10-16-2021  2:06 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Set to Expand Hotline for Bias Crime Reporting

With a rise in hate crimes and bias incidents in Oregon and nationwide the two-person office just couldn’t handle the volume.

Portland Shootings Prompt DA to Spend $1M to Handle Cases

Multnomah County plans to hire four prosecutors and two investigators to help with an increasing caseload of homicide investigations

Cascadia Whole Health Honors Community Justice Leader, Fine Artist with Culture of Caring Awards

Erika Preuitt and Jeremy Okai Davis recognized for positive contributions to community.

Salem-Keizer School Boards Adopts Anti-Racism Resolution

The Salem-Keizer school board has voted to adopt a resolution outlining the board’s commitment to equity and anti-racism.

NEWS BRIEFS

Joint Center Commends Senator Whitehouse for Hiring Monalisa Dugué as Chief of Staff

Dugué is one of two Black Chiefs of Staff in the Senate ...

FBI Offers up to $25,000 for Information in Mass Shooting Event

18-year-old Makayla Maree Harris killed and six others injured in a Portland shooting on July 17, 2021 ...

Nearly 100 Animals Seized From Woofin Palooza Forfeited to MCAS

A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge has ruled that dogs and cats seized from an unlicensed facility named Woofin Palooza are now...

City of Seattle Office and Sound Transit Finalize No-Cost Land Transfer for Affordable Housing Development

Rainier Valley Homeownership Initiative will create at least 100 for-sale homes, permanently affordable to low- and moderate-income...

Sierra Club Reacts to Rep. Schrader’s Comments on Climate Change

Schrader Calls Climate Change “biggest threat to Americans” after voting against key policy in committee ...

'Lawless city?' Worry after Portland police don't stop chaos

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A crowd of 100 people wreaked havoc in downtown Portland, Oregon, this week – smashing storefront windows, lighting dumpsters on fire and causing at least 0,000 in damage – but police officers didn't stop them. Portland Police Bureau officials say...

Legionnaires outbreak persists at Portland apartment complex

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Officials have confirmed that a North Portland apartment complex had a new case of Legionnaires’ disease in late September, the latest in an outbreak attributed to the waterborne illness since January. The Multnomah County Health Department said the...

No. 21 Texas A&M heads to Mizzou after 'Bama upset win

No. 21 Texas A&M (4-2, 1-2 SEC) at Missouri (3-3, 0-2), Saturday at noon EDT (SEC Network). Line: Texas A&M by 9 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Series record: Texas A&M leads 8-7. WHAT’S AT STAKE? ...

No. 21 Texas A&M tries to avoid 'Bama hangover at Mizzou

Jimbo Fisher opened his weekly news conference going through everything that Texas A&M did well the previous week, when the Aggies stunned then-No. 1 Alabama before a raucous crowd at Kyle Field. It was a long list. So it wasn't surprising that by the end...

OPINION

How Food Became the Perfect Beachhead for Gentrification

What could be the downside of fresh veggies, homemade empanadas and a pop-up restaurant specializing in banh mis? ...

Homelessness, Houselessness in the Richest Country in the World: An Uncommon Logic

When and why did the United States of America chose the wealth of a few over the health, wealth, and well-being of so many ...

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

South Carolina awards Staley 7-year, .4 million contract

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — It certainly was a big day for Dawn Staley. South Carolina's national championship coach thought it was just as important for women's basketball and gender equity. Staley and the school announced a new, seven-year contract that will pay her [scripts/homepage/home.php].9 million...

New Mexico judge denies lab workers' claim in vaccine fight

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge on Friday denied a request by dozens of scientists and others at Los Alamos National Laboratory to block a vaccine mandate, meaning workers risk being fired if they don't comply with the lab's afternoon deadline. The case comes as...

New York's likely new mayor plans to preserve gifted program

NEW YORK (AP) — The Democrat who will likely become New York City's next mayor says he does not intend to get rid of the city's program for gifted and talented students, nipping plans that outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio just announced. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams...

ENTERTAINMENT

Film TV workers union says strike to start next week

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The union representing film and television crews says its 60,000 members will begin a nationwide strike on Monday if it does not reach a deal that satisfies demands for fair and safe working conditions. A strike would bring a halt to...

