Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #972 They Are All Bound on the Wheel: Reflections on Charlottesville

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

Intro­duc­tion: The title of the pro­gram comes from a Robin­son Jef­fers poem, repro­duced at the begin­ning of this descrip­tion. It sums up Mr. Emory’s feel­ings about Char­lottesville and much of what has tran­spired since the ascen­sion of the Trumpenkampfver­bande.

With the main­stream media, the so-called “alter­na­tive media,” the so-called “pro­gres­sive sec­tor” and the GOP beat­ing their breasts over Don­ald Trump’s pre­dictably equiv­o­cal reac­tion to the vio­lence in Char­lottesville (Vir­ginia), we high­light the pro­found com­plic­i­ty with all of these ele­ments with the very white suprema­cist, Nazi and Neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ments that are at the foun­da­tion of the events in ques­tion.

For the last sev­er­al years, the main­stream media, the so-called “alter­na­tive media,” and the so-called “pro­gres­sive sec­tor” have man­i­fest­ed an almost erot­ic obses­sion with the over­lap­ping activ­i­ties of Eddie the Friend­ly Spook (Snow­den), Julian Assange and Wik­iLeaks, Glenn Green­wald and Green­wald’s media finan­cial angel Pierre Omid­yar.

All of the focal points of their col­lec­tive adu­la­tion are at one with the very white suprema­cist, Nazi and Neo-Con­fed­er­ate forces that coa­lesced on behalf of the preser­va­tion of the Con­fed­er­ate memo­ri­als in Char­lottesville. Key points of dis­cus­sion and analy­sis include:

  1. Eddie Snow­den’s strong links to the Ron Paul polit­i­cal milieu. Snow­den gave mon­ey to Paul’s cam­paign, whose super-PAC was cap­i­tal­ized large­ly by Peter Thiel, a key Trump sup­port­er.
  2. The fact that Ron Paul has been net­work­ing with David Duke for decades. (Duke was promi­nent at Char­lottesville.)
  3. The fact that Snow­den’s first attor­ney (and the attor­ney for the Snow­den fam­i­ly) was Bruce Fein, the chief legal coun­sel for Ron Paul’s 2012 Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.
  4. Fein also net­worked with the Ger­man-based Schiller Insti­tute, run by the fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion of Lyn­don LaRouche.
  5. Ron Paul is very close to the Neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment and the heav­i­ly-over­lapped Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute.
  6. Ron Paul aide Wal­ter Block, anoth­er of Paul’s sup­port­ers and a res­i­dent schol­ar at the Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute is not only sup­port­ive of the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment but advanced a the­o­ry of “vol­un­tary slav­ery.” Vol­un­tary slav­ery could be viewed as the ulti­mate col­lat­er­al­ized debt oblig­a­tion!
  7. Julian Assange is also a big Ron and Rand Paul fan. Fur­ther­more, Assange and his fas­cist aide, doc­tri­naire Holo­caust-denier Joran Jer­mas (aka “Israel Shamir”) are inex­tri­ca­bly linked with a Swedish, Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian fas­cist milieu that enfolds Carl Lund­strom, Daniel Friberg and David Duke.
  8. Glenn Green­wald spent years run­ning legal inter­fer­ence for Nazi mur­der­ers and the “lead­er­less resis­tance” strat­e­gy Mr. Fields used to fatal­ly-injure one of the demon­stra­tors in Char­lottesville. Green­wald worked pro-bono.
  9.  In addi­tion to lion­iz­ing Snow­den, Assange and Greenwald–all of whom are, basi­cal­ly, “Alt-Right,” the main­stream media, the so-called “alter­na­tive media” and the so-called “pro­gres­sive” sec­tor have oozed all over Pierre Omid­yar and his media under­tak­ings, which have been the foun­da­tion for Snow­den, Green­wald and Assange’s media pre­sen­ta­tions.
  10. Omid­yar helped finance the coup in Ukraine, which brought OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions to pow­er and also aid­ed in the rise of Naren­dra Modi in India. Mod­i’s BJP Par­ty is a cat’s paw for the Hin­du nationalist/fascist RSS, the orga­ni­za­tion that mur­dered Gand­hi. Roy Proster­man, Omid­yar’s pri­ma­ry admin­is­tra­tor of his phil­an­thropic under­tak­ings, was a vet­er­an of the Phoenix assas­si­na­tion pro­gram in Viet­nam.

OUN/B World War II Ukrain­ian prime min­is­ter Jaroslav Stet­sko and then Vice-Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush

Par­tic­u­lar­ly grotesque is the right­eous pos­tur­ing of the GOP, whose mem­bers have scram­bled to go “on record” decry­ing racism and Nazism, inton­ing that such things are “un-Amer­i­can,” or words to that effect. In fact, the GOP is joined at the hip with the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations, formed in 1943 by Adolf Hitler as the Com­mit­tee of Sub­ju­gat­ed Nations. A con­sor­tium of East­ern and Cen­tral Euro­pean fas­cist groups, the ABN became a major play­er in the GOP’s eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion.

The mar­riage of the GOP and the ABN was effect­ed under the aus­pices of the Cru­sade for Free­dom, a dual-sided covert oper­a­tion with the GOP/ABN nexus at the root of a domes­tic polit­i­cal oper­a­tion and the com­bat sup­port afford­ed guer­ril­las from the OUN/B and oth­er East­ern Euro­pean fas­cist fight­ing by the Office of Pol­i­cy Coor­di­na­tion (which mor­phed into the CIA’s Direc­torate of plans): . . . . Frus­tra­tion over Truman’s 1948 elec­tion vic­to­ry over Dewey (which they blamed on the “Jew­ish vote”) impelled Dulles and his pro­tégé Richard Nixon to work toward the real­iza­tion of the fas­cist free­dom fight­er pres­ence in the Repub­li­can Party’s eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion. As a young con­gress­man, Nixon had been Allen Dulles’s con­fi­dant. . . .

. . . . Vice Pres­i­dent Nixon’s secret polit­i­cal war of Nazis against Jews in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics was nev­er inves­ti­gat­ed at the time. The for­eign lan­guage-speak­ing Croa­t­ians and oth­er Fas­cist émi­gré groups had a ready-made net­work for con­tact­ing and mobi­liz­ing the East­ern Euro­pean eth­nic bloc. There is a very high cor­re­la­tion between CIA domes­tic sub­si­dies to Fas­cist ‘free­dom fight­ers’ dur­ing the 1950’s and the lead­er­ship of the Repub­li­can Party’s eth­nic cam­paign groups. The motive for the under-the-table financ­ing was clear: Nixon used Nazis to off­set the Jew­ish vote for the Democ­rats. . . .

. . . . In 1952, Nixon had formed an Eth­nic Divi­sion with­in the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee. Dis­placed fas­cists, hop­ing to be returned to pow­er by an Eisen­how­er-Nixon ‘lib­er­a­tion’ pol­i­cy signed on with the com­mit­tee. In 1953, when Repub­li­cans were in office, the immi­gra­tion laws were changed to admit Nazis, even mem­bers of the SS. They flood­ed into the coun­try. Nixon him­self over­saw the new immi­gra­tion pro­gram. [This is a Repub­li­can pro-immi­gra­tion program–D.E.] . . .”

The key fig­ures in the CFF became the cream of the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion. ” . . . . As a young movie actor in the ear­ly 1950s, Rea­gan was employed as the pub­lic spokesper­son for an OPC front named the ‘Cru­sade for Free­dom.’ Rea­gan may not have known it, but 99 per­cent for the Crusade’s funds came from clan­des­tine accounts, which were then laun­dered through the Cru­sade to var­i­ous orga­ni­za­tions such as Radio Lib­er­ty, which employed Dulles’s Fas­cists. Bill Casey, who lat­er became CIA direc­tor under Ronald Rea­gan, also worked in Ger­many after World War II on Dulles’ Nazi ‘free­dom fight­ers’ pro­gram. When he returned to New York, Casey head­ed up anoth­er OPC front, the Inter­na­tion­al Res­cue Com­mit­tee, which spon­sored the immi­gra­tion of these Fas­cists to the Unit­ed States. Casey’s com­mit­tee replaced the Inter­na­tion­al Red Cross as the spon­sor for Dulles’s recruits. . . . 

. . . . It was [George H.W.] Bush who ful­filled Nixon’s promise to make the ‘eth­nic emi­gres’ a per­ma­nent part of Repub­li­can pol­i­tics. In 1972, Nixon’s State Depart­ment spokesman con­firmed to his Aus­tralian coun­ter­part that the eth­nic groups were very use­ful to get out the vote in sev­er­al key states. Bush’s tenure as head of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee exact­ly coin­cid­ed with Las­z­lo Pasztor’s 1972 dri­ve to trans­form the Her­itage Groups Coun­cil into the party’s offi­cial eth­nic arm. The groups Pasz­tor chose as Bush’s cam­paign allies were the émi­gré Fas­cists whom Dulles had brought to the Unit­ed States. . . . ”

1. The pro­gram begins with the read­ing of a poem by Robin­son Jef­fers, that sums up Mr. Emory’s feel­ings on the events pur­suant to Trump’s elec­tion, Char­lottesville in par­tic­u­lar.

“Be Angry at the Sun” by Robin­son Jef­fers

That pub­lic men pub­lish false­hoods
Is noth­ing new. That Amer­i­ca must accept
Like the his­tor­i­cal republics cor­rup­tion and empire
Has been known for years.

Be angry at the sun for set­ting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and turn,
They are all bound on the wheel, these peo­ple, those war­riors.
This repub­lic, Europe, Asia.

Observe them ges­tic­u­lat­ing,
Observe them going down. The gang serves lies, the pas­sion­ate
Man plays his part; the cold pas­sion for truth
Hunts in no pack.

You are not Cat­ul­lus, you know,
To lam­poon these crude sketch­es of Cae­sar. You are far
From Dan­te’s feet, but even far­ther from his dirty
Polit­i­cal hatreds.

Let boys want plea­sure, and men
Strug­gle for pow­er, and women per­haps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.

2. Review­ing dis­cus­sion that has dom­i­nat­ed much of the analy­sis pre­sent­ed in For The Record dur­ing the last sev­er­al years, the pro­gram reviews the pro­found con­nec­tions between Eddie The Friend­ly Spook (Snow­den), his pro­found con­nec­tions to Ron Paul and the lat­ter’s decades-long inter­face with David Duke (promi­nent in Char­lottesville) and the Neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment. Key ele­ments of dis­cus­sion are high­light­ed in FTR #756:

  • Ron Paul’s son Rand Paul is lead­ing the polit­i­cal charge over the Snow­den “dis­clo­sures” (note the quotes.) Rand Paul is lin­ing up as a GOP Pres­i­den­tial hope­ful for 2016, look­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on lib­er­tar­i­an pop­ulism as a vehi­cle for achiev­ing vic­to­ry. Again, expect to see L’Af­faire Snow­den play into the Repub­li­can theme of Obama/Democrats as spon­sors of “big gov­ern­ment” etc., etc. (Both the above-men­tioned Peter Thiel and Glenn Green­wald–Snow­den’s leak­ing jour­nal­ist of choice–network with the Koch broth­ers fund­ed Cato Insti­tute, an epi­cen­ter of lib­er­tar­i­an ide­ol­o­gy.) (See text excerpts below.) Thiel is a major backer of Don­ald Trump and pro­vid­ed most of the financ­ing for Ron Paul’s super PAC in 2012.
  • We have not­ed in past dis­cus­sion that one of the goals of this “op” is to alien­ate younger, more ide­al­is­tic vot­ers from the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty. That appears to be one of Rand Paul’s strat­a­gems in his cam­paign bid.
  • Rand Paul’s key staffer Jack Hunter is a for­mer chair­man of The League of the South, a racist neo-Con­fed­er­ate orga­ni­za­tion that advo­cates the seces­sion of the South and has links to the milieu behind the assas­si­na­tion of Mar­tin Luther King. Sarah Pal­in’s polit­i­cal milieu also has links to the League of the South.
  • Jack Hunter is the for­mer blog­ger for–Ron Paul, Snow­den’s Nazi Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of choice.
  • Snow­den’s father Lon Snow­den has formed a polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion with Bruce Fein, a Ron Paul backer in 2008. (See text excerpts below.)
  • Bruce Fein is also, appar­ent­ly, the lawyer for Edward Snow­den as well, han­dling legal maneu­ver­ing for Eddie the Friend­ly Spook while he is in Rus­sia. (See text excerpts below.)
  • Fein was a coun­sel for Ron Paul’s Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in 2012.
  • Fein’s asso­ci­a­tion with Lon Snow­den appears to have derived from the elder Snow­den’s net­work­ing with Rand Paul’s orga­ni­za­tion.
  • Fein also net­worked with the Ger­man-based Schiller Insti­tute, run by the fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion of Lyn­don LaRouche.
  • Fein also works on behalf of Turk­ish inter­ests, act­ing in con­junc­tion with forces alleged by Sibel Edmonds to be involved with mon­ey laun­der­ing on behalf of inter­ests that include Al-Qae­da. The prob­a­bil­i­ty is strong that Fein oper­ates in con­junc­tion with the Erdo­gan gov­ern­ment and–possibly–Fetul­lah Gulen.
  • Wik­iLeaks founder Julian Assange–joined at the hip with Eddie the Friend­ly Spook–has endorsed both Ron and Rand Paul.
  • In a post, we note that Ron Paul will be attend­ing a fund-rais­er for a fas­cist splin­ter sect of Catholi­cism that endors­es Holo­caust denial, claims the Jews are try­ing to exter­mi­nate Gen­tiles and denies that the earth revolves around the sun. Paul’s asso­ci­a­tion with this group goes back to 1998.
  • Anoth­er post flesh­es out Ron Paul’s racist asso­ciates and views.
  • Yet anoth­er entry details some of the anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic views of the Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute, as well as its pro­found links to the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment. Eddie Snow­den’s eco­nom­ic views derive from the Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute.
  • We note that Wal­ter Block, anoth­er of Paul’s sup­port­ers and a res­i­dent schol­ar at the Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute is not only sup­port­ive of the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment but advanced a the­o­ry of “vol­un­tary slav­ery.” Vol­un­tary slav­ery could be viewed as the ulti­mate col­lat­er­al­ized debt oblig­a­tion!
  • The Von Mis­es Insti­tute hon­ored Otto von Hab­s­burg, heir to the Autro-Hun­gar­i­an Empire. His son Karl heads the UNPO, which (like the League of the South) seeks the frag­men­ta­tion of the Unit­ed States.
  • Otto von Hab­s­burg was a fas­cist, part of the Free­dom for Rudolf Hess Soci­ety (Hess was one of Hitler’s top aides.)

 3a. Inex­tri­ca­bly linked with “Team Snow­den,” Julian Assange is also a big Ron (and Rand) Paul fan. Assange and com­pa­ny are also pro­found­ly linked to the inter­na­tion­al milieu of which David Duke is a part. We have cov­ered Assange’s fas­cist and right-wing under­pin­nings in numer­ous pro­grams. Some of the basic points of analy­sis are pre­sent­ed in the “Intro­duc­tion” FTR #732:

“. . . . In addi­tion to the fact that Wik­iLeaks’ servers were pro­vid­ed by the Swedish Nazi financier Carl Lund­strom, Pirate Bay is actu­al­ly incor­po­rat­ed as an off­shore front com­pa­ny in the Sey­chelles Islands. (Pirate Bay was sold to a Swedish gam­ing com­pa­ny, but the firm went bank­rupt. The sale was sup­posed to be financed by the sale of GGF’s stock–which rose 170% the day before the deal was announced, rais­ing charges of insid­er trad­ing.)

Accord­ing to Sil­i­con Val­ley sources, the Pirate Bay/WikiLeaks rela­tion­ship would per­mit the Under­ground Reich to access every­thing being sent to Wik­iLeaks!

In the wake of charges being filed against Assange in Swe­den, it devel­oped that Wik­iLeaks in fact employed indi­vid­u­als con­nect­ed to the Swedish Nazi/antisemitic milieu! Han­dling much of their busi­ness with Swe­den and Rus­sia are Joran Jer­mas and his son (Johannes Wahlstrom), both anti-Semit­ic and part and par­cel to the same Nazi and fas­cist milieu to which Carl Lund­strom belongs. . . . ”

3b. Fur­ther solid­i­fy­ing the links between Wik­iLeaks, the Swedish fas­cist milieu of Carl Lund­strom and the inter­na­tion­al net­work of which David Duke is a part, FTR #745 high­lights the role of Jermas/Shamir in effect­ing the links between Assange and Pirate Bay. Note again, Duke’s links to this con­cate­na­tion. Assange’s eugeni­cist views are detailed in this pro­gram as well.

From the pro­gram’s intro­duc­tion: “Fea­tur­ing crit­i­cal infor­ma­tion com­ing to us from the Swedish mag­a­zine Expo, found­ed by the late Stieg Lars­son, the broad­cast high­lights the piv­otal nature of the rela­tion­ship between Wik­iLeaks, founder Julian Assange and a Naz­i/­fas­cist/an­ti-Semit­ic net­work oper­at­ing out of Swe­den.

Far from being “just anoth­er jour­nal­ist” who began mov­ing in the Wik­iLeaks orbit, Joran Jer­mas aka “Israel Shamir” appears to have had much to do with estab­lish­ing Wik­iLeaks in Swe­den. A cel­e­bra­to­ry Holo­caust denier who has stat­ed that it is the duty of all “good Chris­tians and Mus­lims to deny the Holo­caust,” Jer­mas and his son Johannes Wahlstrom (of sim­i­lar polit­i­cal ori­en­ta­tion) are part and par­cel to the same Nazi/fascist milieu as Carl Lund­strom, whose mon­ey is the pri­ma­ry finan­cial ele­ment in Pirate Bay.

Nor is Jermas/Shamir’s rela­tion­ship to Assange a casu­al one. On the con­trary, that asso­ci­a­tion stretch­es back for years, with Assange view­ing Jermas/Shamir as “clever” and seek­ing to employ him under a pseu­do­nym, indi­cat­ing that Assange knew exact­ly what sort of crea­ture he was deal­ing with and how he would be per­ceived.

Indi­ca­tions are that an indi­vid­ual like Jermas/Shamir would not in any way be anath­e­ma to Assange. He has, him­self, giv­en indi­ca­tions of a sim­i­lar men­tal­i­ty, recent­ly engag­ing in obses­sive Jew-bait­ing of per­ceived crit­ics (includ­ing in-laws of edi­to­r­i­al per­son­nel of the BBC and The Guardian.) . . . .”

3c. When, dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, Wik­iLeaks emerged as the full-blown, unof­fi­cial “cyber-dirty-tricks” ele­ment of the Trump cam­paign, (net­work­ing with long-time GOP dirty tricks spe­cial­ist Roger Stone), Assange, once again, attacked his crit­ics as “Jews.” We dis­cussed this in FTR #917.

From that pro­gram’s intro­duc­tion: “In FTR #‘s 724, 725, 732, 745 and 755, we have detailed the fas­cist and far right-wing ide­ol­o­gy, asso­ci­a­tions and pol­i­tics of Julian Assange and Wik­iLeaks.

Lion­ized by the so-called pro­gres­sive sec­tor, as well as main­stream media sources like The New York Times and Der Spiegel, Assange’s true col­ors and fas­cist pol­i­tics and asso­ci­a­tions have emerged on a larg­er stage.

As the Trump cam­paign evolves, a major alliance between “The Don­ald’s” Trumpenkampfver­bande and the Assange orga­ni­za­tion has devel­oped. Obvi­ous­ly serv­ing as a dirty-tricks cadre for the GOP, Assange is work­ing hard to destroy Hillary Clin­ton with leaked doc­u­ments intend­ed to tor­pe­do her cam­paign.

Is this Julian Assange?

Is this Julian Assange?

Assange–not even an Amer­i­can citizen–is man­i­fest­ing what we termed “tech­no­crat­ic fas­cism,” arro­gat­ing to him­self the right to deter­mine the results of the Amer­i­can Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Quot­ing from a sem­i­nal arti­cle by David Golum­bia: ” . . . Hack­ers (“civic,” “eth­i­cal,” “white” and “black” hat alike), hack­tivists, Wik­iLeaks fans [and Julian Assange et al–D. E.], Anony­mous “mem­bers,” even Edward Snow­den him­self walk hand-in-hand with Face­book and Google in telling us that coders don’t just have good things to con­tribute to the polit­i­cal world, but that the polit­i­cal world is theirs to do with what they want, and the rest of us should stay out of it: the polit­i­cal world is bro­ken, they appear to think (right­ly, at least in part), and the solu­tion to that, they think (wrong­ly, at least for the most part), is for pro­gram­mers to take polit­i­cal mat­ters into their own hands. . . .”

Begin­ning with analy­sis of the alleged Russ­ian author­ship of the hack of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee on the eve of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­ven­tion in July, we high­light dis­turb­ing indi­ca­tions that the hack is actu­al­ly a false flag oper­a­tion, set­ting the stage for some very dan­ger­ous devel­op­ments.

In that con­text, we recall that one of the terms we have applied to Edward Snow­den is “The Obverse Oswald.”  We strong­ly sus­pect that Snow­den, in Rus­sia and work­ing for a com­put­er firm, may have had some­thing to do with this.

The (frankly lame) fram­ing of Rus­sia for the DNC hack reminds us of the process of “paint­ing Oswald Red.” We have cov­ered this in numer­ous broad­casts, includ­ing The Guns of Novem­ber, Part 1AFA #15 and FTR #‘s 777 and 876. (An excel­lent book on the JFK assas­si­na­tion that presents an excel­lent break­down of “the paint­ing of Oswald Red” is JFK and the Unspeak­able: Why He Died and Why It Mat­ters.)

Much of the broad­cast high­lights Wik­iLeaks’ efforts on behalf of the Trump cam­paign, detail­ing aspects of Assange’s pre­sen­ta­tion of Hillary Clin­ton’s e‑mails.

We note the pow­er­ful res­o­nance between Assange’s pre­sen­ta­tions and ele­ments of major right-wing attacks on Clin­ton.

Assange/WikiLeaks’ points of attack on Hillary Clin­ton:

  • Focus on the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion, syn­chro­niz­ing with Koch broth­ers’ pro­tege Peter Schweiz­er’s book Clin­ton Cash.
  • Imply that Clin­ton mur­dered a DNC vol­un­teer named Seth Rich. Trump dirty tricks spe­cial­ist Roger Stone is writ­ing a book blam­ing the Clin­tons for mur­der­ing JFK, Jr.–Hillary the mur­der­er!
  • Oblique­ly endorse Don­ald Trump.
  • Dis­close the Social Secu­ri­ty and cred­it card num­bers of Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty con­trib­u­tors, open­ing them up to ret­ri­bu­tion. Stone threat­ened to dis­close the hotel room num­bers of anti-Trump GOP del­e­gates, imply­ing that they could be sub­ject to vio­lence. The Wik­iLeaks Clin­ton e‑mail dump: ” . . . .  The emails include unen­crypt­ed, plain-text list­ings of donor emails address­es, home address­es, phone num­bers, social secu­ri­ty num­bers, pass­port num­bers, and cred­it card infor­ma­tion. Wik­iLeaks proud­ly announced the data dump in a sin­gle tweet. . . .” Might this have had some­thing to do with the mur­der of Seth Rich?
  • Are appar­ent­ly being con­duct­ed in con­cert with Roger Stone, with whom Assange is appar­ent­ly in con­tact!

Fur­ther devel­op­ing the right-wing, fas­cist and anti-Semit­ic aspects of Assange/WikiLeaks, we note that Assange respond­ed to crit­ics of his efforts against Clin­ton and on behalf of Trump/Stone with an anti-Semit­ic tweet.

Among Assange’s cham­pi­ons are the fas­cist Nation­al front in France and the U.K. Inde­pen­dence Par­ty, which may well have set the stage for the frag­men­ta­tion of Great Britain with the Brex­it cam­paign.

It would come as a dis­taste­ful sur­prise to the Bernie Sanders crowd, to whom Assange has catered, to learn that Assange is a cham­pi­on of free-mar­ket eco­nom­ics, syn­the­siz­ing the Chica­go and Aus­tri­an schools of eco­nom­ics.

Much of the lat­ter part of the broad­cast reviews infor­ma­tion about Assange, Snow­den and Cit­i­zen Green­wald’s right-wing and fas­cist man­i­fes­ta­tions.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  • Com­par­i­son of the racist rhetoric of Snow­den and Assange Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of choice Ron Paul with that of Don­ald Trump.
  • Cit­i­zen Green­wald’s anti-immi­grant rhetoric.
  • Review of the back-cov­er pro­mo­tion of Ser­pen­t’s Walk in the con­text of the Trump cam­paign.
  • A bul­let-point analy­sis that con­nects many of the dots in this con­cate­na­tion.

4. Like Snow­den, Assange and Wik­iLeaks, Glenn Green­wald would be cast as “Alt-Right” if his true actions and incli­na­tions were hon­est­ly eval­u­at­ed and pre­sent­ed. Before turn­ing to jour­nal­ism, Green­wald was a lawyer who ran pro-bono legal inter­fer­ence for Nazi mur­der­ers.

5a. In addi­tion to lion­iz­ing Snow­den, Assange and Greenwald–all of whom are, basi­cal­ly, “Alt-Right,” the main­stream media, the so-called “alter­na­tive media” and the so-called “pro­gres­sive” sec­tor have oozed all over Pierre Omid­yar and his media under­tak­ings, which have been the foun­da­tion for Snow­den, Green­wald and Assange’s media pre­sen­ta­tions.

Omid­yar helped finance the coup in Ukraine, which brought OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions to pow­er and also aid­ed in the rise of Naren­dra Modi in India. Mod­i’s BJP Par­ty is a cat’s paw for the Hin­du nationalist/fascist RSS, the orga­ni­za­tion that mur­dered Gand­hi.

5b. Recent news has offered up a grim­ly instruc­tive jux­ta­po­si­tion. As Glenn Green­wald and his asso­ciates in the Snow­den “op” con­tin­ue to bask in the glow of pro­fes­sion­al awards grant­ed them, Dylann Roof has put into action the type of behav­ior advo­cat­ed by Green­wald’s legal clients.

A big sup­port­er of George W. Bush in the ear­ly part of the last decade, Green­wald became an attor­ney for, and a fel­low-trav­el­er of, some of the most mur­der­ous Nazis in the coun­try.)

Exem­pli­fy­ing Green­wald is his asso­ci­a­tion with Ron Paul (Snow­den’s Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of choice) and neo-Con­fed­er­ate apol­o­gists.

“Bal­ti­more & The Walk­ing Dead” by Mark Ames; Pan­do Dai­ly; 5/1/2015.

. . . . So when Rand Paul went on Lau­ra Ingraham’s radio pro­gram to blame Bal­ti­more on black cul­ture and val­ues and “lack of fathers,” the lib­er­tar­ian whom Time called “the most inter­est­ing man in pol­i­tics” was mere­ly rehash­ing 25-year-old main­stream Repub­l­i­crat big­otries, the very same big­oted, wrong assump­tions that led to all the dis­as­trous poli­cies we’re now pay­ing for today.

Which brings me to the Lib­er­tar­i­ans of 1992.

After Fer­gu­son explod­ed last year, Lib­er­tar­i­ans posi­tioned them­selves as the only polit­i­cal force that had no blood on their hands, the only polit­i­cal force that was “prin­ci­pled” enough through­out the past few decades to offer the right analy­ses — and the right solu­tions — to the prob­lems faced by peo­ple now ris­ing up in Bal­ti­more.

In 1992, the most famous lib­er­tar­ian of all, Ron Paul, was still between Con­gres­sional stints when [the riots in] Los Ange­les erupt­ed, but he did run a prof­itable lib­er­tar­ian newslet­ter, “The Ron Paul Polit­i­cal Report,” to keep his ideas alive. Short­ly after the LA riots, Ron Paul put out a “Spe­cial Issue on Racial Ter­ror­ism”offer­ing his lib­er­tar­ian analy­sis of what he termed black “ter­ror­ism”:

“The crim­i­nals who ter­ror­ize our cities—in riots and on every non-riot day—are not exclu­sively young black males, but they large­ly are. As chil­dren, they are trained to hate whites, to believe that white oppres­sion is respon­si­ble for all black ills, to ‘fight the pow­er,’ to steal and loot as much mon­ey from the white ene­my as pos­si­ble.

“The cause of the riots is plain: bar­barism. If the bar­bar­ians can­not loot suf­fi­ciently through legal chan­nels (i.e., the riots being the wel­fare-state minus the mid­dle-man), they resort to ille­gal ones, to ter­ror­ism. Trou­ble is, few seem will­ing to stop them. The cops have been hand­cuffed. . . .

. . . .“We are con­stantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hard­ly irra­tional. Black men com­mit mur­ders, rapes, rob­beries, mug­gings, and bur­glar­ies all out of pro­por­tion to their num­bers.”

“I think we can safe­ly assume that 95% of the black males in [major U.S. cities] are semi-crim­i­nal or entire­ly crim­i­nal.”A few months lat­er, in Octo­ber 1992, Dr. Paul explained how he taught his own family—presumably includ­ing his favorite son, Rand Paul—how to defend them­selves and even mur­der what Dr. Paul called “hip-hop” car­jack­ers, “the urban youth who play unsus­pect­ing whites like pianos”:

“What can you do? More and more Amer­i­cans are car­ry­ing a gun in the car. An ex-cop I know advis­es that if you have to use a gun on a youth, you should leave the scene imme­di­ately, dis­pos­ing of the wiped off gun as soon as pos­si­ble. Such a gun can­not, of course, be reg­is­tered to you, but one bought pri­vately (through the clas­si­fieds, for exam­ple.).

Beyond that, the Lib­er­tar­ian Party’s polit­i­cal solu­tion to African-Amer­i­can pover­ty and injus­tice was to abol­ish all wel­fare pro­grams, pub­lic schools, and anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion laws like the Civ­il Rights Act. This was the solu­tion pro­moted by an up-and-com­ing lib­er­tar­ian, Jacob Horn­berg­er—who this week co-host­ed an event with RON PAUL and GLENN GREENWALD. Horn­berger believes that 19th cen­tury ante­bel­lum slave-era Amer­ica was “the freest soci­ety in his­tory”. . . 

6a.We review analy­sis of the Cru­sade For Freedom–the covert oper­a­tion that brought Third Reich alum­ni into the coun­try and also sup­port­ed their gueril­la war­fare in East­ern Europe, con­duct­ed up until the ear­ly 1950’s. Con­ceived by Allen Dulles, over­seen by Richard Nixon, pub­licly rep­re­sent­ed by Ronald Rea­gan and real­ized in con­sid­er­able mea­sure by William Casey, the CFF ulti­mate­ly evolved into a Nazi wing of the GOP.

The Secret War Against the Jews; by John Lof­tus and Mark Aarons; Copy­right 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0–312-11057‑X; pp. 122–123.

. . . . Frus­tra­tion over Truman’s 1948 elec­tion vic­to­ry over Dewey (which they blamed on the “Jew­ish vote”) impelled Dulles and his pro­tégé Richard Nixon to work toward the real­iza­tion of the fas­cist free­dom fight­er pres­ence in the Repub­li­can Party’s eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion. As a young con­gress­man, Nixon had been Allen Dulles’s con­fi­dant. They both blamed Gov­er­nor Dewey’s razor-thin loss to Tru­man in the 1948 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on the Jew­ish vote. When he became Eisenhower’s vice pres­i­dent in 1952, Nixon was deter­mined to build his own eth­nic base. . . .

. . . . Vice Pres­i­dent Nixon’s secret polit­i­cal war of Nazis against Jews in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics was nev­er inves­ti­gat­ed at the time. The for­eign lan­guage-speak­ing Croa­t­ians and oth­er Fas­cist émi­gré groups had a ready-made net­work for con­tact­ing and mobi­liz­ing the East­ern Euro­pean eth­nic bloc. There is a very high cor­re­la­tion between CIA domes­tic sub­si­dies to Fas­cist ‘free­dom fight­ers’ dur­ing the 1950’s and the lead­er­ship of the Repub­li­can Party’s eth­nic cam­paign groups. The motive for the under-the-table financ­ing was clear: Nixon used Nazis to off­set the Jew­ish vote for the Democ­rats. . . .

. . . . In 1952, Nixon had formed an Eth­nic Divi­sion with­in the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee. Dis­placed fas­cists, hop­ing to be returned to pow­er by an Eisen­how­er-Nixon ‘lib­er­a­tion’ pol­i­cy signed on with the com­mit­tee. In 1953, when Repub­li­cans were in office, the immi­gra­tion laws were changed to admit Nazis, even mem­bers of the SS. They flood­ed into the coun­try. Nixon him­self over­saw the new immi­gra­tion pro­gram. As Vice Pres­i­dent, he even received East­ern Euro­pean Fas­cists in the White House. . .

6b. More about the com­po­si­tion of the cast of the CFF: Note that the ascen­sion of the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion was essen­tial­ly the ascen­sion of the Naz­i­fied GOP, embod­ied in the CFF milieu. Rea­gan (spokesman for CFF) was Pres­i­dent; George H.W. Bush (for whom CIA head­quar­ters is named) was the Vice Pres­i­dent; William Casey (who han­dled the State Depart­ment machi­na­tions to bring these peo­ple into the Unit­ed States) was Rea­gan’s cam­paign man­ag­er and lat­er his CIA direc­tor.

The Secret War Against the Jews; by John Lof­tus and Mark Aarons; Copy­right 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0–312-11057‑X; p. 605.

