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December 3, 2015 0

Bonnie and Clydes Rare—But Not Unheard Of—In Violent Extremism

Syed Farook

Syed Farook

Back­ground infor­ma­tion on Syed Farook and Tash­feen Malik, the mar­ried per­pe­tra­tors of the tragic mass shoot­ing at the Inland Regional Cen­ter in San Bernardino, Cal­i­for­nia, is still sparse, as is clar­ity con­cern­ing the motive behind the vicious attack that left 14 dead and 21 wounded.

How­ever, accord­ing to media reports from the in-progress inves­ti­ga­tion, there is grow­ing con­cern among law enforce­ment offi­cials that the shoot­ings may have had a con­nec­tion to Islamic extrem­ism or that there might have been a mixed extremist/workplace motive behind them.  The FBI has said that it is now treat­ing its inves­ti­ga­tion of the killings as a counter-terrorism investigation.

One thing that is exceed­ingly rare in tra­di­tional work­place shoot­ings is for there to be mul­ti­ple per­pe­tra­tors, as there was in this case.  As one law enforce­ment offi­cial told The New York Times, “You don’t take your wife to a work­place shoot­ing, and espe­cially not as pre­pared as they were.  He could have been rad­i­cal­ized, ready to go with some type of attack, and then had a dis­pute at work and decided to do something.”

Mul­ti­ple per­pe­tra­tors are cer­tainly com­mon in extremist-related crimes, of course, despite the exis­tence of the “lone wolf” phe­nom­e­non.  Women are also fre­quently involved in extremist-related crim­i­nal activ­ity in almost every extrem­ist move­ment in the United States.

How­ever, when one exam­ines recent crim­i­nal cases in the U.S. involv­ing domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists, one finds that female part­ners of male perpetrators—even when them­selves involved in crim­i­nal activities—have not typ­i­cally engaged in vio­lence.  Over­seas, women have some­times taken on more vio­lent roles, includ­ing as sui­cide bombers.

If an Islamic extrem­ist motive is con­firmed in the San Bernardino shoot­ings, the fact of husband-and-wife shoot­ers would be a new wrin­kle in the his­tory of the vio­lent tac­tics of that move­ment in the United States.

Extremist-related vio­lence involv­ing hus­bands and wives—or non-married partners—is actu­ally not unheard of in the United States, but it tends to come from a very dif­fer­ent source:  right-wing extrem­ism.  Though not what one could call a com­mon phe­nom­e­non, such vio­lent “Bon­nie and Clyde” cou­ples do emerge with reg­u­lar­ity from within both the white suprema­cist and anti-government extrem­ist move­ments in the United States.

In fact, right-wing extrem­ism even pro­duced an exam­ple of the exceed­ingly rare phe­nom­e­non of a mar­ried cou­ple both of whom were on death row:  anti-government extrem­ists Linda Lyon Block and George Sib­ley.  In 1993, the two sov­er­eign cit­i­zens non-fatally stabbed Block’s ex-husband, then while on the run mur­dered an Alabama police offi­cer in a shootout.  Both were exe­cuted in the 2000s.

In more recent years, extrem­ist cou­ples have been involved with every­thing from stand­offs with police to hate crimes to ter­ror­ist con­spir­a­cies.  But some of the most shock­ing “Bon­nie and Clyde” inci­dents have involved mul­ti­ple homi­cides com­mit­ted by white suprema­cists and anti-government extremists:

  • Jerad and Amanda Miller, a young mar­ried cou­ple who adhered to the anti-government ide­ol­ogy of the mili­tia move­ment, tar­geted two Las Vegas police offi­cers for assas­si­na­tion in June 2014, killing them at a pizza restau­rant as they ate their Sun­day lunch.  The cou­ple crossed the street to a Wal-mart in antic­i­pa­tion of a final shootout with first respon­ders, where Amanda killed an armed civil­ian try­ing to stop them.  As they had intended, they did both die dur­ing a shootout with law enforce­ment at the store, with a wounded Amanda killing her­self after Jerad was shot.
  • Jeremy and Chris­tine Moody, white suprema­cists from Union County, South Car­olina, killed a nearby mar­ried cou­ple in July 2013 in a par­tic­u­larly grisly dou­ble homi­cide in which both vic­tims were shot and stabbed.  The Moodys had tar­geted the vic­tim because they wanted to kill a reg­is­tered sex offender and found the male victim’s name and address on the Inter­net.  They killed his wife because she had mar­ried a sex offender.  Both pleaded guilty to mur­der in 2014, receiv­ing life sen­tences with no parole, but were unre­pen­tant, with Chris­tine Moody call­ing the day of the mur­ders “the best day of my life.”
  • Holly Grigsby and David Ped­er­sen, a white suprema­cist cou­ple from Ore­gon, embarked upon a multi-state mur­der spree in 2011 that totaled four killed before police could find and stop them.  The pair trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton to mur­der Pederson’s father and step­mother, each killing one vic­tim, then killed a young man in Ore­gon to steal his car and because they thought he might be Jew­ish.  They killed an African-American man in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia in another car­jack­ing attempt, though they did not end up tak­ing the vehi­cle, then were finally appre­hended by the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol.  Grigsby told the arrest­ing offi­cers that they were to Sacra­mento to “kill more Jews” when they were stopped.  Both pleaded guilty to a vari­ety of crimes and received life sentences.

