The U.S. says it supports an international effort spearheaded by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron to find ways to stop social media from spreading hate — but won’t take part in it. Signing onto the effort are the UK, Japan, Australia, Italy, India, Germany, and Spain, along with tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube. The White House suggested it has concerns about First Amendment violations.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has become a virtual pariah within the European Union because of his dismantling of his country’s democratic institutions, cruel treatment of asylum seekers and anti-Semitic provocations. But on Monday he is due to be welcomed to the White House by President Trump, who appears to prefer crude autocrats of Mr. Orban’s type to the liberal democratic leaders of the United States’ closest allies.
When asked if the “two halves” of America can continue to coexist as a nation, Washington state representative Matt Shea, who’s been exposed in the past for discussing physical attacks on political enemies, said the following. “You know, I don’t think we can, and a lot of people would be kind of stunned maybe by that. I don’t think we can, again, because you have half that want to follow the Lord and righteousness and half that don’t, and I don’t know how that can stand.”
“It’s tempting to ignore Trump’s tweeting, even if his social media messages do occasionally cause global financial markets to plummet. Yet when Trump amplifies far-right voices, people on the fringes notice. On 8chan, the online hangout of both the man charged with slaughtering Muslims in New Zealand recently and the man charged in the Poway synagogue shooting, a poster wrote, ‘IF POTUS is retweeting something like this, the gloves are really off. It’s ON.'”
“Hate crimes small and large seem to be on the rise everywhere. But here’s something else that has been happening: Some 400,000 people have visited a memorial to the victims of racial-terror lynchings since it opened in Montgomery, Ala., about one year ago. People in 300 counties where lynchings took place have started conversations about erecting markers or monuments in their hometowns…It’s a big, complicated country. The hopeful doesn’t negate the baleful. But the hopeful is a part of our story.”
Donald Trump criticized social media companies after Facebook banned a number of extremist figures, declaring that he was “monitoring and watching, closely!!” Trump retweeted a message from conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson urging his followers to “keep up the pressure,” and a second wondering why his opinions should be deemed “dangerous.”
“Suppressing these dangerous voices might give us a false sense of security that if we can’t hear or see them, they no longer exist. They do — they are here. And I’d rather they hide in plain sight so we are better acquainted with our enemies than pretend that taking away their microphones is a solution. Their microphones aren’t the problem. It’s their ideas.”
At least four white supremacists who were at the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., have admitted that they attended the rally only to incite violence that would lead to riots, according to the Department of Justice.
Katie McHugh, a writer and editor whose racist rants on social media were so bad, they got her fired from Breitbart News, of all places, claims to have changed her ways, and she has a message for the far right. “There is redemption. You have to own up to what you did and then forcefully reject this and explain to people, and tell your story, and say, ‘Get out while you can.'”
Recent events have pushed the rising tide of white nationalism to the forefront of the 2020 presidential campaign, putting Donald Trump on the defensive and prompting even some Republicans to acknowledge that the president is taking a political risk by continuing to stand by his Charlottesville comments.
“There has been more than enough time for reflection and apologies. The president and his allies continue to provide cover for the racist violence in Charlottesville, and the violent ideology propagated there. There is no more need to debate whether support for racism is a feature of the Trump administration; the question is how much longer Americans will tolerate it.”
Fox News Radio White House correspondent Jon Decker on Thursday called out two of his colleagues for sounding “like a White Supremacist chat room” when they defended President Trump’s infamous “both sides” comment about white supremacists in Charlottesville in an email chain.
In addition to separating migrant families and attempting to ban all Muslims from entering the country, one of President Trump’s most infamously disgraceful choices was to refer to white supremacists in Charlottesville as “very fine people.” After Joe Biden referenced that ignominious moment in his campaign launch video, Trump defended his comments again on Friday.
A YouTuber who is the UK Independence Party’s star recruit to run in the upcoming European elections has a history of using racial slurs, including repeatedly saying the n-word. Carl Benjamin, also known as Sargon of Akkad, was tapped to run by the Eurosceptic, right-wing political party to appeal to younger, more online, far-right voters. Benjamin also sent a disparaging tweet about rape to Labour MP Jess Phillips, and suggested Jewish people use the Holocaust to engage in identity politics.