. . . . As a young movie actor in the ear­ly 1950s, Rea­gan was employed as the pub­lic spokesper­son for an OPC front named the ‘Cru­sade for Free­dom.’ Rea­gan may not have known it, but 99 per­cent for the Crusade’s funds came from clan­des­tine accounts, which were then laun­dered through the Cru­sade to var­i­ous orga­ni­za­tions such as Radio Lib­er­ty, which employed Dulles’s Fas­cists. Bill Casey, who lat­er became CIA direc­tor under Ronald Rea­gan, also worked in Ger­many after World War II on Dulles’ Nazi ‘free­dom fight­ers’ pro­gram. When he returned to New York, Casey head­ed up anoth­er OPC front, the Inter­na­tion­al Res­cue Com­mit­tee, which spon­sored the immi­gra­tion of these Fas­cists to the Unit­ed States. Casey’s com­mit­tee replaced the Inter­na­tion­al Red Cross as the spon­sor for Dulles’s recruits. Con­fi­den­tial inter­views, for­mer mem­bers, OPC; for­mer mem­bers, British for­eign and Com­mon­wealth Office. . . .

6c. While serv­ing as chair­man of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, the elder George Bush shep­herd­ed the Nazi émi­gré com­mu­ni­ty into posi­tion as a per­ma­nent branch of the Repub­li­can Par­ty.
. . . . . It was Bush who ful­filled Nixon’s promise to make the ‘eth­nic emi­gres’ a per­ma­nent part of Repub­li­can pol­i­tics. In 1972, Nixon’s State Depart­ment spokesman con­firmed to his Aus­tralian coun­ter­part that the eth­nic groups were very use­ful to get out the vote in sev­er­al key states. Bush’s tenure as head of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee exact­ly coin­cid­ed with Las­z­lo Pasztor’s 1972 dri­ve to trans­form the Her­itage Groups Coun­cil into the party’s offi­cial eth­nic arm. The groups Pasz­tor chose as Bush’s cam­paign allies were the émi­gré Fas­cists whom Dulles had brought to the Unit­ed States. . . . 

Discussion

13 comments for “FTR #972 They Are All Bound on the Wheel: Reflections on Charlottesville”

  1. Oh look at that: It turns out Christo­pher Cantwell, one of the more promi­nent and out­spo­ken Nazis at the Char­lottesville “Unite the Right” march, who sells t‑shirts on his web­site with the words “Rad­i­cal Agen­da” on the front and a pic­ture of some­one being thrown out of a heli­copter on the back (pre­sum­ably a ref­er­ence the Pinochet gov­ern­men­t’s mur­der of left­ists), has had arti­cled pub­lished by the far-right Lib­er­tar­i­an Insti­tu­to Mis­es Brasil think tank fund­ed by Koch Broth­ers:

    Brasil Wire

    Brasil’s US-Fund­ed “Lib­er­tar­i­ans” & the Far-Right

    Brasil Wire , August 19, 2017

    On August 18, Vice Brasil jour­nal­ist and occa­sion­al Brasil Wire con­trib­u­tor Marie Declerq, broke the news that the Insti­tu­to Mis­es Brasil think tank, which receives fund­ing from US lib­er­tar­i­ans, has pub­lished arti­cles by Christo­pher Cantwell, the Amer­i­can Nazi who helped orga­nize the Char­lottesville Vir­ginia protests. Cantwell made the news recent­ly when he was filmed in a Vice doc­u­men­tary threat­en­ing to kill Jews and blacks, and lat­er appeared in a <a href=“https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD4reaHE83Q”>YouTube video sob­bing in fear of being arrest­ed.

    News that Mis­es Insti­tute, found­ed in 2007 and part of the Lib­er­tar­i­an Atlas Net­work, has pub­lished mate­r­i­al by Augus­to Pinochet fan­boy Cantwell shouldn’t actu­al­ly be that sur­pris­ing. In 1927, Mis­es him­self argued that Fas­cism had saved Euro­pean Civil­i­sa­tion, and “The mer­it that Fas­cism has there­by won for itself will live on eter­nal­ly in his­to­ry”. Mean­while, Atlas, which has been built over decades to dis­tort Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, is fund­ed by the Koch Broth­ers (a fam­i­ly with their own dis­tin­guished Nazi his­to­ry).

    Fol­low­ing Char­lottesville, Cantwell sparked out­rage among South Amer­i­cans by appear­ing in his own T‑Shirt design depict­ing the mur­der of left­ists in heli­copter “death flights” – a com­mon prac­tice in Chile, Argenti­na and else­where dur­ing Oper­a­tion Con­dor in the 1970s – a US sup­port­ed cross-bor­der cam­paign which assas­si­nat­ed thou­sands of labor union mem­bers, oppo­si­tion activists and intel­lec­tu­als.

    Although this is a macabre extreme, the inter­change of ideas and indi­vid­u­als on the con­ser­v­a­tive spec­trum, between self-defined lib­er­tar­i­an groups and the overt Far-Right, is rel­a­tive­ly com­mon. Polit­i­cal­ly, it fol­lows that Lib­er­tar­i­ans idolise Augus­to Pinochet. After the 1973 US- spon­sored eco­nom­ic sab­o­tage and coup in Chile put neo­fas­cist dic­ta­tor Pinochet in pow­er, he was vis­it­ed by lib­er­tar­i­an heroes Mil­ton Fried­man and Fredrich Hayek. In a Chilean news­pa­per inter­view at the time, Hayek expressed an opin­ion which still seems to be held by many neolib­er­als and lib­er­tar­i­ans to this day – that free­dom for cor­po­ra­tions in devel­op­ing nations is more impor­tant than free­dom for indi­vid­u­als – when he said, “Per­son­al­ly I pre­fer a lib­er­al dic­ta­tor to demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­ern­ment lack­ing lib­er­al­ism”.

    ...

    US Neo-Nazi obses­sion with con­fed­er­ate stat­ues finds its par­al­lel in Brazil with Pro-Gun Own­er­ship, Anti-Wom­ens, Racial & Worker’s Rights cam­paign group Movi­men­to Brasil Livre, which is asso­ci­at­ed with Mis­es Insti­tute and Koch’s Stu­dents for Lib­er­ty. Cit­ing Mar­garet Thatch­er as inspi­ra­tion, MBL have also open­ly declared their rev­er­ence for the the Ban­deirantes – the colo­nial mili­tia who went out to secure the vast inte­ri­or of the coun­try, com­mit­ting geno­cide against indige­nous pop­u­la­tions, and are cel­e­brat­ed with an enor­mous mon­u­ment in São Paulo’s Ibi­ra­puera.

    MBL is notable that it is front­ed not by its orig­i­nal founders, but by eth­ni­cal­ly mixed, telegenic young men, some of whom were report­ed­ly medi­a/lead­er­ship-trained in the Unit­ed States. It is accused of doing this to avoid the per­cep­tion of being a white elite organ­i­sa­tion in a coun­try with major­i­ty black pop­u­la­tion. Their oppo­si­tion to racial quo­tas and black con­scious­ness day are usu­al­ly voiced by these front­men, and their rhetoric has even includ­ed a bizarre com­par­i­son between Hitler and the his­toric leader of Afro-Brazil­ian Quilom­bos, Zumbi dos Pal­mares. Some its mem­bers also mim­ic an Anti-Refugee/­Mus­lim xeno­pho­bia, which is import­ed whole­sale, with­out con­text, from the Far-Right in Europe and the US.

    One of the groups most vis­i­ble lead­ers, Arthur Mole­do do Vai, known for his video blogs in which he vis­its left wing protests and lec­tures peo­ple about free mar­ket eco­nom­ic dog­ma, was recent­ly pho­tographed by Antifa try­ing to dis­rupt a labor union protest with two neo-nazi skin­head body­guards.

    MBL, which was/is also fund­ed by Atlas Net­work, plus the main par­ties which make up Temer’s Post-Coup Gov­ern­ment, oper­ates as an infan­tile sub-Bre­it­bart fake news site, with a loy­al audi­ence who act as an online and offline far-right hate-mob. These pre­dom­i­nant­ly white young men, rad­i­calised by sites such as MBL and sim­i­lar, gained noto­ri­ety by harass­ing left-wing politi­cians at their homes, before going on to phys­i­cal­ly threat­en recent high-school occu­pa­tions for bet­ter qual­i­ty pub­lic edu­ca­tion – with some sup­port­ers even pro­mot­ing the rape of female pro­test­ers on social media. Mean­while MBL was pro­mot­ing a McCarthyite cam­paign against “Com­mu­nist Indoc­tri­na­tion” by teach­ers. Else­where they talked chill­ing­ly of a Ukrain­ian sce­nario await­ing Brasil should Dil­ma Rouss­eff not fall peace­ful­ly.

    Anoth­er cam­paign spread the out­right lie that Hitler was a left­ist, and Brasil is still gripped by an idi­ot­ic debate over this fal­la­cy – not helped by a recent BBC Brasil arti­cle which con­clud­ed that the Nazis were nei­ther right nor left, because they were “total­i­tar­i­an”.

    It was a curi­ous fea­ture of the peri­od lead­ing up to Dil­ma Rousseff’s impeach­ment that MBL received more cov­er­age abroad dur­ing its cam­paign than any Brazil­ian polit­i­cal par­ty or social move­ment. It was giv­en free-reign in adver­to­ri­als pub­lished by a range of mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers such as the the Econ­o­mist, Time and the Guardian, in which they declared that Brazil need­ed to “get over” the 64–85 Neo­fas­cist Dic­ta­tor­ship. One of the group’s front men is now a city coun­cil­lor in São Paulo for the ‘Democ­ratas’ par­ty (For­mer­ly Lib­er­al Front), which is the prin­ci­pal descen­dent of ARENA – the Dictatorship-era’s Gov­ern­ment.

    Far-Right ele­ments at São Paulo’s Anti-Dil­ma protests of 2015 & 2016, organ­ised in part by these “grass­roots” free-mar­ket organ­i­sa­tions, were dis­tinct and vis­i­ble, with their flags and ban­ners, call­ing for Mil­i­tary Inter­ven­tion, adorn­ing a fleet of 20 sound trucks along­side those of MBL and par­al­lel cor­po­rate-fund­ed Pro-Impeach­ment group Vem­PraRua.

    For the most part, the demon­stra­tions evi­dent pro­to-fas­cist ten­den­cies – which went against the nar­ra­tive of a youth­ful, grass­roots organ­i­sa­tion demand­ing eco­nom­ic lib­er­al­ism and an end to cor­rup­tion – were over­looked. Media at that time also failed the basic test of scru­ti­n­is­ing the mon­ey behind MBL’s cam­paign, with the Guardian allow­ing them to state unop­posed that they were fund­ed by the sales of “t‑shirts and stick­ers” despite the mon­ey trail to Pro-Impeach­ment groups from US Lib­er­tar­i­an Think-Tanks being already well doc­u­ment­ed in 2015.

    As the con­nec­tions between the US “Alt-right”, cor­po­rate-fund­ed think tanks and fas­cism in Brasil become clear­er, the anglo media & busi­ness groups who blind­ly sup­port­ed its rise will have some impor­tant ques­tions to answer.

    ———-

    “Brasil’s US-Fund­ed “Lib­er­tar­i­ans” & the Far-Right by Brasil Wire”; Brasil Wire; 08/19/2017

    “News that Mis­es Insti­tute, found­ed in 2007 and part of the Lib­er­tar­i­an Atlas Net­work, has pub­lished mate­r­i­al by Augus­to Pinochet fan­boy Cantwell shouldn’t actu­al­ly be that sur­pris­ing. In 1927, Mis­es him­self argued that Fas­cism had saved Euro­pean Civil­i­sa­tion, and “The mer­it that Fas­cism has there­by won for itself will live on eter­nal­ly in his­to­ry”. Mean­while, Atlas, which has been built over decades to dis­tort Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, is fund­ed by the Koch Broth­ers (a fam­i­ly with their own dis­tin­guished Nazi his­to­ry).

    Yep, the Koch net­work has been qui­et­ly financ­ing and pro­mot­ing fas­cism and Lib­er­tar­i­an in Brazil for years. And it’s not just through the Insti­tu­to Mis­es Brasil think tank. The pro­to-fas­cist Movi­men­to Brasil Livre is also part of the net­work, along with Stu­dents for Lib­er­ty:

    ...
    US Neo-Nazi obses­sion with con­fed­er­ate stat­ues finds its par­al­lel in Brazil with Pro-Gun Own­er­ship, Anti-Wom­ens, Racial & Worker’s Rights cam­paign group Movi­men­to Brasil Livre, which is asso­ci­at­ed with Mis­es Insti­tute and Koch’s Stu­dents for Lib­er­ty. Cit­ing Mar­garet Thatch­er as inspi­ra­tion, MBL have also open­ly declared their rev­er­ence for the the Ban­deirantes – the colo­nial mili­tia who went out to secure the vast inte­ri­or of the coun­try, com­mit­ting geno­cide against indige­nous pop­u­la­tions, and are cel­e­brat­ed with an enor­mous mon­u­ment in São Paulo’s Ibi­ra­puera.
    ...

    Stu­dents for It’s also wor­thing recall that Edward Snow­den spoke at a Stu­dents for Lib­er­ty con­fer­ence in 2015.

    And in case in was­n’t obvi­ous that these “pro-Free­dom” groups are only inter­est­ing in free­dom for fas­cists and oli­garchs, note the talk of a “Ukrain­ian sce­nario” in Brazil if Dil­ma Rouss­eff did­n’t leave office:

    ...
    Fol­low­ing Char­lottesville, Cantwell sparked out­rage among South Amer­i­cans by appear­ing in his own T‑Shirt design depict­ing the mur­der of left­ists in heli­copter “death flights” – a com­mon prac­tice in Chile, Argenti­na and else­where dur­ing Oper­a­tion Con­dor in the 1970s – a US sup­port­ed cross-bor­der cam­paign which assas­si­nat­ed thou­sands of labor union mem­bers, oppo­si­tion activists and intel­lec­tu­als.

    Although this is a macabre extreme, the inter­change of ideas and indi­vid­u­als on the con­ser­v­a­tive spec­trum, between self-defined lib­er­tar­i­an groups and the overt Far-Right, is rel­a­tive­ly com­mon. Polit­i­cal­ly, it fol­lows that Lib­er­tar­i­ans idolise Augus­to Pinochet. After the 1973 US- spon­sored eco­nom­ic sab­o­tage and coup in Chile put neo­fas­cist dic­ta­tor Pinochet in pow­er, he was vis­it­ed by lib­er­tar­i­an heroes Mil­ton Fried­man and Fredrich Hayek. In a Chilean news­pa­per inter­view at the time, Hayek expressed an opin­ion which still seems to be held by many neolib­er­als and lib­er­tar­i­ans to this day – that free­dom for cor­po­ra­tions in devel­op­ing nations is more impor­tant than free­dom for indi­vid­u­als – when he said, “Per­son­al­ly I pre­fer a lib­er­al dic­ta­tor to demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­ern­ment lack­ing lib­er­al­ism”.

    ...

    One of the groups most vis­i­ble lead­ers, Arthur Mole­do do Vai, known for his video blogs in which he vis­its left wing protests and lec­tures peo­ple about free mar­ket eco­nom­ic dog­ma, was recent­ly pho­tographed by Antifa try­ing to dis­rupt a labor union protest with two neo-nazi skin­head body­guards.

    MBL, which was/is also fund­ed by Atlas Net­work, plus the main par­ties which make up Temer’s Post-Coup Gov­ern­ment, oper­ates as an infan­tile sub-Bre­it­bart fake news site, with a loy­al audi­ence who act as an online and offline far-right hate-mob. These pre­dom­i­nant­ly white young men, rad­i­calised by sites such as MBL and sim­i­lar, gained noto­ri­ety by harass­ing left-wing politi­cians at their homes, before going on to phys­i­cal­ly threat­en recent high-school occu­pa­tions for bet­ter qual­i­ty pub­lic edu­ca­tion – with some sup­port­ers even pro­mot­ing the rape of female pro­test­ers on social media. Mean­while MBL was pro­mot­ing a McCarthyite cam­paign against “Com­mu­nist Indoc­tri­na­tion” by teach­ers. Else­where they talked chill­ing­ly of a Ukrain­ian sce­nario await­ing Brasil should Dil­ma Rouss­eff not fall peace­ful­ly.
    ...

    And, of course, dur­ing the dri­ve to push Rouss­eff out of office it was MBL that was get­ting more media atten­tion in the inter­na­tion­al press than almost any­one else:

    ...
    It was a curi­ous fea­ture of the peri­od lead­ing up to Dil­ma Rousseff’s impeach­ment that MBL received more cov­er­age abroad dur­ing its cam­paign than any Brazil­ian polit­i­cal par­ty or social move­ment. It was giv­en free-reign in adver­to­ri­als pub­lished by a range of mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers such as the the Econ­o­mist, Time and the Guardian, in which they declared that Brazil need­ed to “get over” the 64–85 Neo­fas­cist Dic­ta­tor­ship. One of the group’s front men is now a city coun­cil­lor in São Paulo for the ‘Democ­ratas’ par­ty (For­mer­ly Lib­er­al Front), which is the prin­ci­pal descen­dent of ARENA – the Dictatorship-era’s Gov­ern­ment.
    ...

    So will Cantwell get to write moor columns for Koch net­work now that he’s fac­ing prison time? We’ll see, but if not, there’s still plen­ty more like-mind­ed peo­ple ready and will­ing to spread the gospel of Koch-style free­dom.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 7, 2017, 12:03 pm
  2. My adven­ture being slan­dered in USA Today thanks to the Under­ground Reich backed Ger­man Mar­shall Fund and It’s Alliance for Secur­ing Democ­ra­cy. Spit­fire List was also fea­tured on their Hamil­ton 68 Project. Also The Nazi groups that made up Char­lottesville are dis­cussed.

    http://anti-imperialist‑u.blogspot.com/2017/09/exposing-underground-reich-part‑3.html

    Posted by Hugo Turner | September 22, 2017, 10:48 am
  3. A great inter­view with Stephen Sin­gu­lar on the Order the Mur­der of Alan Berg, Trump and Char­lottesville.
    https://porkinspolicyreview.com/2017/09/20/porkins-policy-radio-episode-109-stephen-singular-talked-to-death-the-murder-of-alan-berg/

    Posted by Hugo Turner | September 22, 2017, 10:51 am
  4. Oh what a sur­prise: It turns out Roy Moore — the far-right theo­crat­ic for­mer Alaba­ma Supreme Court Jus­tice who was removed from the state Supreme Court twice (in 2003 for refus­ing to remove a Ten Com­mand­ments stat­ue he placed in the court house and again in 2016 for con­tin­u­ing to enforce a state ban on same-sex mar­riage) and who just won the GOP pri­ma­ry in the race to fill Attor­ney Gen­er­al Jeff Ses­sion­s’s old seat — host­ed a pro-Con­fed­er­a­cy ‘Seces­sion Day’ event at his foun­da­tion. For two years in a row:

    CNN

    Pro-Con­fed­er­ate activists held ‘Seces­sion Day’ event at Roy Moore’s foun­da­tion two years in a row

    By Chris Massie and Andrew Kaczyn­s­ki, CNN

    Updat­ed 8:26 PM ET, Wed Sep­tem­ber 27, 2017

    (CNN)Pro-Confederate activists twice held events to com­mem­o­rate Alaba­ma’s 1861 seces­sion from the Unit­ed States at the head­quar­ters of the foun­da­tion led at the time by Roy Moore, the new Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for US Sen­ate.

    The events, held at the Foun­da­tion for Moral Law’s build­ing in 2009 and 2010, pro­mot­ed a his­to­ry of the Civ­il War sym­pa­thet­ic to the Con­fed­er­ate cause, in which the con­flict is pre­sent­ed as one fought over the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment vio­lat­ing the South’s sov­er­eign­ty as opposed to one fought chiefly over the preser­va­tion of slav­ery.

    Speak­ers at the events includ­ed Franklin Sanders, who is a board mem­ber of the League of the South, an orga­ni­za­tion that advo­cates for a “free and inde­pen­dent South­ern repub­lic,” and Rev. Chuck Bald­win, who has writ­ten that he believes “the South was right in the War Between the States” and that Con­fed­er­ate lead­ers were not racist. Most aca­d­e­m­ic schol­ars iden­ti­fy slav­ery as a cen­tral cause of the war.

    At the time of the events, Moore, who on Tues­day won a runoff race to become the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for US Sen­ate, was the pres­i­dent of the Foun­da­tion for Moral Law, a Chris­t­ian legal non­prof­it he found­ed in the ear­ly 2000s. Moore stepped down as pres­i­dent in 2013 when he was elect­ed to the Alaba­ma Supreme Court, but still retains the title pres­i­dent emer­i­tus. His wife, Kay­la Moore, cur­rent­ly serves as the orga­ni­za­tion’s pres­i­dent

    Moore’s asso­ci­a­tion with the “Seces­sion Day” event first came under scruti­ny dur­ing his failed 2010 cam­paign to be Alaba­ma’s gov­er­nor. At the time, the Asso­ci­at­ed Press report­ed on the 2010 event tak­ing place at Moore’s foun­da­tion. The exec­u­tive direc­tor for the foun­da­tion, Rich Hob­son, now Moore’s cam­paign man­ag­er, told the AP that he was the one who approved the event and that Moore did­n’t know about it.

    “While the Foun­da­tion for Moral Law owns the build­ing, it is not involved in the meet­ing,” Hob­son told the AP.

    How­ev­er, accord­ing to event orga­niz­er Patri­cia God­win, Moore allowed the events to be held at his foun­da­tion. In an invite for the 2009 event reviewed by CNN’s KFile, God­win writes, “I have been fran­ti­cal­ly try­ing to find an appro­pri­ate venue for our event for months now...thankfully, Judge Roy Moore has afford­ed us the ground floor of the build­ing where the offices of The Foun­da­tion for Moral Law are.”

    God­win also writes in the invi­ta­tion that there would be an oppor­tu­ni­ty to donate to the foun­da­tion “in appre­ci­a­tion to Judge Moore for afford­ing us a place to hold this event.” Reached by phone, God­win told CNN that Moore did not “sponsor“or “endorse” the event but that he did approve the use of the foun­da­tion’s build­ing in both 2009 and 2010.

    God­win said that the event was not “an event held to advo­cate for seces­sion in today’s times. It was a his­toric day in Alaba­ma, in the South and in this coun­try.” She added that part of its goal was to “edu­cate peo­ple about our Con­sti­tu­tion.”

    Asked whether Moore was aware of the con­tent of the event when he gave his approval, God­win replied, “He’s not gonna let just any­body come in there. And he did not charge us a dime.”

    ...

    Pho­tos from the event show Alaba­ma’s 1861 seces­sion flag and a ban­ner “in mem­o­ry of the men in gray” who fought to main­tain “the prin­ci­ples of the Con­sti­tu­tion” in the Civ­il War. A four-minute video of the 2010 gath­er­ing from the Mont­gomery Adver­tis­er fea­tures atten­dees repeat­ed­ly argu­ing that the South was fight­ing for free­dom in the Civ­il War and had a right to secede.

    Among those in the video was John Eidsmoe, who was hired to join the foun­da­tion’s legal team in 2008 and is still list­ed on its web­site as the senior coun­sel and res­i­dent schol­ar, along­side Moore’s wife as the only oth­er staff mem­ber. When he was hired in 2008, Moore praised Eidsmoe as “an excep­tion­al con­sti­tu­tion­al schol­ar who is well versed in his­to­ry and Amer­i­ca’s Chris­t­ian her­itage,” accord­ing to a release from the foun­da­tion announc­ing the deci­sion.

    At the 2010 Seces­sion Day event, Eidsmoe argued of the South­ern states, “Our belief is that it was their con­sti­tu­tion­al right to secede.” He lat­er added, “I sup­port the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. I took an oath to defend it. But I also believe that Jef­fer­son Davis and John C. Cal­houn under­stood that Con­sti­tu­tion bet­ter than did Abra­ham Lin­coln and Daniel Web­ster.”

    Eidsmoe did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    God­win said that Eidsmoe had attend­ed the event in a per­son­al capac­i­ty, not as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the foun­da­tion, because he was a friend of hers.

    In her inter­view with CNN’s KFile, God­win echoed the oth­er atten­dees’ sen­ti­ments about the Con­sti­tu­tion, say­ing that it was Moore’s under­stand­ing of the nation’s found­ing text that led her to sup­port his cur­rent cam­paign for Sen­ate. She added that there has­n’t been a Con­sti­tu­tion since Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma was elect­ed, say­ing, “It’s been a the­o­ret­i­cal doc­u­ment rolled up on the shelf of the archives just like Pres­i­dent Davis said that Abra­ham Lin­coln did to it.”

    “I want peo­ple like Mitch McConnell and the NRA and CNN and Don­ald Trump to stay out of our busi­ness down here,” God­win said. “That’s the prob­lem. You Yan­kees, you have done noth­ing but stick your freakin’ nose in our busi­ness down here in the South. We don’t want you down here in the South, don’t you under­stand that? I would love to see every Yan­kee go back to Mass­a­chu­setts and to New York City, you know it?”

    ———-

    “Pro-Con­fed­er­ate activists held ‘Seces­sion Day’ event at Roy Moore’s foun­da­tion two years in a row” by Chris Massie and Andrew Kaczyn­s­ki; CNN; 09/27/2017

    “The events, held at the Foun­da­tion for Moral Law’s build­ing in 2009 and 2010, pro­mot­ed a his­to­ry of the Civ­il War sym­pa­thet­ic to the Con­fed­er­ate cause, in which the con­flict is pre­sent­ed as one fought over the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment vio­lat­ing the South’s sov­er­eign­ty as opposed to one fought chiefly over the preser­va­tion of slav­ery.”

    Sur­prise.

    And of course, this “Seces­sion Day” event did­n’t just include far right fig­ures like Chuck Bald­win (who railed against ‘Zion­ist con­trol of Amer­i­ca’ in 2015), but also a board mem­ber of the League of the South:

    ...
    Speak­ers at the events includ­ed Franklin Sanders, who is a board mem­ber of the League of the South, an orga­ni­za­tion that advo­cates for a “free and inde­pen­dent South­ern repub­lic,” and Rev. Chuck Bald­win, who has writ­ten that he believes “the South was right in the War Between the States” and that Con­fed­er­ate lead­ers were not racist. Most aca­d­e­m­ic schol­ars iden­ti­fy slav­ery as a cen­tral cause of the war.
    ...

    The South was right and Con­fed­er­ate lead­ers weren’t racist. That’s Chuck Bald­win, a pre-‘Alt-Right’ mas­ter far-right troll.

    And note how these events first came to light when Moore was run­ning for Gov­er­nor. He appar­ent­ly thought this was good pol­i­tics at the time. And the guy who was head of Moore’s foun­da­tion that owned the build­ing that host­ed the event is now Moore’s cam­paign man­ag­er:

    ...
    Moore’s asso­ci­a­tion with the “Seces­sion Day” event first came under scruti­ny dur­ing his failed 2010 cam­paign to be Alaba­ma’s gov­er­nor. At the time, the Asso­ci­at­ed Press report­ed on the 2010 event tak­ing place at Moore’s foun­da­tion. The exec­u­tive direc­tor for the foun­da­tion, Rich Hob­son, now Moore’s cam­paign man­ag­er, told the AP that he was the one who approved the event and that Moore did­n’t know about it.
    ...

    It makes you won­der what kind of extrem­ist events Moore’s is going to be host­ing this time around. He’s not going to be lack­ing options.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 27, 2017, 9:11 pm
  5. With Trop­i­cal Storm Nate threat­en­ing to become Hur­ri­cane Nate and careen­ing towards the coast of Alaba­ma, the obvi­ous ques­tion to ask at this point is whether or not God is angry at Alaba­ma for some rea­son? It’s an obvi­ous ques­tion not because it’s a rea­son­able ques­tion. No, it’s an obvi­ous ques­tion because the new GOP Sen­ate nom­i­nee, Roy Moore, is the same guy who said 9/11 may have been div­ing pun­ish­ment upon Amer­i­ca for allow­ing homo­sex­u­al­i­ty and abor­tion. So now that Alaba­ma might be fac­ing a hur­ri­cane, we’re forced to ask, did Alaba­ma do some­thing to upset God?

    Well, remem­ber those reports about Alaba­ma GOP Sen­ate nom­i­nee Roy Moore’s foun­da­tion host­ing “Seces­sion Day” events back in 2009 and 2010? Talk­ing Points Memo has a long new piece on Moore’s ties to the seces­sion­ist/­neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment and it turns out his ties to the move­ment are a lot deep­er than just host­ing those two events. How deep? So deep that Moore’s top finan­cial sup­port­er over the course of his polit­i­cal, who has donat­ed more than $600k to Moore’s races, is Michael Per­out­ka of the League of the South, a group ded­i­cat­ed to seces­sion and cre­at­ing a theo­crat­ic white suprema­cist Con­fed­er­a­cy 2.0.

    So is nom­i­nat­ing some­one like that as a major­i­ty par­ty Sen­ate nom­i­nee enough to prompt a divine­ly nasty storm? It’s the kind of ques­tion we should­n’t actu­al­ly have to ask, but now that Moore is the nom­i­nee and might actu­al­ly become a US sen­a­tor we kind of have to ask it:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    DC

    Roy Moore’s Neo-Con­fed­er­ate Sug­ar Dad­dy Has Deep Ties To Seces­sion­ists

    By Cameron Joseph
    Pub­lished Octo­ber 6, 2017 6:00 am

    Alaba­ma Repub­li­can Sen­ate nom­i­nee Roy Moore’s top sup­port­er is a hard­line Con­fed­er­ate sym­pa­thiz­er with long­time ties to a seces­sion­ist group.

    Michael Antho­ny Per­out­ka (pic­tured on the right above, with Moore in 2011) has giv­en Moore, his foun­da­tion and his cam­paigns well over a half-mil­lion dol­lars over the past decade-plus. He’s also expressed beliefs that make even Moore’s arguably theo­crat­ic anti-gay and anti-Mus­lim views look main­stream by com­par­i­son. Chief among them: He’s argued that the more Chris­t­ian South needs to secede and form a new Bib­li­cal nation.

    The close con­nec­tions raise fur­ther ques­tions about the racial and reli­gious views of Moore, the for­mer Alaba­ma supreme court chief jus­tice and the front-run­ner to become Alabama’s next U.S. sen­a­tor.

    There’s a long his­to­ry of south­ern con­ser­v­a­tive politi­cians play­ing foot­sie with fringe groups that hold con­tro­ver­sial views on race. But that’s become more fraught in recent years as the advent of YouTube, cam­era phones and cam­paign track­ers has made it hard­er to keep those meet­ings qui­et. It’s also become more con­tro­ver­sial to speak to Con­fed­er­ate groups in recent years as parts of the South have changed and in the wake of mur­der­ous racist vio­lence in Charleston and Char­lottesville. But even by the old stan­dards, Moore’s deep ties to Per­out­ka — and Peroutka’s views — stand out, as most of those groups weren’t active­ly call­ing for the South to secede again.

    Per­out­ka, a 2004 Con­sti­tu­tion Par­ty pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee who in 2014 won a seat as a Repub­li­can on the coun­ty com­mis­sion in Anne Arun­del Coun­ty, Mary­land, spent years on the board of the Alaba­ma-based League of the South, a south­ern seces­sion­ist group which for years has called for a south­ern nation run by an “Anglo-Celtic” elite. The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter des­ig­nates the League of the South as a hate group (a des­ig­na­tion Per­out­ka reg­u­lar­ly jokes about). That orga­ni­za­tion, after Per­out­ka left, was one of the orga­niz­ers of the Char­lottesville protests last sum­mer that end­ed in blood­shed.

    Dur­ing his 2004 pres­i­den­tial run, Per­out­ka made it clear to the League of the South which side of the Mason-Dixon Line he stood on.

    “I come from Mary­land, which by the way is below the Mason-Dixon Line. … We’d have seced­ed if they hadn’t of locked up 51 mem­bers of the leg­is­la­ture. And by the way, I’m still angry about that,” he told the group to applause.

    In that speech, Per­out­ka praised his daugh­ter for refus­ing to play the Bat­tle Hymn of the Repub­lic in her school band, called a vis­it to Con­fed­er­ate leader Jef­fer­son Davis’ grave “beau­ti­ful,” praised his son for call­ing the Con­fed­er­ate rebel flag the “Amer­i­can flag” and said he’d wished that those in the room had been there dur­ing the Civ­il War fight­ing for the South.

    “We could have used you, there should have been more of us in 1861,” he said.

    And he made it clear that his anti-union views weren’t just in the past.

    “Of course the South is this rem­nant of a Chris­t­ian under­stand­ing of law and gov­ern­ment where there is a God and gov­ern­ment is God-ordained. That stands right in the way of this pagan under­stand­ing that the state, the new world order, is God,’” he con­tin­ued, warn­ing that sec­u­lar­ists were out to destroy the South.

    The League of the South broke its tra­di­tion against involve­ment in a fed­er­al polit­i­cal sys­tem they nor­mal­ly reject and endorsed Peroutka’s cam­paign.

    Moore’s Own Views

    Moore him­self has addressed some extrem­ist groups and made some racial­ly charged com­ments — in addi­tion to his inflam­ma­to­ry views that Mus­lims shouldn’t be allowed in Con­gress, that Sharia law is already being imple­ment­ed in parts of the Mid­west and that “homo­sex­u­al con­duct should be ille­gal.”

    Moore led the charge against a 2004 state ref­er­en­dum to remove seg­re­ga­tion­ist lan­guage from the Alaba­ma state con­sti­tu­tion, claim­ing that the amend­ment would some­how open up the state to pos­si­ble edu­ca­tion tax increas­es. The League of the South was also involved in help­ing to defeat the amend­ment, which fell by a nar­row mar­gin.

    As Buz­zfeed report­ed in 2015, back in 1995 Moore gave a keynote address to the Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens — a white suprema­cist group that Charleston mass mur­der­er Dylann Roof would cite as a key influ­ence two decades lat­er.

    “I did not con­sid­er the Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens to be a ‘white suprema­cist’ group when I spoke to them 20 years ago,” Moore said in 2015, point­ing out that oth­er promi­nent Repub­li­cans like for­mer Sen. Trent Lott (R‑MS) had also spo­ken to the group. “I obvi­ous­ly high­ly regard the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple stat­ed in the Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence that ‘all men are cre­at­ed equal.’”

