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Tag: white nationalist terrorism

With Trump Gone, Security Agencies Can Confront Violent Far Right

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

President Joe Biden's administration is expanding new grants from the Department of Homeland Security to target and prevent right-wing domestic terrorism after years of such efforts being effectively stymied by Donald Trump — and the department is ramping up its plans to combat what experts say is the greatest terrorist threat facing America today.

According to an NBC report, although the department's Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism prevention originally directed some funding to these grants toward the end of Trump's time in office, Biden's new plan expands upon the funding available, which will include more than $500,000 allocated toward American University to study the "growing threat of violent white supremacist extremist information."

DHS, which in 2019 founded the Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention to prevent violent political extremism, is expected to continue to receive more funding from Congress during the Biden administration. Grants awarded from this office go toward state and local law enforcement efforts in combating domestic terrorism.

Officials say the Trump administration effectively hamstrung the department from enacting real efforts to halt right-wing extremist violence. Trump and his administration frequently placed blame for domestic terrorist violence on "Antifa" and civil rights activist groups like Black Lives Matter, instead of on actual right-wing perpetrators.

At the first televised presidential debate last September 29, moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he would denounce right-wing extremist violence from the stage.

"Sure, I'm prepared to do that," Trump answered. "I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right-wing. I'm willing to do anything. I want to see peace."

He then told the far-right white supremacist group, the Proud Boys, to "stand back and stand by," adding, "But I'll tell you what. Somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left. Because this is not a right-wing problem — this is a left-wing problem."

But experts agree right-wing extremism is one of the greatest domestic threats the country faces today.

In the first eight months of 2020, 67 percent of attacks on American soil by political extremists were committed by right-wing domestic terrorists, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The CSIS database also notes that since 2010, almost six times as many Americans have been murdered by right-wing extremists as left-wing extremists. Since 1994, not a single murder has been linked to "Antifa" activists.

A February 2020 report by the Anti-Defamation League found that 90% of extremist-related murders in the United States in 2019 were committed by right-wing extremists.

But experts tried for years to investigate the threat posed by right-wing domestic terrorists under Trump, only to find themselves repeatedly stonewalled by Trump and his administration.

A New York Times report found that Trump's Justice Department redirected resources and funding to focus on the bogeyman of "Antifa" violence instead of very real violence fomenting on the right, shuffling prosecutors and FBI agents off of right-wing violence threat assessment to focus on baseless claims of leftist violence.

Two former Department of Justice officials told the Times they were pressured to "uncover" a left-wing violent conspiracy plot that didn't exist, and top DHS officials denied funding for more analysts to flag right-wing threats of violence on social media in the election's aftermath.

Far-right extremists felt they had "an ally in the White House," according to Mary McCord, a former DOJ employee and Georgetown University professor specializing in domestic terrorism. "That has, I think, allowed them to grow and recruit and try to mainstream their opinions, which is why I think you end up seeing what we saw [at the Capitol]."

Elizabeth Neumann, former DHS assistant secretary for counterterrorism and threat prevention, told NBC that even use of the term "domestic terrorism" in department meetings with Trump was discouraged in favor of broader terms like "violence prevention."

"We did expand domestic terrorism prevention under Trump," she said, "but when it came to questions of how we could change the domestic terrorism statute to charge people more easily, there were no adults at the White House who were willing to go there, nor was anyone willing to define the threat."

Experts have said that the Capitol insurrectionists see the January 6 attack on the Capitol as a "resounding success," and without intervention, it could result in a "golden age of domestic extremism."

But Biden's team has plans to take strong preventative measures to cut off right-wing violence at its root.

A DHS spokesperson told NBC, "Domestic violent extremism poses one of the gravest threats to our homeland, and Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas has made clear that combatting it is a top priority. Our primary responsibility is to protect the safety and security of the American people, which means taking actions to prevent violence before it occurs."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Fascist Insurgency Persists With Merging Of QAnon And Militia Movements

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The question about the QAnon cult that lingers in many people's minds is, "Where will they turn as the multiple failures of Q predictions begin to mount and their authoritarian belief in Donald Trump falls apart?" We're starting to get an answer: The vigilante militia movement and white nationalism.

Militia groups in Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, are forming alliances with an array of other Trump-supporting far-right organizations, including the QAnon groups aligned with Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. It reflects a much broader trend in the post-Trump world of the radical right in which what used to be distinct movements with widely differing sets of beliefs are commingling and coalescing into a singular far-right insurgency against liberal democracy.

The goal of the Georgia groups, according to Justin Thayer of the Georgia III% Martyrs, is to advocate for the state's secession from the United States. He says the final straw was the arrests of people who were involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

"The way patriots are now being hunted down and arrested by fellow men and women who have taken the same oath has disheartened any faith I had in the redemption or reformation of the USA as one entity," Thayer told the Journal-Constitution.

Thayer's group have now allied themselves with other "Three Percenter" militias, mainly the American Brotherhood of Patriots and American Patriots USA (APUSA), headed by Chester Doles, a Dahlonega man with a background in neo-Nazi hate groups. Thayer foresees a need for Georgians to leave the union because of what he calls "the collapse of the American experiment."

Doles also told the paper he had given up on democracy: "Things are different now. Everything has changed. We've seen our last Republican president in American history. The ballot box—we tried as hard as we could try. It's not working."

Amy Iandiorio, an Anti-Defamation League researcher who has been monitoring these groups' online activities, told the Journal-Constitution that a "shared victimhood narrative" around Trump's defeat at the hands of Joe Biden had fostered an environment that encouraged "tactical" alliances among normally disparate groups.

"We saw members of traditional militias, white supremacists, QAnon and other people in the same spaces and claiming very similar enemies," she said.

These are "extensions of trends that extend back well before the Capitol insurrection," Devin Burghart of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR) told Daily Kos. "The silos that used to segment the far-right have been eroding since the days of the Tea Party. The Trump years obliterated that segmentation almost entirely."

The two militia groups had earlier had a kind of falling out revolving around Greene and Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler when the Martyrs showed up at a joint campaign rally in Ringgold working as the private security detail for Greene. Doles had championed Greene's candidacy during both the primary and general campaigns with members of his group posing for photos with her, but had become an embarrassment when photos of him posing with Greene and Loeffler were publicized on social media. Loeffler subsequently disavowed Doles.

So when Doles showed up in Ringgold, Greene asked the Martyrs groupto escort Doles out of the event, setting off a round of internecine bickering. Thayer said he and Doles have repaired the relationship.

"We both have the same objective and work with other organizations," he told the Journal-Constitution. "So it was in the best interest of the movement to become ally's (sic) and work together."

