How White Nationalists See What They Want to See in DNA Tests


On the hate site Stormfront, one of the largest online discussion forums dedicated to “white pride,” sharing DNA results with fellow members has become a rite of passage for some members.

But what happens when users’ results show that they fail to meet their own genetic criteria for whiteness? Are they still willing to post them? And if so, how do other users respond?

Such questions have long intrigued the sociologists Aaron Panofsky, who studies the social implications of genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Joan Donovan, whose research at Harvard University focuses on how information is manipulated on the internet.

“We had a puzzle,” Dr. Panofsky said in an interview this week. “If Stormfront says, ‘You’ve got to be all white or we’ll kick you out,’ how do they deal with these anomalies?”

Racial profiling concerns raised after ‘DNA sweep’ targeting Middle Eastern men alleged in B.C.

Of note:

Civil liberties watchdogs say they’re troubled by a recent media report that suggested homicide investigators in B.C. targeted numerous Middle Eastern men in a voluntary DNA collection “sweep” as part of their investigation into the killing of a teenager.

The use of a DNA dragnet, they say, raises immediate concerns about racial profiling, coercion and the targeting of vulnerable populations, as well as questions about what’s done with DNA samples after they’ve been collected.

“If you’re trying to build trust in communities to further your investigation, make this something people will find credible,” said Micheal Vonn, policy director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

The body of 13-year-old Marrisa Shen was found in a wooded area of Central Park in Burnaby, B.C., in July 2017, prompting a massive investigation that at its peak eclipsed 300 investigators.

Two months ago, the region’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) announced that a suspect, Ibrahim Ali, 28, had been arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Ali, a permanent resident of Canada, had arrived in the country in March 2017 as a privately sponsored refugee from Syria.

Police would not say how they homed in on Ali. During their 14-month investigation, they canvassed more than 1,300 residents, conducted 600 interviews and identified and eliminated 2,000 “persons of interest.”  The killing was said to have been a random act.

This week, the Burnaby Now newspaper reported that prior to Ali’s arrest, police had approached numerous Middle Eastern men across the region — including those who escaped “persecution in totalitarian regimes” — asking them if they would voluntarily provide samples of their DNA.

One of those men, Ayub Faek, fled Iraq as a refugee and came to Canada in the early 2000s. He said homicide investigators called him out of the blue and asked if they could come talk to him.

“When they came, I asked them, ‘Why me?’ and they say, ‘Not only you; many people,’” Faek told the newspaper. “I said, ‘Do you have clue like about why, for example, me?’ Maybe they have clue. They didn’t tell me. They didn’t tell me anything.”

Faek said he was asked about his work and visits to the park and was shown Shen’s picture. He agreed to provide a sample of his blood from his finger. “You don’t want to do that … but you have to say yes,” he said.

The Burnaby Now also spoke with Ariyan Fadhil, another Burnaby resident who fled Iraq in the early 2000s. He said he was questioned in a van during his lunch break and agreed to give a DNA sample.

“I knew that, if they want, they’re going to get an order from court or something, I don’t know, to take it from me, so that’s why I gave it,” he said.

Both men told the paper they were skeptical about the assurances they got that their DNA samples would be destroyed after the investigation was complete.

Cpl. Frank Jang, a spokesman for IHIT, said in an email Wednesday that it would be improper to comment while the case is before the courts.

“What I can tell you is that IHIT strictly adheres to Canadian law and RCMP policy with respect to the handling of DNA exhibits.”

The RCMP’s website states that DNA profiles must be removed from a database in a “timely manner” if the donor asks for its removal or if it is no longer useful in the investigation for which it was obtained.

But Vonn said police agencies should take the extra step of providing written verification to people that samples have been destroyed.

“You should be able to take that to the bank,” she said.

As for the act of collecting DNA samples in the first place, Vonn said while it is described as voluntary, there’s still an inevitable “element of coercion” involved because if you don’t agree to give a sample, that could make you a target of suspicion.

“No doubt police are very alive to how delicate a balance this is,” she said. “In other cases, we’ve heard in media reports people say the officer made it clear, ‘You don’t do this. We’ll put you under a microscope.’”

The use of DNA sweeps has come under scrutiny in the past. In 2016, in response to a complaint, Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director examined the use of the technique by Ontario Provincial Police detectives investigating a sexual assault in Bayham, a rural municipality in southwestern Ontario.

While police succeeded in finding the culprit — a migrant worker from Trinidad — the review found that the DNA canvass carried out by police had been “overly broad.”

DNA was obtained from virtually “every local migrant worker of colour,” regardless of physical characteristics, the review found.

The scope of the DNA sweep “could reasonably be expected to have an impact on the migrant workers’ sense of vulnerability, lack of security and fairness. It could also send the wrong message to others in the local community about how migrant workers, as a group, should be regarded,” the review found.

And while DNA samples of those individuals cleared in the investigation were destroyed, the OPP “took no steps” to notify migrant workers this had taken place.