    As CNN recent­ly report­ed, Moore’s Foun­da­tion for Moral Law host­ed the League of the South’s annu­al “Seces­sion Day” event in 2009 and 2010.

    Rich Hob­son, then the Foundation’s head and now Moore’s cam­paign man­ag­er, told the AP in 2010 that he’d been the one to grant the space to the League, not Moore, and said Moore’s foun­da­tion “is not involved in the meet­ing.”

    Moore’s office is adorned with a por­trait of Jef­fer­son Davis and busts of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jack­son, though he’s claimed that’s because they’re fel­low West Point grad­u­ates and not because they led the Con­fed­er­a­cy.

    Even dur­ing his cur­rent Sen­ate cam­paign, Moore hasn’t shied away from racial con­tro­ver­sy, con­tin­u­ing to ques­tion whether Pres­i­dent Oba­ma was born in the Unit­ed States and refer­ring to “reds and yel­lows” in the same breath that he lament­ed racial divi­sion. And Moore’s Face­book page shared memes claim­ing Oba­ma was Mus­lim, as well as ones like this:

    [see image]

    The League of the South has also helped to orga­nize pro-Moore protests both times he was being removed from the Alaba­ma supreme court, accord­ing to con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous reports. But in spite of that vis­i­ble sup­port from the League of the South, his foun­da­tion host­ing them while he was its pres­i­dent, and his deep ties to Per­out­ka, Moore has denied know­ing about Peroutka’s and the group’s views.

    When a Mont­gomery Adver­tis­er reporter con­front­ed him about Peroutka’s big dona­tions to his state supreme court cam­paign in 2012, Moore denied he sup­port­ed seces­sion but refused to dis­avow Peroutka’s views because “I don’t know any­thing about it to be con­cerned or not con­cerned, but I have no idea what was said or what they stood for.”

    Those who have close­ly watched Moore and Per­out­ka are skep­ti­cal.

    “The fact that they are so close and Roy Moore pro­mot­ed Per­out­ka, took him out of obscu­ri­ty and helped him become the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of the Con­sti­tu­tion Par­ty, says a lot,” Fred­er­ick Clark­son, an author with the lib­er­al think tank Polit­i­cal Research Asso­ciates who has mon­i­tored Moore and Per­out­ka for decades, told TPM.

    “League of the South is a vio­lent seces­sion­ist group root­ed in the the­ol­o­gy of Chris­t­ian Recon­struc­tion­ism, states’ rights and white suprema­cy. There’s no ques­tion what they’re up to.”

    The Mary­land Con­fed­er­ate

    Per­out­ka has been explic­it about his sup­port of the Con­fed­er­a­cy — and his views haven’t exact­ly soft­ened over the years.

    In 2012, speak­ing at the League’s annu­al con­ven­tion, Per­out­ka laid out his view that the South needs to rise again while prais­ing the group’s even more hard­line leader, Michael Hill.

    “I don’t dis­agree with Dr. Hill at all that this [nation­al polit­i­cal] regime is beyond reform. I think that’s an obvi­ous fact and I agree with him. How­ev­er, I do agree that when you secede or how­ev­er the destruc­tion and the rub­ble of this regime takes place and how it plays out, you’re going to need to take a bib­li­cal world­view and apply it to civ­il law and gov­ern­ment,” he said. “I don’t want the peo­ple from the League of the South to for one minute think that I am about reform­ing the cur­rent regime and study­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion is about reform­ing the regime. I, like many of you and like Patrick Hen­ry, have come to the con­clu­sion that we smelled a rat from the begin­ning.”

    In case there was any con­fu­sion about his views, Per­out­ka closed his speech by ask­ing the crowd to “stand for the nation­al anthem” — and then played “Dix­ie.”

    He’s also argued the Civ­il War was about “con­sol­i­dat­ing pow­er into the hands of a few peo­ple” like Wash­ing­ton politi­cians and New York bankers, not slav­ery.

    Per­out­ka explic­it­ly said he wasn’t a racist dur­ing his 2014 run — though in a press con­fer­ence to prove it he twice dodged ques­tions about his ear­li­er seces­sion­ist com­ments.

    ...

    Kin­dred Spir­its

    Per­out­ka and Moore share sim­i­lar Chris­t­ian Recon­struc­tion­ist views of gov­ern­ment. Both Moore and Per­out­ka have long ques­tioned the basic right of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to dic­tate what local offi­cials do, argu­ing that’s beyond the pow­er God and the Con­sti­tu­tion grants to it, though Per­out­ka has gone much fur­ther, open­ly talk­ing about seces­sion.

    They believe that Amer­i­ca is a Chris­t­ian nation, that gov­ern­ment is lim­it­ed to enforc­ing those rights bestowed by God, and any­thing else it attempts to do is fun­da­men­tal­ly wrong and should be dis­re­gard­ed by the peo­ple and offi­cials. That explains Moore’s refusal to fol­low the rule of law in both occa­sions he was forced to leave the state supreme court. Both explic­it­ly reject the com­mon inter­pre­ta­tion of the sep­a­ra­tion of church and state, blame America’s woes on an aban­don­ment of their theo­crat­ic view, and harken back fond­ly to a hazy ear­li­er era where devout Chris­tians alone ruled the land.

    More than a decade ago, Per­out­ka found a kin­dred spir­it in Moore, who had become a hero on the reli­gious right by erect­ing a mon­u­ment to the Ten Com­mand­ments at his cour­t­house and reject­ing high­er courts’ rul­ings to remove it. Moore was sud­den­ly with­out a job after being kicked off the Alaba­ma supreme court — and Per­out­ka seemed to have a per­fect way to help him fill his days.

    Soon, the two were barn­storm­ing the coun­try, with Per­out­ka giv­ing Moore $120,000 for a speak­ing tour. The well-known Moore was being court­ed by mem­bers of the fringe Con­sti­tu­tion Par­ty as a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, and often spoke at the same events as his pre­vi­ous­ly lit­tle-known bene­fac­tor. When Moore announced he wouldn’t run, Per­out­ka stepped up — a self-fun­der who’d helped Moore trav­el the coun­try and in return got to share his spot­light and boost his pro­file.

    That was the first of many dona­tions, most of them made through the Eliz­a­beth Stroub Per­out­ka Foun­da­tion, a group run by Per­out­ka and his broth­er: $60,000 to Moore’s now-defunct Coali­tion to Restore Amer­i­ca, and $249,000 from 2006 through 2014 to Moore’s Foun­da­tion for Moral Law.

    Per­out­ka also gave a com­bined $45,000 to Moore’s two failed guber­na­to­r­i­al runs, and a total of $143,000 for his suc­cess­ful 2012 come­back to the state supreme court, accord­ing to the Nation­al Insti­tute of Mon­ey in State Pol­i­tics, rough­ly one-tenth of his total mon­ey for the race.

    The sum total of Peroutka’s dona­tions to Moore, his caus­es and cam­paigns: at least $622,000 since 2004.

    Per­out­ka has also hon­ored Moore on numer­ous occa­sions — includ­ing in 2007 when he had installed a repli­ca of Moore’s Ten Com­mand­ments memo­r­i­al on his Mary­land farm and dubbed the area “Roy S. Moore Field.” Fly­ing at the cer­e­mo­ny: the state flags of Alaba­ma and Mary­land, and the Con­fed­er­ate nation­al flag. The stars and stripes were nowhere to be seen, accord­ing to cov­er­age and pho­tos from the lib­er­al sec­u­lar Amer­i­cans Unit­ed for Church and State and the lib­er­al blog Jew­sOn­First.

    The two seem to have remained close. Per­out­ka maxed out to Moore’s cur­rent Sen­ate cam­paign and appeared onstage at Moore’s pri­ma­ry vic­to­ry ral­ly in late Sep­tem­ber. Moore embraced him back­stage after shout­ing an exu­ber­ant “This guy, this guy! Michael,” upon spot­ting him (it can be seen at 33 min­utes into the Moore campaign’s Face­book livestream of the event).

    As recent­ly as 2015, Moore par­tic­i­pat­ed in a pro­mo­tion­al video for Peroutka’s “Insti­tute on the Con­sti­tu­tion” — an orga­ni­za­tion set to teach a bib­li­cal view of the Con­sti­tu­tion — call­ing Per­out­ka his “good friend.”

    The League of the South’s Dark Record

    Per­out­ka has used his per­son­al wealth to fund a num­ber of right-wing caus­es over the years, from var­i­ous anti-abor­tion and anti-gay groups to mon­ey to main­tain Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments and grave sites to $1 mil­lion to the Cre­ation Muse­um for the fos­silized skele­ton of an Allosaurous dubbed “Ebenez­er.”

    But his League of the South sup­port has drawn the most ire. It con­vinced now-Mary­land Gov. Lar­ry Hogan ® and oth­er local Repub­li­cans to dis­avow Peroutka’s can­di­da­cy in 2014.

    The group and its leader Michael Hill (the “Dr. Hill” Per­out­ka was refer­ring to in his 2012 remarks) have become more open­ly mil­i­tant in recent years, short­ly after Per­out­ka left the group.

    Hill has recent­ly sug­gest­ed orga­niz­ing a vio­lent “South­ern Defense Force” mili­tia in prepa­ra­tion for “guer­ril­la war,” pre­dict­ed “race war,” and attacked “Orga­nized Jew­ry.” He was a sched­uled speak­er at the white nation­al­ist ral­ly in Char­lottesville along­side for­mer KKK head David Duke, and mem­bers of his group were caught on cam­era brawl­ing dur­ing the vio­lent protests there that end­ed up with a white nation­al­ist ram­ming a car into a group of anti-racist pro­tes­tors. In its after­math, he wrote a Face­book post titled “Fight or die White man.” The group has had bill­boards read­ing “Secede” post­ed across the South since 2014.

    While Per­out­ka repeat­ed­ly praised Hill in speech­es as recent­ly as 2012, he left when he was gear­ing up for a 2014 run for office, claim­ing he’d just found out top mem­bers opposed inter­ra­cial mar­riage. He recent­ly denounced as “out­ra­geous” and “inap­pro­pri­ate” Hill’s pledge “to be a white suprema­cist, a racist, an anti-Semi­te, a homo­phobe, a xeno­phobe, an Islam­o­phobe and any oth­er sort of ‘phobe’ that ben­e­fits my peo­ple.”

    But while the group has grown more extreme, its basic tenets haven’t shift­ed all that much since Per­out­ka was first involved. At the same 2012 League con­fer­ence that Per­out­ka spoke, Hill made it crys­tal clear what he and the group stood for. It’s appar­ent Per­out­ka was lis­ten­ing, as he referred back to parts of Hill’s speech in his own.

    “We want out and we want them out of here,” Hill said about the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, call­ing for a “New south­ern repub­lic,” speak­ing out against inter­ra­cial mar­riage and for the “Supe­ri­or­i­ty of the Chris­t­ian West.”

    “If you can’t be proud of the fact that God cre­at­ed you as a white south­ern­er and you can’t defend your pat­ri­mo­ny then you ain’t much,” he said. “Look around. You all look like me. … You can­not deny when you look around in this room who makes up this move­ment.”

    From the start, the group had long had ties with white suprema­cists. A found­ing board mem­ber, Jack Ker­shaw, was an ardent seg­re­ga­tion­ist who’d served as the attor­ney of Mar­tin Luther King’s assas­sin, erect­ed stat­ue of ear­ly KKK leader Nathan Bed­ford For­rest in Nashville, and repeat­ed­ly argued that slav­ery had been good for black peo­ple.

    Long­time observers of the group called laugh­able Peroutka’s seem­ing shock about the group’s views.

    “It’s pret­ty trans­par­ent bull­shit that he couldn’t see racism in the League of the South until he ran for office,” said Miran­da Blue, who has long tracked Per­out­ka and the League for Right Wing Watch and the lib­er­al group Peo­ple for the Amer­i­can Way.

    And much as Peroutka’s claim he didn’t know about the League of the South’s motives is ques­tion­able, observers say Moore’s close ties with Per­out­ka are telling.

    “These are the moral and polit­i­cal choic­es Roy Moore made with his close friend and finan­cial backer, Michael Per­out­ka,” said Clark­son. “If he didn’t share sub­stan­tial por­tions of the vision, why did he do those things?”

    ———-

    “Roy Moore’s Neo-Con­fed­er­ate Sug­ar Dad­dy Has Deep Ties To Seces­sion­ists” by Cameron Joseph; Talk­ing Points Memo; 10/06/2017

    “The sum total of Peroutka’s dona­tions to Moore, his caus­es and cam­paigns: at least $622,000 since 2004.”

    $622,000 since 2004. And yet when con­front­ed about Per­outka’s views and big dona­tions Moore claimed to know noth­ing about who Per­out­ka was or what he believes:

    ...
    When a Mont­gomery Adver­tis­er reporter con­front­ed him about Peroutka’s big dona­tions to his state supreme court cam­paign in 2012, Moore denied he sup­port­ed seces­sion but refused to dis­avow Peroutka’s views because “I don’t know any­thing about it to be con­cerned or not con­cerned, but I have no idea what was said or what they stood for.”

    Those who have close­ly watched Moore and Per­out­ka are skep­ti­cal.

    “The fact that they are so close and Roy Moore pro­mot­ed Per­out­ka, took him out of obscu­ri­ty and helped him become the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of the Con­sti­tu­tion Par­ty, says a lot,” Fred­er­ick Clark­son, an author with the lib­er­al think tank Polit­i­cal Research Asso­ciates who has mon­i­tored Moore and Per­out­ka for decades, told TPM.

    “League of the South is a vio­lent seces­sion­ist group root­ed in the the­ol­o­gy of Chris­t­ian Recon­struc­tion­ism, states’ rights and white suprema­cy. There’s no ques­tion what they’re up to.”
    ...

    Tak­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars from seces­sion­ists and then laugh­ably lying about. This is the guy who just won the GOP Sen­ate nom­i­na­tion by act­ing like he was the ‘anti-Estab­lish­ment’ can­di­date.

    And Moore isn’t the only one to pub­licly dis­avow Per­out­ka and the League of the South’s views. Per­out­ka him­self tried the same old song and dance dur­ing his *suc­cess­ful* run for a coun­ty com­mis­sion seat in Anne Arun­del Coun­ty, Mary­land as a Repub­li­can. All of a sud­den:

    ...
    The group and its leader Michael Hill (the “Dr. Hill” Per­out­ka was refer­ring to in his 2012 remarks) have become more open­ly mil­i­tant in recent years, short­ly after Per­out­ka left the group.

    Hill has recent­ly sug­gest­ed orga­niz­ing a vio­lent “South­ern Defense Force” mili­tia in prepa­ra­tion for “guer­ril­la war,” pre­dict­ed “race war,” and attacked “Orga­nized Jew­ry.” He was a sched­uled speak­er at the white nation­al­ist ral­ly in Char­lottesville along­side for­mer KKK head David Duke, and mem­bers of his group were caught on cam­era brawl­ing dur­ing the vio­lent protests there that end­ed up with a white nation­al­ist ram­ming a car into a group of anti-racist pro­tes­tors. In its after­math, he wrote a Face­book post titled “Fight or die White man.” The group has had bill­boards read­ing “Secede” post­ed across the South since 2014.

    While Per­out­ka repeat­ed­ly praised Hill in speech­es as recent­ly as 2012, he left when he was gear­ing up for a 2014 run for office, claim­ing he’d just found out top mem­bers opposed inter­ra­cial mar­riage. He recent­ly denounced as “out­ra­geous” and “inap­pro­pri­ate” Hill’s pledge “to be a white suprema­cist, a racist, an anti-Semi­te, a homo­phobe, a xeno­phobe, an Islam­o­phobe and any oth­er sort of ‘phobe’ that ben­e­fits my peo­ple.”

    But while the group has grown more extreme, its basic tenets haven’t shift­ed all that much since Per­out­ka was first involved. At the same 2012 League con­fer­ence that Per­out­ka spoke, Hill made it crys­tal clear what he and the group stood for. It’s appar­ent Per­out­ka was lis­ten­ing, as he referred back to parts of Hill’s speech in his own.

    ...

    From the start, the group had long had ties with white suprema­cists. A found­ing board mem­ber, Jack Ker­shaw, was an ardent seg­re­ga­tion­ist who’d served as the attor­ney of Mar­tin Luther King’s assas­sin, erect­ed stat­ue of ear­ly KKK leader Nathan Bed­ford For­rest in Nashville, and repeat­ed­ly argued that slav­ery had been good for black peo­ple.

    Long­time observers of the group called laugh­able Peroutka’s seem­ing shock about the group’s views.

    “It’s pret­ty trans­par­ent bull­shit that he couldn’t see racism in the League of the South until he ran for office,” said Miran­da Blue, who has long tracked Per­out­ka and the League for Right Wing Watch and the lib­er­al group Peo­ple for the Amer­i­can Way.
    ...

    ““It’s pret­ty trans­par­ent bull­shit that he couldn’t see racism in the League of the South until he ran for office,” said Miran­da Blue, who has long tracked Per­out­ka and the League for Right Wing Watch and the lib­er­al group Peo­ple for the Amer­i­can Way.”

    Yep, that’s a pret­ty trans­par­ent giant pile bull­shit Michael Per­out­ka is hid­ing behind. A pile stacked on top of the trans­par­ent pile Roy Moore is using for cov­er to hide the fact that he wants to use reli­gion to break up the US and cre­ate a bru­tal white nation­al­ist theoc­ra­cy.

    That sure sounds like a rea­son for Alaba­ma fear some divine­ly direct­ed high winds. At least, it’s a rea­son accord­ing to Roy Moore’s log­ic.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 6, 2017, 7:40 pm
  6. @Pterrafractyl–

    The thing that con­tin­ues to stick in my craw about all of this is the fact that Snowden/Assange/Greenwald et al are inex­tri­ca­bly linked to these same forces.

    They are, of course, “shocked, shocked” at the recent events at Char­lottesville.

    Pro­gres­sive physi­cians, heal thy­selves.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | October 7, 2017, 2:19 pm
  7. Here’s anoth­er fun chap­ter from Roy Moore’s polit­i­cal his­to­ry: That time he led the charge against remov­ing lan­guage about “sep­a­rate schools for white and col­ored chil­dren” and allow­ing poll tax­es from the Alaba­ma con­sti­tu­tion. And won. In 2004. It’s not exact­ly ancient his­to­ry.

    But Moore and his defend­ers want you to know that he did­n’t oppose remov­ing the lan­guage for racist rea­sons. No, Moore opposed remov­ing the lan­guage from Alaba­ma’s con­sti­tu­tion because that would have also involved remov­ing lan­guage say­ing no Alaba­man has a con­sti­tu­tion “right to edu­ca­tion or train­ing at pub­lic expense.” Moore assert­ed that strip­ping this lan­guage out was a going to lead to tax increas­es. Yes, con­cerns that kids would pos­si­bly gain a right to a pub­lic edu­ca­tion was the nice expla­na­tion for why Moore and his allies fought against remov­ing the seg­re­ga­tion­ist lan­guage from Alaba­ma’s con­sti­tu­tion:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    DC

    Roy Moore Led Charge Against Remov­ing Seg­re­ga­tion From Alaba­ma Con­sti­tu­tion

    By Cameron Joseph
    Pub­lished Octo­ber 13, 2017 6:00 am

    In 2004, a bipar­ti­san coali­tion of Alaba­ma lead­ers moved to elim­i­nate sec­tions of the state con­sti­tu­tion man­dat­ing school seg­re­ga­tion and poll tax­es. They assumed it’d be an easy feat — until Roy Moore got involved.

    Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans led by then-Gov. Bob Riley ® worked togeth­er on an amend­ment to remove lan­guage in the state con­sti­tu­tion man­dat­ing “sep­a­rate schools for white and col­ored chil­dren” and allow­ing poll tax­es, Jim Crow-era require­ments that peo­ple to pay to vote that dis­en­fran­chised most black peo­ple.

    The changes were pure­ly sym­bol­ic — all of the state con­sti­tu­tion­al lan­guage had already been struck down by state and fed­er­al courts — but civ­il rights and busi­ness lead­ers saw it as a way to heal old wounds and make the state more attrac­tive to big busi­ness.

    The oppo­site hap­pened instead, and Moore’s fierce oppo­si­tion like­ly made the dif­fer­ence.

    “He had a huge impact. It was a mea­sure that was set to pass with­out much oppo­si­tion and then because he got involved it changed the dynam­ic com­plete­ly,” said Susan Kennedy of the Alaba­ma Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion, the state pub­lic teach­ers’ lob­by that sup­port­ed the amend­ment.

    At the time, Moore, who is cur­rent­ly the GOP nom­i­nee and the front-run­ner to become Alabama’s next U.S. sen­a­tor, had recent­ly been boot­ed from the state supreme court for defy­ing high­er court orders to remove a Ten Com­mand­ments stat­ue from in front of his cour­t­house. That fight had made him a super­star in the reli­gious right both in the state and nation­al­ly.

    When con­ser­v­a­tive evan­gel­i­cal activists includ­ing the Alaba­ma Chris­t­ian Coali­tion began warn­ing about adverse effects of the seg­re­ga­tion amend­ment he stepped up to be the amendment’s most promi­nent foe — a move that kept his name in the head­lines as he geared up for a 2006 pri­ma­ry chal­lenge against Riley and sent the amend­ment down to a nar­row defeat.

    “This amend­ment is a wolf in sheep’s cloth­ing and the peo­ple of Alaba­ma should be aware of it,” Moore told the Birm­ing­ham News in 2004, warn­ing it would “open the door to an enor­mous tax increase” — one of many broad­sides he issued.

    His argu­ment worked. The statewide mea­sure failed by about 2,000 votes, out of 1.4 mil­lion cast. Every sub­se­quent attempt to remove the lan­guage since that ini­tial fail­ure has failed, most recent­ly in 2012.

    Moore’s stance against the amend­ment was one of many of his efforts over two decades that has built him a fierce­ly loy­al fol­low­ing on the reli­gious right. That base wasn’t enough when he ran against Riley in 2006, but it pow­ered his pri­ma­ry vic­to­ry over Sen. Luther Strange (R‑AL) last month and has him favored to win the Dec. 12 gen­er­al elec­tion. It’s also one in a long line of racial­ly charged episodes in Moore’s career.

    Moore faces for­mer U.S. Attor­ney Doug Jones, who is best known for suc­cess­ful­ly pros­e­cut­ing, decades lat­er, Ku Klux Klan mem­ber respon­si­ble for the 1963 Birm­ing­ham church bomb­ing that killed four young black girls.

    Alabama’s state con­sti­tu­tion still con­tains the fol­low­ing lan­guage:

    “Sep­a­rate schools shall be pro­vid­ed for white and col­ored chil­dren, and no child of either race shall be per­mit­ted to attend a school of the oth­er race.”

    A ‘Black Eye’ For Alaba­ma

    The bat­tle over remov­ing seg­re­ga­tion­ist lan­guage is part of a much larg­er effort that has pit­ted reform­ers, civ­il rights groups and many in the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty against Old South tra­di­tion­al­ists and some oth­er con­ser­v­a­tives in the state for much of the last two decades.

    The amend­ment was a part of Riley’s push to mod­ern­ize the state con­sti­tu­tion, a sprawl­ing, racist doc­u­ment dat­ing to 1901 that cod­i­fied Jim Crow and cre­at­ed a strong state cen­tral gov­ern­ment.

    “Fed­er­al and state court rul­ings have struck down a lot of these [claus­es] as uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, but it was viewed by many as a black eye for the state,” Toby Roth, who served as Riley’s chief of staff dur­ing the con­sti­tu­tion­al fights, told TPM.

    The amend­ment to remove seg­re­ga­tion­ist lan­guage sailed through the Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled state leg­is­la­ture with strong bipar­ti­san sup­port, and sup­port­ers expect­ed it to pass when put to a statewide vote. But law­mak­ers also added a pro­vi­sion that would have stripped a 1956 amend­ment passed in the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court deci­sion deseg­re­gat­ing schools. That amend­ment said Alaba­mans had no con­sti­tu­tion­al “right to edu­ca­tion or train­ing at pub­lic expense.”

    Moore and hard­line con­ser­v­a­tives pounced to argue the removal of that lan­guage would allow for a back­door tax increase by judges who would see it as grant­i­ng a con­sti­tu­tion­al right to an edu­ca­tion, warn­ing it would hurt tax­pay­ers and threat­en pri­vate schools and home­school­ers.

    Law­mak­ers were caught off-guard by the heat­ed oppo­si­tion. But while they’d had past suc­cess in remov­ing oth­er racist lan­guage, even in those efforts it’d been clear that not every­one in Alaba­ma was ready to let go of the Old South: A 2000 amend­ment to remove lan­guage ban­ning inter­ra­cial mar­riage had passed, but by a clos­er-than-expect­ed 60 per­cent to 40 per­cent mar­gin.

    This amend­ment got caught in a more recent fight over edu­ca­tion fund­ing as well, an issue that’s both racial­ly charged and far from sym­bol­ic for many vot­ers in the state.

    In 1993, a state judge had struck down the edu­ca­tion lan­guage as uncon­sti­tu­tion­al while rul­ing that the state need­ed to spend more on schools. The state supreme court struck down that rul­ing in 2002, with Moore on the court. Many white Alabami­ans had pulled their kids out of pub­lic schools dur­ing deseg­re­ga­tion, cre­at­ing a new de fac­to seg­re­gat­ed school sys­tem in parts of the state and leav­ing lit­tle incen­tive for white Alabami­ans, espe­cial­ly wealth­i­er ones, to pay to improve schools that in parts of the state were heav­i­ly black.

    “Peo­ple were afraid that it would reignite the [school] equi­ty argu­ment that was sued over in the 1990s,” said Kennedy. ”

    Many vot­ers’ oppo­si­tion to more school fund­ing was and is ide­o­log­i­cal and finan­cial, not pure­ly racial­ly dri­ven. But civ­il rights groups argue that the effect is the same.

    “When you talk about not guar­an­tee­ing or tak­ing away the lan­guage from the Con­sti­tu­tion not guar­an­tee­ing the right to a pub­lic edu­ca­tion, that’s racist,” South­ern Chris­t­ian Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence Pres­i­dent Charles Steele Jr., a for­mer Alaba­ma state sen­a­tor, told NPR at the time.

    The most promi­nent politi­cian besides Moore bat­tling the amend­ment was his pro­tege and for­mer staffer, Tom Park­er, who was run­ning for the Alaba­ma Supreme Court at the time. Dur­ing that cam­paign, Park­er spoke at an event cel­e­brat­ing Nathan Bed­ford For­rest, the Con­fed­er­ate gen­er­al and Ku Klux Klan leader, host­ed by oppo­nents of the civ­il rights move­ment, and hand­ed out Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flags at the funer­al of a woman believed to have been the last liv­ing wid­ow of a Con­fed­er­ate sol­dier.

    The bat­tle over the amend­ment came just a year after the Chris­t­ian Coali­tion had helped defeat a Riley-backed push to increase state tax­es to invest more on edu­ca­tion and infra­struc­ture.

    The ongo­ing tax fights had made many con­ser­v­a­tives wary of any con­sti­tu­tion­al changes, with a fac­tion that sim­ply opposed any tweaks.

    “You do have a more con­ser­v­a­tive wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty that’s always sus­pi­cious of any con­sti­tu­tion changes as a back­door attempt to raise tax­es,” Roth said.

    Park­er and Moore explic­it­ly made that argu­ment.

    Moore told the Asso­ci­at­ed Press that the amend­ment was “anoth­er attempt to open the door for a court-ordered tax increase with­out the con­sent of the peo­ple” after they’d defeat­ed the ear­li­er amend­ment, while Park­er ran radio ads say­ing that it would cre­ate “a new right to edu­ca­tion for cit­i­zens of all ages” and warn­ing “lib­er­als will use this to pres­sure judges into rais­ing your tax­es.”

    Park­er won by a nar­row mar­gin even though he was heav­i­ly out­spent in the race.

    ...

    Moore’s Moti­va­tions

    Those who sup­port­ed the amend­ment are split about Moore’s rea­son for tak­ing on the fight.

    Most don’t think his views are root­ed chiefly in the racial pol­i­tics that con­ser­v­a­tive Alaba­ma politi­cians in both par­ties have exploit­ed for years. But while some see a purist ide­o­logue, oth­ers see an oppor­tunist who’s fine mak­ing com­mon cause with more fringe fig­ures to fur­ther his own ambi­tions.

    “I can’t say at this point what drove Roy Moore oth­er than his own self-inter­est,” Uni­ver­si­ty of Alaba­ma Law Pro­fes­sor Bryan Fair, who is black and serves on the board of the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, told TPM.

    Fair argued Moore’s involve­ment may have been crass oppor­tunism.

    “It was per­ceived as a racial issue by sig­nif­i­cant parts of the pop­u­la­tion, espe­cial­ly the African Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion, who very much want­ed to see this lan­guage removed,” he said. “Roy Moore didn’t use the N word but one doesn’t have to use the N word to be a racist or act with racial motives or with a cal­lous­ness or indif­fer­ence towards racial inequal­i­ty.”

    Oth­ers think Moore and his allies on this fight were purists dri­ven by an ide­o­log­i­cal oppo­si­tion to state-fund­ed edu­ca­tion — one crit­ic who asked not to be named in order to speak frankly described him as “a reli­gious nut” and a “zealot” but not a racist. Moore has often railed against pub­lic schools and even once wrote that pub­lic pre-school was an “unjus­ti­fi­able attempt to indoc­tri­nate our youth” and com­pared it to Nazi indoc­tri­na­tion pro­grams.

    “I would not go so far as to say the Moore camp had racist moti­va­tions. It would be com­plete­ly con­sis­tent with them being sus­pi­cious of activist judges try­ing to raise rev­enues from the bench. Could you find some­one who had racist moti­va­tions who was on his side on this? I’m sure you could. But I’ve dis­agreed with Judge Moore on sev­er­al things and I would nev­er ascribe his per­son­al moti­va­tions to a racist agen­da,” said Roth, Riley’s for­mer chief of staff.

    “There is a phi­los­o­phy that any addi­tion­al ser­vices offered by the state gov­ern­ment will cost addi­tion­al mon­ey and there is a con­stituen­cy that wants to leave a cap on that. The seg­re­ga­tion­ist lan­guage was sec­ondary to that con­cern for them,” said Kennedy.

    Oth­ers think both are true — that Moore is an ide­o­logue dri­ven by theo­crat­ic, anti-gov­ern­ment views who is also a savvy politi­cian will­ing to make com­mon cause with racists, even though racial ani­mus doesn’t dri­ve his own views.

    “Moore spoke to some crazy groups in the past like the League of the South but that wasn’t race-based, it was a lot more about groups that buy what he’s say­ing,” said anoth­er for­mer Riley staffer. “Moore is not a George Wal­lace racial dem­a­gogue guy. He’s a dem­a­gogue on a lot of things, race just isn’t one of them.”

    ———-

    “Roy Moore Led Charge Against Remov­ing Seg­re­ga­tion From Alaba­ma Con­sti­tu­tion” by Cameron Joseph; Talk­ing Points Memo; 10/13/2017

    The most promi­nent politi­cian besides Moore bat­tling the amend­ment was his pro­tege and for­mer staffer, Tom Park­er, who was run­ning for the Alaba­ma Supreme Court at the time. Dur­ing that cam­paign, Park­er spoke at an event cel­e­brat­ing Nathan Bed­ford For­rest, the Con­fed­er­ate gen­er­al and Ku Klux Klan leader, host­ed by oppo­nents of the civ­il rights move­ment, and hand­ed out Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flags at the funer­al of a woman believed to have been the last liv­ing wid­ow of a Con­fed­er­ate sol­dier.”

    Yep, the most promi­nent politi­cians oth­er than Moore bat­tling the amend­ment, Tom Park­er, was Moore’s pro­tege and for­mer staffer. Park­er was run­ning for a seat on the Alaba­ma Supreme Court at the time and won. And he’s still around, announc­ing his inten­tions to run for Chief Jus­tice of Alaba­ma Supreme Court in April of this year.

    But note how even the two for­mer staffers of GOP gov­er­nor Bob Riley want to assure us that Moore isn’t real­ly a racist. He’s just more than hap­py to court the back­ing of the racists. No, Moore is just an anti-tax ide­o­logue who hates tax­es so much he had to defend seg­re­ga­tion­ist lan­guage to do it. And that gives us a hint at the defence Moore is going to use when all these things from his past are brought up on the cam­paign trail: He’s not a racist...he just hates tax­es so much that is might some­times come across as racism:

    ...
    I would not go so far as to say the Moore camp had racist moti­va­tions. It would be com­plete­ly con­sis­tent with them being sus­pi­cious of activist judges try­ing to raise rev­enues from the bench. Could you find some­one who had racist moti­va­tions who was on his side on this? I’m sure you could. But I’ve dis­agreed with Judge Moore on sev­er­al things and I would nev­er ascribe his per­son­al moti­va­tions to a racist agen­da,” said Roth, Riley’s for­mer chief of staff.

    ...

    Oth­ers think both are true — that Moore is an ide­o­logue dri­ven by theo­crat­ic, anti-gov­ern­ment views who is also a savvy politi­cian will­ing to make com­mon cause with racists, even though racial ani­mus doesn’t dri­ve his own views.

    Moore spoke to some crazy groups in the past like the League of the South but that wasn’t race-based, it was a lot more about groups that buy what he’s say­ing,” said anoth­er for­mer Riley staffer. “Moore is not a George Wal­lace racial dem­a­gogue guy. He’s a dem­a­gogue on a lot of things, race just isn’t one of them.”
    ...

    “I’m not a racist! I just hate that Big Gov­ern­ment!”

    That’s going to be the GOP’s cov­er-sto­ry for Moore. The same old cov­er-sto­ry the GOP has been whistling for decades...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 16, 2017, 3:12 pm
  8. just watched Cit­i­zen 4. Eddy is such a nice boy, like a pup­py!