Journal-Constitution reporter Chris Joyner was interviewed by Georgia Public Broadcasting. He observed that there was already a considerable overlap between people who joined vigilante militias and QAnon conspiracy theory subscribers:

QAnon is an entirely separate segment of sort of this universe of people who might have been at the Capitol. … Because it is so wide-ranging, parts of it have become ingrained in the militia movement to a degree that I found sort of surprising. 2020 was a really big year for QAnon. Part of that had to do with the pandemic, which was, you know, the conspiracy theories about the pandemic were absorbed into the sort of QAnon network of conspiracy theories. People were more inclined to stay at home. So they were online more often and they got sort of drawn into these at the time, Facebook groups that were incubators for QAnon and that did find its way into some channels of the militias as well. So there was there was crossover there between the QAnon conspiracy theory and … the Three Percenters, for instance.

Trump's ongoing refusal to concede the election—and his promotion of groundless conspiracy theories about "election fraud" at the core of that refusal—created a pressure cooker-like environment in which all those disparate parts came together. And Jan. 6 became the bursting point for all that pressure.

"Their backs were against the wall," Joyner observed. "This was a final opportunity. They felt like they were getting strong signals from the president himself as to there being some way they could change the outcome on this date if enough pressure was applied to, say, Vice President Pence or to Republicans in the Senate. I think one of the things that's sort of striking about this moment, compared to others, is these are not groups that normally talk to each other."

This was reflected in the way that the demographics of the people who entered the Capitol suggested a remarkable shift in the participants in the same far-right extremist groups that led the assault on the police barricades—the Proud Boys particularly, who have tended toward recruiting men between ages 18 and 35. The insurrectionists' average age was 40, according to a University of Chicago study, and only a handful of the people arrested so far belonged to organized far-right groups; a high percentage were employed, many were business owners, most were middle-aged, and nearly all of them were middle class.

The Capitol insurrection, as the study's authors concluded, "revealed a new force in American politics—not merely a mix of right-wing organizations, but a broader mass political movement that has violence at its core and draws strength even from places where Trump supporters are in the minority."

These trends have been coalescing all during the Trump era. "Going back as far as Charlottesville, heavily-armed Three Percenters and Oath Keepers marched alongside Proud Boy streetfighters and unabashed white nationalists," observed Burghart. "The President refused to denounce these 'fine people.'"

However, 2020 produced two extraordinary events that had the effect of driving this "multidimensional approach" straight from the margins to mainstream American politics: the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 election. Burghart says:

The pandemic mobilized a significant mass base of individuals who were radicalized in record time. Ammon Bundy and his group People's Rights demonstrated the power of armed confrontation and created a model for armed opposition to government intervention to stop the spread of COVID-19. Before the insurrection in DC, there are attacks on state capitol buildings in numerous states built on Bundy's model. Those efforts have been designed to be easily repurposed to fight against anything they dislike. Efforts like Bundy's also brought new constituencies into insurrectionism, particularly women.
The 2020 election, and the so-called "Stop the Steal" efforts to overturn the election results started to congeal the various segments of the far-right into an oppositional force against the Biden administration. The election cycle supercharged Qanon conspiracists as they reached a surprisingly large audience, while the Oath Keepers provided security at MAGA rallies and the Proud Boys got a shout-out from the President. In November, when election results showed Biden as the winner, we witnessed the coalescing of a wider range of far-right forces into mass opposition fueled by a sense of white dispossession and anti-democratic rage. That inchoate coalition included MAGA supporters, Tea Partiers, Qanon conspiracists, COVID insurrectionists, far-right paramilitaries, racist reactionaries, and unabashed white nationalists. Each of those segments provided multiple onramps onto the radicalization conveyor belt. The multiplier effect of those groups all working together turned the radicalization conveyor belt up to eleven, swiftly moving people from political opposition to insurrection.

After the Jan. 6 insurrection there has been some breakdown in intergroup relations and some internecine quarreling, mostly as a result of fallout from both the law enforcement crackdown on participants and the sudden deplatforming of far-right extremists from social media sites that followed the attack on the Capitol. This is not surprising since historically the American radical right has gone through periods of shakeup following high-profile public events involving them, such as the 1996 Oklahoma City bombing or the 2017 riots in Charlottesville, Virginia.

But as Burghart observes, these periods mostly involve reshaping of the movement to fit new conditions on the ground. "The situation inside the Proud Boys right now captures many different movement dynamics," he told Daily Kos. "There is increased law enforcement scrutiny and multiple arrests on serious charges related to the Capitol insurrection. There are chapters in Indiana and Oklahoma that split from the national organization, largely because of that scrutiny (and the revelation that the group's leader was an informant). Most importantly, however, is that there is a faction trying to pull the group in a more explicitly white nationalist direction. Despite all the internal chaos, the Proud Boys are still looking to recruit disaffected Qanon believers."

As Joyner noted: "Over the last several years, the level of crosstalk between … disparate factions of outright racist groups, white nationalist groups to … militia groups, they may not share those same beliefs, but they there's a thread that runs through it that had allowed them to talk to each other and coordinate primarily on social media in a way that we had not seen before. That sort of led us to this moment, I think."

Burghart sees three major issues likely to bond the various sectors of the radical right during this period of adjustment:

  • Look for nativism to be the glue that binds together mainstreamers and armed insurrectionists during the first years of the Biden administration.
  • Opposition to COVID-19 health restrictions, widespread distribution of the vaccine, and spending to fight the virus can become a flashpoint for the far right, as recent confrontations in Los Angeles, California, and Vancouver, Washington, have demonstrated. Expect more confrontations.
  • Attacking Black Lives Matter/antifascists has been a vital part of the far-right playbook for some time. It provides a common racialized enemy and their rationalization for street violence.

Regardless of how it all takes shape, we can expect that the insurgency the Biden-Harris administration will be facing will be relentlessly conspiracist, with those conspiracy theories providing "justification" for the various kinds of violence they will unleash: Proud Boys-style street violence with armed vigilante militias participating as well, and various acts of domestic terrorism—both so-called "lone wolf" violence by radicalized individuals as well as organized small-cell attacks of trained paramilitary groups, probably on both government and media targets.

It's going to be a very long four years, and probably much longer than that.

Seeking To Overthrow Government, 'Boogaloo Bois’ Have Guns — And Criminal Records

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they're published. This story is part of an ongoing collaboration between ProPublica and FRONTLINE that includes an upcoming documentary.


Hours after the attack on the Capitol ended, a group calling itself the Last Sons of Liberty posted a brief video to Parler, the social media platform, that appeared to show members of the organization directly participating in the uprising. Footage showed someone with a shaky smartphone charging past the metal barricades surrounding the building. Other clips show rioters physically battling with baton-wielding police on the white marble steps just outside the Capitol.

Before Parler went offline — its operations halted at least temporarily when Amazon refused to continue to host the network — the Last Sons posted numerous statements indicating that group members had joined the mob that swarmed the Capitol and had no regrets about the chaos and violence that unfolded on Jan. 6. The Last Sons also did some quick math: The government had suffered only one fatality, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, 42, who was reportedly bludgeoned in the head with a fire extinguisher. But the rioters had lost four people, including Ashli Babbitt, the 35-year-old Air Force veteran who was shot by an officer as she tried to storm the building.

