“After an upsurge in racially motivated attacks around the world, other countries are beginning to regard the United States as an exporter of white supremacism, a senior US counterterrorism official said Friday,” it reads.
The official is Russell Travers, acting director of the US National Counterterrorism Center. He was reportedly speaking at an event in Washington DC, the US capital, on 8 November 2019.
“For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology,” Yahoo News quotes Travers as saying. “We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That’s a reality with which we are going to have to deal.”
The article was shared on Facebook, where it was picked up by the social network’s fact-checking system after six users flagged it as possibly false.
Did Travers say the US is seen as seen as the “exporter of white supremacist ideology”?
‘Right-wing or white supremacist terrorism’
On 8 November 2019 Travers gave an in-depth briefing to the Washington Institute, a think-tank that aims to improve the quality of US’s Middle East policy.
A video of the speech – titled Counterterrorism in an Era of Competing Priorities: Ten Key Considerations – can be seen on the institute’s website, and a transcript is available.
He discussed 10 aspects of the terrorism threat to the US. The 10th was domestic US terrorism, or “DT”.
“Nothing highlights the evolving nature of the terrorist threat more than the growth of what some call DT, others, right-wing or white supremacist terrorism, and still others, racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism – REMVE for short,” he said.
Breivik, Roof and Tarrant
He then mentioned the white supremacist terrorists Anders Breivik, Dylann Roof and Brendon Tarrant, who he said had “gained international reference and are serving as inspiration for many REMVEs, including those looking to plan or conduct attacks”.
Breivik murdered 77 young people at a Norwegian Labour Party youth camp in 2011. Roof murdered nine black people attending church in the US state of South Carolina in 2015. Tarrant murdered 51 Muslim people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019.
Travers then said: “For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology. We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That’s a reality with which we are going to have to deal.”
He didn’t say the US was the exporter of white supremacist ideology. He said it was seen as the exporter of the ideology.
The Yahoo News article quotes Travers correctly. – Mary Alexander
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.