As the director of Jihad Watch, I have an ongoing interest in the activities of violent extremists, and have been tracking those activities daily for eighteen years now. But now, in their benevolence, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube have made it easier than ever with their Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT): all I have to do is look in the mirror.
The GIFCT means to wipe out the groups it targets. Tyler O’Neil explains at PJ Media that GIFCT “shares terrorism data among Big Tech companies, enabling them to flag and remove terrorist content,” and is stepping up these operations: “On Monday, GIFCT announced that it significantly expanded the types of extremist content in its database, aiming to crack down on material from white supremacists and far-right militias.”
It’s about time, right? Those white supremacists and far-right militias have been rioting with impunity in Portland, and Seattle, and – oh, wait, that was the noble ideological heirs of the heroes of World War II. But we don’t have to guess who they have in mind: the GIFCT offers a helpful list of the dangerous groups from which it is going to save us.
At the highest level, Level 3, are the groups GIFCT classifies as actual bloodthirsty, grade-A certified dangerous terrorists: Boogaloo Boys, Ku Klux Klan, the National Socialist Network, Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, even the Irish Republican Army. But that’s not all that the intrepid warriors of the GIFCT are going after. Once you’ve reached Level 3, the problem has advanced way too far, anyway. The GIFCT aims to nip terrorism in the bud by also targeting Level 2, “Violent Extremism,” which includes groups that are just below terrorist group status, but moving up the charts with a bullet: Blood & Honour, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and…Jihad Watch.
Perhaps even more surprising than the inclusion of Jihad Watch on this list is the fact that Antifa is also listed at Level 2. The likelihood of the social media giants moving in on Antifa is about as likely as Nancy Pelosi being Trump’s running mate in 2024, but it does help put things in perspective. Antifa has been openly calling for and applauding violence in cities all over the country, and as far as the counter-terror “experts” at the GIFCT are concerned, they’re on par with an organization that is dedicated to tracking jihad terror activity and elucidating its motivating ideology. Unlike Antifa, neither I nor Jihad Watch has ever called for or approved of any violence or illegal activity of any kind. But another way we differ from Antifa is that establishment media stooges aren’t falling all over themselves likening us to the men (you may remember what those were) who stormed the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944. The likelihood that Jihad Watch will be targeted for being on the GIFCT’s list, and Antifa given another pass, is about 100%.
On the morning I found out that I was a violent extremist, I discovered that violent extremists sometimes enjoy a bit of yogurt for breakfast, try to fit in a good long walk, and spend a lot of the day typing. It was a bit more sedentary, and definitely filled with less death-defying adventure, than I expected for an official “violent extremist.” With all the time I sit here facing this infernal machine, the GIFCT may think I’m at work on my “manifesto,” for they say they’re going to make sure that “Manifestos from terrorist and violent extremist attackers” are removed from the Internet, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be intensely scrutinized, for “a wide range of experts on expanding the reach and impact of our hash-sharing database’s taxonomy in order to respond to terrorist content online across the ideological spectrum.”
Hey, great. Let me start you folks off on the right foot. Here’s my Manifesto, GIFCT, straight from one of your designated “violent extremists.” Get your experts on this, and make sure they study it carefully. Ready? Here it is:
You. People. Are. Nuts.
That’s it. You like it? It took me months to get the precise formulation of my “violent extremist” ideas. And just because I have so much respect for your violent extremist-hunting prowess, GIFCT wonks, here’s a bonus. Here’s what I want for America and the world: the freedom of speech. The freedom of conscience. The equality of rights of all people before the law.
Yeah, I know that messes with you Communists’ sugar-plum visions of racial strife, civil war, and the dissolution of America as a unitary nation-state. And that may be the clue to all of this madness. Violent extremists and their enablers want to make sure they have a free hand, and one strategy to get it was delineated in the Marxists’ tested-and-true playbook: accuse your enemy of that which you’re guilty of doing. Could it be that my organization been designated a violent extremist group because some people have a bit of violent extremism planned and want to make sure that anyone who might speak out against them is silenced and cleared away?
Stranger things have happened. Meanwhile, if I disappear from the net, and from the streets, someday soon, you’ll know that the good folks at the GIFCT have done their job. One less violent extremist will be menacing the rest of us. And we will all be able to breathe a sigh of relief over that. Won’t we?
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins―Revised and Expanded Edition. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.