In a series of posts, the Last Sons said her death should be "avenged" and appeared to call for the murder of three more cops.

The group is part of the Boogaloo movement — a decentralized, very online successor to the ­­militia movement of the '80s and '90s —­ whose adherents are fixated on attacking law enforcement and violently toppling the U.S. government. Researchers say the movement began coalescing online in 2019 as people — mostly young men — angry with what they perceived to be increasing government repression, found each other on Facebook groups and in private chats. In movement vernacular, Boogaloo refers to an inevitable and imminent armed revolt, and members often call themselves Boogaloo Bois, boogs or goons.

In the weeks since Jan. 6, an array of extremist groups have been named as participants in the Capitol invasion. The Proud Boys. QAnon believers. White nationalists. The Oath Keepers. But the Boogaloo Bois are notable for the depth of their commitment to the overthrow of the U.S. government and the jaw-dropping criminal histories of many members.

Mike Dunn, a 20-year-old from a small town on Virginia's rural southern edge, is the commander of the Last Sons. "I really feel we're looking at the possibility — stronger than any time since, say, the 1860s — of armed insurrection," Dunn said in an interview with ProPublica and FRONTLINE a few days after the assault on the Capitol. Although Dunn didn't directly participate, he said members of his Boogaloo faction helped fire up the crowd and "may" have penetrated the building.

"It was a chance to mess with the federal government again," he said. "They weren't there for MAGA. They weren't there for Trump."

Dunn added that he's "willing to die in the streets" while battling law enforcement or security forces.

In its short existence, the Boogaloo movement has proven to be a magnet for current or former military service members who have used their combat skills and firearms expertise to advance the Boogaloo cause. Before becoming one of the faces of the movement, Dunn did a brief stint in the U.S. Marines, a career he says was cut short by a heart condition, and worked as a Virginia state prison guard.

Through interviews, extensive study of social media and a review of court records, some previously unreported, ProPublica and FRONTLINE identified more than 20 Boogaloo Bois or sympathizers who've served in the armed forces. Over the past 18 months, 13 of them have been arrested on charges ranging from the possession of illegal automatic weapons to the manufacture of explosives to murder.

Most of the individuals identified by the news organizations became involved with the movement after leaving the military. At least four are accused of committing Boogaloo-related crimes while employed by one of the military branches.

Examples of the nexus between the group and the military abound.

Last year, an FBI task force in San Francisco opened a domestic terror investigation into Aaron Horrocks, a 39-year-old former Marine Corps reservist. Horrocks spent eight years in the Reserve before leaving the Corps in 2017.

The bureau became alarmed in September 2020, when agents received a tip that Horrocks, who lives in Pleasanton, California, was "planning an imminent violent attack on government or law enforcement," according to a petition to seize the man's firearms, which was filed in state court in October. The investigation, which has not previously been reported, links Horrocks to the Boogaloo movement. He has not been charged.

A petition asking an Alameda County, California, court to bar Aaron Horrocks from owning firearms and ammunition. (Superior Court of California, County of Alameda)

Horrocks did not respond to a request for comment, though he has uploaded a video to YouTube that appears to show federal law enforcement agents, in plainclothes, searching his storage unit. "Go fuck yourselves," he tells them.

In June 2020 in Texas, police briefly detained Taylor Bechtol, a 29-year-old former Air Force staff sergeant and munitions loader with the 90th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. While in the service, Bechtol handled 1,000-pound precision-guided bombs.

The former airman was riding in a pickup truck with two other alleged Boogaloo Bois when the vehicle was stopped by Austin police, according to an intelligence report generated by the Austin Regional Intelligence Center, a multi-agency fusion center. Officers found five guns, several hundred rounds of ammunition and gas masks in the truck. The men expressed "sympathetic views toward the Boogaloo Bois" and should be treated with "extreme caution" by law enforcement, noted the report, which was obtained by ProPublica and FRONTLINE after it was leaked by hackers.

One of the men in the vehicle, Ivan Hunter, 23, has since been indicted for allegedly using an assault rifle to shoot up a police precinct in Minneapolis and helping to set the building ablaze. No trial date has been set for Hunter, who has pleaded not guilty.

Bechtol, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing in connection with the traffic stop, did not respond to a request for comment.

Linda Card, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, which deals with the service's most complex and serious criminal matters, said Bechtol left the service in December 2018 and was never investigated while in the Air Force.

In perhaps the highest-profile incident involving the group, several Boogaloo Bois were arrested in October in connection with the widely reported plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. One of those men was Joseph Morrison, a Marine Corps reservist who was serving in the 4th Marine Logistics Group at the time of his arrest and arraignment. Morrison, who is facing terrorism charges, went by the name Boogaloo Bunyan on social media. He also kept a sticker of the Boogaloo flag — it features a Hawaiian floral pattern and an igloo — on the rear window of his pickup truck. Two other men charged in the plot had spent time in the military.

The Marine Corps is working to root out extremists from its ranks, a spokesman said.

"Association or participation with hate or extremist groups of any kind is directly contradictory to the core values of honor, courage and commitment that we stand for as Marines and isn't tolerated," Capt. Joseph Butterfield said.

No reliable numbers exist about how many current or former military members are part of the movement.

However, military officials at the Pentagon told ProPublica and FRONTLINE that they have been concerned by a surge in extremist activity. "We are seeing an increase in concerning behavior," said one official, stressing that military leaders are "very actively" responding to tips and are thoroughly investigating service members linked to anti-government groups.

Experts worry about people with military training joining extremist groups.

Boogaloo Bois with military experience are likely to share their expertise with members who've never served in the armed forces, building a more effective, more lethal movement. "These are folks who can bring discipline to a movement. These are folks that can bring skills to a movement," said Jason Blazakis, director of the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Though some Boogaloo groups have made spectacular blunders — among them, sharing information with undercover FBI agents and using unencrypted messaging services to communicate — the movement's familiarity with weapons and basic infantry techniques clearly poses serious challenges for law enforcement.

"We have the upper hand," Dunn said. "A lot of the guys have knowledge that your normal civilians do not have. Police officers are not used to combating that kind of knowledge."

"It Wasn't Talk"

The marriage of extremist ideology and military skill was apparent in an alleged plot last year to attack police officers at a racial justice protest.

On a hot spring evening last May, an FBI SWAT team swarmed on three alleged Boogaloo Bois as they met in the parking lot of a 24 Hour Fitness club on the east side of Las Vegas. Agents found a small arsenal in the trio's vehicles: a shotgun, a handgun, two rifles, plenty of ammunition, body armor and materials that could be used to make Molotov cocktails — glass bottles, gasoline and rags torn into small pieces.

