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FTR #1011 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment.

Paddock’s Weapons

Introduction: This broadcast updates and highlights previous topics of discussion, focusing largely on online/Alt-Right/Nazi fascism and some of the malevolent communities that coalesce around various ideological manifestations of that phenomenon.

There has been little public recognition that many of the mass shooters whose activities have dominated much of the news cycle in recent years,have been immersed in one form or extremist far right ideology or another.

The release of ~1,200 pages of documents related to the Las Vegas shooting reveals that Stephen Paddock appears to have been “a sovereign citizen.” . . . . In the documents, those who encountered gunman Stephen Paddock say he expressed conspiratorial, anti-government beliefs characteristic of the far right . . . . But tantalizingly, people who encountered Paddock before his shooting say that he expressed conspiratorial, anti-government beliefs, which are characteristic of the far right. . . .”

Paddock’s actions are not unexpected for someone with his ideological mindset: ” . . . . In surveys conducted in 2014 and 2015, representatives of US law-enforcement ranked the risk of terrorism from the sovereign-citizen movement higher than the risk from Islamic extremism.”

Nazi/alt-right culture was a primary influence on accused Santa Fe (Texas) gunman Dimitrios Pagourtzis. ” . . . . Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the suspected gunman who opened fire at a Texas high school on Friday morning, apparently posted photos of neo-Nazi iconography online, according to social media accounts flagged by classmates and reviewed by The Daily Beast. . . . Other images on Pagourtzis’ now-deleted Facebook page suggest a possible interest in white supremacist groups. Pagourtzis uploaded a number of T-shirts that feature Vaporwave-style designs. Vaporwave, a music and design movement, has spawned a related movement called Fashwave, which borrows the same aesthetic but applies them to neo-Nazi subjects. Pagourtzis’ Facebook header image was the cover of an album by musician Perturbator. Perturbator’s music has been co-opted by members of the Fashwave movement, BuzzFeed previously reported. Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer frequently includes Perturbator’s music in “Fashwave Fridays” posts. . . . .”

Initial press reports about the Santa Fe shooting discuss possible accomplices of Pagourtzis. Was he part of a group of some kind? “. . . . On Friday, authorities intended to question two other people: One was at the scene and had “suspicious reactions,” according to the governor, and another had drawn the scrutiny of investigators. . . .”

Pagourtzis, as we saw above, had taken to wearing a trench coat, even in 90 degree weather. Press reports have described him as a “copy-cat” killer, having imitated Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris of Columbine shooting fame. (Pagourtzis was too young to have memories of the incident, though he may well have absorbed information about the Columbine perpetrators.)

Dylan Klebold’s Universe

The media have, for the most part, not mentioned that Harris and Klebold were heavily influenced by Nazi culture. . . . . Nineteen days before they were to graduate, Harris and Klebold seemed inseparable and troublesome. In Columbine’s hallways, they spoke broken German and referred often to ‘4-20,’ Hitler’s birthday and the day they chose for their assault. . . . Some Columbine students said the violent side of Harris and Klebold became more obvious in recent months. They became obsessively interested in World War II, Nazi imagery, Adolf Hitler. John House, 17, a Columbine senior, told reporters that when he went bowling with Klebold, ‘when he would do something good, he would shout ‘Heil Hitler’ and throw up his hand. It just made everyone mad.’ . . . .”

In FTR #995, we examined the Atomwaffen Neo-Nazi group. Atomwaffen member Andrew Oneschuk was about to join Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Battalion. ” . . . . . . . Andrew, who was one-eighth Ukrainian, took to the cause, chatting with fighters and their allies. He began formulating a plan to join the Azov Battalion, a notoriously brutal band of international fighters helping in the resistance against the Russians. . . . Andrew took it further, eventually adopting the online handle “Borovikov,” after a famous Russian neo-Nazi gang leader. That spring, he hung an SS flag in his bedroom as well as a giant swastika. . . .”

Online networking between resentful, sex-deprived men who call themselves “incels” (a contraction of  “involuntary celibates”) overlap Nazi/Alt-Right elements. The ideological collision of the online “incels” and the #MeToo movement may well generate some truly pathological violence. . . . . The alt-right, right-wing populism, men’s rights groups and a renewed white supremacist movement have capitalized on many white men’s feeling of loss in recent years. The groups vary in how they diagnose society’s ills and whom they blame, but they provide a sense of meaning and place for their followers. And as different extremist groups connect online, they draw on one another’s membership bases, tactics and worldviews, allowing membership in one group to become a gateway to other extremist ideologies as well. Today, for example, posts on Incel.me, an incel forum, debate joining forces with the alt-right and argue that Jews are to blame for incels’ oppression. On one thread, users fantasized that if they were dictators, they would not only create harems and enslave women, but also ‘gas the Jews.’ . . . . By dividing the world into us-versus-them and describing vast injustice at the hands of the supposedly powerful, these groups, experts say, can prime adherents for violence. . . .”

Combat helmets of the Azov Battalion.

Incel culture is metastasizing into “lone-wolf”/leaderless resistance terrorism. ” . . . . In 2014, a gaming award ceremony set to honor the feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian received a bomb threat; an anonymous harasser threatened to detonate a device unless her award was rescinded. Before Milo Yiannopoulos was a well-known alt-right figure, feminists knew him as one of the primary architects of Gamergate, a movement of young men who harassed and threatened women in the videogaming industry. Two fans of Mr. Yiannopoulos were charged with shooting a protester outside of one of his speeches. . . .”

