President Trump Has Failed To Address Domestic Terrorists’ Acts Of Violence By White Supremacists

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HONDURAN REFUGEES

With the republican President Donald Trump and his Sycophants spouting off falsehoods, based on his gut, like there are middle eastern terrorists who are part of the Honduran refugee caravan that is expected to arrive at the US-Mexican border around the first week of December 2018; and the need for a Muslim travel ban, the real threat of domestic terrorism by White Supremacist type groups has been largely ignored.

The (ADL) Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism has reported that 71 percent of the extremist-related fatalities in the United States between 2008 and 2017 were committed by members of the far right or white-supremacist movements but Islamic extremists were responsible for just 26 percent.

Here is the rest of the story…

On November 3, 2018, Janet Reitman of the New York times penned the following report, “US Law Enforcement Failed to See The Threat of White Nationalism. Now They Don’t Know How to Stop It.”

Excerpts:

“The first indication to Lt. Dan Stout that law enforcement’s handling of white supremacy was broken came in September 2017, as he was sitting in an emergency-operations center in Gainesville, Fla., preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Irma and watching what felt like his thousandth YouTube video of the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va. Jesus Christ, he thought, studying the footage in which crowds of angry men, who had gathered to attend or protest the Unite the Right rally, set upon one another with sticks and flagpole spears and flame throwers and God knows what else. A black man held an aerosol can, igniting the spray, and in retaliation, a white man picked up his gun, pointed it toward the black man and fired it at the ground. The Virginia state troopers, inexplicably, stood by and watched. Stout fixated on this image, wondering what kind of organizational failure had led to the debacle. He had one month to ensure that the same thing didn’t happen in Gainesville.”

A group of racist protesters surround anti-fascism and anti-racism counterprotesters.
Washington Post via Getty Images

“Before that August, Stout, a 24-year veteran of the Gainesville police force, had never heard of Richard Spencer and knew next to nothing about his self-declared alt-right movement.” Then, on the Monday after deadly violence in Charlottesville, in which a protester was killed when a driver plowed his car into the crowd, Stout learned to his horror that Spencer was planning a speech at the University of Florida. He spent weeks frantically trying to get up to speed, scouring far-right and anti-fascist websites and videos, each click driving him further into despair. Aside from the few white nationalists who had been identified by the media or on Twitter, Stout had no clue who most of these people were, and neither, it seemed, did anyone else in law enforcement.”

“There were no current intelligence reports he could find on the alt-right, the sometimes-violent fringe movement that embraces white nationalism and a range of racist positions. The state police couldn’t offer much insight. Things were equally bleak at the federal level. Whatever the F.B.I. knew (which wasn’t a lot, Stout suspected), they weren’t sharing. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which produced regular intelligence and threat assessments for local law enforcement, had only scant material on white supremacists, all of it vague and ultimately not much help. Local politicians, including the governor, were also in the dark. This is like a Bermuda Triangle of intelligence, Stout thought, incredulous. He reached out to their state partners. “So you’re telling us that there’s nothing? No names we can plug into the automatic license-plate readers?  Nothing?’’

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“One of those coming to Gainesville was William Fears, a 31-year-old from Houston. Fears, who online went by variations of the handle Antagonizer, was one of the most dedicated foot soldiers of the alt-right. Countless YouTube videos had captured his progress over the past year as he made his way from protest to protest across several states, flinging Nazi salutes, setting off smoke bombs and, from time to time, attacking people. Fears was also a felon. He had spent six years in prison for aggravated kidnapping in a case involving his ex-girlfriend, and now he had an active warrant for his arrest, after his new girlfriend accused him of assault less than two weeks earlier. On Oct. 18, the night before the event, Fears and a few others from Houston’s white-nationalist scene got in Fears’s silver Jeep Patriot for the 14-hour drive. Fears’s friend Tyler TenBrink, who pleaded guilty to assault in 2014, posted video from their trip on his Facebook page. There were four men, two of them felons, and two nine-millimeter handguns. “Texans always carry,” Fears said later.”