All three men had military experience. One had served in the Air Force. Another the Navy. The third, 24-year-old Andrew Lynam, was in the U.S. Army Reserve at the time of the arrests. During his teenage years Lynam attended the New Mexico Military Institute, a public academy that prepares high school and junior college students for careers in the armed forces.

In court, federal prosecutor Nicholas Dickinson portrayed Lynam as the leader of the group, a Nevada-based Boogaloo cell called Battle Born Igloo. "The defendant associated with the Boogaloo movement; i.e., he referred to himself as a Boogaloo Boi," the prosecutor told the court during a June detention hearing, according to a transcript. Lynam, continued Dickinson, "corresponded with other Boogaloo groups, especially in California, Denver and Arizona. Essentially, the defendant was radicalized to the point where he wanted to act out, it wasn't talk."

According to the prosecutor, the men intended to join a protest over the death of George Floyd and hurl firebombs at police, and they had made plans to bomb an electric power substation and a federal building, actions they hoped would spark a wider anti-government uprising.

"They wanted to damage or destroy some sort of government building or infrastructure to get the response of law enforcement and, hopefully, the overreaction of the federal government," Dickinson told the court.

The prosecutor said he found it particularly "troubling" that Lynam was serving in the military while at the same time plotting to attack government infrastructure.

During the June hearing, defense lawyer Sylvia Irvin pushed back, criticizing the "clear weaknesses" in the government's case, challenging the credibility of an FBI informant and suggesting Lynam was really a minor player in the group.

Lynam, who has pleaded not guilty, is now represented by attorney Thomas Pitaro, who did not respond to requests for comment. Lynam and his co-defendants, Stephen Parshall and William Loomis, are also facing a parallel slate of charges brought by local prosecutors in state court. Parshall and Loomis have pleaded not guilty.

A spokesman for the Army Reserve said Lynam, a medical specialist who joined in 2016, currently holds the rank of private first class in the service. He has never deployed to a combat zone. "Extremist ideologies and activities directly oppose our values and beliefs, and those who subscribe to extremism have no place in our ranks," said Lt. Col. Simon Flake, noting that Lynam is facing disciplinary action by the Army when his criminal cases conclude.

"An Insider Threat"

The body of criminal law that governs the armed forces, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, doesn't include an explicit prohibition on joining extremist groups.

But participation in criminal gangs, white supremacist organizations and anti-government militias is barred by a 2009 Pentagon directive that covers all military branches. Service members who violate that ban can face court-martial for disobeying a lawful order or regulation, or for other offenses related to their extremist activity, such as making false statements to superiors. Military prosecutors can also use a catchall provision of the military code called Article 134 — or the general article — to charge service members who've engaged in conduct that brings "discredit" to the armed forces or harms the "good order and discipline" of the military, said Geoffrey Corn, a retired Army officer who served as a military attorney and who now teaches national security law at South Texas College of Law Houston.

Pointing to the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh, who enlisted in the Army and served in the first Gulf War, Corn said it's no secret that the military has been a "breeding ground" for extremism to some extent for decades. McVeigh's devastating 1995 attack on that city's Alfred P. Murrah federal building killed 168 people, many of them children.

Military officials have acknowledged an uptick in extremist activity and domestic terrorism cases in recent years.

Addressing a congressional committee last year, Joe Ethridge, intelligence chief for the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, said his staff had opened seven investigations into allegations of extremist activity in 2019, up from an average of 2.4 per year during the previous half decade. "During the same time period, the Federal Bureau of Investigation notified CID of an increase in domestic terrorism investigations with soldiers or former soldiers as suspects," he told members of the House Armed Services Committee.

Ethridge also noted that most soldiers who are flagged for extremist behavior face administrative sanctions — including counseling or retraining — rather than criminal prosecution.

In the aftermath of the Capitol attack and a flurry of news reports documenting the involvement of service members in the chaos, the Department of Defense announced a comprehensive review of its policies on extremist and white supremacist activity to be conducted by the Pentagon's inspector general.

"We in the Department of Defense are doing everything we can to eliminate extremism" within the military, Garry Reid, a director for defense intelligence at the Pentagon, told ProPublica and FRONTLINE. "All military personnel, including members of the National Guard, have undergone a background investigation, are subject to continuous evaluation and are enrolled in an insider threat program."

The "Kill House"

The military is clearly worried about Boogaloo Bois training up civilians. Last year, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the law enforcement agency that investigates felony-level crimes involving sailors and members of the Marine Corps, circulated an intelligence bulletin.

Called a threat awareness message, the bulletin detailed the arrests of Lynam and the other men in Las Vegas and noted that Boogaloo followers have engaged in discussions about "recruiting military or former military members for their perceived knowledge of combat training."

NCIS concluded the bulletin with a warning: The agency couldn't ignore the possibility that individuals involved with the Boogaloo movement were serving throughout the military. "NCIS continues to emphasize the importance of reporting suspected boogaloo activity through the chain of command."

The subject came up during a court hearing in Michigan involving Paul Bellar, one of the men arrested on state charges in connection with the plot to kidnap Whitmer. "It's my understanding Mr. Bellar used his military training to teach combat procedures to members of this terrorist group," said Magistrate Frederick Bishop, explaining his reluctance to lower Bellar's bail during the October hearing. Bellar, who has since been released from jail on bond, has pleaded not guilty.

In another instance, an ex-Marine gathered at least six men at a wooded property in McLoud, Oklahoma, a small town outside of Oklahoma City, and taught them how to storm a building. In a video posted to YouTubelast year, the former Marine, Christopher Ledbetter, shows the group how to enter a house and kill any enemy combatants inside. Filmed with a GoPro camera, the video concludes with Ledbetter, who served in the Marine Corps from 2011 to 2015, blasting a wooden target with a barrage of bullets from a fully automatic AK-47-type carbine.

Ledbetter called his training facility the " kill house," according to court records.

A series of Facebook Messenger conversations obtained by the FBI show that Ledbetter, 30, identified with the Boogaloo movement and was preparing for the coming armed insurrection, which he thought would be a "blast." In an interview, Ledbetter told agents that he had been manufacturing hand grenades and admitted that he had modified his AK-47 so that it would fire automatically.

A transcript of Facebook messages between Christopher Ledbetter and a Facebook user. Ledbetter said, "Can't keep the goons" — a nickname for Boogaloo members — "from finding each other." (United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma)

Ledbetter pleaded guilty in December to illegal possession of a machine gun. He is currently serving a 57-month sentence in federal custody.

On an hourlong podcast posted in May 2020, two Boogaloo Bois discussed, in detail, how to do battle with the government.

One of the men, who dispenses combat advice online using the handle Guerrilla Instructor, said he had enlisted in the Army but had eventually grown disenchanted and left the service. The other man, who called himself Jake, said he was currently serving as a military police officer in the Army National Guard.