Nazi killer Anders Breivik embodied the overlap between Alt-Right white supremacy and institutionalized misogyny: ” . . . . On July 22, Breivik slaughtered 77 of his countrymen, most of them teenagers, in Oslo and at a summer camp on the island of Utøya, because he thought they or their parents were the kinds of ‘politically correct’ liberals who were enabling Muslim immigration. But Breivik was almost as voluble on the subjects of feminism, the family, and fathers’ rights as he was on Islam. ‘The most direct threat to the family is ‘divorce on demand,’ ‘ he wrote in the manifesto he posted just before he began his deadly spree. ‘The system must be reformed so that the father will be awarded custody rights by default.’ The manosphere lit up. Said one approving poster at The Spearhead, an online men’s rights magazine for the ‘defense of ourselves, our families and our fellow men’: ‘What could be more ‘an eye for an eye’ than to kill the children of those who were so willing to destroy men’s families and destroy the homeland of men?’ . . . .”

The “psycho-political” polarization of the #MeToo movement and the “incels” misogynist community holds devastating potential.

Program Highlights Include:

  • Journalist Ronan Farrow’s authorship of the New Yorker article that took down Harvey Weinstein. (For more discussion of the #MeToo Movement and weaponized feminism, see FTR #’s 998, 999, 1000, 1001.)
  • Farrow’s State Department work suggestive of involvement with the intelligence community.  “. . . .  Post-law school: Lands a job at the State Department, as a special advisor focusing on conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan. . . .”
  • Farrow’s co-authorship of the New Yorker article that took down former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a major Trump nemesis, who was also criticizing and investigating other individuals and institutions associated with the Trump/GOP power elite.  “. . . . Schneiderman had already been declared ‘the man the banks fear most’ by the liberal magazine ‘The American Prospect.’ . . . . In the days since November 9, Schneiderman fired off a letter warning Trump not to drop White House support of Obama’s Clean Power Plan, introduced a bill in the state Legislature to give New Yorkers cost-free contraception if the Affordable Care Act is dismantled, threatened to sue after Trump froze EPA funding of clean air and water programs, and joined a lawsuit that argues that Trump’s executive order on immigration is not just unconstitutional and un-American, but it brings profound harm to the residents of New York State. . . . He’s on the opposite side of the Clean Power Plan fight from Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, since named head of the EPA, and who Schneiderman labeled a ‘dangerous and unqualified choice.’ . . . . “
  • Schneiderman was also investigating the powerful, well-connected NXIVM cult, one of whose associates was Roger Stone, the long-time Trump/GOP dirty trickster who signaled the #MeToo takedown of Senator Al Franken.

1a. There has been little public recognition that many of the mass shooters whose activities have dominated much of the news cycle in recent years,have been immersed in one form or extremist far right ideology or another.

The release of ~1,200 pages of documents related to the Las Vegas shooting reveals that Stephen Paddock appears to have been “a sovereign citizen.”

“New Documents Suggest Las Vegas Shooter Was Conspiracy Theorist – What We Know” by Jason Wilson; The Guardian; 5/19/2018.

In the documents, those who encountered gunman Stephen Paddock say he expressed conspiratorial, anti-government beliefs characteristic of the far right . . . .

. . . . But tantalizingly, people who encountered Paddock before his shooting say that he expressed conspiratorial, anti-government beliefs, which are characteristic of the far right.

In a handwritten statement, one woman says she sat near Paddock in a diner just a few days before the shooting, while out with her son. She said she heard him and a companion discussing the 25th anniversary of the Ruby Ridge standoff and the Waco siege. (Each of these incidents became touchstones for a rising anti-government militia movement in the 1990s.)

She says she heard him and his companion saying that courtroom flags with golden fringes are not real flags. The belief that gold-fringed flags are those of a foreign jurisdiction, or “admiralty flags”, is characteristic of so-called “sovereign citizens”, who believe, among other things, that the current US government, and its laws, are illegitimate.

“At the time,” her statement says, “I thought, ‘Strange guys’ and wanted to leave.”

Another man, himself currently in jail, says he met Paddock three weeks before the shooting for an abortive firearms transaction, in the carpark of a Bass Pro Shop. The man was selling schematic diagrams for an auto sear, a device that would convert semi-automatic weapons to full automatic fire. Paddock asked him to make the device for him, and the man refused.

At this point Paddock launched into a rant about “anti-government stuff … Fema camps”. Paddock said that the evacuation of people by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) after Hurricane Katrina was a a “dry run for law enforcement and military to start kickin’ down doors and … confiscating guns”.

“Somebody has to wake up the American public and get them to arm themselves,” the man says Paddock told him. “Sometimes sacrifices have to be made.”

Why would someone be worried about Fema camps? Isn’t Fema there to help in emergencies?

Yes, but for decades Fema has been incorporated into conspiracy theories promulgated by the anti-government far right.

Some conspiracy-minded Americans believe that Fema’s emergency mission is a cover story. The real purpose of the agency is to build and maintain concentration camps, which will house dissident “patriots” after a declaration of martial law. The supposition is that the US government will turn on its citizens under the direction of the “New World Order”.

This sounds implausible. Where did this idea come from?

The short answer is that it has been a staple of the radical right for perhaps three decades.

The first version of the Fema camp conspiracy theory was in the newsletters of the far right “Posse Comitatus” movement in the early 1980s. It was an update, or an adaptation, of the fears of foreign subversion that have animated the American populist right since the high tide of nineteenth-century nativism.

