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October 27, 2014 0

New Spate of Lone Wolf Attacks Highlights Terrorist Propaganda

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau

A recent series of attacks in the U.S. and Canada have renewed national con­ver­sa­tion about the dan­ger of lone wolf ter­ror­ism: Attacks under­taken by indi­vid­u­als act­ing entirely on their own, with­out belong­ing to an orga­nized extrem­ist group, ter­ror­ist group or cell.

When extrem­ists plan and exe­cute attacks alone, as indi­vid­u­als, there are far fewer oppor­tu­ni­ties for law enforce­ment to detect the attacks in advance and they are much more dif­fi­cult to pre­vent. Con­se­quently, “lone wolf” actions tend to be more deadly.

There is increas­ing spec­u­la­tion that the rise of online ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other for­eign ter­ror­ist groups – and its increas­ing sophis­ti­ca­tion – may con­tribute to such attacks.

ISIS, Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP), and other groups have called on Amer­i­cans, Cana­di­ans and other west­ern­ers to self-radicalize and com­mit lone wolf attacks against their home countries.

In Sep­tem­ber, a speech released by ISIS told sup­port­ers, “If you can kill a dis­be­liev­ing Amer­i­can or Euro­pean – espe­cially the…French – or an Aus­tralian, or a Canadian…kill him in any man­ner or way how­ever it may be. Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s ver­dict. Kill the dis­be­liever whether he is civil­ian or mil­i­tary…” One of the sug­gested meth­ods of attack was to “run him [the West­erner] over with your car.”

In August, AQAP issued an English-language mag­a­zine, which stated that the U.S. “needs sev­eral more attacks inside and out­side its ter­ri­to­ries. This could be done by a Mujahid group or a lone Mujahid,” and pro­vided updated instruc­tions for build­ing pres­sure cooker bombs and car bombs. Such sen­ti­ments have been a fea­ture of AQAP’s English-language pro­pa­ganda for years.

More­over, expo­sure to vio­lent images com­bined with the incite­ment of ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda may pro­vide the nec­es­sary ratio­nale to lead indi­vid­u­als with vio­lent ten­den­cies – and some­times unsta­ble behav­ior – over the tip­ping point towards vio­lence. And in pro­vid­ing that ratio­nale, ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda may also direct the vio­lence, lead­ing to a higher like­li­hood of attacks against law enforce­ment, author­ity fig­ures, or other sym­bolic targets.

Zale Thompson’s alleged attack against NY police offi­cers and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s alleged attack on the Cana­dian Par­lia­ment pro­vide exam­ples of this new type of lone wolf: Indi­vid­u­als with some degree of upset and insta­bil­ity who buy into the frame­work of ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda to the extent that they under­take acts of violence.

Thomp­son, for exam­ple, was rumored to be depressed and suf­fer­ing from drug abuse. He was angry about what he per­ceived as oppres­sion of blacks in the U.S. In his embrace of rad­i­cal Islam, he read and wrote about “holy war” and behead­ings, and googled the phrase “jihad against police,” accord­ing to law enforce­ment sources. He also looked up infor­ma­tion on the two Cana­dian attacks before allegedly attempt­ing to kill the police officers.

Less is known about Mar­tin Rouleau-Couture, the man who allegedly ran over two sol­diers in Canada last week, but he, too, appar­ently engaged with extrem­ist pro­pa­ganda online and praised ISIS on his Face­book page.

Lone wolves aren’t the only ones who respond to online incite­ment. A major­ity of the Amer­i­can cit­i­zens who attempt to join for­eign ter­ror­ist groups abroad or to work on their behalf at home have been influ­enced by it to some extent – appar­ently includ­ing the three teenage girls from Den­ver who allegedly attempted to join ISIS last week.

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April 16, 2014 0

Overland Park Shooting Suspect Admired “Lone Wolf” Killers

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Glenn Miller on Joseph Paul Franklin

Fol­low­ing deadly shoot­ings at Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in Over­land Park, Kansas, on April 13, 2014, Over­land Park police soon arrested a sus­pect, Fra­zier Glenn Cross (more com­monly known as Fra­zier Glenn Miller or sim­ply Glenn Miller). A new ADL report reveals dis­turb­ing new details about his recent activities.