Gary Paulsen, celebrated children's author, dies at 82

NEW YORK (AP) — Gary Paulsen, the acclaimed and prolific children's author who often drew upon his rural affinities and wide-ranging adventures for tales that included “Hatchet,” “Brian's Winter” and “Dogsong,” has died at age 82. Random House Children's Books...

Todd Haynes: Finding the frequency of the Velvet Underground

The most often-repeated thing said about the Velvet Underground is Brian Eno’s quip that the band didn’t sell many records, but everyone who bought one started a band. You won’t hear that line in Todd Haynes’ documentary “The Velvet Underground,” nor will you see a...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Jill Biden travels to Virginia, New Jersey to help Democrats

HENRICO, Va. (AP) — First lady Jill Biden campaigned Friday for Democrats in governors' races in Virginia and...

Authorities call fatal stabbing of UK lawmaker terrorist act

LEIGH-ON-SEA, England (AP) — A long-serving member of Parliament was stabbed to death Friday during a meeting...

US vows to pay relatives of Afghans killed in drone strike

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Defense Department said Friday that it is committed to offering condolence payments...

Czech PM Babis heading for opposition after losing election

PRAGUE (AP) — Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said he wouldn't accept an offer to try to create a new...

At least 46 killed in Taiwanese apartment building inferno

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan (AP) — At least 46 people were killed and another 41 injured after a fire broke out early...

Lebanon buries 7 killed amid street battles over port probe

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon on Friday mourned seven people killed in gunbattles on the streets of Beirut the previous...

Paisley DODds Associated Press


The infamous self-portrait Anders Behring Breivik included in an online manifesto.

LONDON (AP) -- When the English Defense League sprang to life two years ago, it had fewer than 50 members - a rough-and-tumble bunch of mostly white guys shouting from a street corner about what they viewed as uncontrolled Muslim immigration.

Now, the far-right group mentioned by confessed Norway gunman Anders Behring Breivik as an inspiration says its ranks have swollen to more than 10,000 people, a spectacular rise its leaders attribute to the immense global power of Facebook and other social networking sites.

"I knew that social networking sites were the way to go," EDL leader Stephen Lennon told The Associated Press. "But to say that we inspired this lunatic to do what he did is wrong. We've never once told our supporters its alright to go out and be violent."

A Facebook page under Breivik's name was taken down shortly after the attacks last week. A Twitter account under his name had only one Tweet, on July 17, loosely citing English philosopher John Stuart Mill: "One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests."

Norwegian investigators have pored through data on Breivik's computer and say they now believe he was acting alone. They have also said they haven't found any links of concern between Breivik and far right British groups such as the EDL.

In addition to Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, the Internet hosts thousands of forums for far-left, far-right and other extremist groups. In Germany alone, far-right groups ran some 1,000 websites and 38 online radio stations as of late last year with many aimed at recruiting followers. Social networking sites, complete with politically charged music, are particularly drawing younger audiences who increasingly get their information outside of traditional media.

Extremists "still favor online chat platforms - often with several hundred participants - but they are increasingly turning to social media," said Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which called the danger of recruitment "considerable."

Intelligence and law enforcement officials have mixed feelings about the sites. On one hand, they recognize the potential for recruiting groups or individuals into violent movements. On the other, the sites allow officials to track and catch perpetrators. Germany's interior minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, told local media this week that he's more worried about extremists who go underground and "radicalize in secret."

Most agree that the most violent criminals often give little to no clear warning of the deadly acts they are about to commit, and that sometimes it's difficult to know when a person is simply boasting or whether their online activity suggests they could become killers.

What's undeniable is the social media's power to bring together people with like-minded views.

"Fifty years ago, if you believed that the Earth was populated by spies from Jupiter, it would have taken you quite some time to find someone else who shared the same belief," said Bob Ayers, a London-based former U.S. intelligence official. "That's not the case today. Social networking sites have changed the mathematics of things, and with that change, comes both pros and cons."

Several of the email addresses to which Breivik sent his 1,516-page manifesto hours before the Oslo bombing matched Facebook profiles of people flaunting neo-Nazi or ultra-nationalist symbols.

