The alt-right is using psychological warfare techniques learned from leaked NATO and British intelligence documents to further the spread of white supremacy, a new report says.
Study authors from the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, Julia Ebner and Jacob Davey, described the movement as “the ‘alt-right’ has become a catchall phrase for a loose group of extreme-right individuals and organizations who promote white nationalism.”
Study authors argue that alt-right activists are “weaponizing internet culture” to spread their ideology globally.
Ebner and Davey went undercover for weeks and uncovered online alt-right forums. During their investigation, the authors identified the tactics that users adopted to radicalize people online. The tactics were also used to gain support for the far-right groups by zeroing in on anxieties about race, terrorism and immigration.
The authors introduced their study: “The past two years have seen the extreme right raise their profile globally. There have been protest rallies designed to intimidate, spikes in hate crime against minority communities, misinformation efforts to influence elections, and instances of large-scale campaigning and elaborate media stunts.
“A number of successful and foiled terrorist plots – some involving members of national armed forces – were inspired by extreme right ideologies.”
The report found the alt-right using “crowd-funding platforms, custom-made social media platforms and even the use of leaked military and intelligence resources from [U.K. intelligence agency] GCHQ and NATO to run campaigns against their own governments.”
The “largest hate rally” in Charlottesville, Virgina, in August is one such example in the United States. In Europe, the far-right uses crowdfunding to fund patrols in European waters to cut off refugees.
In the recent election in Germany, the influence of and support of the extreme party Alliance for Germany (AfD) increased.
“[U.S. and European] strategic, tactical and operational convergence has allowed the extreme right to translate large-scale online mobilization into real-world impact,” study authors continued.
Study authors contend that the alt-right in the United States supported Donald Trump during the 2016 election and shared tactics with European extremists learned from psychological operations to undermine democracy.