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April 20, 2016 15

White Supremacists Up in Arms over Tubman on $20 Bill

Harriet Tubman. Photo Credit: Ohio History Connection (OHC) via U.S. Treasury Department, dated circa 1887 by H.G. Smith, Studio Building, Boston.

Har­riet Tub­man. Photo Credit: Ohio His­tory Con­nec­tion (OHC) via U.S. Trea­sury Depart­ment, dated circa 1887 by H.G. Smith, Stu­dio Build­ing, Boston.

On April 20, the U.S. Trea­sury Depart­ment announced that famous abo­li­tion­ist and res­cuer of slaves Har­riet Tub­man will be the new face of the $20 bill, replac­ing Andrew Jack­son (who moves to the bill’s back). The move is intended to answer a long-standing call for more diver­sity on America’s paper cur­rency. Tub­man, a for­mer slave her­self, helped hun­dreds of other slaves escape into freedom.

Ini­tial reac­tions were largely positive—but not among racists and white suprema­cists, who wasted no time react­ing to the news with ferocious–and unsurprising–venom. “Talk­ing mon­key Har­riet Tub­man to replace Indian killer Jack­son on $20 bill,” Andrew Anglin, edi­tor and founder of the white suprema­cist Daily Stormer web­site, announced on his blog.  A forum mem­ber on the white suprema­cist mes­sage board Storm­front warned, “Just make very sure you don’t ‘inte­grate’ this new $20 bill into your wal­let. You’ll likely find the rest of your money miss­ing in no time.”

Other Storm­front con­trib­u­tors posited the idea of “hav­ing fun” with the new bill by defac­ing it. One sug­gested he would make a stamp with a “white nation­al­ist cross” and the words “White Pride World Wide” to embla­zon on every $20 bill he encoun­ters. Yet another pledged never to use the new $20 bill, to demand to be given other bills instead.

On Face­book, racist com­ments also sur­faced quickly. Some­one post­ing as “Pete Lam­bro” wrote, “Who the hell is har­riet tub­man [sic]…if Obama want to put an african amer­i­cans [sic] Pic­ture [sic] on some­thing how about food stamps or ebt cards.”  In another Face­book post­ing,  a “Nick Fran­cis” com­plained that “now we have to stare at a mon­key every time we get paid.”

Oth­ers were quick to intro­duce anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries, alleg­ing that the Trea­sury Depart­ment announce­ment was the brain­child of the Jews.  One anti-Semite posted to his Face­book page the com­ment “More Zion­ist Jack Jew,” refer­ring to Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Jack Lew.  A Storm­front poster using the screen­name Proud_White_Chap asked, “Who cares who Jews put on their fake paper? Andrew Jack­son fought against them and they besmirched his mem­ory by plac­ing him on the 20 dol­lar bill.” This seems to be a ref­er­ence to the anti-Semitic belief that Jews con­trol the bank­ing sys­tem and to the fact that Jack­son dis­man­tled the U.S.’s national bank.

A Trea­sury spokesper­son said the design for the new bills will be made pub­lic in 2020, the cen­ten­nial of women win­ning the right to vote. The actual cur­rency, how­ever, won’t be in cir­cu­la­tion until 2030, giv­ing white suprema­cists plenty of time to gnash their teeth and accu­mu­late other denominations.

White suprema­cists will prob­a­bly be no hap­pier with the new $5 and $10 bills, how­ever, which are to fea­ture five women’s suf­frage activists, Eleanor Roo­sevelt, and African-Americans Mar­ian Ander­son and Mar­tin Luther King, Jr., on the reverse sides.

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April 13, 2016 3

Firearms Increasingly Weapon of Choice in Extremist-Related Killings

extremistkillingswithfirearms1970-2015In the pop­u­lar imag­i­na­tion, the bomb is the weapon typ­i­cally asso­ci­ated with ter­ror­ists or extremists—but in the U.S. extrem­ists seem to be killing more peo­ple with firearms than with any other weapon, and that use may be increasing.