Posse Comitatus, active especially in western states from the late 1960s, believed that the US was controlled by a Jewish conspiracy, which it referred to as ZOG (Zionist Occupation Government). It also promoted “Christian identity” theology, which held that the white race was the lost tribe of Israel, and that Jews were in league with Satan. At some point, they thought, America’s imposter government would round up and imprison white men.

Apart from developing anti-government beliefs, Posse Comitatus’s crank legal theories laid the groundwork for a still-flourishing “sovereign citizen” movement.

But the FEMA theory really took off during the rise of the militia movement in the 1990s. Movement entrepreneurs like John Trochmann of the Militia of Montana elaborated the story in newsletters and in his infamous “Blue Book”, which was filled with pictures allegedly showing camps, trains loaded with Russian tanks and the arrival of “black helicopters” in preparation for the supposedly imminent New World Order takeover.

Trochmann and others also claimed to have pictures of the facilities which would be used as concentration camps. These turned out to be army training grounds, federal prisons or as-yet unoccupied bases.

These theories were nevertheless prevalent in a movement that some scholars say had up to 5 million sympathizers at its height. Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people when he bombed a federal building in 1995, also emerged from this anti-government milieu. . . . .

1b. Note that members of the sovereign citizen movement are seen as domestic terrorists:

“Sovereign Citizen Movement;” wikipedia.org

. . . . Many members of the sovereign citizen movement believe that the United States government is illegitimate.[11] JJ MacNab, who writes for Forbes about anti-government extremism, has described the sovereign-citizen movement as consisting of individuals who believe that the county sheriff is the most powerful law-enforcement officer in the country, with authority superior to that of any federal agent, elected official, or local law-enforcement official.[12] This belief comes from the movement’s origins in the white-extremist group Posse Comitatus.[13][citation needed]

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) classifies some sovereign citizens (“sovereign citizen extremists”) as domestic terrorists.[14] In 2010 the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) estimated that approximately 100,000 Americans were “hard-core sovereign believers”, with another 200,000 “just starting out by testing sovereign techniques for resisting everything from speeding tickets to drug charges”.[15]

In surveys conducted in 2014 and 2015, representatives of US law-enforcement ranked the risk of terrorism from the sovereign-citizen movement higher than the risk from Islamic extremism. 

2a. Nazi/alt-right culture was a primary influence on accused Santa Fe (Texas) gunman Dimitrios Pagourtzis.

“Dimitrios Pagourtzis, Texas Shooting Suspect, Posted Neo-Nazi Imagery Online” by Kathy Weill; The Daily Beast; 5/18/2018.

Before allegedly killing at least eight people, he apparently posted online images of a Nazi medal, a musician favored by the alt-right, and a ‘born to kill’ T-shirt.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the suspected gunman who opened fire at a Texas high school on Friday morning, apparently posted photos of neo-Nazi iconography online, according to social media accounts flagged by classmates and reviewed by The Daily Beast. . . .

. . . . On April 30, Pagourtzis apparently posted a T-shirt with “born to kill” printed on the front, boasting that it was custom-made.

That same day, Pagourtzis posted multiple pictures of a duster jacket emblazoned with a variety of symbols including the Iron Cross, a German military award last given by the Nazis, and other pins. He said he equated the Iron Cross with “bravery.” Pagourtzis said a hammer and sickle meant “rebellion,” a rising sun meant “kamikaze tactics,” and a baphomet meant “evil.” . . . .

. . . . “The sketchy thing is, he wore a full-on black trench coat to school every day,” Thurman said, adding she hadn’t had a class with him since eighth grade. Montemayor said that in retrospect, Pagourtzis’ trench coat was odd.

“Why would you wear a trench coat when it’s 100 degrees outside? When he first started wearing that trench coat, it was during the winter.” But in the hotter months, Pagourtzis didn’t take it off.

Pagourtzis began wearing the coat at the beginning of the year.

“It’s like 90 degrees outside and this guy is still wearing a trench coat,” Thurman said. “It should have been noted. That’s a red flag right there.”

Other images on Pagourtzis’ now-deleted Facebook page suggest a possible interest in white supremacist groups. Pagourtzis uploaded a number of T-shirts that feature Vaporwave-style designs. Vaporwave, a music and design movement, has spawned a related movement called Fashwave, which borrows the same aesthetic but applies them to neo-Nazi subjects.

Pagourtzis’ Facebook header image was the cover of an album by musician Perturbator. Perturbator’s music has been co-opted by members of the Fashwave movement, BuzzFeed previously reported. Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer frequently includes Perturbator’s music in “Fashwave Fridays” posts. . . .

2b. Initial press reports about the Santa Fe shooting discuss possible accomplices of Pagourtzis. Was he part of a group of some kind?

“Looking for Motives in a Shooting Suspect Whose Past Is a ‘Pretty Clean Slate” by Julie Turkewitz and Jess Bidgood; The New York Times; 5/19/2018; p. A12 [Western Edition].

 . . . . By Friday afternoon, the suspect was in custody at the Galveston County jail, where he is being held for capital murder. Federal authorities are seeking search warrants to find explosive devices at two residences. . . . Police said the gunman brought several of these devices into the school. It was unclear whether any went off. . . .

. . . . On Friday, authorities intended to question two other people: One was at the scene and had “suspicious reactions,” according to the governor, and another had drawn the scrutiny of investigators. . . .