Miller is a long-time white suprema­cist whose extrem­ist career spans decades.   In recent years, Miller was active on the white suprema­cist dis­cus­sion forum Van­guard News Net­work (VNN), mak­ing over 12,000 posts to that site.  He expounded racist and anti-Semitic views on a vari­ety of sub­jects, but dur­ing 2009–2013 Miller repeat­edly made posts related to one rather dis­turb­ing theme:  sup­port for lone wolf white suprema­cists who had com­mit­ted vio­lent acts.

One lone wolf ter­ror­ist Miller admired was James Von Brunn, the 88-year-old white suprema­cist who opened fire at the U.S. Holo­caust Memo­r­ial Museum in June 2009, killing a secu­rity guard.  Miller also approved of Wade Michael Page, the white suprema­cist who embarked upon a deadly shoot­ing spree at a Sikh tem­ple in Wis­con­sin in 2012.  “Many thou­sands of would-be mud [i.e., non-white] immigrants…will decide not to come [after Page’s attack],” Miller wrote shortly there­after.  “Is that good or bad for white folks?  See?”

Another white suprema­cist mur­derer Miller admired was Keith Luke.  In early 2009, Luke embarked upon a mur­der­ous ram­page in Brock­ton, Mass­a­chu­setts, killing two West African immi­grants and shoot­ing and rap­ing a third.  Luke allegedly planned to attack a syn­a­gogue that evening, but police caught up to him before he could carry out the final act of his spree.  In early 2010, Miller described Luke as “a super coura­geous young white man with the guts to act, as opposed to yel­low cyber-space [white nation­al­ists] who only type, anonymously.”

When Nor­we­gian extrem­ist Anders Behring Breivik com­mit­ted bomb­ings and shoot­ings in July 2011 that killed 77 peo­ple, mostly chil­dren, Miller imag­ined an Amer­i­can equiv­a­lent.  “If some enter­pris­ing Amer­i­can fel­low went to a youth camp in the Catskills, Camp David, or Martha’s Vine­yard,” he wrote on the VNN forum that same month, “and ‘sprayed’ some young’uns belong to our immigrant-loving JOG [Jewish-Occupied Gov­ern­ment], I dare say I might not lose a whole lot of sleep…I just might sleep even bet­ter than my norm, pos­si­bly with a wide grin on my face.”

How­ever, if there was one mur­derer whom Miller par­tic­u­larly looked up to, it was Joseph Paul Franklin, the white suprema­cist ser­ial killer and death row inmate who in the 1970s had­com­mit­ted a num­ber of mur­ders and bomb­ings against African-Americans, Jews, and interracialcouples.

In August 2009, Miller pro­claimed that Franklin was “one hell of a [white nation­al­ist].”  Miller­soon actively urged other white suprema­cists to sup­port Franklin—whom he dubbed a “martyr”—by writ­ing him, send­ing him money, and other mea­sures (includ­ing brib­ing guards).  In early 2010, Miller announced on the VNN forum that he had received a let­ter from Franklin, “this liv­ing [white nation­al­ist] legend.”

By Sep­tem­ber 2013, just months before Franklin’s sched­uled exe­cu­tion date, Miller and Franklin had estab­lished a rela­tion­ship, with Franklin mak­ing reg­u­lar phone calls to Miller.   Miller ener­get­i­cally tried to raise money for Franklin and to pro­mote his rep­u­ta­tion.  Franklin, he claimed in a Sep­tem­ber 29 post­ing to VNN, was “the most coura­geous Amer­i­can war­rior for our race in our life­time.”  Two days later, Miller called Franklin, “a lone wolf hero.”

Miller even tried to put him­self into Franklin’s head when describ­ing some of Franklin’s vio­lent actions:  “This one in one-hundred-million white man, in total self con­trol, cool and con­fi­dent in him­self and his Aryan abil­i­ties, does not run away to safety.  No, no, no.  He calmly pulls over, con­fronts the n—–, and blows his black ass away, and the white assed, n—–loving bitch, too, AFTER rel­ish­ing, up close and per­sonal, the ter­ror in their eyes.  And then, and only then, he calmly dri­ves away while plan­ning his next hit.”  For a select few, Miller said in a dif­fer­ent post­ing, “it’s what makes life worth living.”

On Novem­ber 20, fol­low­ing Franklin’s exe­cu­tion, Miller announced his death, then pro­claimed that “Joseph Paul Franklin, mar­tyr, is born and will live for­ever in the hearts and minds of strong, loyal white men, women, and youth.  Hail Joseph Paul Franklin!!!”

Five months later, Fra­zier Glenn Miller allegedly embarked upon his own killing spree in Over­land Park, Kansas.

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