    Posted by Ken Lee | October 26, 2017, 8:28 am
  9. @Ken Lee–

    Pup­pies, how­ev­er, don’t say things like this: The elder­ly “wouldn’t be fuck­ing help­less if you weren’t send­ing them fuck­ing checks to sit on their ass and lay in hos­pi­tals all day.” (http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-831-the-elderly-wouldnt-be-fucking-help%C2%ADless-if-you-werent-send%C2%ADing-them-fucking-checks-to-sit-on-their-ass-and-lay-in-hos%C2%ADpi%C2%ADtals-all-day-the-gops-as/)

    Bad Dog!

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | October 26, 2017, 1:35 pm
  10. Here’s an inter­est­ing analy­sis of the avail­able evi­dence of the influ­ences and pos­si­ble motive behind the recent shoot­ing if the Cap­i­tal Gazette news­pa­per in Annapo­lis, Mary­land. The shoot­ing was car­ried about by Jar­rod Romas, a man with a long his­to­ry of griev­ances with the news­pa­per going back to the paper’s report­ing of a legal case against Ramos. Sur­prise! It looks like Ramos was influ­enced by the theo­crat­ic neo-Con­fed­er­ate ide­ol­o­gy espoused by League of the South.

    Ramos also pre­vi­ous­ly inter­act­ed with the author of the fol­low­ing piece, Jonathan Hut­son. Hut­son, a for­mer inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist, had a sto­ry writ­ten about him in 2015 in the Cap­i­tal Gazette about how Hut­son had observed threats made on Twit­ter about by a white suprema­cist in Mon­tana against the com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor for the Brady Cam­paign and Cen­ter to Pre­vent Gun Vio­lence. The threats esca­lat­ing to threat­en­ing to shoot up a school and kill Jew­ish lead­ers. Hut­son com­piled the threats and informed the FBI. Ramos began harass­ing Hut­son in response to that sto­ry. Hut­son had also been research­ing and writ­ing about the League of the South.

    Hut­son has con­tin­ued to exam­ine Ramos’s social media feeds and made a num­ber of obser­va­tions that would appear to give insights into what drove Ramos to do the shoot­ings. First, it appears that Ramos is a believ­er in the kind of world­view expressed by League of the South lead­ers Mike Per­out­ka and Michael Hill, where a Bib­li­cal fun­da­men­tal­ist inter­pre­ta­tion of the Bible is the only REAL law and indi­vid­u­als have a right to right­eous­ly enforce their inter­pre­ta­tion of Bib­li­cal law on their own.

    Hill has also called for the for­ma­tion of death squads to tar­get jour­nal­ists, elect­ed offi­cials, and oth­er mem­bers of “the elite”. Hill has also called for young men of “Chris­ten­dom” to become “cit­i­zen-sol­diers” to destroy the “gal­lop­ing tyran­ny” of our time.

    Mike Per­out­ka was, until recent­ly, a local­ly elect­ed offi­cial on the Anne Arun­del Coun­ty Coun­cil, and one of the only politi­cians Ramos tweet­ed about (he was sup­port­ive of Per­out­ka). The oth­er politi­cian was Don­ald Trump (who Ramos was also sup­port­ive of).

    Intrigu­ing­ly, the author notes a pos­si­ble pair of events that may have cat­alyzed the shoot­ing: Three days before the shoot­ing, Pres­i­dent Trump once again demo­nized mem­ber of the media as “ene­mies of the peo­ple,” at a big out­door ral­ly in Cal­i­for­nia. The next day, Mike Per­out­ka lost his 2018 re-elec­tion bid in the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry. So while we don’t know if these events helped cat­alyzed Ramos, as Hut­son makes clear, Ramos’s years of tweets and com­ments make it clear that Ramos was an ide­o­log­i­cal fel­low trav­elor of Per­out­ka and believes that “elites” like jour­nal­ists deserved to be killed accord­ing to a ‘high­er law’.

    Hut­son also one one addi­tion­al key influ­ence Ramos’s social media posts reveal: the “Berserk” bloody ani­me movie. He made numer­ous ref­er­ences to Berserk in his posts, includ­ing the last tweet made min­utes before the shoot­ing. He even described him­self as play­ing a role in the world of “Berserk”, a world that includes vig­i­lante “hands of God”.

    So while Ramos was obvi­ous­ly an unhinged indi­vid­ual, the nature of his extrem­ism was­n’t imme­di­ate­ly clear. But when you take a clos­er look at the guy, all the evi­dence indi­cates he was inspired by ide­olo­gies that exalt the idea of right­eous lone wolf vig­i­lantes killing those who vio­late God’s law, which just hap­pens to be the ide­ol­o­gy of the League of the South:

    Salon

    Exclu­sive: Inside accused Annapo­lis shooter’s alt-right the­ol­o­gy of mass mur­der
    Jar­rod Ramos had con­nec­tions to venge­ful right-wing the­ol­o­gy, and a hero com­plex drawn from vio­lent ani­me

    Jonathan Hut­son
    July 22, 2018 10:00am (UTC)

    When news broke of an active shoot­ing at the Cap­i­tal Gazette, my local news­pa­per in Annapo­lis, Mary­land, I tweet­ed edi­tor Rick Hutzell to ask if he was safe, and how I could help. When police announced the arrest of 38-year-old Jar­rod Ramos as the sus­pect in the mass shoot­ing, I, like many oth­ers, delved into his Twit­ter accounts.

    I was shocked when I real­ized that Ramos – whom a grand jury just indict­ed on 23 charges, includ­ing five counts of first-degree mur­der – had con­tact­ed me two years ago. He taunt­ed me in response to the Capital’s March 2015 report about how I had helped law enforce­ment thwart a mass shoot­ing threat made on Twit­ter against grade school kids and Jews in Kalispell, Mon­tana, by a man named David J. Lenio.

    What I learned about Ramos, as I fol­lowed his Twit­ter trail, reveals as strange a world­view as one could imag­ine inform­ing a mass-mur­der sce­nario. There are at least two main influ­ences evi­dent in Ramos’ tweets. One is a world­view tak­en from the theo­crat­ic wing of the alt-right, and the oth­er comes from a vio­lent ani­me sub­cul­ture cen­tered around a pop­u­lar man­ga, ani­me and film series titled “Berserk.” Tak­en togeth­er, they pro­vide a Roset­ta Stone that allows us to trans­late the sig­nif­i­cance of two reli­gious visions, in rela­tion to each oth­er, as they exist­ed in Ramos’ mind.

    I believe these mutu­al­ly inform­ing visions allowed Ramos to cast him­self as a vig­i­lante hand of God. His theo­crat­ic world­view, com­bined with his immer­sion in the world of “Berserk,” helps to solve the mys­tery of his cryp­tic, final tweet and illu­mi­nate his pos­si­ble motive for mass mur­der.

    For all of Ramos’ vivid­ly imag­ined right­eous­ness, this sto­ry begins with a woman-hat­ing, angry man. That there is a misog­y­nist root to Ramos’ rage-filled ram­page is no sur­prise. Numer­ous male mass mur­der­ers have back­grounds of stalk­ing and harass­ing women, espe­cial­ly online. Ramos’ beef with the Cap­i­tal goes back to his ill-con­ceived defama­tion suit against the paper, its pub­lish­er and a colum­nist for report­ing on his guilty plea for the online harass­ment of a woman he had known slight­ly in high school. In court doc­u­ments he object­ed to the Capital’s report that, after he had not heard from the woman in months, he told her, “Fu ck you, leave me alone.” Ramos told the judge that he felt it unfair that the reporter had not allowed him to offer an expla­na­tion. He com­plained to the judge, “That car­ries a clear impli­ca­tion that some­thing is wrong inside my head, that I’m insane.”

    Whether Ramos is sane is a mat­ter for the court to deter­mine. But there is an expla­na­tion for these hos­tile words – which he cribbed from the pro­tag­o­nist in “Berserk” – and it has to do with Ramos’ world­view, which needs to be more clear­ly under­stood.

    The alt-right half of the Roset­ta Stone

    I believe Ramos con­tact­ed me ini­tial­ly because the Cap­i­tal had report­ed on my con­nec­tion to David Lenio, a white nation­al­ist who had tweet­ed threats of a pos­si­ble mass shoot­ing, and also because I was research­ing and writ­ing about ties between a local politi­cian named Michael Per­out­ka and a right-wing group called the League of the South.

    The League is a theo­crat­ic, seces­sion­ist orga­ni­za­tion whose leader, Michael Hill, had called for the for­ma­tion of death squads tar­get­ing jour­nal­ists, elect­ed offi­cials and oth­er mem­bers of “the elite.” In his essay “A Bazooka in Every Pot,” Hill described such an assas­si­na­tion cam­paign as part of “fourth-gen­er­a­tion war­fare,” a style of decen­tral­ized con­flict that blurs the lines between war and pol­i­tics, com­bat­ants and civil­ians.

    Hill wrote: “To over­sim­pli­fy, the pri­ma­ry tar­gets will not be ene­my sol­diers; instead, they will be polit­i­cal lead­ers, mem­bers of the hos­tile media, cul­tur­al icons, bureau­crats, and oth­er of the man­age­r­i­al elite with­out whom the engines of tyran­ny don’t run.”

    That was not Hill’s only overt call to vio­lence. He fol­lowed up with anoth­er essay call­ing for young men of “Chris­ten­dom” to become “cit­i­zen-sol­diers” to destroy the “gal­lop­ing tyran­ny” of our time.

    As for Per­out­ka, he is a neo-Con­fed­er­ate theo­crat who thinks that the wrong side won the Civ­il War and that our real nation­al anthem is “Dix­ie.” He is also a for­mer board mem­ber of the League, which had endorsed his suc­cess­ful 2014 cam­paign for a seat on Maryland’s Anne Arun­del Coun­ty Coun­cil, run­ning as a Repub­li­can. This is the same League that helped orga­nize the infa­mous torch-lit Unite the Right march in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, last sum­mer.

    Over a peri­od of near­ly sev­en years, Per­out­ka is one of only two politi­cians whom Ramos tweet­ed about – the oth­er being Don­ald Trump, who has repeat­ed­ly vil­i­fied jour­nal­ists.

    Jar­rod Ramos is not affil­i­at­ed with any polit­i­cal par­ty, and there is no evi­dence that he was polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed or that he act­ed on anyone’s orders. On the oth­er hand, as Salon’s Paul Rosen­berg has report­ed, he was influ­enced by the rhetoric and ide­ol­o­gy of the racist alt-right. And like Hill, Ramos showed bold bel­liger­ence toward man­age­r­i­al elites whom he viewed as ene­mies.

    For exam­ple, Ramos wrote in his @EricHartleyFrnd Twit­ter bio (which he named in appar­ent mock­ery of a for­mer Cap­i­tal colum­nist whom Ramos had sued unsuc­cess­ful­ly for defama­tion), “Dear read­er: I cre­at­ed this page to defend myself. Now I’m suing the shit out of half of AA Coun­ty and mak­ing corpses of cor­rupt careers and cor­po­rate enti­ties.”

    Jus­tice and pub­lic safe­ty require that we con­sid­er the con­text, includ­ing mul­ti­ple influ­ences and pos­si­ble trig­gers, when a sus­pect faces mass mur­der charges. There­fore, it is fair and nec­es­sary to ask whether Pres­i­dent Trump’s dem­a­goguery against jour­nal­ists could trig­ger some lone nut to mur­der them. As researcher Chip Berlet has writ­ten, soci­ol­o­gists call such a vio­lent response to cod­ed rhetoric “script­ed vio­lence” – and “heroes know which vil­lains to kill.” Fol­low­ers thus don’t require spe­cif­ic orders, but gath­er a sense of val­i­da­tion and right­eous­ness in car­ry­ing out a vio­lent cam­paign of soci­etal purifi­ca­tion against peo­ple des­ig­nat­ed as cor­rupt­ing influ­ences.

    This sus­pect had a sim­mer­ing feud for sev­en years with the Cap­i­tal, its for­mer pub­lish­er and Eric Hart­ley, the for­mer colum­nist whom he had sued unsuc­cess­ful­ly. Ramos cre­at­ed a web­site on which he post­ed doc­u­ments and com­mu­ni­ca­tions about his case, describ­ing him­self as an agent of “the Inqui­si­tion” and “a cru­sad­er” who answered to a “High­er Author­i­ty” than civ­il gov­ern­ment and who met­ed out lit­er­al “car­nage” to his foes.

    Ramos wrote of his per­ceived ene­mies: “The author­i­ty that per­mits their pow­er also stands poised to pun­ish its abuse. Even kings must answer to God, and a mod­ern day Inqui­si­tion is at hand. The poten­tial judge­ment is no less severe; the car­nage dif­fers only in lit­er­al terms. As this search for Truth com­mences, a cru­sad­er they could not kill approach­es.”

    His cru­sade tar­get­ed court offi­cials as well as jour­nal­ists, whom he con­sid­ered dis­hon­est. For exam­ple, Ramos tweet­ed a quote from Ger­man poet Paul Ger­hardt: “When a man lies, he mur­ders some part of the world.” Ramos con­clud­ed, “Time to slay some mur­der­ous shit­bag esquires.” In anoth­er tweet crit­i­ciz­ing “inequity in the MD jus­tice sys­tem,” he said: “Here’s to High­er Author­i­ty hear­ing and #hurt­ing.”

    To Ramos, defama­tion is a vio­la­tion of com­mon law but, more impor­tant, a vio­la­tion of God’s law that is wor­thy of hell­fire.

    For exam­ple, he once tweet­ed: “Catholi­cism still says liars go to hell.”

    He also tweet­ed, with­out attri­bu­tion or cita­tion, a quote from a 16th-cen­tu­ry church court case: “Again, my unruly tongue, if it were not pun­ished, it would not only set more of you on fire, but it would bold­en oth­ers to do the like.” This quote is from a con­fes­sion to defama­tion in Mit­ford v. Shaw, an eccle­si­as­ti­cal court case from 1569–70. Church courts in Eng­land had juris­dic­tion over cas­es of defama­tion when the plaintiff’s claim was not for mon­ey dam­ages but for the cor­rec­tion of a sin. (Com­mon law courts over­saw claims for mon­ey dam­ages.) Church courts sen­tenced vio­la­tors to do pub­lic penance, on pain of excom­mu­ni­ca­tion.

    In the Mit­ford case, when the church court found Charles Shaw guilty of slan­der, he did penance by stand­ing up in church, wear­ing linen appar­el, and read­ing his con­fes­sion­al state­ment, which equates slan­der to mur­der, wor­thy of divine ret­ri­bu­tion.

    Shaw stat­ed, “I acknowl­edge thus to slan­der my Chris­t­ian broth­er is an heinous offence, first towards God, who hath straight­ly for­bid­den it in his holy laws, account­ing it to be a kind of mur­der­ing of my neigh­bor, and threat­en­ing to pun­ish it with hell­fire and the loss of the king­dom of heav­en.”

    Mod­ern-day theocrats, such as Per­out­ka, would like to see eccle­si­as­ti­cal courts replace the Amer­i­can judi­cial sys­tem. At a 2016 Sum­mer of Jus­tice ral­ly in Wichi­ta, Kansas, which took place the same week as the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion in Cleve­land, Per­out­ka called on his fel­low Chris­t­ian nation­al­ists to “take domin­ion over these posi­tions of civ­il author­i­ty” in order to “inter­pose” against laws that don’t square with their notion of God’s law.

    Per­out­ka claimed that the only valid laws are ones which adhere to this fun­da­men­tal­ist vision of the Con­sti­tu­tion and the Bible. “What if the Con­gress did pass a law allow­ing abor­tion? And then what if a sit­ting pres­i­dent signed it and a sit­ting court val­i­dat­ed it?” he asked. “Would it be the law? No, of course not.” Then he slung on his gui­tar and filmed the crowd for a video for his new song, “Courts can­not make law.”

    Near the end of the Sum­mer of Jus­tice, the anti-abor­tion group Oper­a­tion Save Amer­i­ca staged a kan­ga­roo “eccle­si­as­ti­cal court” which declared that Supreme Court rul­ings on abor­tion rights, LGBTQ rights, mar­riage equal­i­ty and the removal of gov­ern­ment-spon­sored prayer in schools were con­trary to God’s law. Eight “judges” took turns read­ing “charges” against the Supreme Court and then declared their deci­sions “null and void.”

    The judges includ­ed the Rev. Matt Trewhel­la, leader of the Mil­wau­kee-based Mis­sion­ar­ies to the Pre­born, who had signed a state­ment in 1993 declar­ing that the mur­der of abor­tion providers was “jus­ti­fi­able homi­cide.” Con­vict­ed mur­der­ers Paul Hill and Michael Grif­fin lat­er unsuc­cess­ful­ly used “jus­ti­fi­able homi­cide” defens­es in their tri­als for killing abor­tion providers.

    Ramos’ tweets make clear that in his the­o­log­i­cal view, jour­nal­ists who had alleged­ly framed him and court offi­cers who had sup­pos­ed­ly lied about him were as guilty as mur­der­ers and would ulti­mate­ly answer to God. He saw him­self as an agent of divine ret­ri­bu­tion. He was not sub­tle about how he would pun­ish the sin of defama­tion.

    He tweet­ed: “Await­ing reprisal, death will be their acqui­si­tion.” This is a mis­quot­ed lyric from a thrash met­al song by Slay­er, “Rain­ing Blood.” The actu­al line is: “Await­ing reprisal, death will be their acquit­tance.” The song ends with a vision of vic­tims’ blood del­ug­ing a revenge-dri­ven killer: “Rain­ing blood from a lac­er­at­ed sky, bleed­ing its hor­ror, cre­at­ing my struc­ture. Now I shall reign in blood!”

    “Ramos came to see him­self as some kind of vig­i­lante for right­eous­ness, cast­ing him­self for exam­ple as a ‘cru­sad­er’ and gun­ning down inno­cent peo­ple in a news­room,” Polit­i­cal Research Asso­ciates ana­lyst Fred­er­ick Clark­son told Salon. This vision was “not unlike the mil­i­taris­tic, mil­len­ni­al vision of Michael Hill,” he con­tin­ued. “Last year [Hill] ral­lied what he calls the South­ern Defense Force, which he envi­sions as not just a mod­ern Con­fed­er­ate army but the ‘Army of the True Liv­ing God.’”

    So it makes sense that Ramos, who has metaphor­i­cal­ly casts him­self as a Chris­t­ian holy war­rior, would iden­ti­fy with Per­out­ka, a dyed-in-the-wool theo­crat who has argued that civ­il ser­vants must dis­obey any laws believed to be con­trary to God’s law. Ramos tweet­ed three times in defense of Per­out­ka, once to crow to Rema Rah­man, a jour­nal­ist at the Cap­i­tal, about Peroutka’s 2014 elec­tion to the Anne Arun­del Coun­ty Coun­cil. He tweet­ed: “Per­out­ka won and you lost @remawriter. Get over it. You’re already going to Hell, so why not con­cern your­self with more rel­e­vant mat­ters?”

    He tweet­ed again to tell Rah­man to “shut the fu ck up” after she wrote a piece report­ing that ille­gal robo­calls might have helped put Peroutka’s cam­paign over the top. He said: “It’s not your place, so shut the fu ck up @capgaznews. Per­outka’s columns don’t get the pick­led shit sued out of him.”

    He also tweet­ed: “Why are they so obsessed about Per­out­ka @capgaznews?” He added the hash­tag #CapDeath­Watch.

    Ramos, who nursed griev­ances against per­ceived injus­tices, and who had sued a news­pa­per for defama­tion, also iden­ti­fied with Don­ald Trump. In response to an opin­ion col­umn in the Cap­i­tal that ques­tioned Trump’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the pres­i­den­cy, he tweet­ed a warn­ing: “Refer­ring to @realDonaldTrump as ‘unqual­i­fied’ @capgaznews could end bad­ly (again).” His tweet linked to a Wall Street Jour­nal arti­cle about Trump’s law­suit against Uni­vi­sion, claim­ing breach of con­tract and defama­tion.

    The next day, Ramos tweet­ed: “Fu ck you, leave me alone,” and linked to a Mary­land appel­late court doc­u­ment uphold­ing the dis­missal of his defama­tion case against the Cap­i­tal. It is rea­son­able to assume that this angry com­ment was direct­ed at the jour­nal­ists and news­pa­per who had best­ed him in court, and per­haps also at attor­neys and judges.

    The embit­tered sus­pect with a vendet­ta against a local news­pa­per the jus­tice sys­tem had been sim­mer­ing since 2011. What trig­gered him in 2018? I don’t know. But short­ly before the mas­sacre, two things hap­pened that could have been fac­tors. Three days before the shoot­ing, Don­ald Trump had point­ed out mem­bers of the news media at a big out­door ral­ly in South Car­oli­na, demo­niz­ing them as “ene­mies of the peo­ple.” This is a phrase that dem­a­gogues through­out his­to­ry, from the French Rev­o­lu­tion to Nazi Ger­many and Stal­in­ist Rus­sia, have under­stood and used as an incite­ment to vio­lence. A day lat­er, Per­out­ka was defeat­ed in his 2018 re-elec­tion bid, los­ing to a female can­di­date in the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry.

    The “Berserk” half of the Roset­ta Stone

    The oth­er, seem­ing­ly unre­lat­ed ele­ment of Ramos’ world­view is drawn from the world of ani­me, the source of his final, cryp­tic tweet, approx­i­mate­ly three min­utes before the shoot­ing began. It was a pecu­liar expres­sion he had used before: “Fu ck you, leave me alone.” This world of man­ga and ani­me informed the suspect’s hero-ver­sus-vil­lain world­view and also the way he expressed it through lan­guage and reli­gious sym­bol­ic imagery. While his tweets ref­er­enced main­stream sci-fi touch­stones, such as “Star Wars” and “Star Trek,” his pri­ma­ry influ­ence was the uni­verse of “Berserk,” a blood-and-guts man­ga, ani­me and movie series that has also inspired sev­er­al video games.

    Ramos tweet­ed numer­ous ref­er­ences to “Berserk” char­ac­ters, para­phrased quotes from them, and used sym­bol­ism drawn from the series. He described him­self as play­ing a role in the world of “Berserk” and hint­ed that an under­stand­ing of its fic­tion­al world was key to under­stand­ing his “psy­che.” Indeed, in a let­ter he wrote stat­ing his inten­tion of “killing every per­son present” in the Cap­i­tal news­room, he quot­ed from “Berserk.” As men­tioned above, he did so again in his final tweet before the shoot­ing began.

    Ramos tweet­ed to ask whether Eric Hart­ley, the for­mer Cap­i­tal colum­nist, was “Ordained to Be Mur­dered by the God Hand?” In “Berserk,” the God Hand is a group of the five most pow­er­ful demons. The pho­to on Ramos’ Twit­ter avatar was the face of Hart­ley, with a Berserk sym­bol past­ed over it – a brand that marks vic­tims for demon­ic sac­ri­fice.

    He tweet­ed, “Judge Nick doesn’t believe in the God Hand. I play a well-estab­lished part of that sys­tem by tweet­ing of it.” It appears that Ramos iden­ti­fied with the world of “Berserk” and saw him­self as play­ing a part in it.

    Ramos also marked for­mer Cap­i­tal Gazette pub­lish­er Thomas Mar­quardt — whom he nick­named “Evil Tom” — with the demon­ic brand, in the ban­ner image for the Twit­ter account @EricHartleyFrnd. To Ramos, the brand sig­ni­fied that it was “Open Sea­son” to hunt and kill. He tweet­ed, “Anoth­er stooge @capgaznews says Evil Tom is going on his own terms? That mark on his head is called Brand of Sac­ri­fice; or now, Open Sea­son.” He also tweet­ed a YouTube link to the song “Mur­der” from the “Berserk” sound­track.

    He repeat­ed­ly ref­er­enced a vam­pire char­ac­ter from “Berserk,” Nos­fer­atu Zodd, and tweet­ed an image of Zodd. He tweet­ed: “If you think this man [wants to be] your friend, know this: when his ambi­tion crum­bles, death will come for you — a death you can­not escape.” This is a para­phrased quote from Zodd, who said, “If you con­sid­er this man your true friend, and regard him as a broth­er, then know this. When this man’s ambi­tion crum­bles, it is your des­tiny to face your death. A death you can nev­er escape!”

    Ramos also iden­ti­fied with “Berserk” char­ac­ters on sev­er­al oth­er occa­sions. He tweet­ed, “I told you once. I will have my own king­dom. Noth­ing has changed.” This is a close para­phrase of a quote from the char­ac­ter Grif­fith, who said, “I told you once, I will get my own king­dom. Noth­ing has changed.”

    He tweet­ed, “I’m Fem­to. I can also do what­ev­er I want. I will have my own king­dom. I will choose the place you die,” adding a link to a trail­er for “Berserk.” Grif­fith dies and is reborn as Fem­to, a mem­ber of the God Hand, who is unde­terred by moral inhi­bi­tions. Fem­to becomes the spear­head of the God Hand’s schemes.

    Ramos tweet­ed the ani­me cov­er art from “Berserk – The Gold­en Age Arc Movie Col­lec­tion” on DVD, which fea­tures the pro­tag­o­nist Guts. He twice quot­ed Guts, a swords­man moti­vat­ed by revenge whose left fore­arm is replaced by a pros­thet­ic which can be fit­ted with a can­non. Guts kills many ene­mies, includ­ing his pri­ma­ry antag­o­nist, Bish­op Moz­gus, who is a demon spawn with angel­ic wings. Before deliv­er­ing the coup de grâce, Guts tells Moz­gus, “If you meet your God, say this for me … Leave me the hell alone!”

    The lat­ter is one of the most pop­u­lar quotes among “Berserk” fans. How­ev­er, some trans­late the quote, or para­phrase it dif­fer­ent­ly. For exam­ple: “If you meet your God, tell him to leave me the fu ck alone!”

    Or, as Ramos tweet­ed, some three min­utes before the shoot­ing: “Fu ck you, leave me alone.” He then added anoth­er of his Twit­ter han­dles, @JudgeMoylanFrnd, which fea­tures the face of Charles Moy­lan, the judge who had dis­missed his defama­tion case, marked with the brand of sac­ri­fice.

    Guts’ mes­sage for Moz­gus to take to his god is a famil­iar trope in action movies, the sort of com­ment that a pro­tag­o­nist makes before dis­patch­ing a vil­lain, such as “I’ll see you in Hell,” “See you on the oth­er side,” or “Has­ta la vista, baby.” How­ev­er, this “Leave me alone” mes­sage is not meant for the peo­ple whom the pro­tag­o­nist is about to kill; it is for them to car­ry to their god.

    In light of Ramos’ hav­ing pre­vi­ous­ly tweet­ed this same lan­guage in anger at both the Cap­i­tal and Mary­land court offi­cials, and that this close­ly tracks what Guts tells his pri­ma­ry antag­o­nist before deliv­er­ing the killing blow, Ramos was mak­ing clear his intent to kill. In the con­text of script­ed vio­lence, as when a politi­cian uses his office to demo­nize jour­nal­ists, indi­vid­u­als who view them­selves as holy war­riors or heroes moti­vat­ed by a sense of griev­ance know which vil­lains to kill.

    Ramos, who rep­re­sent­ed him­self in his defama­tion case against the Cap­i­tal, insist­ed that he was sane and that he had not been mere­ly fan­ta­siz­ing online about being a preda­tor. He wrote on his web­site, “I’ve been learn­ing law for a dif­fer­ent kind of game. It’s no pub­lic­i­ty stunt, nor clin­i­cal insan­i­ty, nor preda­to­ry Inter­net fan­ta­sy, but very dan­ger­ous indeed.”

    In the same doc­u­ment, he wrote, “Much like a life, what is the price of a name? Are these even two dif­fer­ent ques­tions?” Like the 16th-cen­tu­ry Eng­lish pen­i­tent who con­fessed to defama­tion in Mit­ford v. Shaw, call­ing it a kind of mur­der, Ramos equates the loss of his good name with the loss of a life. This is akin to the rea­son­ing of those who kill abor­tion providers: If, accord­ing to their under­stand­ing of God’s law, abor­tion is mur­der, then those who pro­vide abor­tions are sub­ject to death. Like­wise, if a theo­crat believes defama­tion to be a kind of mur­der, then what is the penal­ty?

    After years of build-up, Ramos became a self-right­eous, aveng­ing char­ac­ter he had invent­ed for him­self, and announced his intent to kill, writ­ing to the newspaper’s for­mer attor­ney and to Mary­land court offi­cials that he was on his way to the Cap­i­tal news­room “with the objec­tive of killing every per­son present.” They received the let­ters after the mas­sacre. In a let­ter to Judge Moy­lan, he wrote, “Wel­come, Mr. Moy­lan, to your unex­pect­ed lega­cy: YOU should have died.” He signed off, “Friends for­ev­er, Jar­rod W. Ramos.”

    Here again, Ramos is quot­ing from Berserk.

    Guts’ adop­tive father Gam­bi­no blames him for the death of his wife. So he tries to kill Guts, while telling him, “You should have died.” In self-defense, Guts kills Gam­bi­no. But he feels guilty and con­flict­ed about this deed. A recur­ring night­mare of an army of skele­tons haunts him, their eye­less orbs glar­ing as they chant over and over, “You should have died.”

    This mes­sage is not for the peo­ple whom the pro­tag­o­nist has killed, nor for the peo­ple he would have liked to kill. It is for Guts him­self – a killer who felt jus­ti­fied but also con­flict­ed and guilty even as he killed.

    Ramos seems to be sug­gest­ing that, like the “Berserk” pro­tag­o­nist he ref­er­enced in his final tweet, he felt con­flict­ed about killing. It appears that just pri­or to the mass mur­der, Ramos sig­naled his real­iza­tion that, like Guts, he would feel guilty about it. This sug­gests that he knew right from wrong, and there­fore sup­ports the argu­ment that, as Ramos him­self has insist­ed, he was sane. While his final tweet indi­cates a ratio­nale that he must defend him­self from per­ceived oppres­sion and injus­tice (“Leave me alone”), his let­ter to the judge indi­cates that he antic­i­pates feel­ing haunt­ed by the con­scious­ness of guilt (“You should have died”).

    Lessons learned

    As our fam­i­ly mem­bers, friends and col­leagues die in one mass shoot­ing after anoth­er, we urge our­selves to under­stand what we could do dif­fer­ent­ly as a soci­ety. Why did this sus­pect do what he did? Each time, we come away with at least as many ques­tions as answers. I don’t claim to know the right ques­tions, let alone the answers. We all have a lot of work to do. But I have learned a few things from my research into Jar­rod Ramos’ world. One of them recalls Maya Angelou’s famous quote, “When some­one shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

    Ramos showed him­self to the world before he act­ed. He col­lect­ed a grab bag of griev­ances out of which he tried to forge a ratio­nale, arguably a the­ol­o­gy, that would give his revenge tale a tran­scen­dent mean­ing: It would be the sto­ry of his life. He revealed him­self often; soci­ety chose not to see or was unable to, or at any rate did not take him seri­ous­ly. He rec­og­nized this fact. After the mass mur­ders, his let­ters remind­ed us all, “I told you so.

    Ramos’ world­view is clear­ly derived from mul­ti­ple, eso­teric sources – sources he may not have accessed all by him­self. This does not mean that he did not act alone; it does mean that he did not come to such sources as 16th-cen­tu­ry eccle­si­as­ti­cal court records by him­self. Some­one point­ed him in this direc­tion. Ramos is prob­a­bly not the only one who has been direct­ed to such mate­r­i­al in search of the will of God in the 21st Cen­tu­ry and one’s role in God’s plan.

    Ramos called him­self “an arro­gant auto-didact,” with ref­er­ence to how he learned how to rep­re­sent him­self (how­ev­er unsuc­cess­ful­ly) in court. There is a rich his­to­ry on the far right of indi­vid­u­als — includ­ing self-pro­claimed “sov­er­eign cit­i­zens” and theocrats advo­cat­ing High­er Law — who defend them­selves by cob­bling togeth­er sup­posed legal prece­dents, divine author­i­ty and ill-con­ceived jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for ille­gal and some­times vio­lent acts.

    There are also Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist think tanks, such as Michael Peroutka’s Insti­tute on the Con­sti­tu­tion, that ped­dle books and cours­es to self-taught advo­cates on how to “defend against those in oppo­si­tion to God’s Word.” How­ev­er out of the main­stream they may be, such peo­ple should be prop­er­ly under­stood and tak­en seri­ous­ly. They say what they mean; they mean what they say. When some­one speaks out about met­ing out car­nage in ser­vice to High­er Author­i­ty, let’s all pay atten­tion.

    Ignor­ing an injus­tice col­lec­tor who views him­self as the hand of God doesn’t work. Ignor­ing the women he harass­es doesn’t work. Cod­dling him in the courts despite his overt law-break­ing doesn’t work. Ignor­ing the mul­ti­ple cul­tur­al influ­ences that shape and val­i­date his view­point doesn’t work.

    ...

    ———-

    “Exclu­sive: Inside accused Annapo­lis shooter’s alt-right the­ol­o­gy of mass mur­der” by Jonathan Hut­son; Salon; 07/22/2018

    “What I learned about Ramos, as I fol­lowed his Twit­ter trail, reveals as strange a world­view as one could imag­ine inform­ing a mass-mur­der sce­nario. There are at least two main influ­ences evi­dent in Ramos’ tweets. One is a world­view tak­en from the theo­crat­ic wing of the alt-right, and the oth­er comes from a vio­lent ani­me sub­cul­ture cen­tered around a pop­u­lar man­ga, ani­me and film series titled “Berserk.” Tak­en togeth­er, they pro­vide a Roset­ta Stone that allows us to trans­late the sig­nif­i­cance of two reli­gious visions, in rela­tion to each oth­er, as they exist­ed in Ramos’ mind.