Traditional infantry tactics wouldn't be particularly useful during the coming civil war, opined Guerrilla Instructor, arguing that sabotage and assassination would be more helpful for the anti-government insurgents. It was simple, he said: A Boogaloo Boi could just walk up to a government figure or law enforcement officer on the street and "shoot them in the face" before fleeing.

But there was another assassination technique that held special appeal for Guerrilla Instructor. "I believe honestly that drive-bys will be our greatest tool," he said, sketching out a scenario in which three Boogs would hop in an SUV, spray a target with gunfire, "kill some dudes" and speed off.

"That's some real gangster shit right there," enthused Jake.

"Boog"

About three weeks after the podcast was uploaded to Apple and other podcast distributors, a security camera tracked a white Ford van as it moved through the darkened streets of downtown Oakland, California. It was 9:43 p.m.

Inside the vehicle, prosecutors say, were Boogaloo Bois Steven Carrillo, who was armed with an automatic short-barreled rifle, and Robert Justus, Jr., who was driving. As the van rolled along Jefferson Street, Carrillo allegedly flung open the sliding door and unleashed a burst of gunfire, hitting two federal protective services officers posted outside the Ronald V. Dellums federal building and courthouse. The barrage killed David Patrick Underwood, 53, and wounded Sombat Mifkovic, whose age has not been released.

At this point, there's no evidence Carrillo — a 32-year-old Air Force staff sergeant stationed at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California — ever heard the podcast or communicated with the men who recorded it. But, obviously, his alleged crime closely resembles the assassination strategies discussed on the show, which is still available online. He is facing murder and attempted murder charges in federal court, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

According to the FBI, Carrillo used an exotic and highly illegal weapon to carry out the shooting: an automatic rifle with an extremely short barrel and a silencer. The weapon, which fires 9 mm ammunition, is a so-called ghost gun — it lacks any serial numbers, making it difficult to trace.

Built from machined aluminum, heavy-duty polymers or even 3D printed plastic, ghost guns have been embraced by Boogaloo movement members, many of whom take an absolutist position on the Second Amendment, arguing that the government lacks any authority to restrict gun ownership.

Last year police in New York state arrested an Army drone operator and alleged Boogaloo Boi on charges that he owned an illegal ghost gun. Noah Latham, a private based at Fort Drum, did a tour of Iraq as a drone operator, according to an Army spokesperson. Latham was discharged from the service after he was arrested by police in Troy in June 2020.

The shootings at the courthouse in Oakland were only the first chapter in Carrillo's alleged rampage. In the days after, he headed about 80 miles south, to a tiny town nestled in the Santa Cruz mountains. There he allegedly got into a gun battle with Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputies and state police, a shootout that killed deputy Damon Gutzwiller, 38, and injured two other law enforcement officers. According to prosecutors, who have charged Carrillo with premeditated murder and a host of other felonies in state court, Carrillo also hurled homemade bombs at the cops and deputies and carjacked a Toyota Camry in a bid to escape.

Before ditching the car, Carrillo apparently used his own blood — he was hit in the hip during the skirmish — to write the word "Boog" on the hood of the car.

Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, has monitored the links between the military and extremist groups for years, tracking each policy tweak, every criminal case. In her view, Carrillo's grisly narrative is a product of the military's refusal to adequately address the issue of radicalization within the ranks. She said, "The failure to deal with this problem on the part of the armed forces" has "unleashed people who are highly trained in how to kill" on the public.

Zoe Todd, FRONTLINE, contributed reporting.

Uncovering The #MAGA Plot Against America

Investigations of the terrible crimes committed against the United States at the Capitol last week had scarcely begun when the usual suspects launched a right-wing cover-up. Rather than blame the motley swarm of #MAGA fanatics, white nationalists and habitual criminals whom we all witnessed storming into the citadel of democracy to stop certification of the 2020 election, they pointed the finger to the antifa and Black Lives Matter movements.

But such a preposterous political alibi, premised on nonexistent evidence, won't stand up to the kind of scrutiny that must now be brought to bear on these momentous events. Long after President Donald Trump's impeachment is over and done, and regardless of whether he is convicted or not, the myriad investigations and trials of the perpetrators of the Capitol insurrection will go on for years. Justice will be done; the truth will be revealed; and the breadth of the assault on our constitutional democracy will stun even the jaded and cynical.

Combining vanity and stupidity, the shock troops who carried out the assault recorded themselves in the process of the attack. Perhaps they believed that they would be pardoned by Donald Trump. Knock, knock. Now the FBI is sweeping them up across the country to face federal prosecution.

More than a few of these individuals have prior convictions for serious crimes. These predicate felons, who exemplify the extremist wing of Trump's movement, are likely to crack under prosecutorial pressure and disclose what they know. And no matter what they expected, Trump probably won't dare to pardon them. He is reported to be upset at the low class of his diehards apparently willing to kidnap and assassinate in his name.

While much of what occurred on Jan. 6 and the days and weeks leading up to the attack still remains somewhat murky, it is already clear that the insurrection was not a spontaneous uprising. The mob that assaulted the Capitol included highly trained fighters who came prepared with tactical gear of all kinds, often superior to the equipment of the police officers trying to hold them back, as well as a communications system. What they needed from the thousands of dupes whipped up by Trump and Rudy Giuliani was an overwhelming physical force to enable an unstoppable rush into the building.

We don't know the extent of coordination, if any, between the White House, various ultra-right members of Congress and fascist gangs like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers that came to Washington bent on bloodshed. The initial clues, however, raise deeply troubling questions. Why were members of Congress escorting groups of Trump supporters around the Capitol on Jan. 5, the day before the attack, when the building was supposed to be closed? Why did the attacking vanguard leave the Trump rally at the White House early and proceed to the Capitol? And why did the Pentagon fail to send National Guard reinforcements in time, despite desperate pleas from the Capitol Police?

The support structure for the demonstration that turned into an insurrection ranged across the Trumpist movement, encompassing figures like Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, and Charlie Kirk, who runs the far-right college outfit Turning Point USA and boasts close ties with Donald Trump Jr. Both of them have tried to erase evidence of their organizing efforts.

Equally intriguing is the role of Ali Alexander, who takes credit for staging the "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6, whose militant rhetoric set the event's tone and who now seems to have gone into hiding. He has a long history of connections with Trump confidant Roger Stone and Stone's proteges in the Proud Boys. He has also received funding in the recent past from the billionaire Mercer family, which lurks behind many of the nation's most toxic far-right elements. And Alexander says that he worked on the insurrection with at least three Republican members of Congress — Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and Mo Brooks, R-Ala.

