Criminality, Terrorism and Violence Are Right Wing Character Flaws - They Are Defective

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Jan 22, 2022, 12:33:43 PMJan 22
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A far-right extremist movement born on social media and fueled by anti-
government rhetoric has emerged as a real-world threat in recent weeks,
with federal authorities accusing some of its adherents of working to
spark violence at largely peaceful protests roiling the nation.

At a time when President Trump and other top U.S. officials have claimed —
with little evidence — that leftist groups were fomenting violence,
federal prosecutors have charged various supporters of a right-wing
movement called the “boogaloo bois,” with crimes related to plotting to
firebomb a U.S. Forest Service facility, preparing to use explosives at a
peaceful demonstration and killing a security officer at a federal
courthouse.

Prosecutors even successfully argued before a federal magistrate in Texas
last week that a drug possession suspect with alleged boogaloo ties should
be denied bond because Facebook and Instagram posts advocating violence
against National Guard members and threatening to kill looters showed he
was a “threat to the community.”

Boogaloo is more of a violent anti-government ideology than a formal
movement, say those who study extremist groups. They say they cannot
identify a leader, headquarters or command structure, just loosely
affiliated social media pages ranging from explicitly violent to merely
commercial, peddling boogaloo-themed merchandise.

But the visibility of boogaloo supporters at recent protests — dressed in
trademark Hawaiian shirts and carrying military-style rifles — had alarmed
researchers who for months had warned about the danger the groups posed.
U.S. Air Force Sgt. Steven Carrillo, 32, is seen in an image from
surveillance video outside a business near the location where he was
arrested in Ben Lomond, Calif., on June 6. (Justice Department/Reuters)

Now federal prosecutors in California, Texas, Nevada and Colorado appear
to be endorsing those concerns with a series of criminal charges against
self-described boogaloo supporters, whose arrests often were accompanied
by the seizure of weapons and explosives.

One boogaloo supporter, Steven Carrillo, an active-duty Air Force staff
sergeant, is charged with killing a security guard at the federal
courthouse in Oakland last month. Court documents allege he scrawled the
word “Boog” in blood on a car he had stolen.

“The numbers are overwhelming: Most of the violence is coming from the
extreme right wing,” said Clint Watts, a former FBI agent who studies
extremist political activity for the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a
think tank in Philadelphia.
U.S. Attorney David Anderson announced on June 16 that two men had been
charged for the May 29 murder of a federal courthouse guard in Oakland,
Calif. (Reuters)

Men wearing Hawaiian shirts and carrying guns add a volatile new element
to protests

The shooting that killed one security guard and injured another took place
May 29, near where demonstrators had gathered to protest the police
killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis.

Facebook posts also figure in Carrillo’s prosecution, with court documents
quoting one attributed to him: “Use their anger to fuel our fire. Think
outside the box. We have mobs of angry people to use to our advantage.”
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Carrillo also is accused of killing a sheriff’s deputy in a separate
incident in California’s Santa Cruz County. Carrillo’s lawyer has
cautioned against a “rush to judgement” on the charges.

The boogaloo movement was born on fringe social media forums such as 4chan
but migrated to more mainstream ones such as Instagram, Twitter and
Facebook, where researchers have found some groups had at times hundreds
of thousands of followers. The name of the group comes from a 1984 break-
dancing movie sequel regarded as almost indistinguishable from the
original — boogaloo supporters contend that a second civil war will
resemble the one in the 1860s.

Their names and symbols have evolved rapidly online, amid calls for
violence against police and other authorities, with boogaloo becoming “Big
Igloo” and “Big Luau,” which inspired a proliferation of movement symbols,
including the Hawaiian shirts. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted an image
of apparent boogaloo supporters, carrying rifles, atop an overturned and
vandalized police car in Salt Lake City last month.

An officer was gunned down. The killer was a ‘boogaloo boy’ using nearby
peaceful protests as cover, feds say.

The boogaloo ideology has proved adaptive as well, with supporters
appearing regularly at a rallies opposing government coronavirus
restrictions before shifting to the Floyd rallies — sometimes in avowed
support of the protesters, sometimes to allegedly quell unrest and
sometimes as provocateurs seeking to inflame it.
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The role of social media in incubating the movement and spreading its
ideology has prompted several researchers to compare boogaloo to foreign
militant groups, such as the Islamic State, which used memes and other
forms of online messaging to spread extremist rhetoric, raise money and
recruit new members.

“The extremism and the radicalism and the recruitment are nothing new. The
methodology is new — that you can reach tens of millions of people with a
click of a finger,” Paul Goldenberg, a senior fellow at Rutgers
University’s Miller Center and a member of the Department of Homeland
Security Advisory Council.

