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August 18, 2015 2

California Strengthens Laws Against “Paper Terrorism”

Cal­i­for­nia gov­er­nor Jerry Brown signed into law this past week a new mea­sure designed to increase pro­tec­tion for Cal­i­for­ni­ans from the so-called “paper ter­ror­ism” tac­tics of anti-government extremists.ab1267

Mem­bers of the anti-government sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment often file bogus liens or other sim­i­lar doc­u­ments in order to encum­ber the prop­erty of their ene­mies in retal­i­a­tion for some per­ceived wrong­do­ing. Although fil­ing a bogus lien is a crime in Cal­i­for­nia, once such harass­ing liens are filed, it still takes sig­nif­i­cant time and money for vic­tims to get them removed—which is why they are so effec­tive as a retal­ia­tory tactic.

In the 1990s, Cal­i­for­nia enacted leg­is­la­tion to pro­vide a fast-track removal process for such bogus encum­brances. How­ever, the law only applied to pub­lic offi­cials or employ­ees, com­mon vic­tims of such sov­er­eign cit­i­zen tactics.

Now, thanks to Assem­bly­mem­ber Richard Bloom (D– Santa Mon­ica), who spon­sored the bill, California’s laws will extend fast track pro­tec­tion to pri­vate indi­vid­u­als and busi­nesses who are tar­gets of “paper terrorism.”

Addi­tion­ally, the new law will allow any­one tar­geted by a false encum­brance to seek civil reme­dies up to $5,000. With this leg­is­la­tion, Cal­i­for­nia joins the 25 other states that have passed sim­i­lar laws.

The Anti-Defamation League pro­posed and drafted the mea­sure and, early in the process, helped gain sup­port for it from a num­ber of orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing the Cal­i­for­nia Dis­trict Attor­neys Asso­ci­a­tion and the Cal­i­for­nia Police Chiefs Association.

The bill received bi-partisan and unan­i­mous sup­port in both the Assem­bly and Senate.

Sov­er­eign cit­i­zens believe that gov­ern­ment has no author­ity over them because an insid­i­ous con­spir­acy infil­trated and replaced the orig­i­nal legit­i­mate gov­ern­ment with an ille­git­i­mate, tyran­ni­cal one. They claim to owe alle­giance only to the “orig­i­nal” gov­ern­ment. Con­se­quently, sov­er­eigns often claim that they are out­side the juris­dic­tion of the “ille­git­i­mate” gov­ern­ment and that they can ignore all laws and regulations.

In addi­tion to “paper ter­ror­ism” crimes, sov­er­eigns engage in other ille­gal activ­ity rang­ing from scams and frauds to deadly shootouts and standoffs.

The mort­gage cri­sis and the reces­sion of 2008 sparked a surge in the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment, who exploited the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion to grow in num­bers and activ­ity. The Real Estate Fraud Pros­e­cu­tion Unit of the San Bernardino Dis­trict Attorney’s office, for exam­ple, has esti­mated that their cur­rent case load con­sists of 85% sov­er­eign cit­i­zen cases.

ADL tracks the activ­i­ties of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment and has trained tens of thou­sands of law enforce­ment offi­cers, gov­ern­ment offi­cials, pros­e­cu­tors and judges about the movement’s ide­ol­ogy, activ­i­ties and ille­gal tac­tics, includ­ing ter­ror­ism and deadly violence.

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August 12, 2015 0

From Charleston to Chattanooga: The Face of Terror in America

By Oren Segal and Mark Pit­cav­age
Direc­tors of the Anti-Defamation League’s Cen­ter on Extremism

Ter­ror­ism is some­times referred to as the “face­less enemy,” but it has hardly been face­less in the United States this sum­mer.  Too many peo­ple have emerged from the shad­ows to inflict death and suffering.