Here it is worth recalling that Stone oversaw the "Brooks Brothers riot" in Miami that stopped the vote counting in Miami-Dade County and swayed the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. Since last November, he has repeatedly called for Trump to impose martial law to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The events of Jan. 6 represented the worst threat to democracy and the rule of law that we have seen in our lifetimes. The violent authoritarian impulse within the Republican right has metastasized under Trump into a potent and very dangerous force. Uncovering the roots of that threat and isolating its sponsors will be a lengthy and complicated process that will involve the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, state and local law enforcement, the attorney general of the District of Columbia, many committees of the House and Senate, and almost certainly a national investigative commission on the order of the 9/11 commission. And there will be trials.

Nothing less will suffice to defend our democratic republic from its enemies, foreign and domestic.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Sunday’s ‘Million Militia March’ On DC And State Capitals Disrupted By Chaos On Far Right

Reprinted with permission from Daily kos

The far-right extremists who overran the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 are far from done—but it's also far from clear where they plan to strike next. That's because the organizers of the various pro-Trump factions behind last week's insurrection can't agree on whether to hold a fresh round of protests in state capitals around the nation, or to focus their fire on Washington, D.C., for militia-based protests beginning Sunday and perhaps extending into Inauguration Day on Wednesday.

On the one hand, a number of far-right factions have been assiduously organizing armed protests—and possible statehouse invasions—at the Capitols of all 50 states, many of which appear to be ill-prepared for the onslaught. Yet a number of factions are urging people to ignore those protests—even conspiratorially smearing them as "false flags"—and instead concentrate their efforts on creating a massive turnout for Sunday's planned "Million Militia March" in D.C.

The plans for a "Round 2" began appearing in posts within hours of the initial Capitol siege on Jan. 6. About a day later, the first announcement appeared on the currently-defunct right-wing social-media site Parler, from an account associated with the authoritarian QAnon cult, announcing a "Million Militia March" for Jan. 17. It read:

Millions of American Militia will meet in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 2021 for the purpose of preventing any attempt by the treasonous domestic enemy Joe Biden, or any other member of the Communist Organized Crime Organization known as the Democratic Party, from entering the White House belonging to We The People.
In the event that justice is miraculously served and our Re-Elected President Donald J. Trump is sworn in: The President, the capital and our National Monuments will be protected from the proven-violent Leftist insurgents who have declared war on the United States of America and have been committing a massive insurrection in the United States of America.

About the same time, an event called the "Million Martyr March"—honoring Ashli Babbitt, the woman who was shot to death during the Capitol siege while attempting to storm House chambers—was promoted on Parler, planned for Inauguration Day. The post promoting the event appeared shortly after the militia event was announced, featuring a flier with a logo and text ("On January 6th an unarmed woman was shot and killed in our nation's capitol. Two weeks after her death we will march to demand justice for all Americans") misspelling Babbitt's name, as it happened. The march appears to be largely considered supplemental to the larger militia event on Sunday.

The Parler posters supporting the Million Militia March, freed from the constraints of mainstream platforms, were unrepentant in their open calls to engage in insurrectionist violence. In one post, a self-described "retired colonel" boasted that the Sunday march, and possibly others in the following days, would be awe-inspiring in its size.

"If we must, many of us will return on January 19 carrying our weapons, in support of our nation's resolve, to which the world will never forget," he wrote. "We will come in numbers that no standing army or police agency can match. However the police are not our enemy, unless they choose to be!"

He added: "All who will not stand with the American Patriots … or who cannot stand with us … then that would be a good time for you to take a few vacation days."

Some of the Million Militia March advocates dismissed state-level protests as distractions at best, and nefarious government "false flag" operations intended to ensnare unsuspecting "Patriots." "Do not attend armed protests at state capitols before inauguration! Possible sinister plot hatched by radical left to take away gun rights!" a post in a Telegram chatroom devoted to the far right read.

A Washington Post report on the online organizing for the events cited a study by the anti-disinformation organization Althea Group, which surveyed the broad array of post-January 6 discussions by far-right groups, and found that some of the insurrectionists took an "all of the above" approach as well.

"REFUSE TO BE SILENCED," read an online post calling for an "ARMED MARCH ON CAPITOL HILL & ALL STATE CAPITOLS" for Sunday. Another advocated action at "DC & All State Capitols," signed by "common folk who are tired of being tread upon" and declaring: "We were warned!"

Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League told the Associated Press that the D.C. events appear unlikely to draw a massive crowd. In either case, a lack of agreement on a strategy appears likely to dilute both the state-level and D.C. protests.

As Politico's Tina Nguyen and Mark Scott explain, the far right's organizing efforts—as well as efforts to counter them—are complicated by the chaotic and decentralized nature of the pro-Trump forces online. The posts advocating and organizing the events are to be found not simply on Telegram—which has in fact become a major hub, thanks to the 25 million new usersit gained since the purge of the far right from mainstream platforms last week—but in such predictable locations as the far-right-friendly platform Gab, as well as on unexpected platforms such as TikTok.

TikTok videos from influencers bearing the Three Percenters logo as their avatar, referring to the anti-government militia movement, are hyping up future protests — even going so far as to publish videos of them collecting ammunition and guns, while playing doctored audio suggesting that Trump wants them to target his vice president, Mike Pence.
On Gab and Telegram, two fringe networks frequented by white nationalist and other extremist groups, mysteriously-originated videos of military personnel walking around American cities have also gone viral, with social media users either questioning if such activity was part of support for Donald Trump's presidency or efforts by the government to clamp down on people's constitutional rights.

Woven among many of these pro-militia videos on Tik Tok is a groundless conspiracy theory claiming that martial law is imminent in America. According to Media Matters, the TikTok "MartialLaw" hashtag has over 26 million views, while a similar "MartialLawIsComing" hashtag has attracted over 1.1 million viewers. At both hashtags, the top videos "contain panic-inducing misinformation about martial law."

The confusion has spread some wavering commitments on the part of participants. Politico notes that the far-right militia group Boogaloo Bois originally organized their own event for Sunday but then attempted to cancel it. Warning that "mainstream headlines" had drawn too much attention, they nonetheless encouraged any protesters out that day to bring weapons to Washington, despite the city's well-known ban on the open carry of firearms: "If you can carry legally, you can carry," they claimed.

Some major far-right figures are throwing up their arms and running away from all of these events—declaring, in typically paranoid fashion, that both the state-level and D.C. protests are "Deep State" plots to draw "Patriots" into criminal behavior for which they can be arrested, or by far-left "antifa" schemers hoping to make MAGA supporters look bad. Among the leading voices of this contingent is Infowars' Alex Jones.

"Do not go to capitols armed, do not be part of the demonstrations on January 20th. It's run by the globalists," Jones warned on Tuesday. "There isn't some secret plan to overthrow things so Trump wins. All you're doing is cementing things as domestic terrorists, so Biden can cement a new Patriot Act and come after you."

Trump Launched A Civil War — Now We Must Defeat His ‘Army’

Reprinted with permission from DC Report

The second American Civil War is here.

No official announced Trump's civil car. That's why our major news organizations dance around the awful truth, using confusing language.