U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson, who reportedly plotted attacks against Democrats, Supreme Court justices, and African Americans, will be released on bail after federal prosecutors failed to charge him with terrorism-related offenses. Hasson still faces lesser gun and drug charges.
In short, because it means the company would have to ban some Republican politicians. A company official said when the platform aggressively enforces against content, it can also flag innocent accounts, and society generally accepts the benefit of banning, say, ISIS for inconveniencing others. But with white supremacy, Republican politicians could get swept up by the algorithms, and banning politicians wouldn’t be accepted as a fair trade-off. So it looks like we’re stuck with @realdonaldtrump.
Being crucified for the sins of the world and losing committee assignments over racist comments you made are roughly equivalent to Rep. Steve King. Two days after Easter, King compared himself to Jesus Christ at a town hall, saying, “And when I had to step down the floor of the House of Representatives and look at up those 400-and-some accusers, you know, we’ve just passed through Easter and Christ’s Passion, and I have a better insight into what he went through for us.” Um, yeah, okay.
The FBI on Saturday arrested Larry Mitchell Hopkins, the leader of a right-wing militia group that was detaining migrant families at gunpoint near the border in southern New Mexico. Operating under the alias Johnny Horton, Jr., Hopkins was arrested on charges of firearms possession by a felon, a relatively minor charge that is likely the start of a deeper investigation into his activities and those of the militia, opening the way for authorities to bring more serious charges like kidnapping.
Matt Shea had private conservations with right wing figures about carrying out surveillance, “psyops” and even violent attacks on perceived political enemies. The men talked about the broad outlines of what they appeared to consider to be a looming civil war.
Rep. Matt Gaetz has hired former White House speechwriter Darren Beattie as his newest speechwriter. Beattie was fired from the White House when it was discovered that he spoke at a white nationalist conference in 2016.
Armed rightwing militia members detained a large group of migrants at the US-Mexico border and coordinated with US border patrol agents to have them arrested, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, in a series of actions the civil liberties organization called a “kidnapping” and a flagrant violation of the law.
Russell Courtier received a life sentence for his murder of black teen Larnell Bruce. Prosecutors successfully established that the killing was racially motivated.
As firefighters worked to contain the fire that ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday, Islamophobic conspiracy theories about the cause of the fire were being pushed on social media by anonymous accounts, known white nationalists, and political pundits. French officials investigating the fire have ruled out arson and terrorism, saying the fire that led to a roof collapse was likely tied to ongoing repairs at the cathedral.
The Democratic presidential candidate provided a reasonable explanation for why white nationalists seem to like his campaign. “In the context of my book, I was saying, how will this tribalism and violence manifest itself. Poor whites who felt like they had no future and then that violence would emerge in large part because that group would become increasingly angry and distressed,” Yang said. “That’s the context of the book.”
Leaked chats show that presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s campaign is struggling to separate online supporters and online radicals. The chats showed the Yang campaign attempting to coordinate some of the online support while keeping out racism and racist slurs. Yang’s tech-driven campaign has found him supporters in all areas of the internet, but he is discovering that the same online places where his supporters can be found are also home to racism, white nationalism, and other radicalism.
An arrest has been made in connection with the burning of three historically black churches in Louisiana. The suspect, 21-year-old Holden Matthews, is the son of a local sheriff’s deputy.
“If Republicans were hoping to sabotage the Judiciary Committee’s hearing, they got what they wanted. Owens’s presence turned a serious inquiry — there were representatives from civil rights groups, social media and a Muslim man whose daughters were killed in a hate crime — into farce.”
At a budget request hearing before the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “The danger, I think, of white supremacists, violent extremism, or another kind of extremism is, of course, significant.” He said the FBI addresses it through its joint terrorism task forces and via hate crime enforcement. Wray’s comments counter those of President Trump, who recently said that white supremacists were “a small group of people.”