3. Pagourtzis, as we saw above, had taken to wearing a trench coat, even in 90 degree weather. Press reports have described him as a “copy-cat” killer, having imitated Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris of Columbine shooting fame. (Pagourtzis was too young to have memories of the incident, though he may well have absorbed information about the Columbine perpetrators.)

The media, for the most part, have not mentioned that Harris and Klebold were heavily influenced by Nazi culture.

“Shooting Pair Mixed Fantasy, Reality” by Paul Duggan, Michael D. Shear and Marc Fisher; Washington Post; 4/22/1999.

They hated jocks, admired Nazis and scorned normalcy. They fancied themselves devotees of the Gothic subculture, even though they thrilled to the violence denounced by much of that fantasy world. They were white supremacists, but loved music by anti-racist rock bands.

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were bright young men who became social outcasts at their suburban Denver high school, and then built their own internal society by plucking strands from the pop whirlwind of cyberspace and fantasy games, the soundtrack of American youth, and a netherworld that glamorizes Nazi symbols and terrorist violence. . . .

.  . . . An initial sketch of Harris and Klebold and the Trenchcoat Mafia to which they claimed membership emerged yesterday from interviews with friends, fellow students and neighbors, and from police and school officials. If the boys left behind any detailed explanation of their horrific final cries, no one has found it yet. . . .

. . . . Nineteen days before they were to graduate, Harris and Klebold seemed inseparable and troublesome. In Columbine’s hallways, they spoke broken German and referred often to “4-20,” Hitler’s birthday and the day they chose for their assault. . . .

. . . . Some Columbine students said the violent side of Harris and Klebold became more obvious in recent months. They became obsessively interested in World War II, Nazi imagery, Adolf Hitler.

John House, 17, a Columbine senior, told reporters that when he went bowling with Klebold, “when he would do something good, he would shout ‘Heil Hitler’ and throw up his hand. It just made everyone mad.” . . . .

4. In FTR #995, we examined the Atomwaffen Neo-Nazi group. Atomwaffen member Andrew Oneschuk was about to join Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Battalion.

“All-American Nazis” by Janet Reitman; Rolling Stone; 05/02/2018

How a senseless double murder in Florida exposed the rise of an organized fascist youth movement in the United States

Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman had been living in Tampa, Florida, for two weeks when, on Friday, May 19th, 2017, their roommate Devon Arthurs picked up an AK-47 rifle and shot them at close range. Oneschuk had just turned 18. Himmelman was 22. They’d been staying in a lush gated community near the University of South Florida, in a two-bedroom, terra-cotta condo rented by their fourth roommate, 21-year-old Brandon Russell, a rich kid from the Bahamas who worked at a gun shop and served in the Florida National Guard. Oneschuk, a prep-school dropout, was hoping to become a Navy SEAL. Himmelman also considered the military, though he was more of a drifter. Eighteen-year-old Arthurs, a pale, freckled kid who sometimes called himself “Khalid,” was unemployed and spent most of his time playing video games. All four had met one another online, in forums and chat rooms popular with the more extreme segment of the so-called alt-right. . . .

. . . . Increasingly, Andrew obsessed over issues like climate change and the Syrian refugee crisis. He’d also embraced an apocalyptic and conspiratorial worldview in which Western civilization was doomed, and he, a white male, was a victim. He was amazed at his parents’ complacency. Didn’t they realize blacks were responsible for 80 percent of the crime in America? he’d falsely claim, using statistics that seemed drawn from nowhere. “America is shit,” he said. “My generation is failing.” . . . .

. . . . Andrew, who was one-eighth Ukrainian, took to the cause, chatting with fighters and their allies. He began formulating a plan to join the Azov Battalion, a notoriously brutal band of international fighters helping in the resistance against the Russians. In January 2015, Andrew bought a fake passport and a one-way ticket to Kiev. The day before he was set to leave, having packed his camping gear and arranged for a limousine to Logan Airport, he casually told his mother on the way home from school, “I think I’m going to go to Ukraine.” . . . . 

Emily had been concerned when Andrew went through his German-army phase, though some of her friends told her that they’d also thought the SS was cool when they were younger. “I don’t think they understood they were actually bad guys,” says Emily. “It’s more like the bad guys in Indiana Jones with the cool car.” But Andrew took it further, eventually adopting the online handle “Borovikov,” after a famous Russian neo-Nazi gang leader. That spring, he hung an SS flag in his bedroom as well as a giant swastika. . . . 

5. Online networking between resentful, sex-deprived men who call themselves “incels” (a contraction of  “involuntary celibates”) overlap Nazi/Alt-Right elements. The ideological collision of the online “incels” and the #MeToo movement may well generate some truly pathological violence.

” ‘Incels’ Aren’t Alone In Online Harvesting of Men’s Sense of Loss” by Amanda Taub; The New York Times; 5/11/2018; p. A5 [Western Edition].

. . . . . ‘Aggrieved Entitlement’

For white men across the Western world, special rights and privileges once came as a birthright. Even those who lacked wealth or power were assured a status above women and minorities.

Though they still enjoy preferential status in virtually every realm, from the boardroom to the courthouse, social forces like the Me Too movement are challenging that status. To some, any steps toward equality, however modest, feel like a threat.

“There’s just this sense that ‘we used to be in charge, and now we’re not the only ones in charge, so we’ve been attacked,’” said Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland social scientist who studies group identity and politics.

“If you have a sense that you’re owed, that your deserved status is being threatened, then you start to fight for it,” Ms. Mason said.