But we don't need a press release to recognize that Trump directed his white supremacist followers to attack a branch of our national government on Jan. 6. The treasonous assault capped years of undermining the judiciary and the executive branch's intelligence, law enforcement and health agencies.

Trump apologists will quarrel with the word directed. Yes, Trump spoke, as he often does, out of four sides of his mouth when he said he would march with the throng to our Capitol. Recordings show people shouting they were invited by the president, and doing his will. It is the message the mob understood that matters, as well as video during the siege where Trump expressed love for the insurrectionists.

That Trump will not attend the inauguration of Joe Biden should make you shudder. Without him on the outdoor platform, rebels hellbent on overthrowing our government could assassinate Biden and incoming Vice President Kamala Harris with no risk to messianic and delusional Trump.

This is why police and National Guard will flood that zone on Jan. 20. And it explains why Biden and Harris insist on being sworn in outdoors to signal that fear has no place in the land of the free and home of the brave.

And it's not just government buildings that require extra protection from disloyal and self-righteous Americans who love Trump more than our Constitutional liberties. Mosques, synagogues, and some churches, especially black churches, will be vulnerable to attack by those who want to make America white again. Many claim to be Christians but are in fact the embodiment of evil.

Trump's mob will not win this war. No matter what buildings they attack, what leaders they assassinate, they cannot win because there are not enough of them to destroy the United States of America in favor of a dictatorship under Trump, his children, or anyone else.

Making America Endure

Eager and willing as Trump's army is to assassinate outgoing Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as well as Biden and Harris, our freedom and continuity of our government does not hinge on any individual. Our nation endures so long as we sustain a broad and deep commitment to the six noble purposes articulated in our Constitution's preamble … especially the promise to perfect our union over time.

If you don't know those six purposes please click here and read the 52 words again and again until you memorize them. And take note as you do that riches are neither mentioned or hinted at in the Preamble, while liberty, the general welfare, and justice are, along with their byproducts peace and tranquility.

Still, even though the outcome of Trump's civil war is certain, his band of domestic terrorists can and already have imposed enormous and lasting damage on our society.

These true believers in Trumpian rule can dissuade many from peaceful and joyful mingling in houses of worship, government buildings, sports arenas, and political venues. While Biden and Harris are brave, millions will hold back because of their rational fear of violent attack. Doubt that? How eager are you to visit on vacation or ride a bus in Jerusalem? Kabul? Baghdad?

Our nation's capital is an armed camp today. So are the downtowns of many of our state capitals. Law enforcement and the intelligence community sift through plots organized on the Internet in the hope of disrupting attacks before they occur. The police and soldiers are backups for the inevitable failures to prevent attacks.

Among the Attackers

We also need to recognize that we face danger from more than the lawless Trump mobs that attacked our Capitol and have menaced our state capitols.

We now know that the insurgents attacking the Capitol included rogue active-duty military and police officers. Dozens of people on FBI terrorist watch lists were among the attackers, evidently not being watched at all closely. There are disturbing indications some members of Congress, Republicans all, may have helped the attackers reconnoiter the Capitol, pointing out hidden offices of Democratic Party leaders.

One Republican lawmaker openly encouraged rebellion. Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, outfitted in camo, riled up the Trumpian mob before its attack. Another, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, tweeted out the location of Pelosi while she was being hunted with plans, one of them texted, to put a bullet in her head on television. Think about what America would be like today had the insurgents assassinated Pence, Pelosi, and others by firing squad or hanging them from the gallows they set up outside the Capitol.

Brooks and Boebert must be expelled from the House if their vile and disloyal actions are to have consequences. Failure to do this will only give succor to others tempted by traitorous opportunity.

Even more disturbing, some Democratic lawmakers say that on the day before our Capitol was sacked they observed a few of the most extreme Republicans giving guided tours to people who turned out to be insurgency leaders. Now, they worry that this was a scouting operation supported from within. The coming investigations will tell us the facts, especially if prosecutors are smart about leveraging those who gave such tours in return for lessening the severe sentences they deserve.

That we may have a Fifth Column in Congress immediately alarmed their unwitting collaborators from the dominant economic force in America, big corporations. From American Express and AT&T to Tyson Foods and United Parcel Service, many big companies stopped, at least for now, aiding and abetting with money these faithless enemies of America.

We live in strange times when we need help from soulless corporations to defend our liberties. To be sure, they acted out of self-interest. Under a dictatorship, corporate directors and executives would be forced to bend to the will of an unelected and unaccountable autocrat who could eviscerate their privileges and plunder their wealth.

Disloyalty and oath-breaking by officials also marked the 1860s, when some representatives, senators, and federal judges used their power to wage war on the United States. Until they were stopped. Texas lawyer Barbara Radnofsky tells some of this compellingly in her concise book A Citizen's Guide to Impeachment.

Our Noble Purpose

The costs of Trump's army waging war on our government will drain resources from improving America, from perfecting our union.

To secure our safety, National Guard troops sleep on the cold marble floors of America's Capitol. Fences and walls will become ubiquitous, a twisted outgrowth of Trump's lie that he would build a wall, to fencing and other barriers, metal detectors and other protections against domestic terrorists.

Trump's civil war did not begin with the murderous attack on our Capitol. It dates to at least August 2017 when his violent thugs marched in Charlottesville, Va., shouting Nazi slogans. "Jews will not replace us" and "blood and soil," they chanted while marching past a synagogue. The next day one of them drove his car into a crowd, killing Heather Heyer, the first fatality in Trump's civil war.

What these rebels heard the next day, what instilled them with bravado, was not Trump's confusing comparison between anti-Semitic racists and the counter-demonstrators, but this line about themselves: "very fine people."

Don't make the mistake of thinking there is no Second Civil War just because all is peaceful where you are. Six days before rebels bombarded Ft. Sumter on April 12, 1861, The New York Times reported that an attack was imminent. But once the fighting began, there was no battle of Grand Rapids, no skirmish in Rochester, no siege in Cincinnati. In some states, such as Oregon, all regular Army were withdrawn and volunteers maintained military outposts and kept watch on Confederacy sympathizers.

That is how wars take place. People may be sipping espresso in sidewalk cafes or picnicking beside a stream while soldiers fire on one another within earshot.

As we prosecute this war on Trump's militias and half-organized renegade insurgents, we must give no quarter in terms of criminal prosecution, especially for seditious conspiracy and murder. Where they fire their arms, we must respond with lethal force as the laws of war allow. But we must be better than the attackers.

We must take care not to give Trump's army a perverse victory by destroying the soul of America, by losing sight of our nation's great purpose. We must not descend into a militarized safety zone. Instead, we must build up the institutions we have damaged with decades of malign neglect—schools, colleges, public health, law enforcement as guardians instead of warriors and the public furniture from parks to bridges that make life pleasant and commerce efficient. We must make our union more perfect through caring for our citizens, providing the tools for stable and prosperous lives, and vigorous debate about the way we want to order our liberty.