The timing seems…odd. The Department of Homeland Security has disbanded a group of intelligence analysts who focused on the threat from homegrown violent extremists and domestic terrorists, and shared intel with state and local law enforcement officials. “You hear this administration say how domestic terrorism is a clear priority. But you can’t say that and then all of a sudden get rid of the unit that’s there to detect threats. You can’t have it both ways,” said former DHS official Nate Snyder.
Despite what supporters of Donald Trump may tell you, “Trump’s Charlottesville statement deserves to be remembered as a dangerous sign. It shows the corruption in Trump’s outlook on the world that makes him unwilling to deal with a clear threat to American values — and, in the coiled obfuscations of the ‘Charlottesville Hoax’ myth, it shows how he corrupts the minds and values of his apologists.”
“Rather than waiting for targets to find them, recruiters go to where targets are, staging seemingly casual conversations about issues of race and identity in spaces where lots of disaffected, vulnerable adolescent white males tend to hang out. Those who exhibit curiosity about white nationalist talking points or express frustration with the alt-right’s ideological opponents such as feminists, anti-racism activists and ‘social justice warriors’ are then escorted through a funnel of increasingly racist rhetoric designed to normalize the presence of white supremacist ideology and paraphernalia through the use of edgy humor and memes.”
“With the far right globally in the ascendancy – from Italy to Brazil – the role of the media must be urgently debated. Mainstream media outlets and politicians are directly assisting the rise of the far right. The silence must end, preferably before more die.”
On the same day Facebook announced a ban on white supremacist content on its platform, an indictment unsealed on Wednesday revealed that 18 members and associates of a white supremacist gang have been arrested. Known as the 1488s, the gang members have been charged for their alleged roles in a racketeering enterprise involving narcotics distribution, firearms trafficking, and acts of violence, including murder, assault, and kidnapping.
James Fields pleaded guilty to nearly all of the charges against him for his role in driving a vehicle through a crowd and killing Heather Heyer during protests in Charlottesville in 2017. With his plea, he will likely avoid the death penalty.
J.M. Berger, an author who studies extremist movements, says of white nationalism, “We’re seeing a resurgence in various countries. It’s a worldwide phenomenon.” And around the world, Donald Trump is a symbol of the movement. “When we do the social media analysis…what we find is the most common [tag] is ‘#MAGA.’ The most common description of somebody that they use in the profile…on Twitter, is ‘Trump supporter.'”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern returned to Christchurch today for the second time since a gunman killed 50 people in an attack on two mosques last Friday. In an interview on the BBC, she issued a global call to weed out right-wing nationalism. “If we want to make sure globally that we are a safe and tolerant and inclusive world, we cannot think about this in terms of boundaries.”
“A hundred years from now, [Barack] Obama’s presidency will be hailed as the most transformative of our lifetimes, and Donald Trump’s will be viewed with the same scorn that followed the Dred Scott decision. Like that pre-Civil War Supreme Court case, Trump will forever be condemned as a racial reprobate whose words and actions inspired white supremacists and neo-Nazis.”
Intelligence services in France, Britain, Germany, and Italy are warning of growing tensions and risks caused by extremism in Western societies. Peter Neumann, head of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, said “we’ve seen an increase for four or five years in the number of hate crimes and also right-wing terrorist violence. I attribute that to deepening polarisation which has increased extremism not only on the jihadist side but also on the extreme right-wing side.”
“The people he seeks to separate one from the other instead stand shoulder to shoulder to confront and oppose what the world’s great cultures each recognise as the barbarity of extremists who sometimes lurk, sometimes strut, in their midst. … Now the accused is rendered a pixellated presence in our thinking, while those he wrenched from us stand so vividly in our consciousness. Their humanity is seen as what it always was, unassailable. His own is questioned. Those who survived his bullets will be welcomed back into a wider community that is more grateful than before to have them among us. And all those he hurt, physically or not, will find themselves surrounded by so many who want to help, if only they know how. That is a question so many are asking, perhaps more purposefully than in past times.”
A controversial meme posted on Facebook by notorious Rep. Steve King was deleted on Monday. The meme depicted battling human figures composed of “red” and “blue” states and said, “Folks keep talking about another civil war; one side has about 8 trillion bullets while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.” King posted it on Saturday night with the comment “Wonder who would win….,” followed by a smirking emoji.