Often that takes the form of lashing out at members of whatever social group dared to challenge the established hierarchy.

“You’d think that young men would be treated nicely by society because we are the builders and protectors of civilization,” wrote a user named connorWM1996 on r/MGTOW, a Reddit message board for men trying to escape what they see as oppression by female-dominated society. “But no of course not. We are treated like idiots who aren’t good for anything.”

Some of these men may go in search of more extreme ideologies that make sense of their feelings of anger and loss, and seem to provide a solution. Others merely stumble into them.

“Plenty of people feel like they don’t have status and don’t revolt about it,” Ms. Mason said. “But the people who do revolt are people who feel that they are owed status, and they’re not being given the status that traditional society should give them.”

The incel movement tells its adherents that society’s rules are engineered to unfairly deprive them of sex. That worldview lets them see themselves as both victims, made lonely by a vast conspiracy, and as superior, for their unique understanding of the truth.

Greasing Extremism’s Rails

Extremism has always existed, but until recently its spread was limited. To begin with, there was the basic challenge to any collective action: how to find and gather like-minded people dispersed across great distances. Beyond that, there was the social stigma against any ideas perceived as outside the mainstream.Social media has lowered both of those barriers.

Now, men looking for a way to explain — and justify — their anger need only a few clicks to encounter entire communities built up around promises to restore male power and control. In the past, those might have been relegated to a few bars or living rooms, but now they exist in darker corners of some of the most popular social networking sites. . . .

. . . . The alt-right, right-wing populism, men’s rights groups and a renewed white supremacist movement have capitalized on many white men’s feeling of loss in recent years. The groups vary in how they diagnose society’s ills and whom they blame, but they provide a sense of meaning and place for their followers.

And as different extremist groups connect online, they draw on one another’s membership bases, tactics and worldviews, allowing membership in one group to become a gateway to other extremist ideologies as well.

Today, for example, posts on Incel.me, an incel forum, debate joining forces with the alt-right and argue that Jews are to blame for incels’ oppression. On one thread, users fantasized that if they were dictators, they would not only create harems and enslave women, but also “gas the Jews.”

By dividing the world into us-versus-them and describing vast injustice at the hands of the supposedly powerful, these groups, experts say, can prime adherents for violence. . . .

6. Incel culture is metastasizing into “lone-wolf”/leaderless resistance terrorism.

“When Misogynists Become Terrorists” by Jessica Valenti; The New York Times; 4/26/2018.

. . . . Later, after Mr. Rodger’s 140-page manifesto was released — outlining his fury over still being a “kissless virgin” — his name became synonymous on misogynist forums with revenge on women who reject men. Chris Harper-Mercer, who shot and killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon in 2015, mentioned Mr. Rodger by name in a manifesto he wrote in which he complained about being 26 years old with “no girlfriend, a virgin.”

And now, in the aftermath of the attack in Toronto, men on incel communities are hailing the killer as a “new saint,” with commenters changing their avatars to Mr. Minassian’s picture in tribute.

Feminists have been warning against these online hate groups and their propensity for real-life violence for over a decade. I know because I’m one of the people who has been issuing increasingly dire warnings. After I started a feminist blog in 2004, I became a target of men’s-rights groups who were angry with women about everything from custody battles to the false notion that most women lie about rape. In 2011, I had to flee my house with my young daughter on the advice of law enforcement, because one of these groups put me on a “registry” of women to target.

I was far from the only one. In 2014, a gaming award ceremony set to honor the feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian received a bomb threat; an anonymous harasser threatened to detonate a device unless her award was rescinded. Before Milo Yiannopoulos was a well-known alt-right figure, feminists knew him as one of the primary architects of Gamergate, a movement of young men who harassed and threatened women in the videogaming industry. Two fans of Mr. Yiannopoulos were charged with shooting a protester outside of one of his speeches.

Part of the problem is that American culture still largely sees men’s sexism as something innate rather than deviant. And in a world where sexism is deemed natural, the misogynist tendencies of mass shooters become afterthoughts rather than predictable and stark warnings.

The truth is that in addition to not protecting women, we are failing boys: failing to raise them to believe they can be men without inflicting pain on others, failing to teach them that they are not entitled to women’s sexual attention and failing to allow them an outlet for understandable human fear and foibles that will not label them “weak” or unworthy.

Not every attack is preventable, but the misogyny that drives them is. To stop all of this, we must trust women when they point out that receiving streams of death threats on Twitter is not normal and that online communities strategizing about how to rape women are much more than just idle chatter. There is no reason another massacre should happen.

7. Nazi killer Anders Breivik embodied the overlap between Alt-Right white supremacy and institutionalized misogyny:

“Leader’s Suicide Brings Attention to Men’s Rights Movement” by Arthur Goldwag; Intelligence Report [Southern Poverty Law Center]; 3/1/2012.

A little-noticed suicide last year focused attention on the hard-lined fringe of the men’s right movement. It’s not a pretty picture.

After 10 years of custody battles, court-ordered counseling and imminent imprisonment for non-payment of child support, Thomas James Ball, a leader of the Worcester branch of the Massachusetts-based Fatherhood Coalition, had reached his limit. On June 15, 2011, he doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire just outside the Cheshire County, N.H., Courthouse. He was dead within minutes.