Dozens of migrant workers from that case have since filed complaints with the Human Rights Council of Ontario.

And one of those workers is the plaintiff in a proposed class-action lawsuit against the province of Ontario alleging that the results of DNA samples collected in this and other cases have been retained unlawfully.

Source: Racial profiling concerns raised after ‘DNA sweep’ targeting Middle Eastern men alleged in B.C.

UK: Sajid Javid apologises to immigration applicants forced to give DNA samples

He almost appears to be the “Minister of Apologies” for the measures instituted under former Home Secretary and current PM May:

The home secretary has apologised to immigrants – including to Afghan nationals who worked for the British armed forces and Gurkha soldiers – who were forced to provide DNA samples under the government’s hostile environment agenda.

People seeking to live and work in the UK on the basis of a family relationship can choose to provide DNA to prove a relationship to support an application.

But Sajid Javid told the House of Commons that in June it became apparent that the provision of DNA evidence had been made a requirement and was “not simply a request” in a number of family visa applications.

A review into the scandal published by the Home Office on Thursday found that at least 449 demands for DNA were issued, including 51 to Gurkha soldiers.

Ministers have previously revealed that 1,150 Afghan nationals, including 700 family members and parents of those employed by UK government, have been relocated to UK under a scheme targeted by the mandatory DNA testing, although the exact number subject to the tests is unknown.

Yvette Cooper, Labour chair of the home affairs select committee, said: “The revelation that the Home Office has been unlawfully requiring DNA tests in hundreds of immigration applications is deeply troubling and, coming after the Windrush crisis, suggests that something has gone very wrong in the Home Office again.”

“Today I want to take this opportunity to apologise to those who have been affected by this process,” Javid said.

Javid said he had set up a new taskforce for anyone who felt they had been wrongly required to provide DNA evidence for an immigration application. But he added he would order a broader review into Home Office processes to ensure the department was “fit for the modern world”.

“I know that the immigration system is operated by many highly committed people but we must make sure that the structures and processes they use are fit for the modern world and fit for a new immigration system which we will be bringing in after we leave the European Union.

“I will be reviewing the structures and processes more broadly, the structures and processes that we have to ensure they [are] fair and humane. I will now consider what form that review will take.”

Javid said he had issued instructions that officials must not mandatorily seek DNA evidence and would be looking to reimburse any individual who experienced financial loss as a result of the problem. He said they would also be examining whether DNA had been illegally demanded in any other area of the immigration system.

The home secretary said the issue came to light over the summer and an internal review was immediately ordered. The review had finished but there was further work to to be done to establish the scale of the problem, Javid said.

“But regardless of the numbers of the people that have been affected, one case is one too many,” he said. “I’m determined to get to the bottom of how and why in some cases people can be compelled to supply DNA evidence in the first place.”

The majority of cases identified were part of a Home Office operation called Operation Fugal, which started in April 2016, to clamp down on alleged fraud in some family and human rights immigration applications.

Almost 400 letters sent as part of the operation incorrectly stated that the applicant had to provide DNA evidence and that not providing such information without a reasonable excuse would lead to their application being refused on suitability grounds.

Javid said 83 applications were refused, including seven solely for the failure to provide DNA evidence. A further six appear to have been refused for failure to provide DNA evidence where this was not the sole reason.

In addition, the home secretary said the illegal requirement to provide DNA had been applied to Gurkha soldiers and Afghan nationals who had worked for the UK government.

In January 2015, a scheme was expanded to allow adult dependant children of Gurkhas discharged before 1997 to settle in the UK, Javid said.

Guidance was published that stated DNA evidence might be required and that applications could be refused if that evidence was not provided without reasonable excuse within four weeks.

“This published guidance was wrong and has now been updated,” Javid said, adding that there were 51 cases identified where DNA evidence was requested from applicants at their own cost.

There were four cases from the same family who had their application refused solely because they did not provide DNA evidence.

In 2013, applications from Afghan nationals formerly employed by the UK government to resettle in the UK were welcomed. But the terms of the scheme included mandatory DNA testing for family groups paid for by the UK government, Javid said.

Investigations suggest that no one making an application under this scheme has been refused because they did not take a DNA test, he said. “Nonetheless mandatory testing should not have been part of this scheme and this requirement has now been removed,” the home secretary continued.

“In particular I would like to extend my apology to the Gurkhas and Afghans that have been affected. The two schemes I’ve described were put in place to help the families of those who have served to keep our country safe. I’m sorry that demands were made of them that should never have been.”

Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, said: “Abuses like this don’t fall from the sky. Officials at the Home Office have been carrying out the government’s hostile environment policy, which is also what led to the Windrush scandal. People are being treated as guilty or illegal unless they can prove their innocence.

“We need a fair and robust immigration system, but the hostile environment isn’t it and the government should end it.”

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty UK’s refugee and migrant rights programme director, said: “The Home Office has once again been exposed as being a law unto itself. The home secretary needs to face up to the fact that problems in his department are systemic, chronic and deep-rooted.”