    Neo-Con­fed­er­ate theo­crat­ic lone wolf vig­i­lan­tism of the League of the South and a pas­sion for bloody ani­me involv­ing vig­i­lantes deal­ing right­eous jus­tice from the hand of God. It’s quite a com­bi­na­tion of major world­view influ­ences. But that’s what one finds when you exam­ine Ramos’s social media con­tent. He was shar­ing this with the world, even if he was­n’t explic­it about it:

    ...
    I believe these mutu­al­ly inform­ing visions allowed Ramos to cast him­self as a vig­i­lante hand of God. His theo­crat­ic world­view, com­bined with his immer­sion in the world of “Berserk,” helps to solve the mys­tery of his cryp­tic, final tweet and illu­mi­nate his pos­si­ble motive for mass mur­der.

    For all of Ramos’ vivid­ly imag­ined right­eous­ness, this sto­ry begins with a woman-hat­ing, angry man. That there is a misog­y­nist root to Ramos’ rage-filled ram­page is no sur­prise. Numer­ous male mass mur­der­ers have back­grounds of stalk­ing and harass­ing women, espe­cial­ly online. Ramos’ beef with the Cap­i­tal goes back to his ill-con­ceived defama­tion suit against the paper, its pub­lish­er and a colum­nist for report­ing on his guilty plea for the online harass­ment of a woman he had known slight­ly in high school. In court doc­u­ments he object­ed to the Capital’s report that, after he had not heard from the woman in months, he told her, “Fud­ck you, leave me alone.” Ramos told the judge that he felt it unfair that the reporter had not allowed him to offer an expla­na­tion. He com­plained to the judge, “That car­ries a clear impli­ca­tion that some­thing is wrong inside my head, that I’m insane.”

    Whether Ramos is sane is a mat­ter for the court to deter­mine. But there is an expla­na­tion for these hos­tile words – which he cribbed from the pro­tag­o­nist in “Berserk” – and it has to do with Ramos’ world­view, which needs to be more clear­ly under­stood.
    ...

    As Hut­son points out, the killing of jour­nal­ists is some­thing League of the South leader Michael Hill has open­ly called for as part of his call for the for­ma­tion of death squads to kill jour­nal­ists, elect­ed offi­cials, and “the elite”:

    ...
    The alt-right half of the Roset­ta Stone

    I believe Ramos con­tact­ed me ini­tial­ly because the Cap­i­tal had report­ed on my con­nec­tion to David Lenio, a white nation­al­ist who had tweet­ed threats of a pos­si­ble mass shoot­ing, and also because I was research­ing and writ­ing about ties between a local politi­cian named Michael Per­out­ka and a right-wing group called the League of the South.

    The League is a theo­crat­ic, seces­sion­ist orga­ni­za­tion whose leader, Michael Hill, had called for the for­ma­tion of death squads tar­get­ing jour­nal­ists, elect­ed offi­cials and oth­er mem­bers of “the elite.” In his essay “A Bazooka in Every Pot,” Hill described such an assas­si­na­tion cam­paign as part of “fourth-gen­er­a­tion war­fare,” a style of decen­tral­ized con­flict that blurs the lines between war and pol­i­tics, com­bat­ants and civil­ians.

    Hill wrote: “To over­sim­pli­fy, the pri­ma­ry tar­gets will not be ene­my sol­diers; instead, they will be polit­i­cal lead­ers, mem­bers of the hos­tile media, cul­tur­al icons, bureau­crats, and oth­er of the man­age­r­i­al elite with­out whom the engines of tyran­ny don’t run.”

    That was not Hill’s only overt call to vio­lence. He fol­lowed up with anoth­er essay call­ing for young men of “Chris­ten­dom” to become “cit­i­zen-sol­diers” to destroy the “gal­lop­ing tyran­ny” of our time.

    As for Per­out­ka, he is a neo-Con­fed­er­ate theo­crat who thinks that the wrong side won the Civ­il War and that our real nation­al anthem is “Dix­ie.” He is also a for­mer board mem­ber of the League, which had endorsed his suc­cess­ful 2014 cam­paign for a seat on Maryland’s Anne Arun­del Coun­ty Coun­cil, run­ning as a Repub­li­can. This is the same League that helped orga­nize the infa­mous torch-lit Unite the Right march in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, last sum­mer.
    ...

    Over a sev­en year peri­od of tweets, Ramos only ref­er­ences two politi­cians: Mike Per­out­ka and Don­ald Trump:

    ...
    Over a peri­od of near­ly sev­en years, Per­out­ka is one of only two politi­cians whom Ramos tweet­ed about – the oth­er being Don­ald Trump, who has repeat­ed­ly vil­i­fied jour­nal­ists.
    ...

    And while Ramos does­n’t appear to be affil­i­at­ed with any polit­i­cal par­ty, that should­n’t be too sur­pris­ing when we learn that he was immersed in ide­olo­gies that pro­motes lone wolf vio­lence. He prob­a­bly was­n’t going to be very inter­est­ed in par­ty pol­i­tics:

    ...
    Jar­rod Ramos is not affil­i­at­ed with any polit­i­cal par­ty, and there is no evi­dence that he was polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed or that he act­ed on anyone’s orders. On the oth­er hand, as Salon’s Paul Rosen­berg has report­ed, he was influ­enced by the rhetoric and ide­ol­o­gy of the racist alt-right. And like Hill, Ramos showed bold bel­liger­ence toward man­age­r­i­al elites whom he viewed as ene­mies.

    For exam­ple, Ramos wrote in his @EricHartleyFrnd Twit­ter bio (which he named in appar­ent mock­ery of a for­mer Cap­i­tal colum­nist whom Ramos had sued unsuc­cess­ful­ly for defama­tion), “Dear read­er: I cre­at­ed this page to defend myself. Now I’m suing the shit out of half of AA Coun­ty and mak­ing corpses of cor­rupt careers and cor­po­rate enti­ties.”

    Jus­tice and pub­lic safe­ty require that we con­sid­er the con­text, includ­ing mul­ti­ple influ­ences and pos­si­ble trig­gers, when a sus­pect faces mass mur­der charges. There­fore, it is fair and nec­es­sary to ask whether Pres­i­dent Trump’s dem­a­goguery against jour­nal­ists could trig­ger some lone nut to mur­der them. As researcher Chip Berlet has writ­ten, soci­ol­o­gists call such a vio­lent response to cod­ed rhetoric “script­ed vio­lence” – and “heroes know which vil­lains to kill.” Fol­low­ers thus don’t require spe­cif­ic orders, but gath­er a sense of val­i­da­tion and right­eous­ness in car­ry­ing out a vio­lent cam­paign of soci­etal purifi­ca­tion against peo­ple des­ig­nat­ed as cor­rupt­ing influ­ences.

    This sus­pect had a sim­mer­ing feud for sev­en years with the Cap­i­tal, its for­mer pub­lish­er and Eric Hart­ley, the for­mer colum­nist whom he had sued unsuc­cess­ful­ly. Ramos cre­at­ed a web­site on which he post­ed doc­u­ments and com­mu­ni­ca­tions about his case, describ­ing him­self as an agent of “the Inqui­si­tion” and “a cru­sad­er” who answered to a “High­er Author­i­ty” than civ­il gov­ern­ment and who met­ed out lit­er­al “car­nage” to his foes.

    Ramos wrote of his per­ceived ene­mies: “The author­i­ty that per­mits their pow­er also stands poised to pun­ish its abuse. Even kings must answer to God, and a mod­ern day Inqui­si­tion is at hand. The poten­tial judge­ment is no less severe; the car­nage dif­fers only in lit­er­al terms. As this search for Truth com­mences, a cru­sad­er they could not kill approach­es.”

    His cru­sade tar­get­ed court offi­cials as well as jour­nal­ists, whom he con­sid­ered dis­hon­est. For exam­ple, Ramos tweet­ed a quote from Ger­man poet Paul Ger­hardt: “When a man lies, he mur­ders some part of the world.” Ramos con­clud­ed, “Time to slay some mur­der­ous shit­bag esquires.” In anoth­er tweet crit­i­ciz­ing “inequity in the MD jus­tice sys­tem,” he said: “Here’s to High­er Author­i­ty hear­ing and #hurt­ing.”
    ...

    Ramos’s tweet in ref­er­ence to a 16th cen­tu­ry church court case, Mit­ford v. Shaw, that found defama­tion a vio­la­tion of God’s law, was par­tic­u­lar­ly telling about what moti­vat­ed the attack on the Cap­i­tal Gazette giv­en that Ramos’s pri­ma­ry com­plaint was that they defamed his char­ac­ter:

    ...
    To Ramos, defama­tion is a vio­la­tion of com­mon law but, more impor­tant, a vio­la­tion of God’s law that is wor­thy of hell­fire.

    For exam­ple, he once tweet­ed: “Catholi­cism still says liars go to hell.”

    He also tweet­ed, with­out attri­bu­tion or cita­tion, a quote from a 16th-cen­tu­ry church court case: “Again, my unruly tongue, if it were not pun­ished, it would not only set more of you on fire, but it would bold­en oth­ers to do the like.” This quote is from a con­fes­sion to defama­tion in Mit­ford v. Shaw, an eccle­si­as­ti­cal court case from 1569–70. Church courts in Eng­land had juris­dic­tion over cas­es of defama­tion when the plaintiff’s claim was not for mon­ey dam­ages but for the cor­rec­tion of a sin. (Com­mon law courts over­saw claims for mon­ey dam­ages.) Church courts sen­tenced vio­la­tors to do pub­lic penance, on pain of excom­mu­ni­ca­tion.

    In the Mit­ford case, when the church court found Charles Shaw guilty of slan­der, he did penance by stand­ing up in church, wear­ing linen appar­el, and read­ing his con­fes­sion­al state­ment, which equates slan­der to mur­der, wor­thy of divine ret­ri­bu­tion.

    Shaw stat­ed, “I acknowl­edge thus to slan­der my Chris­t­ian broth­er is an heinous offence, first towards God, who hath straight­ly for­bid­den it in his holy laws, account­ing it to be a kind of mur­der­ing of my neigh­bor, and threat­en­ing to pun­ish it with hell­fire and the loss of the king­dom of heav­en.”
    ...

    And that desire to see eccle­si­as­ti­cal courts replace the Amer­i­can judi­cial sys­tem just hap­pens to be part of Per­outka’s and Hill’s world­view. They believe church courts are the only valid court (as long as they enforce their par­tic­u­lar inter­pre­ta­tion of Bib­li­cal law):

    ...
    Mod­ern-day theocrats, such as Per­out­ka, would like to see eccle­si­as­ti­cal courts replace the Amer­i­can judi­cial sys­tem. At a 2016 Sum­mer of Jus­tice ral­ly in Wichi­ta, Kansas, which took place the same week as the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion in Cleve­land, Per­out­ka called on his fel­low Chris­t­ian nation­al­ists to “take domin­ion over these posi­tions of civ­il author­i­ty” in order to “inter­pose” against laws that don’t square with their notion of God’s law.

    Per­out­ka claimed that the only valid laws are ones which adhere to this fun­da­men­tal­ist vision of the Con­sti­tu­tion and the Bible. “What if the Con­gress did pass a law allow­ing abor­tion? And then what if a sit­ting pres­i­dent signed it and a sit­ting court val­i­dat­ed it?” he asked. “Would it be the law? No, of course not.” Then he slung on his gui­tar and filmed the crowd for a video for his new song, “Courts can­not make law.”

    Near the end of the Sum­mer of Jus­tice, the anti-abor­tion group Oper­a­tion Save Amer­i­ca staged a kan­ga­roo “eccle­si­as­ti­cal court” which declared that Supreme Court rul­ings on abor­tion rights, LGBTQ rights, mar­riage equal­i­ty and the removal of gov­ern­ment-spon­sored prayer in schools were con­trary to God’s law. Eight “judges” took turns read­ing “charges” against the Supreme Court and then declared their deci­sions “null and void.”

    The judges includ­ed the Rev. Matt Trewhel­la, leader of the Mil­wau­kee-based Mis­sion­ar­ies to the Pre­born, who had signed a state­ment in 1993 declar­ing that the mur­der of abor­tion providers was “jus­ti­fi­able homi­cide.” Con­vict­ed mur­der­ers Paul Hill and Michael Grif­fin lat­er unsuc­cess­ful­ly used “jus­ti­fi­able homi­cide” defens­es in their tri­als for killing abor­tion providers.

    Ramos’ tweets make clear that in his the­o­log­i­cal view, jour­nal­ists who had alleged­ly framed him and court offi­cers who had sup­pos­ed­ly lied about him were as guilty as mur­der­ers and would ulti­mate­ly answer to God. He saw him­self as an agent of divine ret­ri­bu­tion. He was not sub­tle about how he would pun­ish the sin of defama­tion.

    He tweet­ed: “Await­ing reprisal, death will be their acqui­si­tion.” This is a mis­quot­ed lyric from a thrash met­al song by Slay­er, “Rain­ing Blood.” The actu­al line is: “Await­ing reprisal, death will be their acquit­tance.” The song ends with a vision of vic­tims’ blood del­ug­ing a revenge-dri­ven killer: “Rain­ing blood from a lac­er­at­ed sky, bleed­ing its hor­ror, cre­at­ing my struc­ture. Now I shall reign in blood!”

    “Ramos came to see him­self as some kind of vig­i­lante for right­eous­ness, cast­ing him­self for exam­ple as a ‘cru­sad­er’ and gun­ning down inno­cent peo­ple in a news­room,” Polit­i­cal Research Asso­ciates ana­lyst Fred­er­ick Clark­son told Salon. This vision was “not unlike the mil­i­taris­tic, mil­len­ni­al vision of Michael Hill,” he con­tin­ued. “Last year [Hill] ral­lied what he calls the South­ern Defense Force, which he envi­sions as not just a mod­ern Con­fed­er­ate army but the ‘Army of the True Liv­ing God.’”

    So it makes sense that Ramos, who has metaphor­i­cal­ly casts him­self as a Chris­t­ian holy war­rior, would iden­ti­fy with Per­out­ka, a dyed-in-the-wool theo­crat who has argued that civ­il ser­vants must dis­obey any laws believed to be con­trary to God’s law. Ramos tweet­ed three times in defense of Per­out­ka, once to crow to Rema Rah­man, a jour­nal­ist at the Cap­i­tal, about Peroutka’s 2014 elec­tion to the Anne Arun­del Coun­ty Coun­cil. He tweet­ed: “Per­out­ka won and you lost @remawriter. Get over it. You’re already going to Hell, so why not con­cern your­self with more rel­e­vant mat­ters?”

    He tweet­ed again to tell Rah­man to “shut the fu ck up” after she wrote a piece report­ing that ille­gal robo­calls might have helped put Peroutka’s cam­paign over the top. He said: “It’s not your place, so shut the fu ck up @capgaznews. Per­outka’s columns don’t get the pick­led shit sued out of him.”

    He also tweet­ed: “Why are they so obsessed about Per­out­ka @capgaznews?” He added the hash­tag #CapDeath­Watch.
    ...

    And oth­er than his tweets defend­ing Per­out­ka, the only oth­er politi­cian Ramos tweet­ed about, and defend­ed, was Pres­i­dent Trump:

    ...
    Ramos, who nursed griev­ances against per­ceived injus­tices, and who had sued a news­pa­per for defama­tion, also iden­ti­fied with Don­ald Trump. In response to an opin­ion col­umn in the Cap­i­tal that ques­tioned Trump’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the pres­i­den­cy, he tweet­ed a warn­ing: “Refer­ring to @realDonaldTrump as ‘unqual­i­fied’ @capgaznews could end bad­ly (again).” His tweet linked to a Wall Street Jour­nal arti­cle about Trump’s law­suit against Uni­vi­sion, claim­ing breach of con­tract and defama­tion.

    The next day, Ramos tweet­ed: “Fu ck you, leave me alone,” and linked to a Mary­land appel­late court doc­u­ment uphold­ing the dis­missal of his defama­tion case against the Cap­i­tal. It is rea­son­able to assume that this angry com­ment was direct­ed at the jour­nal­ists and news­pa­per who had best­ed him in court, and per­haps also at attor­neys and judges.
    ...

    And as Hut­son observes, three days before the attack on the Cpa­tial Gazette, Pres­i­dent Trump once again called the media the “ene­my of the peo­ple” and the next day Mike Per­out­ka lost his pri­ma­ry bid:

    ...
    The embit­tered sus­pect with a vendet­ta against a local news­pa­per the jus­tice sys­tem had been sim­mer­ing since 2011. What trig­gered him in 2018? I don’t know. But short­ly before the mas­sacre, two things hap­pened that could have been fac­tors. Three days before the shoot­ing, Don­ald Trump had point­ed out mem­bers of the news media at a big out­door ral­ly in South Car­oli­na, demo­niz­ing them as “ene­mies of the peo­ple.” This is a phrase that dem­a­gogues through­out his­to­ry, from the French Rev­o­lu­tion to Nazi Ger­many and Stal­in­ist Rus­sia, have under­stood and used as an incite­ment to vio­lence. A day lat­er, Per­out­ka was defeat­ed in his 2018 re-elec­tion bid, los­ing to a female can­di­date in the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry.
    ...

    So that all is prob­a­bly the best expla­na­tion we’re going to get for under­stand­ing what drove the guy to attack a news­pa­per. It cer­tain­ly explains the moti­va­tion.

    Then there’s there oth­er influ­ence that clear­ly shaped Ramos: “Berserk”, a bloody ani­me show and movie series that fea­tures “hand of God” vig­i­lante assas­sins. Three min­utes before the attack, he tweet­ed out a ref­er­ence to Berserk:

    ...
    The “Berserk” half of the Roset­ta Stone

    The oth­er, seem­ing­ly unre­lat­ed ele­ment of Ramos’ world­view is drawn from the world of ani­me, the source of his final, cryp­tic tweet, approx­i­mate­ly three min­utes before the shoot­ing began. It was a pecu­liar expres­sion he had used before: “Fu ck you, leave me alone.” This world of man­ga and ani­me informed the suspect’s hero-ver­sus-vil­lain world­view and also the way he expressed it through lan­guage and reli­gious sym­bol­ic imagery. While his tweets ref­er­enced main­stream sci-fi touch­stones, such as “Star Wars” and “Star Trek,” his pri­ma­ry influ­ence was the uni­verse of “Berserk,” a blood-and-guts man­ga, ani­me and movie series that has also inspired sev­er­al video games.

    Ramos tweet­ed numer­ous ref­er­ences to “Berserk” char­ac­ters, para­phrased quotes from them, and used sym­bol­ism drawn from the series. He described him­self as play­ing a role in the world of “Berserk” and hint­ed that an under­stand­ing of its fic­tion­al world was key to under­stand­ing his “psy­che.” Indeed, in a let­ter he wrote stat­ing his inten­tion of “killing every per­son present” in the Cap­i­tal news­room, he quot­ed from “Berserk.” As men­tioned above, he did so again in his final tweet before the shoot­ing began.

    Ramos tweet­ed to ask whether Eric Hart­ley, the for­mer Cap­i­tal colum­nist, was “Ordained to Be Mur­dered by the God Hand?” In “Berserk,” the God Hand is a group of the five most pow­er­ful demons. The pho­to on Ramos’ Twit­ter avatar was the face of Hart­ley, with a Berserk sym­bol past­ed over it – a brand that marks vic­tims for demon­ic sac­ri­fice.

    He tweet­ed, “Judge Nick doesn’t believe in the God Hand. I play a well-estab­lished part of that sys­tem by tweet­ing of it.” It appears that Ramos iden­ti­fied with the world of “Berserk” and saw him­self as play­ing a part in it.

    Ramos also marked for­mer Cap­i­tal Gazette pub­lish­er Thomas Mar­quardt — whom he nick­named “Evil Tom” — with the demon­ic brand, in the ban­ner image for the Twit­ter account @EricHartleyFrnd. To Ramos, the brand sig­ni­fied that it was “Open Sea­son” to hunt and kill. He tweet­ed, “Anoth­er stooge @capgaznews says Evil Tom is going on his own terms? That mark on his head is called Brand of Sac­ri­fice; or now, Open Sea­son.” He also tweet­ed a YouTube link to the song “Mur­der” from the “Berserk” sound­track.

    He repeat­ed­ly ref­er­enced a vam­pire char­ac­ter from “Berserk,” Nos­fer­atu Zodd, and tweet­ed an image of Zodd. He tweet­ed: “If you think this man [wants to be] your friend, know this: when his ambi­tion crum­bles, death will come for you — a death you can­not escape.” This is a para­phrased quote from Zodd, who said, “If you con­sid­er this man your true friend, and regard him as a broth­er, then know this. When this man’s ambi­tion crum­bles, it is your des­tiny to face your death. A death you can nev­er escape!”

    Ramos also iden­ti­fied with “Berserk” char­ac­ters on sev­er­al oth­er occa­sions. He tweet­ed, “I told you once. I will have my own king­dom. Noth­ing has changed.” This is a close para­phrase of a quote from the char­ac­ter Grif­fith, who said, “I told you once, I will get my own king­dom. Noth­ing has changed.”

    He tweet­ed, “I’m Fem­to. I can also do what­ev­er I want. I will have my own king­dom. I will choose the place you die,” adding a link to a trail­er for “Berserk.” Grif­fith dies and is reborn as Fem­to, a mem­ber of the God Hand, who is unde­terred by moral inhi­bi­tions. Fem­to becomes the spear­head of the God Hand’s schemes.

    Ramos tweet­ed the ani­me cov­er art from “Berserk – The Gold­en Age Arc Movie Col­lec­tion” on DVD, which fea­tures the pro­tag­o­nist Guts. He twice quot­ed Guts, a swords­man moti­vat­ed by revenge whose left fore­arm is replaced by a pros­thet­ic which can be fit­ted with a can­non. Guts kills many ene­mies, includ­ing his pri­ma­ry antag­o­nist, Bish­op Moz­gus, who is a demon spawn with angel­ic wings. Before deliv­er­ing the coup de grâce, Guts tells Moz­gus, “If you meet your God, say this for me … Leave me the hell alone!”

    The lat­ter is one of the most pop­u­lar quotes among “Berserk” fans. How­ev­er, some trans­late the quote, or para­phrase it dif­fer­ent­ly. For exam­ple: “If you meet your God, tell him to leave me the fu ck alone!”

    Or, as Ramos tweet­ed, some three min­utes before the shoot­ing: “Fu ck you, leave me alone.” He then added anoth­er of his Twit­ter han­dles, @JudgeMoylanFrnd, which fea­tures the face of Charles Moy­lan, the judge who had dis­missed his defama­tion case, marked with the brand of sac­ri­fice.

    Guts’ mes­sage for Moz­gus to take to his god is a famil­iar trope in action movies, the sort of com­ment that a pro­tag­o­nist makes before dis­patch­ing a vil­lain, such as “I’ll see you in Hell,” “See you on the oth­er side,” or “Has­ta la vista, baby.” How­ev­er, this “Leave me alone” mes­sage is not meant for the peo­ple whom the pro­tag­o­nist is about to kill; it is for them to car­ry to their god.

    In light of Ramos’ hav­ing pre­vi­ous­ly tweet­ed this same lan­guage in anger at both the Cap­i­tal and Mary­land court offi­cials, and that this close­ly tracks what Guts tells his pri­ma­ry antag­o­nist before deliv­er­ing the killing blow, Ramos was mak­ing clear his intent to kill. In the con­text of script­ed vio­lence, as when a politi­cian uses his office to demo­nize jour­nal­ists, indi­vid­u­als who view them­selves as holy war­riors or heroes moti­vat­ed by a sense of griev­ance know which vil­lains to kill.

    Ramos, who rep­re­sent­ed him­self in his defama­tion case against the Cap­i­tal, insist­ed that he was sane and that he had not been mere­ly fan­ta­siz­ing online about being a preda­tor. He wrote on his web­site, “I’ve been learn­ing law for a dif­fer­ent kind of game. It’s no pub­lic­i­ty stunt, nor clin­i­cal insan­i­ty, nor preda­to­ry Inter­net fan­ta­sy, but very dan­ger­ous indeed.”

    In the same doc­u­ment, he wrote, “Much like a life, what is the price of a name? Are these even two dif­fer­ent ques­tions?” Like the 16th-cen­tu­ry Eng­lish pen­i­tent who con­fessed to defama­tion in Mit­ford v. Shaw, call­ing it a kind of mur­der, Ramos equates the loss of his good name with the loss of a life. This is akin to the rea­son­ing of those who kill abor­tion providers: If, accord­ing to their under­stand­ing of God’s law, abor­tion is mur­der, then those who pro­vide abor­tions are sub­ject to death. Like­wise, if a theo­crat believes defama­tion to be a kind of mur­der, then what is the penal­ty?

    After years of build-up, Ramos became a self-right­eous, aveng­ing char­ac­ter he had invent­ed for him­self, and announced his intent to kill, writ­ing to the newspaper’s for­mer attor­ney and to Mary­land court offi­cials that he was on his way to the Cap­i­tal news­room “with the objec­tive of killing every per­son present.”. They received the let­ters after the mas­sacre. In a let­ter to Judge Moy­lan, he wrote, “Wel­come, Mr. Moy­lan, to your unex­pect­ed lega­cy: YOU should have died.” He signed off, “Friends for­ev­er, Jar­rod W. Ramos.”

    Here again, Ramos is quot­ing from Berserk.
    ...

    So, thanks to Hut­son’s research in Ramos, we have a much bet­ter idea of what moti­vat­ed this attack. It appears to have been dri­ven by a tox­ic mix of per­son­al griev­ance and religous zeal. A reli­gious zeal shared and pro­mot­ed by fig­ures like Hill who has called for death squads to mur­der jour­nal­ists they dis­agree with.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 23, 2018, 12:53 pm
  11. This is high­ly dis­turb­ing, espe­cial­ly in the con­text of the recent FBI report on Stephen Pad­dock that com­plete­ly down­played his far right Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen views: Fol­low­ing a series of stab­bings of counter-pro­tes­tors that took place dur­ing a neo-Nazi ral­ly in Sacra­men­to in 2016, the FBI opened up a domes­tic ter­ror investigation...against the counter-pro­tes­tors. Specif­i­cal­ly, the anti-fas­cist group By Any Means Nec­es­sary (Bamn) was sub­se­quent­ly survielled as part of this domes­tic ter­ror inves­ti­ga­tion. The neo-Nazi Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er par­ty (TWP) and the Gold­en State Skin­heads faced no inves­ti­ga­tion.

    This is revealed in a records request by the gov­ern­ment trans­paren­cy non-prof­it Prop­er­ty of the Peo­ple. None of the neo-Nazis involved with the stab­bings have been charged. Giv­en what appears to be some sort of favoritism towards the neo-Nazis, per­haps the most dis­turb­ing aspect of it all was how the inter­nal report char­ac­ter­ized the groups behind the ral­ly: “In 2016, law enforce­ment learned that the Ku Klux Klan would be hold­ing a ral­ly at the State Capi­tol Build­ing … The KKK con­sist­ed of mem­bers that some per­ceived to be sup­port­ive of a white suprema­cist agen­da.” Yep, accord­ing to the FBI’s inter­nal report on the domes­tic ter­ror inves­ti­ga­tion into the anti-fas­cist stab­bing vic­tims, the KKK is mere­ly per­ceived by some to have a white suprema­cist agen­da:

    The Guardian

    Revealed: FBI inves­ti­gat­ed civ­il rights group as ‘ter­ror­ism’ threat and viewed KKK as vic­tims

    Bureau spied on Cal­i­for­nia activists, cit­ing poten­tial ‘con­spir­a­cy’ against the ‘rights’ of neo-Nazis

    Sam Levin in Oak­land
    Fri 1 Feb 2019 03.01 EST

    The FBI opened a “domes­tic ter­ror­ism” inves­ti­ga­tion into a civ­il rights group in Cal­i­for­nia, label­ing the activists “extrem­ists” after they protest­ed against neo-Nazis in 2016, new doc­u­ments reveal.

    Fed­er­al author­i­ties ran a sur­veil­lance oper­a­tion on By Any Means Nec­es­sary (Bamn), spy­ing on the left­ist group’s move­ments in an inquiry that came after one of Bamn’s mem­bers was stabbed at the white suprema­cist ral­ly, accord­ing to doc­u­ments obtained by the Guardian. The FBI’s Bamn files reveal:

    * The FBI inves­ti­gat­ed Bamn for poten­tial “con­spir­a­cy” against the “rights” of the “Ku Klux Klan” and white suprema­cists.

    * The FBI con­sid­ered the KKK as vic­tims and the left­ist pro­test­ers as poten­tial ter­ror threats, and down­played the threats of the Klan, writ­ing: “The KKK con­sist­ed of mem­bers that some per­ceived to be sup­port­ive of a white suprema­cist agen­da.”

    * The FBI’s mon­i­tor­ing includ­ed in-per­son sur­veil­lance, and the agency cit­ed Bamn’s advo­ca­cy against “rape and sex­u­al assault” and “police bru­tal­i­ty” as evi­dence in the ter­ror­ism inquiry.

    The FBI’s 46-page report on Bamn, obtained by the gov­ern­ment trans­paren­cy non-prof­it Prop­er­ty of the Peo­ple through a records request, pre­sent­ed an “aston­ish­ing” descrip­tion of the KKK, said Mike Ger­man, a for­mer FBI agent and far-right expert who reviewed the doc­u­ments for the Guardian.

    The report ignored “100 years of Klan ter­ror­ism that has killed thou­sands of Amer­i­cans and con­tin­ues using vio­lence right up to the present day”, Ger­man said. “This descrip­tion of the KKK should be an embar­rass­ment to FBI lead­er­ship.”

    Shan­ta Dri­ver, Bamn’s nation­al chair, crit­i­cized the inves­ti­ga­tion in a state­ment to the Guardian, say­ing, “The FBI’s inter­est in BAMN is part of a long-stand­ing pol­i­cy … Start­ing with their cam­paign to per­se­cute and slan­der Dr. Mar­tin Luther King, they have a racist his­to­ry of tar­get­ing peace­ful civ­il rights and anti-racist orga­ni­za­tions, while doing noth­ing to pros­e­cute the racists and fas­cists who attacked Dr. King and the move­ment he built.”

    The FBI launched its ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tion and sur­veil­lance of Bamn after white suprema­cists armed with knives faced off with hun­dreds of counter-pro­test­ers, includ­ing Bamn activists, at a June 2016 neo-Nazi ral­ly in Sacra­men­to. Although numer­ous neo-Nazis were sus­pect­ed of stab­bing at least sev­en anti-fas­cists in the melee, leav­ing some with life-threat­en­ing injuries, the FBI chose to launch a inquiry into the activ­i­ties of the left­wing pro­test­ers.

    The doc­u­ments, though heav­i­ly redact­ed, did not include any con­clu­sions from the FBI that Bamn vio­lat­ed laws or posed a con­tin­u­ing threat. Its mem­bers have not faced fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tion. The FBI declined to com­ment on Bamn.

    “It’s clear the FBI dropped the inves­ti­ga­tion hav­ing no evi­dence of wrong­do­ing. It nev­er should have been opened in the first place,” Dri­ver said.

    The 2016 ral­ly was orga­nized by two white suprema­cist groups: the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er par­ty (TWP) and an affil­i­at­ed Cal­i­for­nia enti­ty, the Gold­en State Skin­heads. Cal­i­for­nia law enforce­ment sub­se­quent­ly worked with the neo-Nazis to iden­ti­fy counter-pro­test­ers, pur­sued charges against stab­bing vic­tims and oth­er anti-fas­cists, and decid­ed not to pros­e­cute any men on the far-right for the stab­bings.

    The FBI appeared to have adopt­ed a sim­i­lar approach. In a redact­ed Octo­ber 2016 doc­u­ment, the FBI labeled its Bamn inves­ti­ga­tion a “DT [domes­tic ter­ror­ism] – ANARCHIST EXTREMISM” case. The FBI’s San Fran­cis­co office wrote that it was inves­ti­gat­ing alle­ga­tions that “mem­bers of Bamn attend­ed a Ku Klux Klan ral­ly and assault­ed a Nazi sup­port­er”. It sum­ma­rized the Sacra­men­to inci­dent this way:

    In 2016, law enforce­ment learned that the Ku Klux Klan would be hold­ing a ral­ly at the State Capi­tol Build­ing … The KKK con­sist­ed of mem­bers that some per­ceived to be sup­port­ive of a white suprema­cist agen­da. In response, a num­ber of groups mobi­lized to protest the ral­ly. Fly­ers were post­ed ask­ing peo­ple to attend in order to shut down the ral­ly.

    The KKK and Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er par­ty have sim­i­lar ide­olo­gies but are dis­tinct groups. It’s unclear why the FBI labeled the ral­ly a KKK event.

    The FBI’s report also appeared to obfus­cate details about the polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tions of stab­bing per­pe­tra­tors and vic­tims, say­ing: “Sev­er­al peo­ple were stabbed and hos­pi­tal­ized.” That’s despite the fact that Cal­i­for­nia police inves­ti­ga­tors report­ed that neo-Nazis were seen on cam­era hold­ing knives and fight­ing with counter-pro­test­ers (who suf­fered severe stab wounds).

    The FBI file said its research into Bamn found that the group “law­ful­ly exer­cised their First Amend­ment rights by engag­ing in peace­ful protests”, but added that its “mem­bers engaged in oth­er activ­i­ty by refus­ing to dis­perse, tres­pass­ing in closed build­ings, obstruct­ing law enforce­ment, and shout­ing dur­ing and inter­rupt­ing pub­lic meet­ings so that the meet­ings could not con­tin­ue”.

    Bamn has long advo­cat­ed for racial jus­tice and immi­grants’ rights, fre­quent­ly protest­ing at pub­lic events and orga­niz­ing ral­lies.

    The FBI report said it was “pos­si­ble the actions of cer­tain BAMN mem­bers may exceed the bound­aries of pro­tect­ed activ­i­ty and could con­sti­tute a vio­la­tion of fed­er­al law”.