In a lengthy “Last Statement,” which arrived posthumously at the Keene Sentinel, Tom Ball told his story. All he had done, he said, was smack his 4-year-old daughter and bloody her mouth after she licked his hand as he was putting her to bed. Feminist-crafted anti-domestic violence legislation did the rest. “Twenty-five years ago,” he wrote, “the federal government declared war on men. It is time to see how committed they are to their cause. It is time, boys, to give them a taste of war.” Calling for all-out insurrection, he offered tips on making Molotov cocktails and urged his readers to use them against courthouses and police stations. “There will be some casualties in this war,” he predicted. “Some killed, some wounded, some captured. Some of them will be theirs. Some of the casualties will be ours.”

For people who associate the men’s and fathers’ rights movements with New Age drum circles in the woods, the ferocity of Ball’s rhetoric, the horror of his act, and, in particular, the widespread and blatantly misogynistic reaction to it may come as something of a revelation. When the feminist Amanda Marcotte, a bête noire of the men’s rights movement, remarked that “setting yourself on fire is an extremely effective tool if your goal is to make your ex-wife’s life a living hell,” a poster at the blog Misandry.com went ballistic. “Talk about the pot calling the kettle black,” he raged. “She is evil and such a vile evil that she is a disease that needs to be cut out of the human [consciousness] just like the rest of the femanazi ass harpies.”

Ball’s suicide brought attention to an underworld of misogynists, woman-haters whose fury goes well beyond criticism of the family court system, domestic violence laws, and false rape accusations. There are literally hundreds of websites, blogs and forums devoted to attacking virtually all women (or, at least, Westernized ones) — the so-called “manosphere,” which now also includes a tribute page for Tom Ball (“He Died For Our Children”). While some of them voice legitimate and sometimes disturbing complaints about the treatment of men, what is most remarkable is the misogynistic tone that pervades so many. Women are routinely maligned as sluts, gold-diggers, temptresses and worse; overly sympathetic men are dubbed “manginas”; and police and other officials are called their armed enablers. Even Ball — who did not directly blame his ex-wife for his troubles, but instead depicted her and their three children as co-victims of the authorities — vilified “man-hating feminists” as evil destroyers of all that is good.

This kind of woman-hatred is increasingly visible in most Western societies, and it tends to be allied with other anti-modern emotions — opposition to same-sex marriage, to non-Christian immigration, to women in the workplace, and even, in some cases, to the advancement of African Americans. Just a few weeks after Ball’s death, while scorch marks were still visible on the sidewalk in Keene, N.H., that was made clear once more by a Norwegian named Anders Behring Breivik.

On July 22, Breivik slaughtered 77 of his countrymen, most of them teenagers, in Oslo and at a summer camp on the island of Utøya, because he thought they or their parents were the kinds of “politically correct” liberals who were enabling Muslim immigration. But Breivik was almost as voluble on the subjects of feminism, the family, and fathers’ rights as he was on Islam. “The most direct threat to the family is ‘divorce on demand,’” he wrote in the manifesto he posted just before he began his deadly spree. “The system must be reformed so that the father will be awarded custody rights by default.”

The manosphere lit up. Said one approving poster at The Spearhead, an online men’s rights magazine for the “defense of ourselves, our families and our fellow men”: “What could be more ‘an eye for an eye’ than to kill the children of those who were so willing to destroy men’s families and destroy the homeland of men?”

‘The Homeland of Men’

The men’s rights movement, also referred to as the fathers’ rights movement, is made up of a number of disparate, often overlapping, types of groups and individuals. Some most certainly do have legitimate grievances, having endured prison, impoverishment or heartrending separations from genuinely loved children.

Jocelyn Crowley, a Rutgers political scientist and the author of Defiant Dads: Fathers’ Rights Activists in America, says that most men who join real (as opposed to virtual) men’s rights groups aren’t seeking to attack the family court system so much as they are simply struggling to navigate it. What they talk most about when they meet face to face, she says, are strategies to deal with their ex-partners and have better relationships with their children.

But Molly Dragiewicz, a criminologist at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the author of Equality With a Vengeance: Men’s Rights Groups, Battered Women, and Antifeminist Backlash, argues that cases in which fathers are badly treated by courts and other officials are not remotely the norm. The small percentage of divorces that end up in litigation are disproportionately those where abuse and other issues make joint custody a dubious proposition. Even when a woman can satisfactorily document her ex-husband’s abuse, Dragiewicz says, she is no more likely to receive full custody of her children than if she couldn’t.

The men’s movement also includes mail-order-bride shoppers, unregenerate batterers, and wannabe pickup artists who are eager to learn the secrets of “game”—the psychological tricks that supposedly make it easy to seduce women. George Sodini, who confided his seething rage at women to his blog before shooting 12 women, three of them fatally, was one of the latter. Before his 2009 murder spree at a Pittsburgh-area gym, he was a student — though clearly not a very apt one — of R. Don Steele, the author of How to Date Young Women: For Men Over 35. “I dress good, am clean-shaven, bathe, touch of cologne — yet 30 million women rejected me over an 18 or 25-year period,” Sodini wrote with the kind of pathos presumably typical of Steele’s readers.

Some take an inordinate interest in extremely young women, or fetishize what they see as the ultra-feminine (read: docile) characteristics of South American and Asian women. Others, who have internalized Christian “headship” doctrine, are desperately seeking the “submissive” women such doctrine celebrates. Still others are simply sexually awkward, and nonplussed and befuddled by society’s changing mores. The common denominator is their resentment of feminism and of females in general.