The parade of vio­lence has seemed unend­ing, from Elton Simp­son and Nadir Soofi, who attacked police offi­cers pro­vid­ing secu­rity for the so-called “Muham­mad Art Exhibit” in Texas in May, to John Houser, the Hitler-admiring man obsessed with the moral decay of Amer­ica who recently opened fire at a Louisiana movie the­ater show­ing the movie Train­wreck.

Of the var­i­ous killers and would-be killers this sum­mer, two stand out.  The first is Dylann Storm Roof, the white suprema­cist who allegedly con­fessed to the June mas­sacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Car­olina, that left nine African-Americans dead.dylann-storm-roof-gun-confederate-flag-600

The sec­ond is Muham­mad Youssef Abdu­lazeez, who in July engaged in a shoot­ing spree tar­get­ing a Chat­tanooga mil­i­tary recruit­ing cen­ter and a nearby naval reserve cen­ter.  Abdu­lazeez, who may have been inspired by rad­i­cal Mus­lim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, killed five people—all mil­i­tary personnel—before being killed by police.

In many ways, Roof and Abdu­lazeez per­son­ify America’s ter­ror­ist threat; they are the faces of the “face­less enemy.”  Most obvi­ously, each rep­re­sents a major source of ter­ror­ism.  Roof was a white suprema­cist who allegedly hoped to start a “race war” in which whites would pre­vail.  White suprema­cists have for decades been the most pro­lific source of domes­tic extremist-related lethal vio­lence.  Along with the other main seg­ment of the extreme right, anti-government mili­tia groups and sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, they are respon­si­ble for the great major­ity of extremist-related deaths in the U.S.

Abdu­lazeez, on whom there is less infor­ma­tion regard­ing moti­va­tion, may well have latched onto the ideas of al-Awlaki—including his encour­age­ment of attacks on mil­i­tary targets—as a way to atone for some of his per­sonal demons, includ­ing drugs and alco­hol.  Domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists have in recent years attempted or con­ducted a large num­ber of ter­ror­ist plots, con­spir­a­cies and acts, despite being fewer in num­ber than right-wing extremists.

Both men also chose tar­gets typ­i­cal of their move­ments.  For Abdu­lazeez, it was the mil­i­tary; here he fol­lowed in the foot­steps of Abdul­hakim Mujahid Muham­mad, who killed a sol­dier at a recruit­ing cen­ter in Lit­tle Rock, Arkansas, in 2009, and Nidal Malik Has­san, who killed 13 peo­ple at Fort Hood, Texas, that same year.  Other Islamic extrem­ists have also recently plot­ted attacks against mil­i­tary tar­gets in the U.S., though with­out success.mohammad-youssef-abdulazeez

Roof went on a shoot­ing ram­page against African-Americans.  Sprees of vio­lence against racial, eth­nic, or reli­gious minori­ties are a com­mon type of white suprema­cist ter­ror­ism.  In recent years, there have been a num­ber of such episodes, includ­ing Fra­zier Glenn Miller’s attacks on Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in Over­land Park, Kansas, in 2014; Wade Michael Page’s ram­page at a Sikh tem­ple in Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin, in 2012, and Keith Luke’s attacks on African immi­grants in Brock­ton, Mass­a­chu­setts, in 2009.

Both Roof and Abdu­lazeez used firearms for their attacks, which is also typ­i­cal of Amer­i­can ter­ror­ism.  Although the pub­lic usu­ally thinks of ter­ror­ism in terms of bombs, ter­ror­ists like Ted Kaczyn­ski and the Boston Marathon bombers are rare in Amer­ica.  The vast major­ity of extremist-related mur­ders involve guns—easy to acquire, sim­ple to use, and deadly.  This is why Charleston and Chat­tanooga num­ber among the 10 dead­liest extremist-related attacks of the past 50 years.  Indeed, with the excep­tion of the Okla­homa City bomb­ing, the “top 10” attacks all involved firearms.