Those profiles, in turn, were set up to connect with like-minded people. One apparently Italian addressee - whose profile picture shows a swastika, the SS-symbol, and a skull - linked to Facebook groups representing "Fascist Music," the biography of former Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, as well as firearms.

His list of 462 "friends" showed several people with similar profiles, including some with the symbols or illustrations of the Knights Templar, a group that Breivik said he joined after meeting with a group of right-wing men in London.

Another addressee, showing off his pumped up torso and shaved head, lists the anti-immigration British National Party as his political views.

The British National Party, which won its first seat in European parliamentary elections last year, recently encouraged its members to use social media outlets. It even suggested that supporters use hashtags such as (hash)nationalist and (hash)BNP - techniques designed to capture a larger audience on a specific topic.

"Social networking is an important way of keeping in touch with the British National Party, and taking small, easy actions to promote our fight for our identity and culture," the BNP said on its site. "It's just one way you can make a difference and show you care about the cause we all believe in."

The group recommended its supporters post pro-nationalist quotes on Facebook to inspire friends to take action.

Some analysts say that although it's clear social media plays an important role in strengthening the far-right's sense of identity and solidarity, it's too early to say how much Facebook and Twitter have helped contribute to extremist violence.

"The fact that we have more blogs, more online forums, doesn't mean we have a greater risk of terrorism," said Matthew Goodwin, a politics lecturer who recently published a book on the far right in Britain. "Even if they hold radical, extreme views, it doesn't mean they're pro-violence."

Facebook says it relies on its community to police the site and usually only steps in when individuals or groups are inciting violence or hate. It would not comment on whether it was cooperating with law enforcement agencies looking into the Norway massacre.

"Facebook has a team of professionals that removes content that violates our policies, which includes content that's hateful, makes actionable threats, or includes nudity and/or pornography," said Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes.

Daniel Hodges, a spokesman for Searchlight, a UK magazine that campaigns against far-right extremism, said the Internet has allowed "all sorts of appalling viewpoints" to be read by anyone. "How many people over the world today have now read Breivik's manifesto?" he said.

The Internet often lets groups like the EDL come across as more powerful than they really are, he said.

"(The Internet) allows them to reach their membership relatively speedily, relatively anonymously. It enables them to give a perception of a significant critical mass. But many far right activists live online, not in the real world," Hodges said.

During a recent British election, the BNP suffered from a lack of grassroots support on the ground, even though its website received massive online traffic.

The definition of what counts as hate speech also varies from one country to another, and in the U.S. much of it is protected under the First Amendment. Denying the Holocaust, for example, is illegal in many European countries but not in the U.S.

U.S. laws also protect Internet companies from being held responsible for the content on their sites.

Rather than automatically take down pages that are in the gray area, some civil libertarians think it's better for social media sites to "err on the side of caution" and let the community handle it.

"Facebook and social media in general tend to be very self-correcting," said Jillian York, director of International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil-liberties group in San Francisco.

"A lot of times you see people who oppose the hate speech taking over the (hate) groups. That tends to be more effective than taking the page down."

The Czech Republic's counterintelligence service called the Internet the "No. 1" propaganda tool for extremists in their terrorism report last year.

"There is a significant increase in activities of far right extremists in social networking sites, especially on Facebook. In connection with that, a relatively new phenomenon has appeared of groups which are joined, besides the extremists, also by common citizens ... As a result, the extremist views are becoming popular and spread among the public."

Germany viewed the threat in a similar way.

"The use of the Internet has become a fixture for German right-wing extremists in spreading their ideology, preparing their activities, campaigns and other events as well as the communication with their followers and sympathizers," Germany's domestic intelligence agency said in its latest report published earlier this month.

Lennon, meanwhile, may find himself spending even more time in the virtual far-right world. The 28-year-old newlywed with a handful of missing teeth is banned from going anywhere near protests. He also claims to have had his assets frozen pending a police investigation.

Despite the setbacks, Lennon said his group is growing - and even moving beyond the need for social media.

"We'll keep talking to people about what the EDL stands for, but we don't actually need places like Facebook anymore. We've already built our network and it's growing."

---

Also contributing to this report were Barbara Ortutay in New York, in Gabriele Steinhauser in Brussels, Karel Janicek in Prague, Juergen Baetz in Berlin and Sylvia Hui in London.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events