It is cer­tainly true that many of the high-profile ter­ror­ist attacks in the United States over the past cen­tury have been bomb­ings, includ­ing the 1919 anar­chist bomb­ing cam­paign, the 1963 16th Street Bap­tist Church bomb­ing, the 1995 bomb­ing of the Mur­rah Fed­eral Build­ing in Okla­homa City, and the 2013 Boston Marathon bomb­ing, among many oth­ers. Extrem­ist ser­ial bombers such as the Weather Under­ground, “Unabomber” Ted Kaczyn­ski, and Eric Rudolph have all got­ten their share of headlines.

How­ever, extrem­ists use a wide vari­ety of deadly imple­ments to com­mit their crimes, terrorist-related or oth­er­wise, from fists and boots to air­planes. The most com­mon tool of vio­lence seems to be the sim­ple firearm, a weapon that extrem­ists can use when com­mit­ting ter­ror­ist acts, hate crimes, assas­si­na­tions, armed rob­beries, and all man­ner of tra­di­tional crime. In the United States, firearms are easy to obtain and easy to use. Amer­i­can extrem­ists of all pos­si­ble types, from the far left to the far right, as well as reli­gious extrem­ists, have used firearms to com­mit deadly acts.

How com­mon is such firearms use in the United States? The Anti-Defamation League’s Cen­ter on Extrem­ism exam­ined 890 mur­ders com­mit­ted by domes­tic extrem­ists in the United States from 1970 through 2015—both ide­o­log­i­cal and non-ideological killings by extrem­ist perpetrators—and dis­cov­ered that around 55% of these killings involved use of a firearm; all other weapons com­bined made up the other 45%.

This fig­ure sig­ni­fies both the pop­u­lar­ity of firearms among extrem­ist move­ments in the United States, espe­cially right-wing extrem­ists, as well as the fact that attacks with other types of weapons may be less likely to end in death. Attacks using knives or fists, for exam­ple, may pos­si­bly result in non-fatal injuries more often than firearms. On the other end of the scale, bomb­ings are more dif­fi­cult to carry out—with many extrem­ist bomb­ing plots detected and pre­vented by law enforce­ment from ever being executed.

When one breaks down the num­bers by decade, it appears that, after a dip in the 1980s and 1990s, firearms are becom­ing more pop­u­lar than ever as the deadly weapons of choice for Amer­i­can extrem­ists. Not only have the num­bers of domestic-extremist related killings in the U.S. increased over the past 20 years, but so too has the fre­quency of firearms as the weapons in such killings.

In the 1970s, extremists—primarily com­ing from the far left—used firearms in 61% of domes­tic extremist-related killings in the United States. Many of these inci­dents involved mem­bers of left-wing extrem­ist groups such as the Black Pan­thers and the Black Lib­er­a­tion Army attack­ing police officers.

The per­cent­age of firearms use in extremist-related killings dipped in the 1980s, to only 46%, then dropped dras­ti­cally in the 1990s, down to 20%. This lat­ter fig­ure is greatly dis­torted by the Okla­homa City bomb­ing, which itself resulted in 168 deaths, but even if the bomb­ing were left out of the cal­cu­la­tions, the new num­ber would only be 42%. There are sev­eral rea­sons that seem to account for these lower fig­ures, includ­ing the rise of white suprema­cist prison gangs com­mit­ting mur­ders behind bars and the growth of the racist skin­head sub­cul­ture in the United States, whose adher­ents often eschewed firearms for beat­ing and stab­bing attacks.

How­ever, in the 2000s, firearms once more were the deadly weapons in the major­ity of killings, with 62% of the killings between 2001 and 2010 involv­ing one or more firearms. So far in the cur­rent decade, the per­cent­ages are even higher, with 72% of the domestic-extremist related deaths from 2011 through 2015 involv­ing firearms.

What accounts for this increase? Sev­eral fac­tors seem to have played a role. One is the increased use of firearms by sev­eral extrem­ist move­ments. Racist skin­heads seem to use firearms with greater fre­quency in the 2000s than they did in ear­lier decades, while the growth of white suprema­cist prison gang activ­ity on the streets—as opposed to behind bars—has allowed their mem­bers much greater access to and use of firearms.

