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December 3, 2015

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

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

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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