    The “poten­tial vio­la­tions of fed­er­al law”, the FBI said, includ­ed “con­spir­a­cy against rights” and “riots”. The FBI cit­ed Bamn’s web­site, which encour­aged sup­port­ers to protest against the KKK, fea­tured slo­gans like “SMASH FASCISM!” and “NO ‘FREE SPEECH’ FOR FASCISTS!”, and cel­e­brat­ed the “mass, mil­i­tant demon­stra­tion” that “shut down” the neo-Nazi ral­ly. The FBI also includ­ed screen­shots of Bamn pages that ref­er­enced a num­ber of the group’s oth­er advo­ca­cy issues, includ­ing cam­paigns against “rape and sex­u­al assault” and “police bru­tal­i­ty”.

    The FBI files fur­ther includ­ed men­tions of Yvette Felar­ca, a Bamn mem­ber who was stabbed at the ral­ly, but is now fac­ing state charges of assault and riot­ing. (Her lawyers have argued in court that the police inves­ti­ga­tors and pros­e­cu­tors were biased against anti-fas­cists and worked to pro­tect neo-Nazis).

    Dri­ver, who is also Felarca’s attor­ney, said the FBI should have men­tioned that Felar­ca was “stabbed and blud­geoned by a fas­cist in Sacra­men­to”. She added: “Instead of find­ing the per­son who assault­ed anti-racist pro­test­ers, the FBI chose to tar­get BAMN, which by their own admis­sion holds demon­stra­tions that are pro­tect­ed by the First Amend­ment.”

    The bureau’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tions of the inves­ti­ga­tion and sur­veil­lance were dis­turb­ing, said Ryan Shapiro, exec­u­tive direc­tor of Prop­er­ty of the Peo­ple. “The FBI dis­cov­ered that these pro­test­ers once shout­ed at a meet­ing and some­how that evi­dence was mobi­lized to sup­port a full-fledged ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tion,” he not­ed.

    In Novem­ber 2016, the FBI engaged in sur­veil­lance of a protest out­side the Berke­ley school dis­trict, accord­ing to the Bamn files. Due to the redac­tions, it’s unclear whom the FBI was watch­ing, though the report not­ed that the FBI observed “sev­er­al chil­dren … sit­ting out­side … with signs next to them”.

    The FBI report said its inves­ti­ga­tion and sur­veil­lance were not “intend­ed to asso­ciate the pro­tect­ed activ­i­ty with crim­i­nal­i­ty or a threat to nation­al secu­ri­ty, or to infer that such pro­tect­ed activ­i­ty itself vio­lates fed­er­al law”. The report con­tin­ued:

    How­ev­er, based on known intel­li­gence and/or spe­cif­ic, his­tor­i­cal obser­va­tions, it is pos­si­ble the pro­tect­ed activ­i­ty could invite a vio­lent reac­tion towards the sub­ject indi­vid­u­als or groups, or the activ­i­ty could be used as a means to tar­get law enforce­ment. In the event no vio­lent reac­tion occurs, FBI pol­i­cy and fed­er­al law dic­tates that no fur­ther record be made of the pro­tect­ed activ­i­ty.

    Prop­er­ty of the People’s records requests broad­ly sought FBI doc­u­ments on anti-fas­cists. The FBI did not release addi­tion­al Bamn records beyond 2016.

    The FBI’s insin­u­a­tion that Bamn’s actions could pro­voke vio­lence was odd, said Ger­man, the for­mer FBI agent, who is now a Bren­nan Cen­ter fel­low. He not­ed that it was white suprema­cists “who have used this tac­tic for decades” and said the vio­lent provo­ca­tions of rightwing groups were well known when he worked on domes­tic ter­ror­ism for the FBI in the 1990s. The Bamn report, he said, gave the “appear­ance of favoritism toward one of the old­est and most active ter­ror­ist groups in his­to­ry”.

    He added that the report should have made clear that the “KKK con­sists of mem­bers who have a bloody his­to­ry of racial and anti­se­mit­ic vio­lence and intim­i­da­tion and is known for stag­ing pub­lic spec­ta­cles for the spe­cif­ic pur­pose of incit­ing immi­nent vio­lence”.

    Asked whether the Bamn inves­ti­ga­tion was ongo­ing and whether the FBI had opened any equiv­a­lent inquiry into the neo-Nazis in Cal­i­for­nia, an FBI spokesper­son said the bureau does not con­firm or deny the exis­tence of spe­cif­ic inves­ti­ga­tions. “We can­not ini­ti­ate an inves­ti­ga­tion based sole­ly on an individual’s race, eth­nic­i­ty, nat­ur­al ori­gin, reli­gion, or the exer­cise of First Amend­ment rights,” the FBI said in a state­ment. “The FBI does not and will not police ide­ol­o­gy.”

    ...

    The Bamn case fol­lows numer­ous recent con­tro­ver­sies sur­round­ing the FBI’s tar­get­ing of left­ist groups, includ­ing a ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tion into Stand­ing Rock activists, sur­veil­lance of black activists, and spy­ing on peace­ful cli­mate change protest.

    The jus­tice depart­ment inspec­tor gen­er­al pre­vi­ous­ly crit­i­cized the FBI for using non-vio­lent civ­il dis­obe­di­ence and spec­u­la­tion of future crimes to jus­ti­fy ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tions against domes­tic advo­ca­cy groups, Ger­man not­ed, adding that the Bamn files sug­gest the FBI “seems to have learned noth­ing from these pre­vi­ous over­reach­es”.

    Even know­ing the FBI’s lega­cy of going after activists, the report was still shock­ing, said Shapiro.

    “A bunch of anti-fas­cists showed up at a Nazi ral­ly and were attacked by Nazis, and the response form the bureau was to launch a domes­tic ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tion into the anti-fas­cists,” he said. “At its core, the FBI is, as it has always been, a polit­i­cal police force that pri­mar­i­ly tar­gets the left.”

    ———-

    “Revealed: FBI inves­ti­gat­ed civ­il rights group as ‘ter­ror­ism’ threat and viewed KKK as vic­tims” by Sam Levin in Oak­land; The Guardian; 02/01/2019

    “The FBI launched its ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tion and sur­veil­lance of Bamn after white suprema­cists armed with knives faced off with hun­dreds of counter-pro­test­ers, includ­ing Bamn activists, at a June 2016 neo-Nazi ral­ly in Sacra­men­to. Although numer­ous neo-Nazis were sus­pect­ed of stab­bing at least sev­en anti-fas­cists in the melee, leav­ing some with life-threat­en­ing injuries, the FBI chose to launch a inquiry into the activ­i­ties of the left­wing pro­test­ers.

    Yep, a bunch of neo-Nazis stab at least sev­en anti-fas­cist counter-pro­tes­tors and the FBI chose to inves­ti­gate the anti-fas­cists. Specif­i­cal­ly, the FBI char­ac­ter­ized its inves­ti­ga­tion as a domes­tic ter­ror anar­chist extrem­ism case. The KKK, on the oth­er hand, was char­ac­ter­ized in the report as a group that “some per­ceived to be sup­port­ive of a white suprema­cist agen­da”. And that’s what makes this case so dis­turb­ing: the anti-fas­cists got inves­ti­gat­ed as domes­tic ter­ror­ist at the same time the KKK, a group with an exten­sive record of real domes­tic ter­ror­ism, was­n’t also inves­ti­gat­ed and was char­ac­ter­ized as mere­ly being a group that ‘some peo­ple’ per­ceive to be sup­port­ive of white suprema­cy. And the report does­n’t even spec­i­fy that it was the anti-fas­cists who were stabbed by the neo-Nazis. It reads like a KKK mem­ber wrote the report:

    ...
    The doc­u­ments, though heav­i­ly redact­ed, did not include any con­clu­sions from the FBI that Bamn vio­lat­ed laws or posed a con­tin­u­ing threat. Its mem­bers have not faced fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tion. The FBI declined to com­ment on Bamn.

    “It’s clear the FBI dropped the inves­ti­ga­tion hav­ing no evi­dence of wrong­do­ing. It nev­er should have been opened in the first place,” Dri­ver said.

    The 2016 ral­ly was orga­nized by two white suprema­cist groups: the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er par­ty (TWP) and an affil­i­at­ed Cal­i­for­nia enti­ty, the Gold­en State Skin­heads. Cal­i­for­nia law enforce­ment sub­se­quent­ly worked with the neo-Nazis to iden­ti­fy counter-pro­test­ers, pur­sued charges against stab­bing vic­tims and oth­er anti-fas­cists, and decid­ed not to pros­e­cute any men on the far-right for the stab­bings.

    The FBI appeared to have adopt­ed a sim­i­lar approach. In a redact­ed Octo­ber 2016 doc­u­ment, the FBI labeled its Bamn inves­ti­ga­tion a “DT [domes­tic ter­ror­ism] – ANARCHIST EXTREMISM” case. The FBI’s San Fran­cis­co office wrote that it was inves­ti­gat­ing alle­ga­tions that “mem­bers of Bamn attend­ed a Ku Klux Klan ral­ly and assault­ed a Nazi sup­port­er”. It sum­ma­rized the Sacra­men­to inci­dent this way:

    In 2016, law enforce­ment learned that the Ku Klux Klan would be hold­ing a ral­ly at the State Capi­tol Build­ing … The KKK con­sist­ed of mem­bers that some per­ceived to be sup­port­ive of a white suprema­cist agen­da. In response, a num­ber of groups mobi­lized to protest the ral­ly. Fly­ers were post­ed ask­ing peo­ple to attend in order to shut down the ral­ly.

    The KKK and Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er par­ty have sim­i­lar ide­olo­gies but are dis­tinct groups. It’s unclear why the FBI labeled the ral­ly a KKK event.

    The FBI’s report also appeared to obfus­cate details about the polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tions of stab­bing per­pe­tra­tors and vic­tims, say­ing: “Sev­er­al peo­ple were stabbed and hos­pi­tal­ized.” That’s despite the fact that Cal­i­for­nia police inves­ti­ga­tors report­ed that neo-Nazis were seen on cam­era hold­ing knives and fight­ing with counter-pro­test­ers (who suf­fered severe stab wounds).
    ...

    Adding crim­i­nal insult to actu­al injury, one of the women stabbed is now fac­ing state charges of assault and riot­ing:

    ...
    The FBI files fur­ther includ­ed men­tions of Yvette Felar­ca, a Bamn mem­ber who was stabbed at the ral­ly, but is now fac­ing state charges of assault and riot­ing. (Her lawyers have argued in court that the police inves­ti­ga­tors and pros­e­cu­tors were biased against anti-fas­cists and worked to pro­tect neo-Nazis).

    Dri­ver, who is also Felarca’s attor­ney, said the FBI should have men­tioned that Felar­ca was “stabbed and blud­geoned by a fas­cist in Sacra­men­to”. She added: “Instead of find­ing the per­son who assault­ed anti-racist pro­test­ers, the FBI chose to tar­get BAMN, which by their own admis­sion holds demon­stra­tions that are pro­tect­ed by the First Amend­ment.”
    ...

    The spe­cif­ic rea­sons for the inves­ti­ga­tion appeared to be “poten­tial vio­la­tions of fed­er­al law”, includ­ing “con­spir­a­cy against rights” and “riots”, cit­ing the BAMN web­site that used slo­gans like “SMASH FASCISM!” and “NO ‘FREE SPEECH’ FOR FASCISTS!” So it appears that the com­mon anti-fas­cist rhetoric of “shut­ting down” neo-Nazi ral­lies with counter-protests is now being used as a legal pre­text for open­ing inves­ti­ga­tions into these groups:

    ...
    The FBI file said its research into Bamn found that the group “law­ful­ly exer­cised their First Amend­ment rights by engag­ing in peace­ful protests”, but added that its “mem­bers engaged in oth­er activ­i­ty by refus­ing to dis­perse, tres­pass­ing in closed build­ings, obstruct­ing law enforce­ment, and shout­ing dur­ing and inter­rupt­ing pub­lic meet­ings so that the meet­ings could not con­tin­ue”.

    Bamn has long advo­cat­ed for racial jus­tice and immi­grants’ rights, fre­quent­ly protest­ing at pub­lic events and orga­niz­ing ral­lies.

    The FBI report said it was “pos­si­ble the actions of cer­tain BAMN mem­bers may exceed the bound­aries of pro­tect­ed activ­i­ty and could con­sti­tute a vio­la­tion of fed­er­al law”.

    The “poten­tial vio­la­tions of fed­er­al law”, the FBI said, includ­ed “con­spir­a­cy against rights” and “riots”. The FBI cit­ed Bamn’s web­site, which encour­aged sup­port­ers to protest against the KKK, fea­tured slo­gans like “SMASH FASCISM!” and “NO ‘FREE SPEECH’ FOR FASCISTS!”, and cel­e­brat­ed the “mass, mil­i­tant demon­stra­tion” that “shut down” the neo-Nazi ral­ly. The FBI also includ­ed screen­shots of Bamn pages that ref­er­enced a num­ber of the group’s oth­er advo­ca­cy issues, includ­ing cam­paigns against “rape and sex­u­al assault” and “police bru­tal­i­ty”.
    ...

    And while the FBI’s inves­ti­ga­tion did­n’t end up find­ing any crim­i­nal activ­i­ty by BAMN, it’s notable that the FBI report men­tioned the pos­si­bil­i­ty that these legal counter-protests could invite a vio­lence or be used a means of tar­get­ing law enforce­ment, which is pret­ty twist­ed in the con­text of not inves­ti­gat­ing the neo-Nazis who did the actu­al stab­bings, espe­cial­ly giv­en the exten­sive his­to­ry of the far right attacks on law enforce­ment:

    ...
    The bureau’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tions of the inves­ti­ga­tion and sur­veil­lance were dis­turb­ing, said Ryan Shapiro, exec­u­tive direc­tor of Prop­er­ty of the Peo­ple. “The FBI dis­cov­ered that these pro­test­ers once shout­ed at a meet­ing and some­how that evi­dence was mobi­lized to sup­port a full-fledged ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tion,” he not­ed.

    In Novem­ber 2016, the FBI engaged in sur­veil­lance of a protest out­side the Berke­ley school dis­trict, accord­ing to the Bamn files. Due to the redac­tions, it’s unclear whom the FBI was watch­ing, though the report not­ed that the FBI observed “sev­er­al chil­dren … sit­ting out­side … with signs next to them”.

    The FBI report said its inves­ti­ga­tion and sur­veil­lance were not “intend­ed to asso­ciate the pro­tect­ed activ­i­ty with crim­i­nal­i­ty or a threat to nation­al secu­ri­ty, or to infer that such pro­tect­ed activ­i­ty itself vio­lates fed­er­al law”. The report con­tin­ued:

    How­ev­er, based on known intel­li­gence and/or spe­cif­ic, his­tor­i­cal obser­va­tions, it is pos­si­ble the pro­tect­ed activ­i­ty could invite a vio­lent reac­tion towards the sub­ject indi­vid­u­als or groups, or the activ­i­ty could be used as a means to tar­get law enforce­ment. In the event no vio­lent reac­tion occurs, FBI pol­i­cy and fed­er­al law dic­tates that no fur­ther record be made of the pro­tect­ed activ­i­ty.

    Prop­er­ty of the People’s records requests broad­ly sought FBI doc­u­ments on anti-fas­cists. The FBI did not release addi­tion­al Bamn records beyond 2016.

    The FBI’s insin­u­a­tion that Bamn’s actions could pro­voke vio­lence was odd, said Ger­man, the for­mer FBI agent, who is now a Bren­nan Cen­ter fel­low. He not­ed that it was white suprema­cists “who have used this tac­tic for decades” and said the vio­lent provo­ca­tions of rightwing groups were well known when he worked on domes­tic ter­ror­ism for the FBI in the 1990s. The Bamn report, he said, gave the “appear­ance of favoritism toward one of the old­est and most active ter­ror­ist groups in his­to­ry”.

    He added that the report should have made clear that the “KKK con­sists of mem­bers who have a bloody his­to­ry of racial and anti­se­mit­ic vio­lence and intim­i­da­tion and is known for stag­ing pub­lic spec­ta­cles for the spe­cif­ic pur­pose of incit­ing immi­nent vio­lence”.
    ...

    And it was­n’t that long ago that the jus­tice depart­ment crit­i­cized the FBI for using non-vio­lent civ­il dis­obe­di­ence and spec­u­la­tion of future crimes to jus­ti­fy ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tions against domes­tic advo­ca­cy groups. That was just in 2010:

    ...
    The Bamn case fol­lows numer­ous recent con­tro­ver­sies sur­round­ing the FBI’s tar­get­ing of left­ist groups, includ­ing a ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tion into Stand­ing Rock activists, sur­veil­lance of black activists, and spy­ing on peace­ful cli­mate change protest.

    The jus­tice depart­ment inspec­tor gen­er­al pre­vi­ous­ly crit­i­cized the FBI for using non-vio­lent civ­il dis­obe­di­ence and spec­u­la­tion of future crimes to jus­ti­fy ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tions against domes­tic advo­ca­cy groups, Ger­man not­ed, adding that the Bamn files sug­gest the FBI “seems to have learned noth­ing from these pre­vi­ous over­reach­es”.
    ...

    Anoth­er thing to keep in mind with this sto­ry is the recent report on the DHS pol­i­cy ana­lyst, Ian M. Smith, being a clos­et white suprema­cist and secret­ly hang­ing out with TWP mem­bers. Is it pos­si­ble this sto­ry of the FBI’s shock­ing­ly light treat­ment of stab­bing neo-Nazis reflects anoth­er instance of white suprema­cists infil­trat­ing fed­er­al agen­cies? Let’s hope not, but con­sid­er­ing the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the KKK in that FBI report it’s hard to rule out the pos­si­bil­i­ty. Although giv­en the FBI’s long his­to­ry of crack­ing down on civ­il rights move­ments it’s not like we need secret neo-Nazi infil­tra­tors as a plau­si­ble expla­na­tion.

    So the KKK and TWP hold a neo-Nazi ral­ly. Anti-fas­cist counter-pro­tes­tors show up. The FBI and local law enforce­ment decide to charge the counter-pro­tes­tors. The FBI opens a domes­tic ter­ror inves­ti­ga­tion into them. And the FBI report down­plays both the white suprema­cist nature of these groups, their his­to­ry as real domes­tic ter­ror out­fits, and the fact it was neo-Nazis who did the stab­bings. It would all be aston­ish­ing if there was­n’t so much his­toric prece­dent. So it’s real­ly just depress­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 1, 2019, 4:25 pm
  12. Here’s the lat­est iter­a­tion of a sto­ry that we’ve seen a dis­turb­ing num­ber of times before: It appears that the US Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty qui­et­ly dis­band­ed the group of intel­li­gence ana­lysts at the Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis (I&A) who were ded­i­cat­ed to the threat of domes­tic white suprema­cist ter­ror­ism.

    Recall that it was the Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis that put out a report in 2009 warn­ing that a new black pres­i­dent would inflame white suprema­cist groups. The report was leaked to the press and cre­at­ed a mas­sive right-wing back­lash in Con­gress result­ing in DHS rescind­ing the report and dis­solv­ing that team. It’s unclear if that team was sub­se­quent­ly reformed and now redis­solved or if this is a new unit that was dis­solved.

    Also recall how, in Feb­ru­ary of 2017, less than two weeks after tak­ing office, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion announced that it was chang­ing the DHS’s “Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism” pro­gram to focus it exclu­sive­ly on Islam­ic ter­ror­ism and no longer cov­er white suprema­cists. They even changed the name of the pro­gram to the “Coun­ter­ing Islam­ic Extrem­ism” pro­gram. So are just some of the exam­ples of the US gov­ern­ment inten­tion­al­ly remov­ing focus from white suprema­cist domes­tic ter­ror in recent years.

    And how we have this new exam­ple. So what is the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for dis­band­ing the Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis’s white suprema­cist group? Well, based on the vague state­ments from DHS offi­cials, they assure us that there has­n’t actu­al­ly been any reduc­tion in focus on white suprema­cists. Instead, they got rid of this unit because they want­ed to reduce redun­dan­cy with the FBI and they argue that the FBI should be the ones han­dling this. The offi­cial response appears to be that this unit was redun­dant so there­fore there has­n’t actu­al­ly been a reduc­tion in focus on white suprema­cists because the FBI is doing it any­way. So DHS basi­cal­ly declared that there should only be one gov­ern­ment agency that watch­ing out for white suprema­cy ter­ror­ism and it should­n’t be DHS:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Home­land Secu­ri­ty Dis­bands Domes­tic Ter­ror Intel­li­gence Unit

    While the body counts from domes­tic ter­ror attacks mount, the ana­lysts look­ing into those attacks have been moved.

    Bet­sy Woodruff
    04.02.19 5:00 AM ET

    The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty has dis­band­ed a group of intel­li­gence ana­lysts who focused on domes­tic ter­ror­ism, The Dai­ly Beast has learned. Numer­ous cur­rent and for­mer DHS offi­cials say they find the devel­op­ment con­cern­ing, as the threat of home­grown terrorism—including white suprema­cist terrorism—is grow­ing.

    In the wake of this move, offi­cials said the num­ber of ana­lyt­ic reports pro­duced by DHS about domes­tic ter­ror­ism, includ­ing the threat from white suprema­cists, has dropped sig­nif­i­cant­ly. Peo­ple in and close to the depart­ment said this has gen­er­at­ed sig­nif­i­cant con­cern at head­quar­ters.

    “It’s espe­cial­ly prob­lem­at­ic giv­en the growth in right-wing extrem­ism and domes­tic ter­ror­ism we are see­ing in the U.S. and abroad,” one for­mer intel­li­gence offi­cial told The Dai­ly Beast.

    The group in ques­tion was a branch of ana­lysts in DHS’s Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis (I&A). They focused on the threat from home­grown vio­lent extrem­ists and domes­tic ter­ror­ists. The ana­lysts there shared infor­ma­tion with state and local law enforce­ment to help them pro­tect their com­mu­ni­ties from these threats.

    Then the Trump administration’s new I&A chief, David Glawe, began reor­ga­niz­ing the office, which is the DHS com­po­nent that has a place in the Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty. Over the course of the reor­ga­ni­za­tion, the branch of I&A focused on domes­tic ter­ror­ism got eighty-sixed and its ana­lysts were reas­signed to new posi­tions. The change hap­pened last year, and has not been pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed.

    “We’ve noticed I&A has sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduced their pro­duc­tion on home­grown vio­lent extrem­ism and domes­tic ter­ror­ism while those remain among the most seri­ous ter­ror­ism threats to the home­land,” said one DHS offi­cial.

    For­mer offi­cials point­ed to a spate of domes­tic ter­ror attacks in recent years as evi­dence that DHS erred by shut­ter­ing this branch. From the mas­sacre that left 11 peo­ple dead at a Pitts­burgh syn­a­gogue to a shoot­ing tar­get­ing Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress in June 2017 to bomb threats that a deranged Trump fan direct­ed at promi­nent Democ­rats and CNN, vio­lent attacks informed by home­grown hatred have left Amer­i­cans increas­ing­ly ter­ror­ized.

    Reached for com­ment, a DHS spokesper­son pro­vid­ed the fol­low­ing state­ment from David Glawe, the chief of I&A:

    DHS/I&A rou­tine­ly works with fed­er­al part­ners, includ­ing the FBI, state and local law enforce­ment, and the Nation­al Net­work of Fusion Cen­ters to gath­er Home­land threat infor­ma­tion regard­less of a threat actor’s ide­ol­o­gy. I&A has invest­ed heav­i­ly in inter­a­gency rela­tion­ships to enhance analy­sis on Home­land threats, includ­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ism, where I&A lacks access to rel­e­vant case data and infor­ma­tion held by oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies. I&A is also focused on ensur­ing intel­li­gence pro­duc­tion is not duplica­tive of oth­er agen­cies and focused on areas where DHS I&A can add the most val­ue through unique data and access with­in the Depart­ment. When DHS/I&A iden­ti­fies domes­tic ter­ror­ism threats or relat­ed infor­ma­tion of val­ue, DHS/I&A imme­di­ate­ly coor­di­nates it and shares it as wide­ly as pos­si­ble.

    Pressed on whether DHS dis­putes this report­ing, a senior DHS offi­cial pushed back.

    “The same peo­ple are work­ing on the issues,” the offi­cial said. “We just restruc­tured things to be more respon­sive to the I&A cus­tomers with­in DHS and in local com­mu­ni­ties while reduc­ing over­lap with what the FBI does. We actu­al­ly believe we are far more effec­tive now.”

    But Sgt. Mike Abdeen with the Los Ange­les Coun­ty Sheriff’s Depart­ment told The Dai­ly Beast that his office used to receive a sig­nif­i­cant amount of mate­r­i­al from I&A, but that the com­mu­ni­ca­tions have dried up in recent months. For the last six months, he said, I&A has been most­ly silent. He added that this has been con­sis­tent with broad­er changes in how the depart­ment com­mu­ni­cates with his office.

    “It’s been very qui­et late­ly,” Abdeen said. “It’s changed with the new admin­is­tra­tion. It doesn’t seem to be as robust, as active, as important—it is impor­tant, I’m sure, but it’s not a pri­or­i­ty. It doesn’t seem like engage­ment, out­reach, and pre­ven­tion are seen as a pri­or­i­ty as we used to see in the past. There were round­table meet­ings in the past, there was more activ­i­ty, more train­ing, more sem­i­nars. Now it seems like it’s gone away.”

    Cur­rent and for­mer offi­cials said I&A now must coor­di­nate with the FBI when shar­ing infor­ma­tion with state and local enforcement—creating anoth­er hur­dle.

    “While I can­not speak to what is going on at DHS I&A today, the analy­sis pro­vid­ed by I&A per­son­nel on domes­tic extrem­ism was essen­tial dur­ing my tenure at DHS,” said John Cohen, for­mer­ly the act­ing head of I&A. “Based on the cur­rent threat envi­ron­ment, I believe those same efforts are essen­tial today.”

    But oth­ers defend­ed the change. Two for­mer DHS offi­cials, speak­ing anony­mous­ly because their cur­rent employ­ers did not autho­rize them to speak to the press, said this change elim­i­nates redun­dan­cy in the gov­ern­ment. These offi­cials argued that the respon­si­bil­i­ty for pre­vent­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ism lies with the FBI, rather than with DHS.

    “When DHS is writ­ing some­thing that may be ter­ror­ist-relat­ed, they have to—regardless of whether or not per­son­al­ly they might want to—they have to work with the FBI,” said one of those for­mer offi­cials, who was based at head­quar­ters and liaised with I&A. “And because DHS doesn’t real­ly have mox­ie and they don’t have a his­to­ry of cul­tur­al and oper­a­tional cama­raderie, when state and locals receive a joint prod­uct from DHS and FBI, it’s more seri­ous and they know it’s well-writ­ten and well-sourced.”

    ...

    Update: After pub­li­ca­tion, the DHS pub­lic affairs office pro­vid­ed the fol­low­ing state­ment from Glawe to The Dai­ly Beast: “The idea pre­sent­ed by some that we have cut our com­mit­ment to defeat­ing all forms of rad­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy — includ­ing white suprema­cist and domes­tic ter­ror­ist — is patent­ly false and the exact oppo­site of what we have done. Those push­ing such a nar­ra­tive either do not under­stand intel­li­gence col­lec­tion efforts or don’t care about the truth. The Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis has sig­nif­i­cant­ly increased tac­ti­cal intel­li­gence report­ing on domes­tic ter­ror­ists and home­grown vio­lent extrem­ists since 2016. The intel­li­gence shared is action­able and fre­quent­ly used by part­ners to take imme­di­ate steps of inter­ven­tion. The Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis coor­di­nates with the Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty and con­tin­ues to pro­duce strate­gic and tac­ti­cal intel­li­gence in part­ner­ship with the Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion (FBI), who is the lead orga­ni­za­tion for Domes­tic Ter­ror­ism and Civ­il Rights Vio­la­tions.

    “Addi­tion­al­ly, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis restruc­tured in 2018 to dri­ve infor­ma­tion exchanges and inte­grate intel­li­gence into oper­a­tional func­tions across all threats to the Home­land. This restruc­tur­ing includ­ed sig­nif­i­cant invest­ment in our field oper­a­tions to work with state and local part­ners. It also cre­at­ed the Coun­tert­er­ror­ism Mis­sion Cen­ter to pri­or­i­tize intel­li­gence pro­duc­tion on areas where there is the most val­ue through unique data and access with­in the Depart­ment, and avoid dupli­ca­tion of work by oth­er part­ners, to include the FBI.

    “The Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis also has a robust state and local engage­ment pro­gram, whose mis­sion is to ensure that state and local part­ners can expe­di­tious­ly access the capa­bil­i­ties, resources, and exper­tise nec­es­sary to share infor­ma­tion and intel­li­gence. The Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis pro­vides a sin­gle, reli­able, and depend­able touch point ded­i­cat­ed to sup­port­ing rela­tion­ships with all of our part­ners in order to facil­i­tate com­mu­ni­ca­tions and engage­ment, con­duct out­reach, ensure trans­paren­cy, and address any issues, con­cerns, and ques­tions.

    “The analy­sis and coor­di­na­tion with our part­ners of domes­tic ter­ror­ism and home­grown vio­lent extrem­ism con­tin­ues 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.”

    ———-

    “Home­land Secu­ri­ty Dis­bands Domes­tic Ter­ror Intel­li­gence Unit” by Bet­sy Woodruff; The Dai­ly Beast; 04/02/2019

    The group in ques­tion was a branch of ana­lysts in DHS’s Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis (I&A). They focused on the threat from home­grown vio­lent extrem­ists and domes­tic ter­ror­ists. The ana­lysts there shared infor­ma­tion with state and local law enforce­ment to help them pro­tect their com­mu­ni­ties from these threats. ”

    Yep, so long to the DHS unit ded­i­cat­ed to shar­ing infor­ma­tion about domes­tic ter­ror threats with state and local law enforce­ment. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion appar­ent­ly took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­band the unit dur­ing a reor­ga­ni­za­tion of the Office of Intel­li­gence and Analy­sis least year:

    ...
    Then the Trump administration’s new I&A chief, David Glawe, began reor­ga­niz­ing the office, which is the DHS com­po­nent that has a place in the Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty. Over the course of the reor­ga­ni­za­tion, the branch of I&A focused on domes­tic ter­ror­ism got eighty-sixed and its ana­lysts were reas­signed to new posi­tions. The change hap­pened last year, and has not been pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed.

    “We’ve noticed I&A has sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduced their pro­duc­tion on home­grown vio­lent extrem­ism and domes­tic ter­ror­ism while those remain among the most seri­ous ter­ror­ism threats to the home­land,” said one DHS offi­cial.

    For­mer offi­cials point­ed to a spate of domes­tic ter­ror attacks in recent years as evi­dence that DHS erred by shut­ter­ing this branch. From the mas­sacre that left 11 peo­ple dead at a Pitts­burgh syn­a­gogue to a shoot­ing tar­get­ing Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress in June 2017 to bomb threats that a deranged Trump fan direct­ed at promi­nent Democ­rats and CNN, vio­lent attacks informed by home­grown hatred have left Amer­i­cans increas­ing­ly ter­ror­ized.
    ...

    But DHS assures us that this is no con­cern. They were mere­ly reduc­ing over­lap with the FBI. So it was actu­al­ly just about bureau­crat­ic effi­cien­cy! It’s the kind of spin far right groups, them­selves gen­er­al­ly con­nois­seurs of mass decep­tion, doubt appre­ci­ate:

    ...
    Reached for com­ment, a DHS spokesper­son pro­vid­ed the fol­low­ing state­ment from David Glawe, the chief of I&A:

    DHS/I&A rou­tine­ly works with fed­er­al part­ners, includ­ing the FBI, state and local law enforce­ment, and the Nation­al Net­work of Fusion Cen­ters to gath­er Home­land threat infor­ma­tion regard­less of a threat actor’s ide­ol­o­gy. I&A has invest­ed heav­i­ly in inter­a­gency rela­tion­ships to enhance analy­sis on Home­land threats, includ­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ism, where I&A lacks access to rel­e­vant case data and infor­ma­tion held by oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies. I&A is also focused on ensur­ing intel­li­gence pro­duc­tion is not duplica­tive of oth­er agen­cies and focused on areas where DHS I&A can add the most val­ue through unique data and access with­in the Depart­ment. When DHS/I&A iden­ti­fies domes­tic ter­ror­ism threats or relat­ed infor­ma­tion of val­ue, DHS/I&A imme­di­ate­ly coor­di­nates it and shares it as wide­ly as pos­si­ble.

    Pressed on whether DHS dis­putes this report­ing, a senior DHS offi­cial pushed back.

    “The same peo­ple are work­ing on the issues,” the offi­cial said. “We just restruc­tured things to be more respon­sive to the I&A cus­tomers with­in DHS and in local com­mu­ni­ties while reduc­ing over­lap with what the FBI does. We actu­al­ly believe we are far more effec­tive now.”

    ...

    But oth­ers defend­ed the change. Two for­mer DHS offi­cials, speak­ing anony­mous­ly because their cur­rent employ­ers did not autho­rize them to speak to the press, said this change elim­i­nates redun­dan­cy in the gov­ern­ment. These offi­cials argued that the respon­si­bil­i­ty for pre­vent­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ism lies with the FBI, rather than with DHS.

    “When DHS is writ­ing some­thing that may be ter­ror­ist-relat­ed, they have to—regardless of whether or not per­son­al­ly they might want to—they have to work with the FBI,” said one of those for­mer offi­cials, who was based at head­quar­ters and liaised with I&A. “And because DHS doesn’t real­ly have mox­ie and they don’t have a his­to­ry of cul­tur­al and oper­a­tional cama­raderie, when state and locals receive a joint prod­uct from DHS and FBI, it’s more seri­ous and they know it’s well-writ­ten and well-sourced.”
    ...

    Not sur­pris­ing­ly, that expla­na­tion does­n’t appear to be accept­ed by the actu­al law enforce­ment offi­cials who have noticed a stark drop off in the intel­li­gence reports from this office in recent months:

    ...
    But Sgt. Mike Abdeen with the Los Ange­les Coun­ty Sheriff’s Depart­ment told The Dai­ly Beast that his office used to receive a sig­nif­i­cant amount of mate­r­i­al from I&A, but that the com­mu­ni­ca­tions have dried up in recent months. For the last six months, he said, I&A has been most­ly silent. He added that this has been con­sis­tent with broad­er changes in how the depart­ment com­mu­ni­cates with his office.