“It’s ironic,” the feminist writer Amanda Marcotte observes. “These [misogynist Web] sites owe their existence to feminism’s successes. At some point in the last couple of years, the zeitgeist hit a tipping point where female power — Hillary Clinton’s, Rachel Maddow’s, even Sarah Palin’s — stopped being questioned. Being sexist has become less acceptable than it used to be. This makes some men particularly anxious.” At the same time, of course, domestic violence and sex crimes are much more likely to be prosecuted than they were even a decade ago. Shelters, social services and legal aid are more available to most battered women than in the past.

But some experts argue that men’s rights groups have been remarkably successful. The groups, says Rita Smith, director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “have taken over the way courts deal with custody issues, particularly when there are allegations of abuse,” largely by convincing them that there is such a thing as “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS). (PAS is a supposed clinical disorder in which a child compulsively belittles one parent due to indoctrination by the other — frequently leveling false allegations of abuse. It is not recognized as a clinical disorder by either the American Psychiatric Association or the World Health Organization.) Citing studies that show that false domestic abuse accusations against men are far less common than men’s groups and PAS enthusiasts claim, Smith says the groups nevertheless have “been able to get custody evaluators, mediators, guardians ad litem and child protective service workers to believe that women and children lie about abuse.”

Threats and Abuse

One kind of abuse that is undeniable is the vilification of individual women on certain men’s group websites. The best example of that may be Register-Her, a registry of women who “have caused significant harm to innocent individuals either by the direct action of crimes like rape, assault, child molestation and murder, or by the false accusation of crimes against others.” The site was set up by Paul Elam, the blogger behind A Voice for Men, less than two weeks after Ball’s suicide. “If Mary Jane Rottencrotch decides to falsely accuse her husband of domestic violence in order to get the upper hand in a divorce,” Elam boasted on his Internet radio show, “we can publish all her personal information on the website, including her name, address, phone number … even her routes to and from work.”

Under a headline reading, “Why are these women not in prison?” the site features photos and information about some 250 alleged malefactors, including notorious women like Lorena Bobbitt and Tonya Harding, although Elam hasn’t made good on his threat to publish home addresses or phone numbers. Many of those listed received prison sentences for various crimes, but large numbers were acquitted in court, while others were never accused of any lawbreaking. A well-known feminist, for example, is listed for “anti-male bigotry,” which is compared to racism.

Elam’s site can be frightening to its targets. In one case, he offered a cash reward to the first reader to ferret out a pseudonymous feminist blogger’s real name. In another, Elam singled out a part-time blogger at ChicagoNow who describes herself as a “vegetarian park activist with two baby girls.” The woman’s mistake was to write about her discomfort with male adults helping female toddlers in the bathroom at her daughter’s preschool. The blogger conceded that she was being sexist, but wrote that “I’d rather be wrong than find out if I’m right.”

After the woman was listed, she was widely attacked on men’s movement sites. “I don’t always use the word ‘cunt’ to describe a woman,” one poster raged, “but when I do it’s because of reasons like these.” Shocked, the “Mommy blogger” took down her original post and apologized for her “demonization of men.”

It wasn’t enough. “You targeted fathers, and just fathers,” Elam rebuked her. “It strikes me that you have never really been held to account for any of your actions in life. It is quite likely that the concept of complete, selfless accountability is just completely foreign to you.” Over at the Reddit Mens Rights forum, another poster fumed: “This entire episode should be a warning to all those male hating feminists out there who believe that they are safe screaming their hate messages on the web. Finally, they are held accountable for their hate messages and finally the rest of the world will find out exactly what type of depraved people they really are.”

“I don’t know if Thomas James Ball ever visited this site,” Elam wrote on his blog when he started Register-Her. “What I do believe is, though, that he, if convinced to stay alive, would have been a hell of a soldier in this war.”

Soldiers in the War

The first shots in this so-called war on feminism were fired 22 years before Tom Ball’s suicide. On Dec. 6, 1989, Marc Lépine, a troubled 25-year-old computer student, strolled into the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada, carrying a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife. He walked into a classroom, ordered the men to leave, and lined the women up against a wall.

“I am fighting feminism,” he announced before opening fire. “You’re women, you’re going to be engineers. You’re all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists.”

By the time he turned the gun on himself, 14 women were dead and 10 were wounded; four men were hurt as well. The suicide note in Lépine’s pocket contained a list of 19 “radical feminists” he hoped to kill, and this: “I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker. … They want to keep the advantages of women … while seizing for themselves those of men.”

Today, that kind of rage is often directed at all women, not only perceived feminists. “Women don’t need the powers-that-be to get them to hate and use men,” the blogger Alcuin wrote recently. “They have always used men; maybe they have always hated us too.” Added another blogger, Angry Harry: “There are now, literally, billions of dollars, numerous empires, and millions of jobs that depend on the public swallowing the idea that women need to be defended from men.”

“A word to the wise,” offered the blogger known as Rebuking Feminism. “The animals women have become want one thing, resources and genes. … See them as the animals they have become and plan … accordingly.”

And many are quick to endorse violence against women. “There are women, and plenty of them, for which [sic] a solid ass kicking would be the least they deserve,” Paul Elam wrote in an essay with the provocative title, “When is it OK to Punch Your Wife?” “The real question here is not whether these women deserve the business end of a right hook, they obviously do, and some of them deserve one hard enough to leave them in an unconscious, innocuous pile on the ground if it serves to protect the innocent from imminent harm. The real question is whether men deserve to be able to physically defend themselves from assault … from a woman.”