Abdu­lazeez and Roof were both young men, dis­af­fected, fac­ing per­sonal stresses of dif­fer­ent kinds (Abdu­lazeez also suf­fered from men­tal ill­ness).  Although ter­ror­ism knows no age limits—Nidal Hasan was 39 at the time of his Fort Hood ram­page, while white suprema­cist James Von Brunn, who attacked the U.S. Holo­caust Memo­r­ial Museum in 2009, was in his late 80s—many of the attacks and plots in recent years by both Islamic and right-wing extrem­ists have been com­mit­ted by men in their mid-20s or younger.

Like Abdu­lazeez and Roof, a num­ber of these extrem­ists com­mit­ted their attacks as lone wolves, unat­tached to any par­tic­u­lar group.  Over­all, the num­ber of lethal lone wolf attacks in the past two decades has been fairly low, num­ber­ing only a few dozen, but in recent years, lone wolves seem to have been emerg­ing at a faster rate.  One rea­son may be the increas­ing role played by the Inter­net in facil­i­tat­ing self-radicalization.  It was through the Inter­net that Roof edu­cated him­self in white supremacy; it was via the Inter­net that Abdu­lazeez down­loaded record­ings of al-Awlaki.

Here one can see a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence between right-wing extrem­ists and domes­tic Islamic rad­i­cals.  While they can both eas­ily immerse them­selves in a sea of on-line pro­pa­ganda designed to instill and rein­force extreme views, right-wing extrem­ist Inter­net sources are pri­mar­ily based in the United States and, there­fore, must watch what they say.  White suprema­cists who openly use the Inter­net to encour­age vio­lence and ter­ror­ism open them­selves up to crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion and, if vio­lence occurs, pos­si­ble civil lia­bil­ity; as a result, their encour­age­ment of vio­lence is often more implicit than explicit.

Domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists, in con­trast, receive most of their rad­i­cal­iz­ing mes­sages from abroad, from ter­ror­ist groups and like-minded sup­port­ers who are freer to use the Inter­net to call for vio­lence and ter­ror­ism within the U.S.  Pro­pa­ganda from Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula, for exam­ple, was an inspi­ra­tion for the Boston Marathon bomb­ing.  In the past two years, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has taken such tac­tics to a new level alto­gether, employ­ing a vir­tual army of on-line recruiters who use social media plat­forms to reach and rad­i­cal­ize sus­cep­ti­ble indi­vid­u­als across the globe.  Seek­ing to instill a deep sense of com­mu­nity and pur­pose, ISIS sup­port­ers encour­age Amer­i­cans to come to the Mid­dle East to help it fight its wars—many of the 80+ U.S. res­i­dents linked to Islamic extrem­ist activ­ity since 2014 have made such attempts. But ISIS also urges peo­ple to launch attacks in the U.S.

Roof and Abdu­lazeez were both cold-blooded killers.  Their attacks deeply affected the cit­i­zens of Charleston and Chat­tanooga and, indeed, the whole coun­try, though not always in the same ways.  In par­tic­u­lar, the Chat­tanooga shoot­ings, like some sim­i­lar attacks before them, stirred anti-Muslim sen­ti­ments directed at America’s entire Mus­lim com­mu­nity, a dis­turb­ing phe­nom­e­non for which there is no par­al­lel with regard to white suprema­cist attacks.

But their attacks were sim­i­lar in that they were both essen­tially futile, able to achieve lit­tle but death and mis­ery.  Indeed, the reac­tions to the attacks illus­trate just how inef­fec­tive they actu­ally were.  The Chat­tanooga attack, for exam­ple, inspired an out­pour­ing of sup­port for the U.S. mil­i­tary. The Charleston response was even more pow­er­ful.  Far from start­ing a “race war,” Roof’s slaugh­ter not only brought Charlesto­ni­ans of all races together but also resulted in a bipar­ti­san effort to remove the Con­fed­er­ate flag from the South Car­olina capitol.

Amer­i­can extrem­ists, of what­ever stripe, can hurt and even kill, but the one thing they can’t do is win.