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“Gainesville would be Spencer’s first major public appearance since the violence of the Unite the Right rally two months before, and the city, a progressive enclave in the heart of deep-red north Florida, was on edge. Anticipating chaos, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency — prompting Spencer to tweet out an image of his head making its way across the Atlantic toward Florida: “Hurricane Spencer.” A few days before the event, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement sent out a small, bound “threat book” of about 20 or so figures, most of them openly affiliated with Spencer or with anti-fascist groups, which Stout knew from his own research meant they weren’t the people to worry about. Anonymous online chatter on sites like 4chan, meanwhile, described armed right-wing militants coming to Gainesville to test Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.”

The “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer speaking at the University of Florida in Gainesville on Oct. 19, 2017.CreditMark Peterson/Redux

“By the morning of Oct. 19, a fortress of security, costing the University of Florida and police forces roughly half a million dollars, had been built around the western edge of the 2,000-acre campus and the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, where Spencer and his entourage arrived that afternoon. More than 1,100 state troopers and local cops stood on alert, with another 500 on standby. There were officers posted on rooftops. Police helicopters buzzed the skies. The Florida National Guard had been activated off-site, and a line of armored vehicles sat in reserve. Hundreds of journalists from around the United States and abroad were in attendance.”

“Some 2,500 protesters had descended on the small area cordoned off for the event, where they confronted a handful of white supremacists, most of them Spencer groupies like Fears and his friends. “Basically, I’m just fed up with the fact that I’m cisgendered, I’m a white male and I lean right, toward the Republican side, and I get demonized,” Colton Fears, Will’s 28-year-old brother, who was wearing an SS pin, told HuffPost.TenBrink, also 28, told The Washington Post that he had come to support Spencer because after Charlottesville, where he was seen and photographed, he had been threatened by the “radical left.” He seemed agitated by the thousands of protesters. “This is a mess,” he told The Gainesville Sun.

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WILL FEARS

“But Will Fears told reporters he came to Gainesville to intimidate the protesters. “It’s always been socially acceptable to punch a Nazi, to attack people if they have right-wing political leanings,” he said. “We’re starting to push back.”

“The Spencer speech turned out to be a bust, thanks to an audience so determined to drown him out that at one point they erupted in a chant of “Orange! Blue! Orange! Blue!” as if at a Gators football game. Afterward, the crowd left the auditorium and flooded back onto Hull Road, the long avenue leading toward the center of campus. Thousands of protesters surrounded the small group of Spencer acolytes. TenBrink, a sinewy young man wearing a black T-shirt and jeans, was particularly overwhelmed and jumped a barricade to escape the angry crowd. The police put him in handcuffs and escorted him into a parking garage. Then, for reasons that remain unclear, they uncuffed TenBrink and walked him out of the garage and toward the parking lot, and let him go. Neither TenBrink nor his friends were in the threat book.”

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CHARLOTTESVILLE VA

“There are several versions of what happened after TenBrink was released. It was about 5:15 p.m. The Texans drove down Archer Avenue, the broad street bordering the south edge of campus, about a mile from the secured area. A group of protesters were sitting at a bus stop. The men in the Jeep started shouting “Heil Hitler!” according to the police report and several witness statements. “Do you know my friend Heil? Heil Hitler? Get it?” The men started throwing Nazi salutes.”

“One of the protesters had come to Gainesville armed with a retractable baton. When the Texans began to harass them, he grabbed his baton and struck a window of the S.U.V. “My life and the lives of those around me was at risk,” he told the police. Will Fears jumped out. “I’m about to beat this dude up with his own fricking expandable baton,” he later recalled.”

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“White supremacists and other far-right extremists have killed far more people since Sept. 11, 2001, than any other category of domestic extremist. The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism has reported that 71 percent of the extremist-related fatalities in the United States between 2008 and 2017 were committed by members of the far right or white-supremacist movements. Islamic extremists were responsible for just 26 percent. Data compiled by the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database shows that the number of terror-related incidents has more than tripled in the United States since 2013, and the number of those killed has quadrupled. In 2017, there were 65 incidents totaling 95 deaths. In a recent analysis of the data by the news site Quartz, roughly 60 percent of those incidents were driven by racist, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, antigovernment or other right-wing ideologies. Left-wing ideologies, like radical environmentalism, were responsible for 11 attacks. Muslim extremists committed just seven attacks.”

“These statistics belie the strident rhetoric around “foreign-born” terrorists that the Trump administration has used to drive its anti-immigration agenda. They also raise questions about the USs’ counterterrorism strategy, which for nearly 2 decades has been focused almost exclusively on American and foreign-born jihadists, overshadowing right-wing extremism as a legitimate national-security threat. According to a recent report by the nonpartisan Stimson Center, between 2002 and 2017, the United States spent $2.8 trillion — 16 percent of the overall federal budget — on counterterrorism. Terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists killed 100 people in the United States during that time. Between 2008 and 2017, domestic extremists killed 387 in the United States, according to the 2018 Anti-Defamation League report.”

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“We’re actually seeing all the same phenomena of what was happening with groups like ISIS, same tactics, but no one talks about it because it’s far-right extremism,” says the national-security strategist P. W. Singer, a senior fellow at the New America think tank. During the first year of the Trump administration, Singer and several other analysts met with a group of senior administration officials about building a counterterrorism strategy that encompassed a wider range of threats. “They only wanted to talk about Muslim extremism,” he says.”

“In March 2018, a 20-year-old white evangelical Christian named Mark Anthony Conditt laid a series of homemade I.E.D.s around Austin, Tex., in largely minority communities. The bombs killed two African-Americans and injured at least four others over the course of several weeks, terrorizing the city, yet the local authorities preferred to describe Conditt, who committed suicide, as a “very challenged young man.” Also last spring, another white man, 28-year-old Benjamin Morrow, blew himself up in his apartment in Beaver Dam, Wis., while apparently constructing a bomb. Federal investigators said Morrow’s apartment doubled as a “homemade explosives laboratory.” There was a trove of white-supremacist literature in Morrow’s home, according to the F.B.I.”

“In this atmosphere of apparent indifference on the part of government officials and law enforcement, a virulent, and violent, far-right movement has grown and metastasized. To combat it, some officials have suggested prosecuting related crimes through expansion of the government’s counterterrorism powers — creating a special “domestic terrorism” statute, for instance, which currently doesn’t exist. But a report released on Oct. 31 by the Brennan Center for Justice at NY University Law School argues that the creation of such a statute could easily be abused to target “protesters and political dissidents instead of terrorists,” and that law enforcement already has ample authority to prosecute domestic terrorism: “Congress must require that counterterrorism resource decisions be based on objective evaluations of the physical harm different groups pose to human life, rather than on political considerations that prioritize the safety of some communities over others.”

Near an intersection of Murrary and Wilkins Ave, outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, members of the Squirrel Hill community place flowers and candles beneath a sign that reads "Hate has no home here."

“The report also calls out the Justice Department for its “blind spot” when it comes to domestic terrorism and hate crimes, which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein conceded earlier in the week.”

“In 2016, the latest full year of data available from the F.B.I., more than 6,100 hate-crime incidents were reported, 4,270 of them crimes against people (as opposed to, say, defacing property). And yet only 27 federal hate-crime defendants were prosecuted that year. “The F.B.I. knows how many bank robberies there were last year,” says Michael German, an author of the Brennan Center report and a former F.B.I. agent, “but it doesn’t know how many white supremacists attacked people, how many they injured or killed.”

“More concerning to German, though, is that law enforcement seems uninterested in policing the violent far right. During the first year after Donald Trump’s election, protests and riots erupted across the country, often involving men with criminal histories who, by definition, were on the law-enforcement radar.”

