have so far had no trouble promoting and sharing their Ukraine-related cryptocurrency fundraising campaigns, and there has been no mention of any intervention on the part of the authorities or on the part of the crypto industry itself, perhaps because neither side has been fully aware of the scale of this activity – but that this is changing.

Three years after the publication of this MEMRI study, well-known neo-Nazis and white supremacists are now, like jihadists before them, discussing and promoting cryptocurrencies on social media and accepting donations and other payments. Although they began using it when it first appeared on the scene, government agencies could never have imagined the extent to which they would take it to further their agendas and facilitate their fundraising, recruitment and field activities, and paid very little attention to this issue until recently, when it began to face the threat of domestic terrorism, including in Washington, DC. Since then it has been a topic of increasing attention and discussion – but little action, neither from authorities nor from cryptocurrency companies, platforms and exchanges. This study, along with ongoing MEMRI DTTM cutting-edge research, is part of that focus and at the forefront of the topic, consistently ahead of government efforts; This research clearly demonstrates the rapidly growing use of cryptocurrency by these extremists – in the US, abroad and transnationally.

About the Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor (DTTM)

The MEMRI Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor (DTTM) examines the online activities of neo-Nazi and white racist groups and individuals who disseminate hateful and anti-Semitic content, with a focus on incitement, calls to action and violent threats against Jewish organizations and institutions. Black people, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, political and other prominent figures, government officials and agencies, and the general public in the United States and around the world. It publishes reports on the online activities of these groups and individuals, including reviews of the accounts of individuals involved in the production or consumption of that content.

About MEMRI Cyber ​​& Jihad Lab (CJL)

The MEMRI Cyber ​​& Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates and researches jihadist, secular and other types of hacktivist groups and activities originating in the Middle East, Iran and South Asia, and focuses on investigating jihadists on social media and online through their Use of encryption and other technologies. It works with technology companies to find solutions to deal with jihadists and terrorists online, and with lawmakers to develop legislation to combat this phenomenon. It also assists the business community in matters of cyber attacks and cyber threats from these sources.

MEMRI’s research and translation efforts to identify jihadist and hacktivist activity have provided critical resources to educate policymakers, media organizations, the public, and others. MEMRI asks for your help to continue this important work through tax-deductible donations.

About MEMRI:

MEMRI explores the Middle East and South Asia through its media, bridging the language gap between the West and the Middle East and South Asia by providing up-to-date translations of Arabic, Farsi, Urdu-Pashtu, Dari, Turkish, Russian and Chinese, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural and religious trends.

Established in February 1998 to inform debate on US policy in the Middle East, MEMRI is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. MEMRI’s headquarters are in Washington, DC with offices in various capital cities around the world. MEMRI research is translated into English, French, Polish, Japanese, Spanish and Hebrew.

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SOURCE: Institute for Media Research in the Middle East

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