We must keep in our hearts and our politics the fundamental purpose of our government—to ennoble the human spirit with liberty and fraternity so that our people can attain the best that our nature makes possible.

‘High Alert’: State Capitols Preparing For Armed Trumpist Assault

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

State officials are acting quickly to protect their capitol buildings after a cryptic FBI bulletin warned that armed protests are being planned across the country in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

The bulletin, obtained Monday by ABC News, stated that "armed protests" were "being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January."

It continued, "The FBI received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, DC on 16 January. They have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment, a huge uprising will occur."

The news comes days after pro-Donald Trump extremists attacked the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, leaving five people dead.

The riots were incited hours earlier by Trump himself, who called on his supporters to march on the Capitol where lawmakers were assembled to certify Biden's Electoral College victory, suggesting he would be with them and telling them they would never take back the country with "weakness."

Across the nation, state capitols rush to amplify security measures in light of the looming violence.

Minnesota

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday that he plans to deploy the National Guard to protect the capitol building in the days ahead of Biden's inauguration.

He told the media that he would announce his full plans on Wednesday.

New York

On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there would be "increased security during that period of time" that the FBI's bulletin warned about.

In Albany, state and local law enforcement authorities prepared for the possibility of unrest at the capitol, closing it to the public and closing a portion of State Street in the capital's downtown area to traffic.

State troopers are also patrolling the halls inside the New York Capitol.

Beau Duffy, State Police spokesperson, said, "Given recent events in Washington and across the country, the New York State Police has, out of an abundance of caution, taken steps to harden security in and around the State Capitol in Albany. These restrictions are in place until further notice."

California

At the California State Capitol in Sacramento, law enforcement officials are implementing "additional safety measures."

"In light of recent armed protests at the U.S. Capitol, additional security measures are being implemented in the Assembly, though we will not be disclosing the nature of those security measures publicly," Alisa Buckley, chief sergeant at arms of the California Assembly, told the Los Angeles Times.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday, "Everybody is on high alert in terms of just making sure that everybody is safe and protected. ... I can assure you, we have a heightened, heightened level of security."

Connecticut

In Hartford, Capitol Police are working with the state's agencies to ramp up security to protect the state capitol building.

"We're increasing our patrols with our K-9 officer who's a bomb-detecting dog, we're checking those areas and we're also working very closely with a lot of other agencies — Hartford police, state police and FBI for additional possible manpower," said Capitol Police's Officer First Class Scott Driscoll.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has authorized the state National Guard to aid capitol law enforcement's security efforts in Madison.

"Members of the Wisconsin National Guard will mobilize to state active duty to support safety and security efforts at the State Capitol in Madison. The Wisconsin National Guard will serve in a support role to local authorities and conduct a site security mission," Evers said in a release. "The mobilized troops will serve in a State Active Duty status in support of the Capitol Police."

Michigan

In Lansing, the state's Capitol Commission on Monday voted unanimously to ban the open carrying of firearms and weapons inside the capitol building.

State police are also amping up security, with Michigan State Police public affairs director Shanon Banner saying Monday, "I can confirm that out of an abundance of caution, we are increasing our visible presence at the Capitol for the next couple of weeks starting today."

Washington

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has activated as many as 750 National Guard troops to help state police to secure the capitol building in Olympia.

The governor said on Friday, "The actions we saw in both Washington, D.C. and Olympia earlier this week were completely unacceptable and will not be repeated in our state capital again."

A "large number of Washington State Patrol troopers" will join the National Guard, Inslee added.

Idaho

On Monday, Idaho not only locked the doors to its House and Senate chambers in Boise, but also sent state troopers to guard the entrances.

National

At the federal level, in Washington D.C, law enforcement officials are set to deploy up to 20,000 National Guard troops to the U.S. Capitol, where lawmakers voted Wednesday to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection, related to last week's attack. Trump is now the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Neo-Nazi ‘Camp Auschwitz’ Rioter Arrested In Virginia, Then Released

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Authorities have confirmed that the man photographed wearing the Nazi supporting anti-Semitic sweatshirt reading "Camp Auschwitz" during the Capitol riots was arrested on Wednesday in Virginia. Auschwitz is the name of a Nazi concentration camp where more than 1 million people were murdered during the Holocaust. The racist identified as 56-year-old Robert Keith Packer was arrested in his hometown of Newport News. His sweatshirt also sported the phrase "work will make you free," the English translation for the German phrase "Arbeit Macht Frei" found outside of Nazi concentration camps including Auschwitz.

Packer was arrested and charged for his "role in the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021," the FBI confirmed to The Hill. According to an arrest warrant signed Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate Robin Meriweather in Washington, D.C., Packer was charged with two federal offenses including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and intentionally and unlawfully entering a restricted building. A Virginia resident who wished to stay anonymous told CNN that Packer was "always extreme and very vocal about his beliefs." Additionally, court records indicate that Packer has a criminal history including at least three convictions for driving under the influence, CNN reported.

Images of Packer's anti-Semitic sweatshirt quickly went viral on social media. His attire follows a trend present at violent Trump-supporting protests nationwide and is one of the numerous anti-Semitic symbols and messages seen during the Capitol riots, according to The Associated Press.

According to a criminal complaint written by FBI Special Agent Paul Fisher, a cooperating witness alerted the FBI that he recognized the individual wearing the sweatshirt in the media coverage of the Capitol riots as Packer, CBS News reported. Packer was allegedly a frequent customer at his store and he was able to provide the FBI a photo of Packer inside his store in which Packer was wearing the same sweatshirt on Dec. 11.

After comparing Packer's driver's license to the riot photos and security footage provided by the witness, the FBI was able to confirm Packer's identity. After his arrest he was held at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail in Suffolk, CBS News affiliate WTKR-TV reported.

He then appeared virtually before a federal magistrate judge Wednesday. According to The Washington Post, a prosecutor during the federal court hearing said the government would not be seeking Parker's detention.

In a clear example of white privilege, while Packer was not asked to enter a plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller, Miller said Packer would be released without bail on a personal recognizance bond.

His only conditions were that he stay out of Washington, D.C. for reasons other than to be in court for his case and attend his next court date set for Jan.19.

While he did not identify who would represent him in the case, during the hearing Packer noted that he intended to hire his own attorney.

More than 70 people are facing federal and local charges associated with the Capitol riots that took place on Jan. 6., Acting U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C. Michael Sherwin said in a Tuesday press conference. According to Sherwin, the FBI has opened investigations into at least 170 more individuals. Additionally, Rep. Jason Crow confirmed that law enforcement officials have opened at least 25 domestic terrorism cases. Social media and other footage shared from the riots is enabling investigators to identify suspects across the country for charges of unlawful entry, disorderly conduct, theft, assault, and weapons violations.