For some, it’s more than just talk. In 2006, Darren Mack, a member of a fathers’ rights group in Reno, Nev., stabbed his estranged wife to death and then shot and wounded the family court judge who was handling his divorce.

That kind of violence continues right up to the present.

In Seal Beach, Calif. last Oct. 12, a day after Scott Evans Dekraai and his ex-wife had been in court to fight over custody of their 8-year-old son (Dekraai had 56% custody but wanted full custody and “final decision making authority” on matters of the child’s education and medical treatment), Dekraai walked into the hair salon where his ex-wife worked armed with three handguns. There, he allegedly shot seven women, six of them fatally; he also is accused of killing two men — the salon’s owner, as he attempted to flee, and a man in a car outside.

8a. Ronan Farrow wrote the New Yorker piece that launched the Harvey Weinstein takedown.

From  Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Aggression: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories” by Ronan Farrow; The New Yorker; 10/23/2017.

8b. An important detail about Ronan Farrow, who played a fundamental role in breaking the Harvey Weinstein case, concerns his background in the State Department, specializing in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Farrow is the son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen.  ” . . . .  Post-law school: Lands a job at the State Department, as a special advisor focusing on conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan. . . .”

Farrow’s background strongly suggests intelligence community involvement.

“Ronan Farrow: From State Department to Twitter Legend to MSNBC Host (a Timeline)” by Emily Yahr; The Washington Post; 2/24/2014.

 . . . .  Post-law school: Lands a job at the State Department, as a special advisor focusing on conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan. . . .

8c. Farrow continued his work for State in 2011. ” . . . . 2011: Starts working alongside Hillary Clinton with a lengthy title: Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Global Youth Issues and director of the State Department’s Global Youth Issues office. . . .”

Harvey Weinstein was a major donor to the Democrats, including Hillary Clinton. Might Farrow have been doing opposition research on Clinton while  working for her State Department?

“Ronan Farrow: From State Department to Twitter Legend to MSNBC Host (a Timeline)” by Emily Yahr; The Washington Post; 2/24/2014.

. . . . 2011: Starts working alongside Hillary Clinton with a lengthy title: Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Global Youth Issues and director of the State Department’s Global Youth Issues office. . . .

8d. Farrow also co-wrote the New Yorker article that took down New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a major Trump opponent who presided over the lawsuit against Trump University.

“Four Women Accuse New York’s Attorney General of Physical Abuse” by Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer; The New Yorker; 5/7/2018.

8e. Schneiderman was actively going after other members of the oligarchy as well.

“Will This Man Take Down Donald Trump?” by David Freedlander; Politico; 2/3/2017.

. . . . Schneiderman took up the state’s existing case against Trump University—New York wanted the school to drop the “university” from its name, since it was not chartered as an institution of higher learning and lacked a license to offer instruction—and as he pursued it over the next five years, he became the target of a relentless series of personal attacks from the Trump camp. Trump filed an ethics complaint alleging that Schneiderman offered to drop the suit in exchange for donations; he went on television to denounce Schneiderman as a hack and a lightweight, and said he was wasting millions of taxpayer dollars when he should have been going after Wall Street. (Never mind that Schneiderman had already been declared “the man the banks fear most” by the liberal magazine “The American Prospect.”) “The whole scorched-earth strategy towards those who would challenge him, we got a preview of,” says Schneiderman.

The Trump University suit eventually was settled for $25 million days after the election, despite the then president-elect’s repeated pledges never to settle. Schneiderman could have left it at that. But Schneiderman has let it be known that Trump is still in his crosshairs. In the days since November 9, Schneiderman fired off a letter warning Trump not to drop White House support of Obama’s Clean Power Plan, introduced a bill in the state Legislature to give New Yorkers cost-free contraception if the Affordable Care Act is dismantled, threatened to sue after Trump froze EPA funding of clean air and water programs, and joined a lawsuit that argues that Trump’s executive order on immigration is not just unconstitutional and un-American, but it brings profound harm to the residents of New York State.

He has a record of going not only after Trump, but going after people now in Trumpworld. He’s on the opposite side of the Clean Power Plan fight from Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, since named head of the EPA, and who Schneiderman labeled a “dangerous and unqualified choice.” He’s gone after Rex Tillerson, who as CEO of ExxonMobil defended his company from a Schneiderman investigation; since the election he’s begun investigating a reverse-mortgage business once led by Steven Mnuchin, the nominee to be the next Treasury secretary. . . .

8f. Prior to his professional demise, Schneiderman was investigating the NXIVM cult, with its many connections to powerful people, including Trump/GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone, who signaled the #MeToo takedown of Senator Al Franken. Might he have been linked to the takedown of Schneiderman?

“Faces of NXIVM: An Alleged Cult’s Inner Circle and Beyond” by Joyce Bassett; TimesUnion; 4/24/2018.

. . . The Times Union reported on March 25 that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office was conducting a separate investigation of a nonprofit foundation associated with NXIVM that allegedly sponsored brain-activity and other human behavioral studies without any apparent oversight, according to court records. That investigation has been suspended due to the federal criminal investigation, officials said. . . .

. . . . The for-profit corporation NXIVM is based on a self-improvement curriculum called “Rational Inquiry.” Other high-profile names — including Republican campaign strategist and self-described political “dirty trickster” Roger Stone. . . .  have taken NXIVM’s executive success courses or were found to have ties to the organization, according to Times Union reporting. . . .

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