Source: Sajid Javid apologises to immigration applicants forced to give DNA samples

DNA analysis proves Arabs aren’t entirely Arab

Fascinating genetic analysis showing just how much populations are ‘mixed up’:

Through DNA analysis, the project is answering people’s questions regarding ethnicity, race, and the overall origins of the human population and how we came to populate the Earth.

The Genographic Project lists a group of reference populations, where the typical national of each country is described according to genetic makeup. These are based on hundreds of DNA samples and advanced DNA analysis. Four Arab countries were part of the reference population list.

Here are some surprising discoveries on the genetic makeup of these four Arab nationalities.

Note that the Genographic Project only listed four Arab nationalities in their reference populations, which is the basis of this article. 

Egyptians are only 17% Arabian …

Did you know that native Egyptians’ genetic makeup is 4 percent Jewish diaspora?

Typically, an Egyptian native’s genetic composition is 68 percent North African, 17 percent Arabian, 4 percent Jewish diaspora, and 3 percent from Eastern Africa, Asia Minor and Southern Europe each.

The link to North Africa dates back to when ancient populations first migrated from the continent, which they did through the northeastern route on their way to southwest Asia.

The spread of agriculture led to further migrations from the Fertile Crescent back into Africa as did the spread of Islam from the Arabian peninsula in the 7th century.

Kuwaitis are 7% African …

Native Kuwaitis’ genetic makeup is: 84 percent Arabian, 7 percent from Asia minor, 4 percent North African and 3 percent from East Africa.

Ancient migrants passed through the Middle East when journeying from Africa to Eurasia. Some migrants loved the region so much they decided to stay, developing genetic patterns that were passed down to other generations.

The smaller components from Northern Africa and Eastern Africa may be due to the Arab slave trade, from the 8th to the 19th century.

Lebanese are actually 14% Jewish diaspora …

Lebanese natives’ genetic makeup is the most diverse of all four Arab nationalities.

Typically, a Lebanese natives is 44 percent Arabian, 14 percent Jewish diaspora, 11 percent North African, 10% from Asia minor, 5 percent Southern European and 2 percent Eastern African.

Ancient migrants passed through the Middle East when journeying from Africa to Eurasia. Some of these migrants settled in Lebanon, developing genetic patterns that transcended generations over time.

The Silk Road added genetic patterns from the farther north and east.

Tunisians are only 4% Arabian …

Natives of Tunisia have a pretty interesting genetic composition. They are 88 percent North African, 5 percent Western European, 4 percent Arabian and 2 percent from Western and Central Africa combined.

Historically, Tunisia’s location on the Mediterranean Sea contributed greatly to its broad genetic diversity.

The Arabian component came about with the arrival of agriculture from the Middle East as well as the spread of Islam in the 7th century.

Did you know these non-Arab countries actually have some Arabian genes?

1. Georgia: 5 percent

2. Iran: 56 percent

3. The Luhya people of Kenya: 2 percent

4. Natives of Madagascar: 2 percent

5. The Northern Caucasus (including Dagestanis and Abkhazians): 9 percent

6. Tajikistan (Pamiri mountains): 6 percent

7. Sardinia: 3 percent

8. Southern India: 2 percent

9. Western India: 6 percent

10. Indonesia: 6 percent

11. Ethiopia: 11 percent

12. Ashkenazi Jews (Jews who originated in Eastern Europe): 10 percent

Source: DNA analysis proves Arabs aren’t entirely Arab

ICYMI: White? Black? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier –

While not based on a random sample, nevertheless interesting results, showing just how much mixing has occurred, and continues to occur, in the US:

In the United States, there is a long tradition of trying to draw sharp lines between ethnic groups, but our ancestry is a fluid and complex matter. In recent years geneticists have been uncovering new evidence about our shared heritage, and last week a team of scientists published the biggest genetic profile of the United States to date, based on a study of 160,000 people

The researchers were able to trace variations in our genetic makeup from state to state, creating for the first time a sort of ancestry map.

“We use these terms — white, black, Indian, Latino — and they don’t really mean what we think they mean,” said Claudio Saunt, a historian at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the study.

The data for the new study were collected by 23andMe, the consumer DNA-testing company. When customers have their genes analyzed, the company asks them if they’d like to make their results available for study by staff scientists.

Over time the company has built a database that not only includes DNA, but also such details as a participant’s birthplace and the ethnic group with which he or she identifies. (23andMe strips the data of any information that might breach the privacy of participants.)

The scientists also have been developing software that learns to recognize the origins of the short segments of DNA that make up our genomes. Recently they used their program to calculate what percentage of each subject’s genomes was inherited from European, African or Native American forebears.

“This year we saw that we were in a great position to do the analysis,” said Joanna L. Mountain, senior director of research at 23andMe.

On average, the scientists found, people who identified as African-American had genes that were only 73.2 percent African. European genes accounted for 24 percent of their DNA, while .8 percent came from Native Americans.

White? Black? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier –