DHS warns of rise in attacks by violent extremists amidst COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus COVID-19The Department of Homeland Security has warned law enforcement departments across the United States that violent extremists are mobilizing against health restrictions imposed to combat the novel coronavirus. This is the third warning known to have been issued by the DHS in the past month about the potential of violence by domestic violent extremists, as America continues to battle the pandemic.

The latest warning was issued on Thursday, April 23, in the form of a memorandum, which was communicated to law enforcement personnel throughout the US. The memorandum was marked ‘unclassified/law enforcement sensitive’ and was accessed by Politico, which reported on it on Thursday. It comes as a self-styled ‘Liberate’ movement is forming in several American states, which aims to pressure government officials to end lockdowns across the country.

The memorandum states that “recent incidents and arrests nationwide illustrate how the COVID-19 pandemic is driving violent actors —both non-ideologically and ideologically motivated— to threaten violence”. It goes on to cite arrests of violent extremists who have issued threats against elected and appointed government officials. There have also been threats made against government facilities, including police stations and federal buildings, by people protesting the lockdowns.

A man, described in the DHS report as an “anti-government extremist”, was arrested earlier this month after he threatened to kill the governor of New Mexico, Michelle Grisham, over her decision to impose ‘stay at home’ orders. Another man was arrested in Florida after he threatened to take action against the COVID-19 lockdown by blowing up the headquarters of the Orlando Police Department. Last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation uncovered a plot by a white supremacist and anti-government radical to blow up a medical facility in the Kansas City, Missouri, area. On March 23, the DHS issued another report stating that American white supremacists were exploring ways to weaponize the coronavirus as early as January.

The latest DHS memorandum warns that the danger posed by domestic violent extremists will continue to escalate “until the virus is contained and the normal routine of US societal life resumes”.

Author: Ian Allen | Date: 24 April 2020 | Permalink

American white supremacists wanted to weaponize COVID-19 in early February

Coronavirus COVID-19In early February, when most Western governments were just beginning to wake up to the COVID-19 threat, some American white supremacists were already exploring ways to weaponize the new virus. This is disclosed in an intelligence report authored by analysts in the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service (FPS). The FPS is a law enforcement agency whose mission includes the physical protection of buildings and facilities used by the federal government.

The revelation is included in the FPS Weekly Intelligence Brief, which covers the week of February 17-24. Federal investigators found the information while monitoring online exchanges between what the FPS analysts describe as White Racially Motivated Violent Extremists. These exchanges took place on Telegram, an encrypted social networking application that has become popular with white supremacist groups due to its strong encryption standards.

According to the FPS, white supremacists discussed methods of using COVID-19 as a weapon to target members of local and federal law enforcement, as well as “nonwhite” individuals. Methods of attack reportedly included “saliva” or “spray bottles” containing bodily fluids of COVID-19 patients. Some members of the Telegram forum suggested smearing “saliva on door handles” at FBI field offices or smearing other bodily fluids on elevator buttons of apartment buildings located in “nonwhite neighborhoods”. Some white supremacists suggested that, should one of them contract the virus, they had an “obligation” to pass it on to members of law enforcement or non-whites.

Author: Ian Allen | Date: 23 March 2020 | Permalink

Comment: Are US Authorities Ignoring Far-Right Terrorism?

Wade Michael PageBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Last month I gave a radio interview on a show syndicated on National Public Radio stations in the United States, in which I warned that American far-right extremism is growing faster than any other time since the rise of the second Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. I specifically pointed the finger at an increasingly dangerous mix of gun culture, neo-Nazi ideology, and white-nationalist interpretations of Christianity, known collectively as Christian Identity. In the post-9/11 world, many in the West tend to be forgetful of incidents like the neo-Nazi-inspired 1995 Oklahoma City bombing —the largest terrorist attack on US soil prior to 9/11. Even recent high-profile cases, such as the 2011 Norway attacks by neo-Nazi Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Oslo and Utøya, have proven unable to challenge that dangerous amnesia. It follows that last Sunday’s mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, which left seven people dead and three injured, including a police officer, poses a long-overdue opportunity for reflection.

The attacker has been identified as Wade Michael Page (pictured), 40, a former US Army soldier who had previously lived in Colorado and North Carolina. He appears to have acted alone, armed with a legally purchased 9-millimeter handgun. His record indicates that he had been issued permits in North Carolina to purchase five pistols in 2008, though he did not have permit to carry concealed weapons. It also appears that Page, who served in the US military from 1992 to 1998, was a committed neo-Nazi, who had an active role in white-power music —a bizarre subgenre of hardcore heavy metal. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Page led a racist white-power music band known as End Apathy, which he founded in North Carolina, after several years of playing in another band called Definite Hate. Others report that Page, who sported a shaved head in typical neo-Nazi fashion, had several Nazi-themed tattoos all over his body. Read more of this post

Analysis: The Danger in Ignoring Non-Muslim Religious Terrorism

Hutaree militia membersBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Even though over a decade separates us from the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Americans continue to be heavily preoccupied with terrorism. But what is the face of terrorism in our time? Too often, the term ‘terrorist’ conjures up the stereotypical image of an Arabic-speaking Muslim male from the Middle East —viewed by many Westerners as an abstract geopolitical notion that erroneously includes Afghanistan. There is no doubt that Islamic-inspired terrorism is both very real and very dangerous. However, consciously or subconsciously associating terrorism solely with Islam is not only flawed, but also potentially dangerous for our collective security. In reality, all religious dogmas contain extremist elements. This includes religious doctrines that are widely considered peace-loving, such as Anabaptism, or even Buddhism. A case in point that is often overlooked by Westernern observers is Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese millenarianist cult inspired by Buddhist tenets. In 1995, Aum members used sarin gas in a large-scale terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway system, which killed 13 and injured close to a thousand commuters. In later years it was revealed that, prior to engaging in chemical terrorism, Aum had become history’s first known terrorist group to actively try to acquire nuclear material for tactical purposes. It was only after failing to obtain nuclear material that Aum’s leadership turned to sarin. This past Thursday, July 5, an interview of mine was aired on this very subject, namely the current state of homegrown, religiously-inspired terrorism in the United States. Read more of this post