Federal authorities this month accused three men in Nevada, all with U.S.
military experience, of planning to use molotov cocktails and other
explosives to trigger a violent reaction among protesters gathered in Las
Vegas last month. An FBI SWAT team arrested the men with fireworks,
accelerants, an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition, according
to charging documents. The men also were charged with crimes related to
planning the firebombing of a Forest Service facility at Lake Mead, east
of Las Vegas.
A patch on a ballistic vest seized during the arrest of Carrillo included
images of an igloo and a Hawaiian-style print associated with the boogaloo
movement. (Justice Department/Reuters)

Like Carrillo, these men were advocates of the boogaloo ideology,
according to the charging documents, with a goal of causing “an incident
to incite chaos and possibly a riot” among the largely peaceful protests.
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Denver police last month separately seized military-style rifles,
handguns, ammunition and gas masks from the car of a man claiming
allegiance to boogaloo ideas and attending a Floyd protest rally but did
not charge him with any crimes.

In Texas, a bodybuilder alleged to have run an illegal steroid
distribution ring was being held without bond after prosecutors cited his
social media posts advocating “guerrilla warfare” against National Guard
members patrolling at protests and a Facebook post that included threats
about killing “looters” and “hunting” supposed leftist agitators.

In a video posted to Instagram and later submitted as evidence by federal
prosecutors, the man, Philip Archibald, allegedly urged people to travel
to St. Paul, Minn., to confront protesters and “bring that [expletive]
heat” along with extra “ammo.”
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“You know, this is — this is the time we need to make a stand. So again,
Saint Pauls, Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, this is where it’s going
down. So if you got people, send ‘em there,” according to an account of
the post provided by prosecutors.

The flurry of boogaloo-related prosecutions underscores the growing threat
posed by far-right extremists, say experts on such movements. Some
question why Trump and other top U.S. officials appear more focused on
antifa groups, a loose collection of leftists whose members have been
responsible for few documented crimes during the recent unrest, instead of
the boogaloo and other heavily armed groups on the right.

“That question has no legitimate answer, to be honest,” said John Farmer,
a former New Jersey attorney general and director of the Eagleton
Institute of Politics at Rutgers, who has studied the boogaloo extremists
and others. “There’s been no sense of urgency. I think it’s political
neglect.”

Scant evidence of antifa shows how sweeping the protests for racial
justice have become

Numerous independent research groups — including the Network Contagion
Research Institute, for which Farmer co-wrote a report — have been warning
for months about rising signs of boogaloo organizing and other activity on
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms. They have grown
especially concerned that these extremists had become a disruptive and
potentially dangerous element at political protests.
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Facebook, which owns Instagram, said it has removed numerous boogaloo-
themed groups, pages and posts for violating the company’s policy against
violence and incitement, and it has taken more targeted action against
people affiliated with the boogaloo movement who have attempted to commit
“mass violence,” under the company’s policy against dangerous individuals
and organizations.

Following the shootings of the security guards, which authorities say
involved a second man who drove Carrillo to the courthouse, Facebook
banned both men.

“We designated these attacks as violating events and removed the accounts
for the two perpetrators along with several groups. We will remove content
that supports these attacks and continue to work with law enforcement in
their investigation,” Facebook spokeswoman Sarah Pollack said.
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Federal authorities have traditionally treated domestic militant groups,
even the most extreme, far differently from foreign ones, though there has
been increasing recognition in some quarters of the threat posed by right-
wing extremists.

There has been an ongoing debate at the federal level about whether
domestic terrorists merit more focus, along the lines of the formal
designation that the State Department imposes on some foreign groups.

U.S. officials have rarely mentioned boogaloo publicly but have said that
they will act against violent extremists, regardless of ideology, when
they commit crimes.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Tuesday, in announcing
charges against Carrillo, “The assassination and injury of federal
officers who swore an oath to protect the American public will not be
tolerated. The Department of Homeland Security will continue its mission
to end violent extremism in any form.”

Marc Raimondi, a Justice Department spokesman, said he did not know of any
directive specific to the boogaloo ideology that had been sent to
prosecutors, and he said the department has been “focused on those
involved in unlawful, violent or destructive behavior regardless of
inspiration.”

Despite Trump’s call last month to designate the antifa movement a
terrorist group, there is no legal mechanism to do so. Federal authorities
extend a degree of deference to militias and similar groups because much
of what they do — making political statements, protesting, carrying
firearms — is constitutionally protected.

What is antifa?

The recent violence has raised questions about whether a more focused and
systemic response is warranted for groups like boogaloo, which openly
espouse violence against the police and other government authorities.

New Jersey formally designated white supremacist groups as a leading
terrorist threat in a February report, in what officials there called the
first such move in the nation. Boogaloo adherents, whom the state has
singled out in periodic threat reports, sometimes espouse white
supremacist views and sometimes express solidarity with all racial groups,
including when some boogaloo factions expressed support for the Floyd
protesters, researchers and officials say.

“These types of groups, they just take advantage of the moment, and they
spew some messaging, and it just gains traction,” said Jared Maples,
director of homeland security and preparedness for New Jersey. “The people
who are doing this are taking advantage of people’s fears. … One of the
biggest things we can do is call it out.”

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banned both men. xi
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