Mr. Segal is an author­ity on Islamic extrem­ism and ter­ror­ism in the United States; Dr. Pit­cav­age is an expert on right-wing extrem­ism and ter­ror­ism in the United States.

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July 8, 2015 2

White Supremacists Angry About Alleged Demise of White Race

Claim­ing that they are an endan­gered species account­ing for a mere 9% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion, white suprema­cists are react­ing with anger to what they view as soci­etal focus on cre­at­ing white guilt and hatred against white peo­ple, white her­itage and Christianity.endangered species

The hype spread­ing through their ranks warns of their “cul­tural cleans­ing” and ulti­mately “white geno­cide.” This rhetoric is not based on any new con­cepts, but there are some new irri­tants that are gal­va­niz­ing white suprema­cists and revi­tal­iz­ing their notion that with­out action the white race is doomed to extinction.

The most recent irri­tant stems from the rev­e­la­tion that racist Dylann Storm Roof, the alleged mur­derer of nine black parish­ioners at a Charleston, South Car­olina church, used the Con­fed­er­ate flag as a sym­bol of hate.

White suprema­cists are incensed over the recent nation­wide move­ment to rid pub­lic parks and build­ings, license plates, and retail stores of Con­fed­er­ate flags after the Charleston shoot­ing. One Klan group is plan­ning a July rally to protest of the removal of the Con­fed­er­ate flag from South Carolina’s Statehouse.

In addi­tion to white suprema­cists’ mount­ing frus­tra­tion over pub­lic dis­dain for the Con­fed­er­ate flag are the numer­ous peti­tions and efforts to rename dozens of parks, bridges and uni­ver­sity build­ings which are named after con­fed­er­ate sol­diers and/or Klansmen.

The frus­tra­tion over these attempts is not new. In 2013, approx­i­mately 75 white suprema­cists protested the renam­ing of three Mem­phis, Ten­nessee, parks pre­vi­ously named in honor of the Con­fed­er­acy, its leader, and a Klan leader. This protest demon­strated unusual unity among white suprema­cists with three dif­fer­ent Klan groups, a neo-Nazi group, and mem­bers of sev­eral racist skin­head groups in attendance.

Another issue dis­turb­ing white suprema­cists is their per­cep­tion of the way the media cov­ers crime. Extrem­ists believe black on white crime is under-reported com­pared to white on black crime. This view­point was recently com­pounded fol­low­ing media reports regard­ing the killing of black men by white police offi­cers, the “black lives mat­ter” move­ment, and the sub­se­quent civil unrest.

One note­wor­thy reac­tion by white suprema­cist to these media reports has been their sup­port for law enforce­ment offi­cers, which they have nor­mally with­held. In 2014, at least three Klan mem­bers attended an Impe­r­ial, Mis­souri, rally in sup­port of Dar­ren Wil­son, the police offi­cer who fatally shot unarmed black rob­bery sus­pect Michael Brown in Ferguson.

More sur­pris­ingly, due to their long stand­ing cul­tural dis­dain for police, a small group of racist skin­heads recently demon­strated for a week in May 2015 in sup­port of police in Olympia, Wash­ing­ton, after an offi­cer shot two unarmed black men.

White suprema­cists are also mim­ic­k­ing the “black lives mat­ter” slo­gan. Not only did white suprema­cist lead­ers of the neo-Nazi National Alliance and Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work inter­rupt a May 2015 “black lives mat­ter” press con­fer­ence in Cincin­nati, but mem­bers of the Aryan Renais­sance Soci­ety dis­trib­uted “white lives mat­ter” fliers in Rhode Island and Con­necti­cut last month.

White suprema­cists believe that Amer­i­can soci­ety is espous­ing an anti-white agenda that pro­motes diver­sity and inte­gra­tion in order to insure that whites become a minor­ity. In reac­tion, they have declared that the days of fence sit­ting are over and are call­ing for whites to fight against the so-called destruc­tion of the white race.

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