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June 25, 2015 0

Malik Zulu Shabazz Calls For Violence In Charleston, South Carolina

Malik Zulu Shabazz, the racist and anti-Semitic for­mer leader of the New Black Pan­ther Party (NBPP) and cur­rent head of Black Lawyers for Jus­tice (BLJ), trav­eled to Charleston, South Car­olina, where he called for vio­lence in the after­math of the shoot­ing that killed nine peo­ple at the Emanuel AME Church.

Hashim Nzinga (left) and Malik Zulu Shabazz (right) lead protestors in Charleston

Hashim Nzinga (left) and Malik Zulu Shabazz (right) lead pro­tes­tors in Charleston

On June 23, Shabazz orga­nized a rally in front of the Emanuel AME Church billed as “National Rally #1 In Defense of the Black Church.” From the stage, Shabazz ref­er­enced  Den­mark Vesey, who in 1822 plot­ted a rebel­lion against slav­ery in which, accord­ing to PBS, he and oth­ers “planned to seize Charleston’s arse­nals and guard houses, kill the Gov­er­nor, set fire to the city, and kill every white man they saw.” Shabazz stated:

Den­mark Vesey had a plan to kill all the slave mas­ters in the state. Den­mark Vesey had a plan to kill every last one of them and kill all their god­damn fam­i­lies, and we need some new Den­mark Veseys today. We gotta com­plete what Den­mark didn’t fin­ish. He never fin­ished his mis­sion, but the real chil­dren of Den­mark Vesey is [sic] out here today.

Shabazz has planned a sec­ond rally he is call­ing “Rally to Bury White Supremacy: Mas­sive National Demon­stra­tion #2” sched­uled at the same loca­tion on June 27. Hashim Nzinga, the cur­rent chair­man of the NBPP attended the June 23 rally and is sched­uled to attend this one as well.

While Shabazz attempts to por­tray him­self as a civil rights leader, he con­tin­ues to inject his big­otry and vio­lent rhetoric into high-profile racially-charged events, inflam­ing already tense situations.

Pre­vi­ously, in the after­math of Fred­die Gray’s death in Bal­ti­more, Shabazz orga­nized protests and called for vio­lence against law enforce­ment on Fox News Radio’s “The Alan Colmes Show.” Shabazz told Colmes that “those young Bal­ti­more youth are liken to the Pales­tini­ans bat­tling an Israeli occupier…some peo­ple might need to get hurt in self-defense.”

These state­ments echoed those he made on Black Power Radio, where he jus­ti­fied the burn­ing down of a CVS and told his audi­ence that “We’re gonna stop all of this god­damn talk­ing and raise up an army and deal with you mother—ers.”

Sim­i­larly, after Michael Brown was killed by police in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, Shabazz and other NBPP lead­ers trav­eled to Fer­gu­son, aggra­vat­ing the sit­u­a­tion there. Shabazz led pro­test­ers in chants call­ing for the death of the offi­cer who shot Michael Brown. Using a mega­phone, Shabazz yelled, “Who do we want?” The pro­tes­tors responded, “Dar­ren Wil­son!” Shabazz: “How do we want him?” Pro­tes­tors: “Dead!”

In 2012, the NBPP, then under the lead­er­ship of Shabazz, also offered a $10,000 reward for the “cap­ture” of George Zim­mer­man, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Mar­tin in Florida.

