The Pentagon is allegedly working with a contractor to look into web searches such as “George Floyd deserved to die,” “Jews will not replace us” and “the truth about black lives matter” as potential signals of white supremacism, Fox News reported.
Pentagon contractor Moonshot CVE, which has ties to the Obama Foundation, is gathering data to determine which bases and branches of the military have the most troops searching for domestic extremist content, Defense One and Fox News reported.
The exact details of the project are not clear, but Defense One reported last month the data was expected to be available soon. Moonshot Founder and CEO Vidhya Ramalingam said the data suggested active-duty troops are less prone than the general American public to search for violent extremism information.
A separate Moonshot study conducted in June along with the Anti-Defamation League researched white supremacy trends in the U.S. and “monitored a list of almost 1,600 indicators of interest in or engagement with White supremacism, focused specifically on anti-Black and anti-Semitic narratives being used by extremist groups.”
ADL and Moonshot’s research on online white supremacy culminated in the report, “White Supremacy Search Trends in the United States.” Find out more here: https://t.co/zPCXZYcKtX
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Moonshot attributed the search, “the truth about black lives matter” to the idea “that the BLM movement has nefarious motives, and is a disinformation narrative perpetuated by White supremacist groups to weaponize anti-BLM sentiment.”
The contractor noted the search phrase appears “innocuous,” but explained books would include the phrase in their titles to assert that the BLM movement is in line with the burning and looting of antifa.
“These sources echo White supremacist disinformation narratives alleging that BLM protesters are trying to ‘overthrow the republic’ and ‘harm American citizens in a Marxist coup,’ as a means of delegitimizing it,” the report noted. It also said multiple videos on YouTube use the exact phrase to promote these narratives and criminalize BLM.
As for the ongoing project, it is not clear why the Pentagon chose a U.K.-based company to research alleged American extremism, Fox News reported.
The Center for Security Policy reported that Ramalingam wrote a 2013 paper about immigration in Europe that was funded by a grant from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, and was a leader in the Obama Foundation’s Europe program.
Along with ties to progressive organizations, she was a part of a panel hosted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Fox News reported.
According to Defense One, Ramalingam met with Pentagon officials in May to discuss “how the department can harness the technology her company uses to find and eliminate extremism in the ranks.”
In June, the CEO reportedly declined to reveal the results of the project.
She did say that when researchers looked at bases for each branch and compared the data to national averages, they found low engagement on most bases. However, some branches showed higher engagement levels with “anti-Black extremism or anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”
She said the data didn’t show “really heightened levels of engagement that are incredibly worrying.”
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