Even more con­cern­ing is the appar­ent grav­i­ta­tion of domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists towards firearms as a weapon of choice. In the early years of this move­ment, fol­low­ing the 2003 U.S. inva­sion of Iraq, much of the energy of those extrem­ists with vio­lent impulses were directed at elab­o­rate plots involv­ing bombs or even mil­i­tary weapons—plots typ­i­cally stopped by law enforce­ment before they could ever be car­ried out.

Since 2009, how­ever, there have been a num­ber of high-profile inci­dents in which Islamic extrem­ists have used firearms to con­duct shoot­ings (and one instance, the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, where the per­pe­tra­tors used both bombs and firearms), includ­ing shoot­ings at Ft. Hood, Texas; Lit­tle Rock, Arkansas; Chat­tanooga, Ten­nessee; and San Bernardino, California.

The rise of ISIS in the past sev­eral years may have con­tributed to the increase in attempted small arms attacks; Al Qaeda gen­er­ally favored high-spectacle and sym­bolic attacks, whereas ISIS has been more prac­ti­cal, urg­ing adher­ents to com­mit any attack they think they can pull off.

Most of the Islamic-related shoot­ings were mass shoot­ings, which may be the final piece of the puz­zle. Though most extrem­ist killings con­tinue to take one vic­tim at a time, the num­ber of mul­ti­ple vic­tims in deadly extremist-related inci­dents (both ide­o­log­i­cal and non-ideological) has cer­tainly grown. Since 2001, there have been 24 domes­tic extrem­ist inci­dents in which at least three peo­ple were killed—and firearms were the weapons used in the vast major­ity of these cases, includ­ing such deadly shoot­ing sprees as the 2012 Wis­con­sin Sikh tem­ple shoot­ing and the 2015 Charleston church shooting.

The increased num­ber of mul­ti­ple vic­tim inci­dents by extrem­ists is also one of the rea­sons why the death toll has been ris­ing. From extrem­ists on the right such as white suprema­cists and anti-government extrem­ists to reli­gious extrem­ists such as domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists, gun vio­lence seems more likely to increase than decrease in the com­ing months and years

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March 28, 2016 4

Hacker Claims Credit for Anti-Semitic Flyer Sent to College Campuses

Col­leges around the coun­try, large and small, pub­lic and pri­vate, con­tinue to receive anti-Semitic fly­ers blam­ing Jews for destroy­ing the coun­try “through mass immi­gra­tion and degen­er­acy” and ask­ing peo­ple to “join us in the strug­gle for global white supremacy.” Hacker Andrew Auern­heimer (also known as Weev) has claimed credit for exploit­ing net­work print­ers at these col­leges to print these flyers.

Andrew Auernheimer in a photo posted on the Daily Stormer in 2014

Andrew Auern­heimer in a photo posted on the Daily Stormer in 2014

Auern­heimer, an unabashed racist and anti-Semite wrote a post­ing on Storify on March 25 about how he used a few lines of code to seek out inse­cure print­ers and then caused those print­ers to auto­mat­i­cally print out the anti-Semitic flyer. Auern­heimer elab­o­rated on his moti­va­tion in his post­ing: “The key to mak­ing impact in the world is not being the smartest or know­ing the most. It’s about oper­at­ing asym­met­ri­cally at scale. Expend the least amount of effort for the most amount of things hap­pen­ing.” Auern­heimer chose his mes­sage because “When you’re print­ing on the scale of tens or hun­dreds of thou­sands of print­ers, every increase in com­plex­ity makes more print­ers reject the mes­sage.” He added, “With scale you should pre­fer ele­gance over com­plex­ity, and what could pos­si­bly be more ele­gant than the inher­ent beauty of the swastika?”

