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In this video, William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies Assistant Professor Dr. Fabiana Perera provides a virtual talk on “US-Venezuela Defense Relations.” Venezuela is the only country in Latin America that was ever able to purchase F-16s from the United States. The purchase of the aircraft is a clear indicator of the strength of the defense relationship between the two countries in 1980's and 1990's. Since then the relationship has deteriorated considerably, allowing space for extraregional actors to play increasingly important roles in the security and defense sector of one of the region's largest oil producers. This talk will examine the defense relationship between the United States and Venezuela in the period from the Cold War to the present. It will highlight key inflection points in this relationship and challenges to be addressed in the event of a transition to democracy. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this video are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of START, the University of Maryland or the United States government.

Event Coverage

In this video, University of Alabama Assistant Professor Dr. Erin M. Kearns and American University Professor Dr. Joseph K. Young will provide a virtual talk on their new book Tortured Logic: Why Some Americans Support the Use of Torture in Counterterrorism. In Tortured Logic, Erin M. Kearns and Joseph K. Young draw upon a novel series of group experiments to understand how and why the average citizen might come to support the use of torture tech­niques. They find evidence that when torture is depicted as effective in the media, people are more likely to approve of it. Bringing empirical rigor to a fraught topic, Tortured Logic has important implications for understanding public perceptions of counterterrorism strategy. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this video are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of START, the University of Maryland or the United States government.

Event Coverage

In this video, Center for Global Policy (CGP) non-resident fellows Alejandro J. Beutel and Daryl Johnson discuss insights from their recent article “Far-Right Extremist Mobilization Surges During U.S. Unrest.” The talk includes a survey of recent U.S. far-right actor mobilization, findings from the article's open source dataset mapping far-left and far-right presence around the nationwide anti-racism protests, a forecast of future short-term extremist trends before during and immediately after the 2020 U.S. national elections and policy recommendations. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this video are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of START, the University of Maryland or the United States government. Please send an email to start-events@umd.edu to receive a link to a recording with closed captions.

Event Coverage

In this video, Jason Blazakis provides a virtual lecture on “Trump's Deployment of Terrorist Designations: A Look at the IRGC and Russian Imperial Movement.” Jason Blazakis is a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) where he focuses on threat financing, sanctions, violent extremism, and special operations related research.  He is also the Director of MIIS’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism where he directs research on domestic terrorism, terrorism finance, recruitment, propaganda, and the use of special operations to counter transnational threats. CTEC provides expert guidance to and reports on the nature of far-right and far-left wing extremism to a world-leading Silicon Valley company as it fends off extremist efforts to abuse its platforms. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this video are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of START, the University of Maryland or the United States government.

Event Coverage

In this video, American University Associate Professor Stephen Tankel provides a virtual lecture on his experiences serving on the majority staff of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Stephen Tankel is an associate professor at American University and an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. His research focuses on terrorism and counterterrorism, security assistance and cooperation, the use of force, and political and security affairs in South Asia. Dr. Tankel frequently advises U.S. policymakers and members of the Intelligence Community on these issues. He has conducted field research in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan, Tunisia, and the Balkans. Dr. Tankel has served as a Senior Fellow on the majority staff of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and as a Senior Advisor at the Department of Defense. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this video are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of START, the University of Maryland or the United States government.

Event Coverage

In this video, GTD Program Manager Dr. Erin Miller provides a virtual lecture exploring the most recent terrorism trends found in the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). The GTD is the most comprehensive unclassified database of terrorist attacks in the world, and the 2020 update includes details of more than 200,000 events that took place worldwide over 50 years, from 1970 to 2019. The GTD research team combines artificial intelligence and analysis by experienced researchers to systematically identify violent events that meet the definition of terrorism and record a wide range of information about each event. The database, which is sourced by news media articles published around the world, includes more than 100 variables documenting the date, location, weapons, tactics, targets, perpetrators, and casualties and outcomes of each attack. You can view the recent report with the 2019 findings at this link. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this video are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of START, the University of Maryland or the United States government.

Event Coverage

In this video, Financial Investigator Rick Magill provides a virtual lecture on “Terrorist Financing Present and Future.” Please note there is an interruption in the video due to a technical difficulty starting at 17:35 and lasting for about two minutes, though the rest of the video is not impacted.

Many government officials have said that one of the most important keys in defeating global terrorism is to starve the terrorists of funding. That is often said without thinking about how terrorists actually fund themselves and what financial sectors are most vulnerable to being exploited by terrorists. Terrorist revenue streams are also constantly evolving, necessitating action that not only will target present funding mechanisms, but future ones as well. This talk delves into the challenges of cutting off funding to terrorists, a task much easier said than done.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this video are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of START, the University of Maryland or the United States government.

Event Coverage

In this video, Dr. Steve S. Sin offers a virtual lecture on “Information Warfare.” Misinformation, disinformation, "fake news", "deep fake", "facts under threat", influence operation, these are but a few terms that are swirling about in our society today that are all part of a discipline that has existed - and have been evolving - as long as history itself: information warfare. We will take a journey through the history and evolution of information warfare and explore how the information environment we are living in today - in the context of information warfare - is both similar and different from our past. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this video are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of START, the University of Maryland or the United States government.

Event Coverage

In this video, American University School of Communication Assistant Professor Kurt Braddock discusses his new book “Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization,” which is designed to strengthen your understanding of the persuasive mechanisms used by terrorist groups and how they are effective in order to defeat them. The book applies existing theories of persuasion to domains unique to this digital era, such as social media, YouTube, websites, and message boards to name but a few. Terrorists deploy a range of communication methods and harness reliable communication theories to create strategic messages that persuade peaceful individuals to join their groups and engage in violence. While explaining how they accomplish this, the book lays out a blueprint for developing counter-messages perfectly designed to conquer such violent extremism and terrorism. Using this basis in persuasion theory, a socio-scientific approach is generated to fight terrorist propaganda and the damage it causes. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this video are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of START, the University of Maryland or the United States government.

Event Coverage

START Graduate Studies Director Marcus Boyd provided a virtual lecture on “Defining Terrorism,” which was based on a lecture from START’s Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Analysis.

When we talk about terrorism, we often assume that others know what we mean and share the same definition. The words “terrorism” and “terrorist” tell us just as much about the person using the terms as it does about who they are describing. The terms and the tactics flow like a thread through history, but a comprehensive definition remains elusive. This talk delves into the difficulties and pitfalls of defining terrorism. By linking social theory and philosophical thought, we can begin to critically examine why a universal definition of terrorism remains just out of reach.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this video are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of START, the University of Maryland or the United States government.

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