PHOTO: A woman reacts at a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue following Saturdays shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, Oct. 29, 2018.

(Kyle) Chapman was one of a number of known white supremacists to align with the Proud Boys, a nationalist men’s movement founded in 2016 by the anti-immigrant “Western chauvinist” Gavin McInnes, a founder of Vice Media. There was also the Rise Above Movement (RAM), an alt-right group composed largely of ex-cons, many with ties to Southern California’s racist skinhead movement. Over the past two years, each group engaged in violent confrontations with their ideological enemies — a lengthy list including African-Americans, Jews, Muslims, nonwhite immigrants, members of the L.G.B.T. community and the progressive left — and generally escaped punishment. This changed to a degree over the past few weeks when, after a yearlong campaign by journalists at ProPublica and other media outlets, federal prosecutors filed charges against eight members of RAM, including two of its leaders. Similarly, after a pressure campaign on social media, the New York Police Department arrested and charged 6 members of the Proud Boys in connection with an assault after a speech by McInnes at a Republican club in Manhattan on Oct. 12. On his podcast, McInnes noted that he has “a lot of support” in the N.Y.P.D. (The police commissioner denies this.)”

“This is what public demonstration looks like in an era when white nationalism isn’t on the fringes, but on the inside of the political mainstream,” says Brian Levin, a former NYC police officer who now leads the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University.”-

Link: Continue reading the main story

4 comments

  1. Gronda, thanks for writing this. The politics of fear unfortunately work, which is the simplest reason for the election of Donald Trump. I can recall mainstream Republicans acquiesce to the fear-mongerer, by saying he won’t do what he says he will. My worry all along was he would.

    Now, two years later, he is being celebrated for doing what he said he would. This is beyond hypocritical. As I shared with a candidate who told me Trump is the most truthful President we have ever had for this reason, I said I would take larger issue with your point. But, let’s focus on what you specifically said. What if what he told you he would do was predicated on a lie.

    I gave him one example. The reason for disenfranchisement in certain areas is not immigration, nor is it trade. They are much smaller factors. The reasons certain areas have lost jobs is by far related to technology improvements and CEOs chasing cheaper labor.

    There are many others I could cite. So, the fear-mongerer said these immigrants are the reason for your lot in life. He said the media is another. Then, he said the Dems. He said the Christian way of life is under fire. He said whites are being discriminated against. And, so on.

    Trump does not care about anyone but Donald J. Trump. He will say anything to pat himself on the back and blame others for anything that is not favorable. He does not exhibit the traits of a leader. He exhibits the traits of an autocrat. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Keith,

      I am praying that on Tuesday, President Trump and his sycophants get the lesson of a life-time. They need to face the reality that the president with his cult like followers, are in the minority.

      Because of the GOP’s members penchant for cheating with gerrymandering their voting districts in states led by republican state legislators and their actions to suppress the votes of minority communities, Democratic candidates have to win bigly.

      What gets me are those who claim the Christian or Jewish mantle who still support him. By backing President Trump, they are also giving cover to White Supremacist members and those who sympathize with their beliefs, who are also anti-immigration and anti-Semitic and they are the ones who are most prone to resorting to violence. They all have blood on their hands.

      That Jewish conservatives would continue to support him are turning their backs of their own.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

  2. I find it extremely disconcerting that such hatred and bigotry is allowed to fester within the political framework of this country. Even more abhorrent is the fact that our president gives these virulent racists a sense of false legitimacy. I only hope that one day America will be able to wake up from this recurring nightmare. Thank you so much for posting this, it’s very important that people realize that white supremacy is a terrorist ideology.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Quinlan Bentley,

      Welcome!

      Let’s put it this way. I’m much more frightened that I will be harmed by an mentally ill American or a White Supremacist than I am of middle eastern Jihadists.

      The president with his rhetoric doesn’t help. His words add fuel to an already combustible environment.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

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