Because Auernheimer’s code is rel­a­tively sim­ple and he posted it online, it seems likely that oth­ers will repro­duce what Auern­heimer describes as his “brief exper­i­ment.” He wrote on Twit­ter that “the copy­cats are already here,” not­ing another round of hate­ful fly­ers were printed at UMass– Amherst.

In a March 27 inter­view with Moth­er­board, Auern­heimer defended his actions, stat­ing “I did not hack any print­ers. I sent them mes­sages because they were con­fig­ured to receive mes­sages from the public.”

Anti-Semitic flyer sent to a number of college campus printers

Anti-Semitic flyer sent to a num­ber of col­lege cam­pus printers

Auern­heimer was sen­tenced to 3.5 years in prison in March 2013, report­edly charged with fed­eral crimes for obtain­ing the per­sonal data of more than 100,000 iPad own­ers from AT&T’s pub­licly acces­si­ble web­site.  In April 2014, accord­ing to Arstech­nica, an appeals court reversed Auernheimer’s con­vic­tion and sen­tence because he was “charged in the wrong fed­eral court.”

A sec­ond flyer that attacked the LGBT com­mu­nity appeared on print­ers at the Uni­ver­sity of Mass­a­chu­setts and UCLA over the week­end of March 26. The flyer, which used homo­pho­bic and racist slurs, indi­cated that the mes­sage “has been brought to you by the Gay Ni– –er Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica [GNAA].” GNAA is a loosely affil­i­ated group of Inter­net trolls who have hacked var­i­ous web­sites.  Though it is unclear if Auern­heimer sent this flyer as well, that is the name of a group that Auern­heimer was asso­ci­ated with when he was involved in hack­ing the AT&T web­site, expos­ing the names of thou­sands of iPad users.

Mr. Auernheimer’s anti-Semitism dates back to at least 2009, when he cre­ated sev­eral videos that con­tained anti-Semitic ram­blings and com­ments.  At the time, mem­bers of the Jew­ish com­mu­nity in Port­land, Ore­gon, con­tacted the ADL with con­cern about Auern­heimer, as threat­en­ing calls were made to an area syn­a­gogue at the same time that Auern­heimer released a video in which he said he was going to Port­land. Law enforce­ment believed that Mr. Auern­heimer might have been the indi­vid­ual who made the calls.  A secu­rity aware­ness alert for Jew­ish insti­tu­tions was cir­cu­lated in the Port­land area.

The FBI located Auern­heimer at a hotel in the San Fran­cisco area and warned him not to go near Jew­ish con­gre­ga­tions or agen­cies. Auern­heimer allegedly told the FBI that he was dis­gusted by Jew­ish teach­ings but not Jews. He later spec­u­lated that some sort of impor­tant “kike event” must have been going on in Port­land.  He was never charged with any crimes related to the inci­dent, nor was it deter­mined that he actu­ally had made the threat­en­ing calls.

Auern­heimer, who describes him­self as a “white nation­al­ist hack­tivist,”  does not try to hide his racism and anti-Semitism. In an Octo­ber 2014 piece on The Daily Dot, he is quoted describ­ing him­self as “a long-time critic of Judaism, black cul­ture, immi­gra­tion to West­ern nations, and the media’s con­stant stream of anti-white pro­pa­ganda.” Accord­ing to the arti­cle, he has a “giant swastika tat­too,” and wants the peo­ple who sup­port him as “some­thing of a folk hero” who beat “a con­tro­ver­sial hack­ing con­vic­tion” to know that he is not just a “troll,” but is “incon­tro­vert­ibly racist.”

In Octo­ber 2014, on the white suprema­cist site the Daily Stormer (ref­er­enced on the flyer) Auern­heimer ranted about “the Jews,” whom he says built “an empire of wicked­ness the likes the world has never seen.” He wrote, “They took con­trol of our sys­tems of finance and law. They hyper­in­flated our cur­rency. They cor­rupted our daugh­ters and demanded they sub­ject them­selves to sex work to feed their fam­i­lies. These are a peo­ple that have made them­selves a prob­lem in every nation they occupy, includ­ing ours.”

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