    “It’s been very qui­et late­ly,” Abdeen said. “It’s changed with the new admin­is­tra­tion. It doesn’t seem to be as robust, as active, as important—it is impor­tant, I’m sure, but it’s not a pri­or­i­ty. It doesn’t seem like engage­ment, out­reach, and pre­ven­tion are seen as a pri­or­i­ty as we used to see in the past. There were round­table meet­ings in the past, there was more activ­i­ty, more train­ing, more sem­i­nars. Now it seems like it’s gone away.”

    Cur­rent and for­mer offi­cials said I&A now must coor­di­nate with the FBI when shar­ing infor­ma­tion with state and local enforcement—creating anoth­er hur­dle.

    “While I can­not speak to what is going on at DHS I&A today, the analy­sis pro­vid­ed by I&A per­son­nel on domes­tic extrem­ism was essen­tial dur­ing my tenure at DHS,” said John Cohen, for­mer­ly the act­ing head of I&A. “Based on the cur­rent threat envi­ron­ment, I believe those same efforts are essen­tial today.”
    ...

    Don’t for­get that the local law enforce­ment offi­cials are the ones who are going to have to actu­al­ly respond to future domes­tic ter­ror acts, like the four offi­cers shot when respond­ing to the mas­sacre at the Pitts­burgh syn­a­gogue. So when the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment decides to stop this kind of analy­sis and the shar­ing of this intel­li­gence with local law enforce­ment and make it hard­er for author­i­ties to stop an attack before it hap­pens they real­ly are increas­ing the chances those same local author­i­ties are going to be fac­ing a these extrem­ists when respond­ing to a ter­ror­ist act.

    So the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s DHS appears to have decid­ed that hav­ing both DHS and the FBI focused on domes­tic white suprema­cist ter­ror was redun­dant and need­ed to be cut back. It rais­es the obvi­ous ques­tion about the kinds of focus the FBI has on white suprema­cist ter­ror. And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle unsur­pris­ing­ly reveals, the FBI con­sid­ers the threat of white suprema­cist groups to be, in the words of one retired agent, “the low­est pri­or­i­ty”:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Home­land Secu­ri­ty’ Ignores White Ter­ror, DHS Vet­er­ans Say

    As far-right ter­ror attacks mount, DHS is con­cen­trat­ing on a migrant car­a­van 1000+ miles away—and some FBI vet­er­ans say the bureau isn’t tak­ing white suprema­cy seri­ous­ly enough.

    Spencer Ack­er­man,
    Bet­sy Woodruff
    10.31.18 1:30 PM ET

    On Tues­day, just days after a white suprema­cist gunned down 11 peo­ple at a syn­a­gogue and just a week after a ter­ror­ist mailed more than a dozen bombs to crit­ics of the pres­i­dent, the Depart­ment of Home­land Security—created after 9/11 to pro­tect the Unit­ed States from terrorism—had a con­fer­ence call. Atten­dees were on the department’s Home­land Secu­ri­ty Advi­so­ry Coun­cil, a group of more than two dozen for­mer gov­ern­ment offi­cials and insid­ers who help guide the Depart­ment on its thorni­est chal­lenges.

    The top­ic: a group of Cen­tral Amer­i­can migrants slow­ly wend­ing their way through Mex­i­co in hopes of seek­ing asy­lum in the Unit­ed States. Some par­tic­i­pants were flum­moxed: In the face of the most lethal anti-semit­ic ter­ror attack in Amer­i­can his­to­ry, was DHS real­ly focused, exclu­sive­ly, on migrants?

    “In the world of home­land secu­ri­ty, the com­mon prac­tice is to focus on those threats that present the great­est risk,” said John Cohen, a Rut­gers pro­fes­sor and for­mer senior offi­cial in the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty focused on coun­tert­er­ror. “So it’s dis­con­cert­ing that in a call with nation­al law enforce­ment and home­land secu­ri­ty experts, the focus would be on the car­a­van ver­sus the increas­ing num­ber of mass casu­al­ty attacks the country’s expe­ri­enc­ing, includ­ing by white extrem­ists.”

    It under­scored a weak­ness at the cen­ter of U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty. As the coun­try reels from the lat­est spate of white suprema­cist mur­der, nine law-enforce­ment vet­er­ans say that com­bat­ing vio­lent white suprema­cy sim­ply isn’t a top focus for the fed­er­al agen­cies man­dat­ed to pro­tect Amer­i­cans from ter­ror­ism.

    Five vet­er­ans of the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty told The Dai­ly Beast that DHS, cre­at­ed in the wake of al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks, has long con­sid­ered far-right rad­i­cal­ism to be the FBI’s purview. But the FBI has com­pet­ing pri­or­i­ties. Four bureau vet­er­ans inter­viewed by The Dai­ly Beast gave a range of respons­es, span­ning from either con­sid­er­ing it impor­tant but less so than fight­ing jihadist ter­ror to, in the words of one retiree, “the low­est pri­or­i­ty.” (The FBI, for its part, insist­ed to The Dai­ly Beast that its “top pri­or­i­ty remains pro­tect­ing the Unit­ed States from ter­ror­ist attacks, both inter­na­tion­al and domes­tic.”)

    Under Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­cy, experts say the threat has only grown–and with­out com­men­su­rate efforts to mit­i­gate it. DHS gut­ted an inter­a­gency task force that rep­re­sents the only fed­er­al effort at pre­vent­ing rad­i­cal­iza­tion for any form of ter­ror­ism. White suprema­cy was among its tar­gets. “What we’ve lost here is the cre­ation of infra­struc­ture to pre­vent the threats of the future,” said George Selim, a senior Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty offi­cial who ran the task force before his retire­ment in sum­mer 2017.

    “Am I frus­trat­ed? Yeah,” said Cohen, the for­mer DHS senior offi­cial. “We know what the prob­lem is, but every time there’s anoth­er one of these attacks all we hear is, ‘Oh, this is shock­ing, this is hor­ri­ble, our prayers are with the peo­ple, who would have imag­ined this ever would have hap­pened?’ I think that was the exact quote from the president—‘This was unimag­in­able.’ No, it’s very imag­in­able because it’s hap­pen­ing on a reg­u­lar basis in this coun­try. We’re just not doing enough to stop it.”

    Since assum­ing office in Decem­ber of 2017, Home­land Secu­ri­ty Sec­re­tary Krist­jen Nielsen men­tioned white suprema­cist ter­ror just four times in pub­lic statements—three in response to prod­ding from Demo­c­ra­t­ic law­mak­ers ask­ing her to both con­demn and pri­or­i­tize the threat from it. By con­trast, she has men­tioned Islamist ter­ror­ist groups like ISIS and al Qae­da in pub­lic over 16 times as Home­land Secu­ri­ty Sec­re­tary. Nielsen tweet­ed six times about migrant car­a­vans; she has nev­er men­tioned the far-right ter­ror threat on Twit­ter.

    Addi­tion­al­ly, an inter­a­gency enti­ty led by DHS and the Bureau and designed specif­i­cal­ly to help col­lect tips to pre­vent attacks like the one in Pitts­burgh is deeply under­staffed, and only got a direc­tor sev­er­al months ago, accord­ing to a law enforce­ment offi­cial who works close­ly with the office.

    And the White House isn’t help­ing, accord­ing to a for­mer intel­li­gence offi­cial.

    “It’s not even an issue that you bring up at the White House because right now, when it comes to iden­ti­fy­ing threats fac­ing the coun­try, if it doesn’t sup­port the agen­da to reduce or restrict immi­gra­tion, then it’s not even a top­ic to be dis­cussed,” he said. The White House press office did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    ******

    As white suprema­cists con­sid­er them­selves embold­ened, from Char­lottesville to last week’s attempt­ed pipe-bomb assas­si­na­tions to the Tree of Life Syn­a­gogue, and the inter­net pro­vides no short­age of ready-made rad­i­cal­iza­tion ammo, the administration’s response is to con­sid­er this a prob­lem for the FBI to solve after white suprema­cists kill, maim, and ter­ror­ize.

    Knowl­edge­able for­mer FBI agents say that con­fronting white suprema­cy isn’t remote­ly as big a con­cern as threats like jihadist ter­ror­ism.

    “White suprema­cy is the low­est pri­or­i­ty,” said a retired FBI agent with direct knowl­edge of ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tions. “I would say the thresh­old to ini­ti­ate an inves­ti­ga­tion is much high­er for sub­jects of white suprema­cy inves­ti­ga­tions than it is for a Mus­lim, frankly.” The ex-agent said the prob­lem pre­cedes Trump.

    Frank Figli­uzzi, the Bureau’s for­mer Assis­tant Direc­tor for Coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, made the argu­ment that fed­er­al laws on ter­ror­ism result in a high­er focus on attacks from orga­ni­za­tions based over­seas, and con­tend­ed that the FBI focus­es more on inter­na­tion­al vio­lent jihadist ter­ror­ism than white suprema­cist groups based in the Unit­ed States because of civ­il lib­er­ties con­cerns. (The Bureau’s record on civ­il lib­er­ties has long drawn crit­i­cism; broad swaths of the Mus­lim-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty have been under mass sur­veil­lance regimes since 9/11, and for years, FBI staff were trained that “main­stream” Mus­lims were “vio­lent” and “rad­i­cal.”)

    “The rules are much harder—but they should be—to open a case on a white suprema­cist group,” Figli­uzzi con­tin­ued. “By def­i­n­i­tion, a white suprema­cist may not be a vio­lent actor; by def­i­n­i­tion, a jihadist is a vio­lent actor.”

    “A white suprema­cist group is by def­i­n­i­tion a group that thinks whites are bet­ter,” Figli­uzzi added. “Ok. Where’s the fed­er­al law there? If I’m head­ing a field office, which I have, I’m not putting resources on the thought police; I’m putting resources on some­body who says ‘I’m going to go to heav­en if I blow up this build­ing’ and is advo­cat­ing vio­lence.”

    Of course, many white suprema­cist groups also advo­cate vio­lence. And Figliuzzi’s claim that fed­er­al ter­ror­ism laws require a focus on orga­ni­za­tions with a for­eign con­nec­tion is sharply dis­put­ed by nation­al-secu­ri­ty and civ­il-lib­er­ties attor­neys.

    It wasn’t always like this.

    ******

    In 1964, after the mur­der of three civ­il rights work­ers in Philadel­phia, Mis­sis­sip­pi, the FBI, pushed by Lyn­don John­son, cre­at­ed an oper­a­tion code­named White Hate to dis­rupt the Ku Klux Klan. It last­ed sev­en years, even as the bureau simul­ta­ne­ous­ly sup­pressed black-lib­er­a­tion and left­ist move­ments. “The FBI’s infil­tra­tion of the Klan proved bet­ter than the Klan’s infil­tra­tion of state and local law enforce­ment agen­cies,” observed his­to­ri­an Tim Wein­er.

    As an FBI spe­cial agent in the ’90s, Mike Ger­man went under­cov­er to break up and arrest white suprema­cist cells. (His career formed the basis of a 2016 movie, Imperi­um, with Har­ry Pot­ter’s Daniel Rad­cliffe play­ing a char­ac­ter based on Ger­man.) By the time he left the bureau in June 2004, the shad­ow of 9/11, com­bined with a host of per­sis­tent inter­nal bureau­crat­ic pres­sures, had rel­e­gat­ed the FBI’s inves­ti­ga­tions of white-suprema­cist groups to the mar­gins.

    “I’m dis­mayed because we had a pret­ty good han­dle on what was hap­pen­ing in the ’90s, and I’m not sure why we lost that,” Ger­man said. “The FBI remains a very white orga­ni­za­tion, and white peo­ple tend not to wor­ry about white suprema­cist vio­lence as much as oth­er peo­ple.”

    Islamist vio­lence in the U.S. comes in spikes: San Bernardi­no, Omar Mateen’s killing spree at the Pulse night­club in Orlan­do, and, of course the 9/11 attacks that stole the lives of near­ly 3,000 peo­ple. But through­out Amer­i­can his­to­ry, white suprema­cist ter­ror­ism has con­sis­tent­ly killed, maimed, and oppressed vast­ly more Amer­i­cans, to rel­a­tive­ly incon­sis­tent out­rage. Unlike Islamism, white supremacy’s roots run deep in Amer­i­can cul­ture, and it has apol­o­gists at the high­est lev­els of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. These fun­da­men­tal dis­crep­an­cies per­sist as the government’s intel­li­gence and law enforce­ment appa­ra­tus focus­es instead on jihadist violence–a neglect­ful atmos­phere whose dead­ly con­se­quences appear on dis­play from Char­lottesville to Tree of Life.

    What a 2017 Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Office report called “far-right extrem­ism” is respon­si­ble for 73 per­cent of the 85 lethal extrem­ist inci­dents in the U.S. from the day after 9/11 through 2016, while Islamist extrem­ist vio­lence was respon­si­ble for 27 per­cent. Islamist vio­lence dur­ing that peri­od killed slight­ly more people—119 to white supremacy’s 106—because Mateen’s mass slaugh­ter accounts for a whop­ping 41 per­cent of all post‑9/11 domes­tic jihadist-inspired deaths.

    The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty was cre­at­ed after 9/11 to orga­nize and coor­di­nate domes­tic pro­tec­tion from ter­ror­ism. Yet mul­ti­ple for­mer DHS offi­cials said the depart­ment con­sid­ers com­bat­ing white suprema­cist ter­ror­ism to be the FBI’s respon­si­bil­i­ty. While DHS’s office of intel­li­gence and analy­sis does col­lect some rudi­men­ta­ry so-called “open source,” data on white suprema­cist threats, the effort pales com­pared to the resources devot­ed to oth­er per­ceived dan­gers. Under Trump, said a for­mer DHS offi­cial, “it seemed like there was a push away from domes­tic ter­ror­ism,” an umbrel­la term that includes white-extrem­ist vio­lence.

    Start­ing in 2017 in DHS, Selim said, there “came greater pri­or­i­ties, such as immi­gra­tion, and a com­plete lack of under­stand­ing by some of the new polit­i­cal appointees for what we had spent years build­ing up.”

    It built on a pat­tern of avoid­ance estab­lished in the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion.

    Sev­er­al for­mer DHS offi­cials cit­ed a polit­i­cal firestorm in Con­gress after an intel­li­gence ana­lyst, Daryl John­son, pub­lished a 2009 assess­ment warn­ing of grow­ing far-right vio­lence. Those ex-offi­cials con­sid­ered Johnson’s assess­ment method­olog­i­cal­ly over­broad. But after­ward, “DHS read the les­son more broad­ly than that,” said Mar­go Schlanger, who used to run DHS’s civ­il-rights office. “They seemed to draw the con­clu­sion that we had bet­ter not talk about right-wing extrem­ism.”

    Dur­ing its sec­ond term in office, the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion began an ini­tia­tive to pre­vent domes­tic rad­i­cal­iza­tion before it inspired peo­ple to ter­ror­ism. Known as Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism (CVE), and run by Selim, it had no short­age of crit­ics. Right-wingers hat­ed its agnos­ti­cism toward any par­tic­u­lar source of ide­o­log­i­cal extrem­ism and want­ed it to tar­get Mus­lims–puni­tive­ly. Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties felt that CVE was a euphemistic way for the gov­ern­ment to do exact­ly that. The program’s advo­cates not­ed that even at its high point, in the fis­cal 2016 bud­get, Con­gress devot­ed only $50 mil­lion for it, a rel­a­tive pit­tance.

    Selim, who now works for the Anti-Defama­tion League, defends it by say­ing there was no oth­er pro­gram to build local com­mu­ni­ty resilience against grow­ing extrem­ism of any form. “It was the pri­ma­ry mech­a­nism for which the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment dealt with pre­ven­tion. Our law enforce­ment part­ners across the coun­try need more tools than just arrest author­i­ty,” Selim said, and with­out it, the only solu­tion is police work after a dead­ly attack. And that, he said, is where the Trump admin­is­tra­tion is now.

    Dur­ing Selim’s tenure at DHS, the CVE Task Force includ­ed the FBI, the Nation­al Coun­tert­er­ror­ism Cen­ter, and the Jus­tice Depart­ment, along with con­tri­bu­tions from the Pen­ta­gon, Health and Human Ser­vices, and the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion. Over a dozen inter­a­gency staff on the task force, plus over a dozen full-time DHS staff and 25 con­trac­tors, worked out of the same office at DHS, in what Selim described as con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion. As the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion wound down, DHS lead­er­ship sought to lock the CVE task force into place through addi­tion­al con­gres­sion­al fund­ing and inter­a­gency mem­o­ran­da.

    As Selim first told the Atlantic this week, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion didn’t see its val­ue. “The admin­is­tra­tion has failed to request fur­ther funds for grants, staffing, or oth­er pro­gram resources,” Selim said. Its par­ent office at DHS, the Office of Com­mu­ni­ty Part­ner­ships, has had its bud­get slashed from $21.5 mil­lion to less than $3 mil­lion. Mem­bers of the task force saw the writ­ing on the wall, Selim said: “All the agen­cies pulled their staff and DHS has attempt­ed to keep this group, on paper, run­ning, but my under­stand­ing is that the task force is a vir­tu­al group that only meets by phone con­fer­ence once a week, maybe.”

    That leaves law enforce­ment to pick up the slack of com­bat­ing an increas­ing­ly assertive white suprema­cist move­ment. But in prac­tice, FBI vet­er­ans say, the bureau sends sig­nals that white suprema­cy isn’t a top pri­or­i­ty.

    ******

    “Your high­est per­form­ing agents aren’t usu­al­ly assigned to white suprema­cy inves­ti­ga­tions,” said the retired agent. “We ini­ti­ate a CT [coun­tert­er­ror­ism] inves­ti­ga­tion and the sub­ject is some Iraqi refugee, and there’s many steps head­quar­ters will pound you on before you’re able to close the case. It’s not the same type of urgency with white suprema­cy inves­ti­ga­tions.”

    The administration’s recent­ly unveiled coun­tert­er­ror­ism strat­e­gy under­scored that lack of empha­sis. The document’s focus is on jihadist extrem­ism, adding “last­ly” that the U.S. “has long faced a per­sis­tent secu­ri­ty threat from domes­tic ter­ror­ists who are not moti­vat­ed by a rad­i­cal Islamist ide­ol­o­gy but are instead moti­vat­ed by oth­er forms of vio­lent extrem­ism, such as racial­ly moti­vat­ed extrem­ism, ani­mal rights extrem­ism, envi­ron­men­tal extrem­ism, sov­er­eign cit­i­zen extrem­ism, and mili­tia extrem­ism.” It pro­ceed­ed to note, almost in pass­ing, that such “domes­tic ter­ror­ism in the Unit­ed States is on the rise.”

    As of Sep­tem­ber, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion had pros­e­cut­ed 63 domes­tic ter­ror­ism cas­es in the cur­rent fis­cal year, down about 9 per­cent from 2017 and even fur­ther from the over 100 cas­es in Obama’s last year, accord­ing to data gath­ered by Syra­cuse University’s Trans­ac­tion­al Records Access Clear­ing­house (TRAC). Pros­e­cu­tions of both domes­tic and inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ism are down in the first two years of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. TRAC data show inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ism pros­e­cu­tions have var­ied both across and with­in admin­is­tra­tions, but the decline in focus on domes­tic ter­ror­ism pros­e­cu­tions isn’t unique to Trump–it’s been going down for about a decade.

    That said, fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors have charged a hand­ful of promi­nent neo-Nazis and white suprema­cists. The Jus­tice Depart­ment has charged white nation­al­ists Robert Run­do, Robert Boman, Tyler Laube, and Aaron Eason for their alleged role in riot­ing dur­ing the 2017 alt-right Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia ral­ly and charged James Fields Jr, who alleged­ly mur­dered Heather Hey­er dur­ing the event, with vio­lat­ing fed­er­al hate crime laws. Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors have also gone after Bran­don Clint Rus­sell, a mem­ber of the Atom­waf­fen Divi­sion neo-Nazi group whose mem­bers have car­ried out a string of mur­ders and assaults across the coun­try, on bomb-mak­ing charges.

    On the pre­ven­tion side, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment also draws crit­i­cism. John Sena heads the Nation­al Fusion Cen­ter Asso­ci­a­tion, which rep­re­sents fusion centers—hubs for gath­er­ing, ana­lyz­ing, and shar­ing infor­ma­tion about ter­ror threats among law enforce­ment enti­ties. Sena told The Dai­ly Beast he’s wor­ried about the Nation­al Sus­pi­cious Activ­i­ty Report­ing Ini­tia­tive (NSI). The initiative—designed to help peo­ple report ter­ror­ism threats, includ­ing threats from white suprema­cist terrorism—is chron­i­cal­ly under­staffed, he said, and only got a direc­tor a few months ago.

    “It should be the most impor­tant pro­gram in our coun­try, to iden­ti­fy behav­iors relat­ed to ter­ror­ism,” Sena said. “They do not have ade­quate resources to accom­plish the mis­sion.”

    ...

    It comes at an omi­nous time. Selim said he saw evi­dence of white suprema­cy on the rise all through­out the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, a claim sup­port­ed by the GAO. The ADL has doc­u­ment­ed a 60 per­cent rise in anti Semit­ic inci­dents in 2017. A Ken­tucky white suprema­cist is accused of mur­der­ing two black senior cit­i­zens at a super­mar­ket, Vick­ie Lee Jones and Mau­rice Stal­lard, after he failed to shoot up a black church like Dylann Roof did in 2016 at Moth­er Emanuel in Charleston. Democ­rats on the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee on Mon­day demand­ed their GOP major­i­ty coun­ter­parts hold hear­ings on what they called the “wave of domes­tic ter­ror­ism now grip­ping our nation.”

    Mike Ger­man, the for­mer FBI agent who infil­trat­ed white suprema­cist groups, warned that white extrem­ists would under­stand a lack of a crack­down on them as a tac­it gov­ern­ment endorse­ment.

    “The lack of polic­ing gives these vio­lent groups the impres­sion that their vio­lence is sanc­tioned, and that makes them far more dan­ger­ous,” Ger­man said.

    Figli­uzzi agreed that the threat from these groups will only grow.

    “We have got to get bet­ter at this,” he said. “It’s going to get worse. Why is it going to get worse? We have an admin­is­tra­tion that’s enabling, if not facil­i­tat­ing, these types of peo­ple and the speed bumps that used to be there are not there any­more and the access to social media just moves this stuff for­ward at the speed of light.”

    ———-

    “Home­land Secu­ri­ty’ Ignores White Ter­ror, DHS Vet­er­ans Say” by Spencer Ack­er­man, Bet­sy Woodruff; The Dai­ly Beast; 10/31/2018

    “Five vet­er­ans of the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty told The Dai­ly Beast that DHS, cre­at­ed in the wake of al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks, has long con­sid­ered far-right rad­i­cal­ism to be the FBI’s purview. But the FBI has com­pet­ing pri­or­i­ties. Four bureau vet­er­ans inter­viewed by The Dai­ly Beast gave a range of respons­es, span­ning from either con­sid­er­ing it impor­tant but less so than fight­ing jihadist ter­ror to, in the words of one retiree, “the low­est pri­or­i­ty.” (The FBI, for its part, insist­ed to The Dai­ly Beast that its “top pri­or­i­ty remains pro­tect­ing the Unit­ed States from ter­ror­ist attacks, both inter­na­tion­al and domes­tic.”)”

    The FBI, now effec­tive­ly the sole fed­er­al agency tasked with track­ing white suprema­cist threats, just isn’t that con­cerned about white suprema­cists. That was the assess­ment of four FBI vet­er­ans:

    ...
    As white suprema­cists con­sid­er them­selves embold­ened, from Char­lottesville to last week’s attempt­ed pipe-bomb assas­si­na­tions to the Tree of Life Syn­a­gogue, and the inter­net pro­vides no short­age of ready-made rad­i­cal­iza­tion ammo, the administration’s response is to con­sid­er this a prob­lem for the FBI to solve after white suprema­cists kill, maim, and ter­ror­ize.

    Knowl­edge­able for­mer FBI agents say that con­fronting white suprema­cy isn’t remote­ly as big a con­cern as threats like jihadist ter­ror­ism.

    “White suprema­cy is the low­est pri­or­i­ty,” said a retired FBI agent with direct knowl­edge of ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tions. “I would say the thresh­old to ini­ti­ate an inves­ti­ga­tion is much high­er for sub­jects of white suprema­cy inves­ti­ga­tions than it is for a Mus­lim, frankly.” The ex-agent said the prob­lem pre­cedes Trump.
    ...

    And accord­ing to for­mer DHS offi­cials, it was the right-wing uproar over the DHS’s 2009 report on far right domes­tic extrem­ism that appears to have taught DHS the les­son that even talk­ing about right-wing vio­lence is a polit­i­cal risk. You have to won­der to what extent the FBI’s lack of con­cern about white suprema­cists as also adopt­ed by see­ing that polit­i­cal back­lash vs being a reflec­tion of long-stand­ing bias­es at the bureau. Pre­sum­ably both are con­tribut­ing fac­tors:

    ...
    What a 2017 Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Office report called “far-right extrem­ism” is respon­si­ble for 73 per­cent of the 85 lethal extrem­ist inci­dents in the U.S. from the day after 9/11 through 2016, while Islamist extrem­ist vio­lence was respon­si­ble for 27 per­cent. Islamist vio­lence dur­ing that peri­od killed slight­ly more people—119 to white supremacy’s 106—because Mateen’s mass slaugh­ter accounts for a whop­ping 41 per­cent of all post‑9/11 domes­tic jihadist-inspired deaths.

    The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty was cre­at­ed after 9/11 to orga­nize and coor­di­nate domes­tic pro­tec­tion from ter­ror­ism. Yet mul­ti­ple for­mer DHS offi­cials said the depart­ment con­sid­ers com­bat­ing white suprema­cist ter­ror­ism to be the FBI’s respon­si­bil­i­ty. While DHS’s office of intel­li­gence and analy­sis does col­lect some rudi­men­ta­ry so-called “open source,” data on white suprema­cist threats, the effort pales com­pared to the resources devot­ed to oth­er per­ceived dan­gers. Under Trump, said a for­mer DHS offi­cial, “it seemed like there was a push away from domes­tic ter­ror­ism,” an umbrel­la term that includes white-extrem­ist vio­lence.

    Start­ing in 2017 in DHS, Selim said, there “came greater pri­or­i­ties, such as immi­gra­tion, and a com­plete lack of under­stand­ing by some of the new polit­i­cal appointees for what we had spent years build­ing up.”

    It built on a pat­tern of avoid­ance estab­lished in the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion.

    Sev­er­al for­mer DHS offi­cials cit­ed a polit­i­cal firestorm in Con­gress after an intel­li­gence ana­lyst, Daryl John­son, pub­lished a 2009 assess­ment warn­ing of grow­ing far-right vio­lence. Those ex-offi­cials con­sid­ered Johnson’s assess­ment method­olog­i­cal­ly over­broad. But after­ward, “DHS read the les­son more broad­ly than that,” said Mar­go Schlanger, who used to run DHS’s civ­il-rights office. “They seemed to draw the con­clu­sion that we had bet­ter not talk about right-wing extrem­ism.”
    ...

    But it’s hard to ignore that while this has long been an issue for both the FBI and DHS, it’s got­ten worse under Trump. Much worse. Thanks, in part, to deci­sions like dis­solv­ing the DHS focused on white suprema­cy. But it’s worth not­ing a col­umn writ­ten in August of 2017 by Daryl John­son, the for­mer head of the I&A unit that put out the 2009 DHS report that trig­gered the ini­tial dis­so­lu­tion of this unit, on the nature of one of the grow­ing dan­gers of white suprema­cist domes­tic ter­ror dur­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. John­son makes a key obser­va­tion about one of oth­er ways the Trump admin­is­tra­tion is fuel­ing white suprema­cist vio­lence: Trump’s fre­quent cam­paign-style ral­lies appear to be lit­er­al­ly uni­fy­ing the Amer­i­can far right, with groups that in the past would squab­ble with each oth­er find­ing uni­ty around their love of Trump:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    I warned of right-wing vio­lence in 2009. Repub­li­cans object­ed. I was right.
    White nation­al­ists have only got­ten more dan­ger­ous since then.

    By Daryl John­son
    August 21, 2017

    Eight years ago, I warned of a sin­gu­lar threat — the resur­gence of right-wing extrem­ist activ­i­ty and asso­ci­at­ed vio­lence in the Unit­ed States as a result of the 2008 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, the finan­cial cri­sis and the stock mar­ket crash. My intel­li­gence report, meant only for law enforce­ment, was leaked by con­ser­v­a­tive media.

    A polit­i­cal back­lash ensued because of an objec­tion to the label “right-wing extrem­ism.” The report also right­ly point­ed out that return­ing mil­i­tary vet­er­ans may be tar­get­ed for recruit­ment by extrem­ists. Repub­li­can law­mak­ers demand­ed then-Home­land Secu­ri­ty Sec­re­tary Janet Napoli­tano rescind my report. The Amer­i­can Legion for­mal­ly request­ed an apol­o­gy to vet­er­ans. Some in Con­gress called for me to be fired. Amid the tur­moil, my warn­ing went unheed­ed by Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty caved to the polit­i­cal pres­sure: Work relat­ed to vio­lent right-wing extrem­ism was halt­ed. Law enforce­ment train­ing also stopped. My unit was dis­band­ed. And, one-by-one, my team of ana­lysts left for oth­er employ­ment. By 2010, there were no intel­li­gence ana­lysts at DHS work­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ism threats.

    Since 2008, though, the body count from numer­ous acts of vio­lent right-wing ter­ror­ism con­tin­ued to rise steadi­ly with very lit­tle media inter­est, polit­i­cal dis­cus­sion or con­cern from our nation­al lead­ers. As this threat grew, gov­ern­ment resources were scaled back, law enforce­ment coun­tert­er­ror­ism train­ing was defund­ed and poli­cies to counter vio­lent extrem­ism nar­rowed to focus sole­ly on Mus­lim extrem­ism. Heat­ed polit­i­cal cam­paign­ing by Don­ald Trump in 2016 pan­dered to these extrem­ists. Now, right-wing ter­ror­ism has become the nation­al secu­ri­ty threat which many gov­ern­ment lead­ers have yet to acknowl­edge.

    The mere exis­tence of so many heav­i­ly armed cit­i­zens filled with hate and anger toward var­i­ous ele­ments of Amer­i­can soci­ety is trou­bling enough in its own right. They num­ber in the hun­dreds of thou­sands. More trou­bling is the vio­lent con­ver­gence now under­way with­in right-wing extrem­ist move­ments — san­i­tized with the label “alt-right.” Large­ly under the media radar, dis­af­fect­ed extrem­ist groups with long his­to­ries of squab­bling have been inde­pen­dent­ly pool­ing resources, some even infil­trat­ing our gov­ern­ment through the out­reach efforts of right-wing extrem­ist groups such as the Oath Keep­ers and the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sheriff’s and Peace Offi­cers Asso­ci­a­tion. Over the past year, we’ve wit­nessed polit­i­cal vio­lence erupt between right-wing extrem­ist pro­test­ers and coun­ter­pro­test­ers at pro-Trump ral­lies in Min­neso­ta, Wash­ing­ton, Cal­i­for­nia and now Vir­ginia. This rebrand­ed alt-right extrem­ist move­ment has the ulti­mate goal to dis­rupt civ­il soci­ety, under­mine gov­ern­ment insti­tu­tions and pick which laws — if any — they will abide by, and what sup­posed “jus­tice” they will admin­is­ter on their own author­i­ty.

    But the sto­ry, in a very real sense, didn’t begin in 2017. As with the Waco and Ruby Ridge sieges dur­ing the 1990s, the 2014 Bundy stand­off in Neva­da and the 2016 Mal­heur Nation­al Wildlife Refuge siege in Ore­gon have served not only as recruit­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties for anti-gov­ern­ment and hate groups, but they also serve as a rad­i­cal­iza­tion facil­i­ta­tor. Why? Because extrem­ists in the 2014 and 2016 stand­offs were allowed to take up arms against the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment and threat­en law enforce­ment offi­cers with­out suf­fer­ing any legal con­se­quences.

    More recent­ly, the renewed debates over Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments, same-sex mar­riage and Black Lives Mat­ter has rein­vig­o­rat­ed alt-right extrem­ists to mobi­lize toward a more rad­i­cal fringe ele­ment capa­ble of vio­lent action at any moment. Of fur­ther con­cern, a new gen­er­a­tion of “charis­mat­ic lead­ers” with­in the white suprema­cist move­ment has emerged after Trump’s elec­tion, cre­at­ing an oppor­tu­ni­ty for dis­parate groups to unite under one ban­ner.

    Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan mem­bers, mili­tia extrem­ists, and oth­er rad­i­cal right-wing zealots march side-by-side at pro-Trump ral­lies across the coun­try. Trump’s endorse­ment of the bor­der wall, the trav­el ban, mass depor­ta­tions of ille­gal immi­grants — these ideas were tout­ed on white suprema­cist mes­sage boards mere­ly 10 years ago. Now they’re being put forth as offi­cial U.S. pol­i­cy. Such con­tro­ver­sial plans have pla­cat­ed white suprema­cists and anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ists and will draw still more sym­pa­thet­ic indi­vid­u­als toward these extrem­ist caus­es along with the sort of vio­lent acts that too often fol­low, like Char­lottesville.

    Rhetoric from the pres­i­dent has fur­ther embold­ened the alt-right. After the vio­lence in Char­lottesville, for­mer KKK leader David Duke wel­comed Pres­i­dent Trump’s remarks: “Thank you Pres­i­dent Trump for your hon­esty & courage to tell the truth about #Char­lottesville & con­demn the left­ist ter­ror­ists in BLM/Antifa.” Sim­i­lar­ly, oth­er white nation­al­ists praised the pres­i­dent for not attack­ing them.