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June 19, 2015 2

White Supremacists React To Charleston Tragedy With Anger, Vitriol

dylannstormroof

Dylann Storm Roof

As news spread of the tragic shoot­ing ram­page at the Emmanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Car­olina, America’s white suprema­cists reacted swiftly.  The killing spree left nine dead and a com­mu­nity in shock. The alleged shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, was arrested on June 18 and charged with nine counts of mur­der one day later.

Some white suprema­cists were, pre­dictably, openly delighted by the mas­sacre. On The Daily Stormer, a pop­u­lar neo-Nazi web site, there was unabashed praise for Roof. “He had the balls to do what most white suprema­cists only talk big about,” com­mented Spar­tan 117 (punc­tu­a­tion and word­ing in com­ments repro­duced here are as in the orig­i­nals). “He is prob­a­bly tired of all the race mix­ing pro­pa­ganda, arro­gant blacks, and tired of the negro get­ting pushed down his throat at every turn…. who cares what fate befalls the negros. We should have as much con­sid­er­a­tion for blacks as we do a fuck­ing tape­worm latched onto to our gut. Face it, negros are an enemy peo­ple to us, we shouldn’t care what hap­pens to these arro­gant n—–s.”

Oth­ers cheered Roof because they believe his actions would has­ten the destruc­tion of Amer­i­can cities, seen by some white suprema­cists as ground zero for the diver­sity “prob­lem.”  A poster iden­ti­fy­ing him­self as John Sov­er­eign wrote on the white suprema­cist dis­cus­sion forum Van­guard News Net­work (VNN) that “the best thing that will come out of this is more ape rage and more cities destroyed…Good! Keep it up.”

Many posters on Storm­front, the most pop­u­lar white suprema­cist Inter­net forum, fret­ted over the impact the shoot­ing would have on the white suprema­cist cause, empha­siz­ing the appar­ent lack of con­nec­tion between Roof and orga­nized racist groups. “I’ve heard of tar­get­ing ‘soft tar­gets,’” wrote user Fid­dler, “but this lat­est lone wolf nitwit picked a ‘mushy target.’Could he have pos­si­bly cho­sen more sym­pa­thetic victims?”

Gen­er­ally, com­ments on Storm­front were more muted than at some other white suprema­cist venues, with a few Storm­fron­ters even express­ing dis­gust over the vio­lence. This drew the ire of white suprema­cists on other forums, such as VNN.  “They are cry­ing over the split blood of these ‘Chris­t­ian’ N—–s over on Storm­front,” posted user EricPow­ers on  VNN. “Can’t believe so many peo­ple have sym­pa­thy on these N—–s just because their Chris­tians. Like that some how makes them sympathetic.”

The real “vic­tims” in this tragedy, accord­ing to some white suprema­cists, were the white suprema­cists themselves—and their 2nd Amend­ment rights. Right-wing extrem­ists fre­quently cast vio­lent acts in the news as con­spir­a­cies and “false flag” oper­a­tions intended to falsely cast blame on the extreme right, pos­si­bly as an excuse for some sort of crack­down.  Roof, to many extrem­ists, was just a pawn in a larger conspiracy–perhaps orches­trated by the Jews—to exac­er­bate racial ten­sions and deprive Amer­i­cans of their guns. The true risk after a shoot­ing like this, accord­ing to Daily Stormer poster Ben­nis Mar­dens, was that “the Jews” would respond by crack­ing down on gun own­er­ship. “The kid is nuts,” Mar­dens wrote. “He’s not a ‘hero.’ He didn’t help our cause. Now the Jews will push for gun con­fis­ca­tion and more hate crimes legislation….Furthermore, not all black peo­ple hate white peo­ple. They ARE more tribal than we are, for sure, but their anger toward us is CAUSED by the Jew media and Jew academics.”

Brian Avran, a self-described National Social­ist, raised the idea of “race war” in a June 18 Face­book post: “I smell a psyop/ gov­ern­ment op. just like Sandy hook, Aurora and Columbine. This church shoot­ing is what the media needs; a ran­dom act of white-on-black vio­lence to push their hate whitey agenda, since an epi­demic of black-on-white vio­lence is hap­pen­ing every day, which goes unre­ported. ‘They’ want a race war. it might also be used as incen­tive for more gun con­trol laws. “

“It didn’t take long for the media to begin the race bait­ing with the Dylann Roof shoot­ing,” wrote Storm­front mem­ber “stuck on stu­pid.”  “This will be used to flame the fires of the on going race war. Please arm your­self and be pre­pared to defend your life at any moment.”

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