    Amer­i­ca finds itself over­whelmed with domes­tic ter­ror­ist attacks, increased ter­ror­ist plot­ting and the emer­gence of new polar­iz­ing polit­i­cal issues. Mean­while, the U.S. gov­ern­ment has not only failed to imple­ment an effec­tive strat­e­gy to com­bat right-wing ter­ror­ism; it is afraid to even raise the sub­ject in pub­lic for fear of polit­i­cal back­lash or con­tra­dict­ing its nar­row-mind­ed ter­ror­ism nar­ra­tive (e.g., ter­ror­ism only comes from Mus­lims).

    Extrem­ists no longer hide any­more. They num­ber in the hun­dreds of thou­sands and are extreme­ly well-armed. The polit­i­cal appa­ra­tus and the news media appears con­fused in their report­ing of the scope of the domes­tic ter­ror­ist threat — some ignor­ing it com­plete­ly. When 9/11 hap­pened, the gov­ern­ment made an effort to con­nect the dots before­hand, but failed because of a lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion among agen­cies. In this case, the gov­ern­ment isn’t even try­ing — and worse, it appears to be enabling the threat to flour­ish.

    ...

    ———-

    “I warned of right-wing vio­lence in 2009. Repub­li­cans object­ed. I was right.” by Daryl John­son; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 08/21/2017

    Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan mem­bers, mili­tia extrem­ists, and oth­er rad­i­cal right-wing zealots march side-by-side at pro-Trump ral­lies across the coun­try. Trump’s endorse­ment of the bor­der wall, the trav­el ban, mass depor­ta­tions of ille­gal immi­grants — these ideas were tout­ed on white suprema­cist mes­sage boards mere­ly 10 years ago. Now they’re being put forth as offi­cial U.S. pol­i­cy. Such con­tro­ver­sial plans have pla­cat­ed white suprema­cists and anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ists and will draw still more sym­pa­thet­ic indi­vid­u­als toward these extrem­ist caus­es along with the sort of vio­lent acts that too often fol­low, like Char­lottesville.

    Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan mem­bers, mili­tia extrem­ists, and oth­er right-wing zealots march­ing side-by-side at Trump ral­lies is doing some­thing the far right has been try­ing to do for decades. And they aren’t just unit­ing. They’re also infil­trat­ing the gov­ern­ment:

    ...
    The mere exis­tence of so many heav­i­ly armed cit­i­zens filled with hate and anger toward var­i­ous ele­ments of Amer­i­can soci­ety is trou­bling enough in its own right. They num­ber in the hun­dreds of thou­sands. More trou­bling is the vio­lent con­ver­gence now under­way with­in right-wing extrem­ist move­ments — san­i­tized with the label “alt-right.” Large­ly under the media radar, dis­af­fect­ed extrem­ist groups with long his­to­ries of squab­bling have been inde­pen­dent­ly pool­ing resources, some even infil­trat­ing our gov­ern­ment through the out­reach efforts of right-wing extrem­ist groups such as the Oath Keep­ers and the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sheriff’s and Peace Offi­cers Asso­ci­a­tion. Over the past year, we’ve wit­nessed polit­i­cal vio­lence erupt between right-wing extrem­ist pro­test­ers and coun­ter­pro­test­ers at pro-Trump ral­lies in Min­neso­ta, Wash­ing­ton, Cal­i­for­nia and now Vir­ginia. This rebrand­ed alt-right extrem­ist move­ment has the ulti­mate goal to dis­rupt civ­il soci­ety, under­mine gov­ern­ment insti­tu­tions and pick which laws — if any — they will abide by, and what sup­posed “jus­tice” they will admin­is­ter on their own author­i­ty.

    But the sto­ry, in a very real sense, didn’t begin in 2017. As with the Waco and Ruby Ridge sieges dur­ing the 1990s, the 2014 Bundy stand­off in Neva­da and the 2016 Mal­heur Nation­al Wildlife Refuge siege in Ore­gon have served not only as recruit­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties for anti-gov­ern­ment and hate groups, but they also serve as a rad­i­cal­iza­tion facil­i­ta­tor. Why? Because extrem­ists in the 2014 and 2016 stand­offs were allowed to take up arms against the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment and threat­en law enforce­ment offi­cers with­out suf­fer­ing any legal con­se­quences.

    ...

    Rhetoric from the pres­i­dent has fur­ther embold­ened the alt-right. After the vio­lence in Char­lottesville, for­mer KKK leader David Duke wel­comed Pres­i­dent Trump’s remarks: “Thank you Pres­i­dent Trump for your hon­esty & courage to tell the truth about #Char­lottesville & con­demn the left­ist ter­ror­ists in BLM/Antifa.” Sim­i­lar­ly, oth­er white nation­al­ists praised the pres­i­dent for not attack­ing them.

    Amer­i­ca finds itself over­whelmed with domes­tic ter­ror­ist attacks, increased ter­ror­ist plot­ting and the emer­gence of new polar­iz­ing polit­i­cal issues. Mean­while, the U.S. gov­ern­ment has not only failed to imple­ment an effec­tive strat­e­gy to com­bat right-wing ter­ror­ism; it is afraid to even raise the sub­ject in pub­lic for fear of polit­i­cal back­lash or con­tra­dict­ing its nar­row-mind­ed ter­ror­ism nar­ra­tive (e.g., ter­ror­ism only comes from Mus­lims).
    ...

    And this was the warn­ing from the guy who wrote the 2009 DHS report that cre­at­ed such a fierce right-wing back­lash that his group was dis­solved.

    So, to sum­ma­rize, the offi­cials at DHS appear to have deter­mined that it would be redun­dant for DHS to con­tin­ue the work of watch­ing out for white suprema­cist domes­tic ter­ror­ists because that’s the FBI’s job and the FBI has deter­mined that it’s the low­est pri­or­i­ty. And the “Unite the Right” ral­ly of Char­lottesville was also redun­dant because Trump ral­lies are effec­tive oper­at­ing as pres­i­den­tial “Unite the Right” ral­lies all over the coun­try. So the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has indeed achieved a new lev­el of gov­ern­ment effi­cien­cy but it’s unfor­tu­nate­ly an effi­cien­cy at pro­mot­ing white suprema­cist domes­tic ter­ror.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 3, 2019, 2:18 pm
  13. Pres­i­dent Trump once against threat­ened to declare antifa a domes­tic ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion on Sat­ur­day. Over Twit­ter, of course. This was appar­ent­ly in response to a recent push in Sen­ate by Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Ted Cruz and Bill Cas­sidy to do just that.

    It’s a par­tic­u­lar­ly omi­nous threat head­ing into the 2020 elec­tion cycle giv­en the incred­i­ble oppor­tu­ni­ties the anony­mous struc­ture of antifa pos­es for far right provo­ca­teurs to infil­trate the group and com­mit vio­lence. At this point it’s clear that Trump’s 2020 elec­tion chances hinge on suc­cess­ful­ly exe­cut­ing a full-spec­trum dirty tricks cam­paign, much like 2016. So when Trump sig­nals that he’s con­sid­er­ing declar­ing Antifa a domes­tic ter­ror orga­ni­za­tion it’s a threat that should be tak­en seri­ous­ly. It’s just too big of an oppor­tu­ni­ty for him to pass up, espe­cial­ly because the anony­mous nature of antifa would give the gov­ern­ment an excuse to accuse a much broad­er swathe of the left as being antifa mem­bers.

    The tweet did­n’t get much atten­tion in the US. Trump’s racist attack on Bal­ti­more that same day grabbed all atten­tion.

    Inter­est­ing­ly, as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, Trump’s threat prompt­ed big back­lash in Ger­many, where the #Ich­bi­nAn­tifa (“I am Antifa”) hash­tag began trend­ing on Twit­ter on Sun­day. A num­ber of left-wing politi­cians joined in on the Twit­ter rebukes. As we should expect, Ger­many’s far right cel­e­brat­ed Trump’s pro­pos­al and called for Ger­many to declare antifa a domes­tic ter­ror group too. AfD par­lia­men­tar­i­an Jür­gen Braun called for inves­ti­ga­tions of those using the #Ich­bi­nAn­tifa hash­tag, writ­ing on Twit­ter, “if Antifa is final­ly clas­si­fied as a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion in this coun­try as well, then the cur­rent­ly pop­u­lar hash­tag ‘I am Antifa’ offers up a very rich pool of inves­tiga­tive leads in the fight against ter­ror­ism.”

    So if we see some sort of antifa vio­lence erupt in the US between now and the Novem­ber 2020 elec­tions, it’s going to be impor­tant to demand evi­dence that the per­son com­mit­ting that vio­lence isn’t actu­al­ly a far right troll infil­tra­tor because at this point the far right, led by Trump, is strong­ly sig­nal­ing that mak­ing anti-fas­cism a form of domes­tic ter­ror­ism is the next phase of their pow­er grab:

    Deutsche-Welle

    Trump’s threat to label Antifa ter­ror­ist group trig­gers row in Ger­many

    “I am Antifa” began trend­ing in Ger­many after Trump said he might label the group a ter­ror orga­ni­za­tion. Left-wing politi­cians hit back at the US pres­i­dent, while far-right politi­cians expressed sup­port for the pro­pos­al.

    Author Rebec­ca Stau­den­maier
    Date 29.07.2019

    The hash­tag #Ich­bi­nAn­tifa (“I am Antifa”) began trend­ing on Twit­ter in Ger­many on Sun­day after US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said he was con­sid­er­ing label­ing the group a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion.

    Antifa, which is short for anti-fas­cists, is a loose net­work com­prised of rad­i­cal left-wing activists that con­front right-wing extrem­ists, neo-Nazi groups and white suprema­cists.

    On Sat­ur­day, the US pres­i­dent said that the new clas­si­fi­ca­tion “would make it eas­i­er for police to do their jobs,” and dubbed the anti-fas­cist group “gut­less rad­i­cal left wack jobs.”

    Con­sid­er­a­tion is being giv­en to declar­ing ANTIFA, the gut­less Rad­i­cal Left Wack Jobs who go around hit­ting (only non-fight­ers) peo­ple over the heads with base­ball bats, a major Orga­ni­za­tion of Ter­ror (along with MS-13 &amp, oth­ers). Would make it eas­i­er for police to do their job!&mdash, Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2019

    In response, Ger­man social media users and some politi­cians pushed back against Trump’s remarks, with the “I am antifa” hash­tag tak­ing the num­ber one spot on Twit­ter’s trend­ing list.

    “I am Antifa always and every time. Ger­man his­to­ry com­pels us to stand up against racism and fas­cism. On the street and in par­lia­ment,” wrote Bernd Riexinger, co-chair­man of the Left par­ty.

    #Ich­bi­nAn­tifa immer und über­all. Die deutsche Geschichte verpflichtet uns dazu aufzuste­hen gegen Ras­sis­mus und Faschis­mus. Auf der Straße und im Par­la­ment. #NieWieder&mdash, Bernd Riexinger (@b_riexinger) July 28, 2019

    Sven Lehmann, a Greens MP and the par­ty’s spokesper­son for social and queer pol­i­cy, wrote on Twit­ter that he sup­ports Antifa because the group “often looked close­ly when peo­ple were deval­ued or attacked, where oth­ers looked away.”

    #Ich­bi­nAn­tifa, weil die Antifa oft hingeschaut hat, als Men­schen abgew­ertet oder ange­grif­f­en wur­den, wo andere weggeschaut haben.&mdash, Sven Lehmann ?????? (@svenlehmann) July 28, 2019

    Far-right backs ter­ror des­ig­na­tion

    The hash­tag sparked ire among politi­cians of the far-right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) par­ty, sev­er­al of whom expressed sup­port for Trump and called for a sim­i­lar mea­sure in Ger­many.

    “If Antifa is final­ly clas­si­fied as a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion in this coun­try as well, then the cur­rent­ly pop­u­lar hash­tag ‘I am Antifa’ offers up a very rich pool of inves­tiga­tive leads in the fight against ter­ror­ism,” AfD par­lia­men­tar­i­an Jür­gen Braun wrote on Twit­ter.

    “Don­ald Trump is mak­ing it pos­si­ble, thank you very much!” the far-right politi­cian added.

    Wenn die #Antifa endlich auch hierzu­lande als ter­ror­is­tis­che Vere­ini­gung eingestuft wird, dann bietet der heute pop­uläre Hash­tag #Ich­bi­nAn­tifa einen sehr reich­halti­gen Fun­dus für Ermit­tlungsan­sätze im Anti-#Ter­ror-Kampf. @realDonaldTrump macht&#39,s möglich, besten Dank! #AfD&mdash, Jür­gen Braun, MdB (@JuergenBraunAfD) July 28, 2019

    The Ham­burg branch of Ger­many’s police union also crit­i­cized Antifa, post­ing pic­tures of black-clad pro­test­ers hold­ing signs call­ing for vio­lence against police.

    “Vio­lence as a means of polit­i­cal con­flict must be pro­hib­it­ed and crim­i­nal­ly pros­e­cut­ed — this must be a demo­c­ra­t­ic con­sen­sus that tran­scends par­ty and ide­o­log­i­cal bound­aries,” the union wrote.

    Gewalt als Mit­tel der poli­tis­chen Auseinan­der­set­zung ist zu ächt­en &amp, strafrechtlich zu ver­fol­gen — das muss demokratis­ch­er, partei- &amp, weltan­schaulich über­greifend­er Kon­sens sein. #Ich­bi­nAn­tifa&mdash, DPolG Ham­burg (@DPolGHH) July 28, 2019

    Although many Antifa mem­bers par­tic­i­pate in peace­ful protests, they have been crit­i­cized for believ­ing vio­lence is jus­ti­fied to com­bat racist or fas­cist groups.

    The Anti-Defama­tion League, a lead­ing Jew­ish group in the Unit­ed States focused on hate crimes, describes Antifa as “a loose col­lec­tion of groups, net­works and indi­vid­u­als who believe in active, aggres­sive oppo­si­tion to far right-wing move­ments.”

    Ear­ly anti-fas­cist groups in Europe fought against Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and Ital­ian dic­ta­tor Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni. The mod­ern Antifa move­ment began to take shape in the 1960s and became active in the US in the 1970s.

    ...

    ———-

    “Trump’s threat to label Antifa ter­ror­ist group trig­gers row in Ger­many” by Rebec­ca Stau­den­maier, Deutsche-Welle, 07/29/2019

    ““If Antifa is final­ly clas­si­fied as a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion in this coun­try as well, then the cur­rent­ly pop­u­lar hash­tag ‘I am Antifa’ offers up a very rich pool of inves­tiga­tive leads in the fight against ter­ror­ism,” AfD par­lia­men­tar­i­an Jür­gen Braun wrote on Twit­ter.”

    That’s how the neo-Nazi AfD pre­dictably respond­ed to Ger­man left-wing politi­cians point­ing out the neces­si­ty of embrac­ing anti-fas­cism. Por­tray peo­ple who express an oppo­si­tion to fas­cism as domes­tic ter­ror­ists who should be inves­ti­gat­ed. And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, one of the biggest con­se­quences of declar­ing antifa a domes­tic ter­ror­ist group is that it would vast­ly expand the inves­tiga­tive pow­ers that can be used against any­one affil­i­at­ed with the group. So a sin­gle antifa infil­tra­tor (or gen­uine use­ful idiot) could lead to the inves­ti­ga­tion of a huge num­ber of peo­ple on the polit­i­cal left. The arti­cle also notes the absurd legal rea­son­ing that has pre­vent­ed all sorts of far right groups from being labeled domes­tic ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions despite the fact that there isn’t a sin­gle per­son who has been killed by an antifa mem­ber and yet far right zealots are com­mit­ting a mass shoot­ings on a reg­u­lar basis: in order for some­one to be declared a ter­ror­ist under US law, they need to be part of a group. So if a neo-Nazi can car­ry out a domes­tic ter­ror attack (that was heav­i­ly inspired by the broad­er far right) but make it look like a “lone wolf” attack, that isn’t con­sid­ered ter­ror­ism and the groups asso­ci­at­ed with those neo-Nazi attack­ers get to avoid the “domes­tic ter­ror” des­ig­na­tion:

    Pacif­ic Stan­dard

    What Would It Mean If Trump Labeled Antifa as a Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tion?
    Ted Cruz and oth­er con­ser­v­a­tives are call­ing for the group to be rec­og­nized as a ter­ror orga­ni­za­tion, and Trump tweet­ed he might have the DOJ define it as one.

    Jared Keller
    Jul 30, 2019

    Is the broad col­lec­tion of mil­i­tant anti-fas­cist groups known as “antifa” a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion? Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump cer­tain­ly seem to think so.

    On Sat­ur­day, Trump tweet­ed that he was con­sid­er­ing label­ing the semi-autonomous groups that coa­lesced in the imme­di­ate after­math of the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion. He decried the “gut­less Rad­i­cal Left Wack Jobs who go around hit­ting (only non-fight­ers) peo­ple over the heads with base­ball bats” as a threat to Amer­i­can soci­ety on par with the inter­na­tion­al MS-13 gang orga­ni­za­tion.

    The announce­ment came weeks after Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bri­an Fitz­patrick (R‑Pennsylvania) wrote to Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Barr ask­ing him to label antifa a ter­ror­ist group. Fitz­patrick­’s let­ter itself came on the heels of the high­ly pub­li­cized assault of con­ser­v­a­tive jour­nal­ist Andy Ngo dur­ing a clash between the white nation­al­ist Proud Boys and antifa activists in Port­land, Ore­gon, which he was observ­ing. Trump’s tweet also came just days after Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Ted Cruz and Bill Cas­sidy intro­duced a non-bind­ing res­o­lu­tion designed to declare var­i­ous antifa orga­ni­za­tions as “domes­tic ter­ror­ists.”

    ...

    Trump’s broad­side against antifa is some­thing of a fore­gone con­clu­sion: The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty once labeled the group’s activ­i­ties as “domes­tic ter­ror­ist vio­lence” back in an April of 2016 warn­ing to state and local law enforce­ment. But Trump’s invo­ca­tion of “an orga­ni­za­tion of ter­ror” as a descrip­tion of antifa, and not its activ­i­ties, has poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous impli­ca­tions for Amer­i­can civ­il liberties—and, in some ways, val­i­dates the entire rai­son d’être of antifa in the first place.

    Under the 2001 Patri­ot Act, groups com­mit domes­tic ter­ror­ism by engag­ing in vio­lent acts that “intim­i­date or coerce a civil­ian pop­u­la­tion ... to influ­ence the pol­i­cy of a gov­ern­ment.” But as of 2019, the FBI def­i­n­i­tion of domes­tic ter­ror­ism now refers to indi­vid­u­als and groups “that espouse extrem­ist ide­olo­gies of a polit­i­cal, reli­gious, social, racial, or envi­ron­men­tal nature.” Broad­en­ing that cri­te­ria for “domes­tic ter­ror­ism” to any so-called “extreme” cat­e­gories does­n’t just pro­vide the Trump admin­is­tra­tion with a way to turn antifa into a polit­i­cal scape­goat, but anoth­er oppor­tu­ni­ty to refo­cus Amer­i­can fear onto non-exis­tent tar­gets while the real threats con­tin­ue to wage war on civ­il soci­ety.

    Like his fre­quent allu­sions to “Amer­i­can car­nage” amid record-low nation­al crime rates, Trump’s rhetor­i­cal barbs about left-wing ter­ror­ism are fac­tu­al­ly inac­cu­rate despite high­ly pub­li­cized clash­es between var­i­ous antifa fac­tions and white nation­al­ist groups. Only 2 per­cent of the 372 Amer­i­cans killed by domes­tic polit­i­cal extrem­ists over the last decade were at the hands of so-called “rad­i­cal left” extrem­ists, accord­ing to data pub­lished by the Anti-Defama­tion League’s Cen­ter on Extrem­ism, by con­trast, 74 per­cent of those killings were com­mit­ted by right-wing extrem­ists, lev­els that have only grown amid a glob­al surge in far-right activ­i­ty. Indeed, the one death at the 2017 Char­lottesville ral­ly that marked the first fatal clash between far-right and antifa activists came at the hands of the for­mer. Law­mak­ers can grouse all they want about vio­lent antifa counter-pro­test­ers, but the real­i­ty is that far-right extrem­ism is far more dan­ger­ous.

    Impor­tant­ly, declar­ing a sus­pect a domes­tic ter­ror­ist isn’t just a rhetor­i­cal gam­bit: A for­mal clas­si­fi­ca­tion of “domes­tic ter­ror­ist” bestows a new class of inves­ti­ga­to­ry pow­ers on the Depart­ment of Jus­tice (DOJ). As NPR explained in the after­math of the Char­lottesville inci­dent, “domes­tic ter­rror­ism” isn’t a crim­i­nal act itself but a cat­e­go­riza­tion that, under fed­er­al law, defines “acts dan­ger­ous to human life that vio­late fed­er­al or state law” that appears “intend­ed to intim­i­date or coerce a civil­ian pop­u­la­tion.” In the eyes of the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment, ter­ror­ism is nec­es­sar­i­ly an orga­ni­za­tion­al crime rather than a “lone wolf” one, and requires a more aggres­sive inves­ti­ga­to­ry response. While fed­er­al law does indeed spec­i­fy a num­ber of spe­cif­ic ter­ror­ism-relat­ed crimes, it’s this sep­a­rate des­ig­na­tion that allows the gov­ern­ment “to inves­ti­gate not only an indi­vid­ual sus­pect, but also any group the sus­pect may be affil­i­at­ed with.”

    As a result, a ter­ror des­ig­na­tion would allow for the U.S. gov­ern­ment to inves­ti­gate and pun­ish mem­bers of antifa despite the fact that the orga­ni­za­tion lacks the coher­ent struc­ture or orga­ni­za­tion of, say, ISIS. Indeed, the struc­ture of ter­ror­ism-relat­ed offens­es under fed­er­al law “allows pros­e­cu­tors to seek high ter­ror­ism penal­ties while avoid­ing the prob­lems of prov­ing that the per­pe­tra­tors actu­al­ly have the motives char­ac­ter­is­tic of ter­ror­ism,” as the Bren­nan Cen­ter for Jus­tice’s Faiza Patel explained back in 2015 fol­low­ing Charleston shoot­er Dylann Roof’s arrest. “More com­mon offens­es like shoot­ings or kid­nap­pings don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly fit into this scheme for obvi­ous rea­sons: includ­ing them would sweep in reg­u­lar crim­i­nal activ­i­ty.” Throw­ing a milk­shake isn’t the same as hijack­ing an air­plane, but both would be “ter­ror­ism” by des­ig­na­tion in the Trump DOJ’s eyes.

    Trump’s deploy­ment of the “ter­ror” label as a polit­i­cal tool is not a new con­ser­v­a­tive move. As I wrote fol­low­ing far-right extrem­ist Roof’s fatal mass shoot­ing at a his­tor­i­cal­ly black church in Charleston, South Car­oli­na, his mur­ders almost cer­tain­ly rose to the lev­el of “ter­ror­ism” under the FBI’s def­i­n­i­tion of intent to “intim­i­date or coerce a civil­ian pop­u­la­tion,” espe­cial­ly giv­en the his­to­ry of white Amer­i­ca’s war of ter­ror against its black cit­i­zens. But Roof was­n’t labeled as a ter­ror­ist by the DOJ because, as I argued at the time, white mass mur­der­ers tend to enjoy the ben­e­fit of the doubt as “lone wolves” some­how dis­con­nect­ed from struc­tur­al and orga­ni­za­tion­al influ­ences despite evi­dence oth­er­wise.

    That the blood­thirsty Roof was some­how not a domes­tic ter­ror­ist because he was a “lone wolf” but a hand­ful of antifa activists might now be under­scores the blind spots that are baked into the U.S. crim­i­nal jus­tice system—and how Trump is so bald­ly deploy­ing the “ter­ror” des­ig­na­tion as a polit­i­cal tool.

    ———-

    “What Would It Mean If Trump Labeled Antifa as a Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tion?” by
    Jared Keller, Pacif­ic Stan­dard, 07/30/2019

    Impor­tant­ly, declar­ing a sus­pect a domes­tic ter­ror­ist isn’t just a rhetor­i­cal gam­bit: A for­mal clas­si­fi­ca­tion of “domes­tic ter­ror­ist” bestows a new class of inves­ti­ga­to­ry pow­ers on the Depart­ment of Jus­tice (DOJ). As NPR explained in the after­math of the Char­lottesville inci­dent, “domes­tic ter­rror­ism” isn’t a crim­i­nal act itself but a cat­e­go­riza­tion that, under fed­er­al law, defines “acts dan­ger­ous to human life that vio­late fed­er­al or state law” that appears “intend­ed to intim­i­date or coerce a civil­ian pop­u­la­tion.” In the eyes of the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment, ter­ror­ism is nec­es­sar­i­ly an orga­ni­za­tion­al crime rather than a “lone wolf” one, and requires a more aggres­sive inves­ti­ga­to­ry response. While fed­er­al law does indeed spec­i­fy a num­ber of spe­cif­ic ter­ror­ism-relat­ed crimes, it’s this sep­a­rate des­ig­na­tion that allows the gov­ern­ment “to inves­ti­gate not only an indi­vid­ual sus­pect, but also any group the sus­pect may be affil­i­at­ed with.””

    Yep, as long as neo-Nazis don’t declare, “I com­mit this mass mur­der in the name of [insert neo-Nazi group here]!” they end up being labeled “lone wolves” who just some­how inde­pen­dent­ly got rad­i­cal­ized and decid­ed to com­mit these acts on their own, the neo-Nazi groups that drove them to these acts get to avoid the domes­tic ter­ror des­ig­na­tion and those orga­ni­za­tions get to avoid get­ting inves­ti­gat­ed. And this loop­hole isn’t avail­able to antifa because they don’t pre­tend to be a bunch of lone wolves like the neo-Nazis do:

    ...
    As a result, a ter­ror des­ig­na­tion would allow for the U.S. gov­ern­ment to inves­ti­gate and pun­ish mem­bers of antifa despite the fact that the orga­ni­za­tion lacks the coher­ent struc­ture or orga­ni­za­tion of, say, ISIS. Indeed, the struc­ture of ter­ror­ism-relat­ed offens­es under fed­er­al law “allows pros­e­cu­tors to seek high ter­ror­ism penal­ties while avoid­ing the prob­lems of prov­ing that the per­pe­tra­tors actu­al­ly have the motives char­ac­ter­is­tic of ter­ror­ism,” as the Bren­nan Cen­ter for Jus­tice’s Faiza Patel explained back in 2015 fol­low­ing Charleston shoot­er Dylann Roof’s arrest. “More com­mon offens­es like shoot­ings or kid­nap­pings don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly fit into this scheme for obvi­ous rea­sons: includ­ing them would sweep in reg­u­lar crim­i­nal activ­i­ty.” Throw­ing a milk­shake isn’t the same as hijack­ing an air­plane, but both would be “ter­ror­ism” by des­ig­na­tion in the Trump DOJ’s eyes.

    Trump’s deploy­ment of the “ter­ror” label as a polit­i­cal tool is not a new con­ser­v­a­tive move. As I wrote fol­low­ing far-right extrem­ist Roof’s fatal mass shoot­ing at a his­tor­i­cal­ly black church in Charleston, South Car­oli­na, his mur­ders almost cer­tain­ly rose to the lev­el of “ter­ror­ism” under the FBI’s def­i­n­i­tion of intent to “intim­i­date or coerce a civil­ian pop­u­la­tion,” espe­cial­ly giv­en the his­to­ry of white Amer­i­ca’s war of ter­ror against its black cit­i­zens. But Roof was­n’t labeled as a ter­ror­ist by the DOJ because, as I argued at the time, white mass mur­der­ers tend to enjoy the ben­e­fit of the doubt as “lone wolves” some­how dis­con­nect­ed from struc­tur­al and orga­ni­za­tion­al influ­ences despite evi­dence oth­er­wise.

    That the blood­thirsty Roof was some­how not a domes­tic ter­ror­ist because he was a “lone wolf” but a hand­ful of antifa activists might now be under­scores the blind spots that are baked into the U.S. crim­i­nal jus­tice system—and how Trump is so bald­ly deploy­ing the “ter­ror” des­ig­na­tion as a polit­i­cal tool.
    ...

    In light of this loop­hole, it’s worth recall­ing the antics by the attri­bu­tion of the Park­land, Flori­da, school shoot­ing by the neo-Nazi for­mer stu­dent Niko­las Cruz. Ini­tial­ly, we had a local neo-Nazi group, the Repub­lic of Flori­da (ROF), claim­ing Cruz was affil­i­at­ed with them. In the weeks before the shoot­ing, the leader of ROF, Jor­dan Jereb, was post­ing on the ‘Alt Right’ social media site about a strat­e­gy for using the ROF mili­tia to cre­ate “lone wolf activists”. But after that ini­tial admis­sion, Jereb insist­ed that he had­n’t spo­ken to Cruz in “some time” and empha­sized to the press that his group was not a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion. That’s the game the neo-Nazis are play­ing with wild suc­cess.

    So giv­en that the far right is suc­cess­ful­ly exploit­ing a legal ‘lone wolf’ loop­hole to car­ry­out one mass mur­der ram­page after anoth­er while avoid­ing domes­tic ter­ror group des­ig­na­tions at the same to the far right Pres­i­dent is con­sid­er­ing declar­ing antifa a domes­tic ter­ror group as part of a larg­er crack­down on the Left, it’s worth not­ing anoth­er sto­ry that came out of Ger­many on Sat­ur­day: New­ly uncov­ered evi­dence makes it even clear­er that Reich­stag fire was as Nazi provo­ca­tion:

    AFP

    New­ly uncov­ered tes­ti­mo­ny casts doubt on Nazi Reich­stag fire claims
    In affi­davit pub­lished by Ger­man news­pa­per, Nazi offi­cial clears Dutch com­mu­nist of start­ing the 1933 blaze that Hitler used to con­sol­i­date pow­er

    By AFP
    27 July 2019, 3:29 pm

    BERLIN — New­ly found Ger­man tes­ti­mo­ny from 60 years ago has cast fresh doubt on Nazi-era claims a Dutch com­mu­nist was respon­si­ble for the 1933 fire that gut­ted the Reich­stag build­ing, Ger­man media report­ed on Fri­day.

    The Reich­stag blaze remains a source of con­tro­ver­sy in Ger­many as Adolf Hitler used the fire to claim a Com­mu­nist plot and con­sol­i­date his influ­ence with a crack­down.

    It was seen as a piv­otal moment in the Nazi rise to pow­er.

    Germany’s RND news­pa­per group on Fri­day pub­lished an affi­davit of a for­mer Nazi para­mil­i­tary dat­ing from 1955 and found in the archives of a Hanover court, which con­firmed its authen­tic­i­ty.

    In his tes­ti­mo­ny, the Nazi offi­cial clears Dutch trade union mem­ber Mar­i­nus van der Lubbe of set­ting fire to the Reich­stag.

    A Nazi court found Van der Lubbe guilty of arson and trea­son and he was behead­ed in 1934. But his case remained con­tro­ver­sial.

    Some his­to­ri­ans say he admit­ted to start­ing the blaze alone in an attempt to stir Ger­mans to rise up against the Nazis. Oth­ers believe he was a scape­goat for a fire the Nazis start­ed them­selves to jus­ti­fy the crack­down.

    In 2008, Ger­many posthu­mous­ly par­doned him under a law intro­duced in 1998 to lift unjust ver­dicts dat­ing from the Nazi era.

    In his tes­ti­mo­ny, the for­mer para­mil­i­tary Hans-Mar­tin Lennings, who died in 1962, said he took Van der Lubbe from an infir­mary to the Reich­stag where they noticed a strange burn­ing smell on arrival.

    Accord­ing to Germany’s DPA news agency, which also said it has a cer­ti­fied copy of the doc­u­ment, Lennings protest­ed like his com­rades against the arrest of the Dutch­man.

    “We were con­vinced that Van der Lubbe could not have been the arson­ist since we had noticed that the fire was already lit at the Reis­chtag when we deliv­ered Van der Lubbe,” it said cit­ing tes­ti­mo­ny.

    He said he and oth­er col­leagues were detained because of their protests and forced to sign a paper say­ing they were unaware of any­thing about the inci­dent.

    ...

    ———-

    “New­ly uncov­ered tes­ti­mo­ny casts doubt on Nazi Reich­stag fire claims” by AFP, AFP, 07/27/2019

    “In his tes­ti­mo­ny, the for­mer para­mil­i­tary Hans-Mar­tin Lennings, who died in 1962, said he took Van der Lubbe from an infir­mary to the Reich­stag where they noticed a strange burn­ing smell on arrival.”

    That was the tes­ti­mo­ny from 1955 that some­how got lost for the last 64 years. And Hans-Mar­tin Lennings was­n’t the only per­son who real­ized that Van der Lubbe arrived after the fire start­ed. There was a group:

    ...
    Accord­ing to Germany’s DPA news agency, which also said it has a cer­ti­fied copy of the doc­u­ment, Lennings protest­ed like his com­rades against the arrest of the Dutch­man.

    “We were con­vinced that Van der Lubbe could not have been the arson­ist since we had noticed that the fire was already lit at the Reis­chtag when we deliv­ered Van der Lubbe,” it said cit­ing tes­ti­mo­ny.

    He said he and oth­er col­leagues were detained because of their protests and forced to sign a paper say­ing they were unaware of any­thing about the inci­dent.
    ...

    So a whole group of peo­ple knew the offi­cial sto­ry about the cause of the Reich­stag fire was false, but they were forced to stay silent. Then we have this 1955 tes­ti­mo­ny, after the Nazis lost, that also just some­how got lost for decades. It’s a pow­er­ful les­son from his­to­ry about the abil­i­ty of cor­rupt gov­ern­ments to stage provo­ca­tions to declare their oppo­si­tion ille­gal and cov­er it up for decades. A his­to­ry les­son made all the more pow­er­ful at this moment by being trag­i­cal­ly top­i­cal too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 31, 2019, 1:06 pm

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