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Category Archives: Proud Boys
Posted: February 28, 2021 at 10:33 pm
Gottheimer Announces New Steps to Combat Violent Extremist Groups, Calls for Proud Boys & Other International Extremist Groups to be Officially…
Posted: at 10:33 pm
Gottheimer Announces New Steps to Combat Violent Extremist Groups, Calls for Proud Boys & Other International Extremist Groups to be Officially Designated as Terrorist Organizations
Provides Law Enforcement & Intelligence Community With More Tools to Fight Back Against Domestic Terror
NEWTON, NJ Today, Tuesday, February 23, 2021, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, urged the U.S. Department of State to officially designate international violent extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, as terrorist organizations. Doing so will help provide law enforcement and the U.S. intelligence community the tools necessary to protect the nation from domestic terrorists and other violent extremists that threaten our freedom, democracy, and communities. Todays announcement follows the involvement of domestic terrorist groups, including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, in the January 6, 2021 failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the massive growth of violent extremist groups in New Jersey and nationwide in recent years.
The official terrorist group designation: 1) impedes fundraising and deters contributions to these groups; 2) heightens public awareness and knowledge of those linked to terrorism; 3) makes clear to U.S. allies our governments concerns about these groups; and, 4) warns the private sector of the risks of doing business and associating with them. Most importantly, it 5) disrupts terrorist networks, thereby cutting off access to financial and other resources from sympathizers, and 6) encourages those targeted to end their support for terrorism. In these and other ways, it helps provide additional tools to law enforcement and our nations intelligence community to prosecute, financially counter, and help defeat these groups.
The vigilante mob who stormed our Capitol killed one heroic officer, Brian Sicknick, injured scores of others, tore down the American flag, and desecrated the home of our democracy, Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said today. Healing, of course, requires accountability and investigation, and we have seen the FBI and other law enforcement agencies take swift action against groups like the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Three Percenters, and Stop the Steal, who all participated and helped lead the insurrection.
Gottheimer continued, Im here today to announce new, concrete steps to combat violent extremist groups in New Jersey and across our nation, including providing law enforcement and the U.S. intelligence community with the tools they need to protect our community, our country, and our Capitol from future domestic terror attacks. As our state and the Administration continues to examine the threat of domestic terror groups, Im urging the federal government to officially designate the Proud Boys and other violent extremist groups as terrorist groups.
Gottheimer added, Whatever their names may be whether its from the right, like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, or the groups inspired by the radical Antifa ideology on the extreme left theyre all justifying violence against their opponents, and neither Democrats nor Republicans should stand for this.
Of the 200 arrests made since the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, at least ten of the insurrections are from New Jersey including one not far from here in Sussex County, who was indicted on 12-counts, including assaulting an officer. Of the 22 individuals charged with conspiracy crimes connected to the U.S. Capitol attack, 18 were known to have ties to either the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey are at the highest levels ever recorded. The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness has labeled white supremacy as a top level terror threat.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Blinken today, Gottheimer wrote, I believe that a terrorist designation for qualifying entities would help provide additional tools to law enforcement and the intelligence community to prosecute, financially counter, and defeat these groups. There is also precedent for such a determination, as the United States has in the past designated international groups with American chapters and entities.
Gottheimer was joined at todays announcement, held at Sussex County Community College (SCCC), by Sussex County Prosecutor Francis Koch, First Assistant Prosecutor Greg Mueller, Captain Jennifer Williams of the Sussex County Prosecutors Office, Sussex County Undersheriff Matthew Avenatti, and Sussex County Community College President Jon Connelly.
Watch todays announcement event HERE.
View Gottheimers letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken HERE.
Gottheimers remarks as prepared for delivery are below.
Last month, for the first time since 1814, the world witnessed a deadly attack by several extremist groups on the U.S. Capitol, the beacon of our democracy, with the sole goal of overturning the will of the American people. I know. I was there that day in the House Chambers. The day before, I saw several people walking near the Capitol wearing Camp Auschwitz t-shirts and others with six million was not enough.
The vigilante mob who stormed our Capitol, killed one heroic officer, Brian Sicknick, injured scores of others, tore down the American flag, and desecrated the home of our democracy. They were nothing but lawless thugs and the very definition of extremists who sought to harm our country and attempted to shred our inalienable rights life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In the end, they failed miserably. The Electoral College was certified; I spoke on the House floor that evening. The Capitol never closed. But they did succeed in tearing us further apart. I am here today to help bind up our nations wounds, because, as Lincoln said, A house divided against itself cannot stand.
That healing, of course, requires accountability and investigation and we have seen the FBI and other law enforcement agencies take swift action against groups like the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Three Percenters, and Stop the Steal, who all participated and helped lead the insurrection. In fact, and none of us are proud of this, at least ten of the insurrectionists are from New Jersey including one not far from here in Sussex County, who was indicted on 12-counts, including assaulting an officer.
By the accountability for January 6th, we must do everything in our power to protect our country going forward from any extremists, whether they are Proud Boys or ISIS-inspired, lone wolf terrorists.
Thats why Im here today to announce new, concrete steps to combat violent extremist groups in New Jersey and across our nation, including providing law enforcement and the U.S. intelligence community with the tools they need to protect our community, our country, and our Capitol from future domestic terror attacks.
As our state and the Administration continues to examine the threat of domestic terror groups, Im urging the federal government to officially designate the Proud Boys and other violent extremist groups as terrorist groups.
Today, domestic-based extremists, including white supremacist groups, export their repulsive ideologies abroad, and, in turn, these international terror groups force their ideology on our country and threaten our homeland. This is a new, burgeoning threat that must be dealt with immediately. We know that American citizens have traveled abroad to train with international white supremacist and other extremist groups, and we must take every action to stop them.
These groups here are homegrown, but can also have international ties and, based on the increasing risk and threats here in New Jersey and nationwide, its time to label these extremists as full-fledged domestic terrorist groups.
The official terrorist group designation which under existing law can be placed on qualifying entities not only shines a much-needed light on the threat, but also opens up new authorities to help combat their extremism. The terrorist designation impedes fundraising and deters contributions to these groups, heightens public awareness and knowledge of those linked to terrorism; makes clear to U.S. allies our alarming concerns about these groups, and warns the private sector of the risks of doing business and associating with them. Most importantly, it disrupts terrorist networks, thereby cutting off access to financial and other resources from sympathizers, and encourages those targeted to end their support for terrorism. In these and other ways, it helps provide additional tools to our law enforcement and to our nations intelligence community to prosecute, financially counter, and help defeat these groups.
There is already precedent for such a determination, since the United States has in the past designated international groups with American chapters and entities, just like the Proud Boys has.
The Proud Boys group has already been classified as a hate group by civil rights organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Proud Boys is a group with a global presence, including several international chapters in Britain, Norway, and Australia. Canada has already designated them as a foreign terrorist group. In addition, federal prosecutors have already warned that Proud Boys members could plan further attacks on the federal government.
Now, its time to make sure these groups that threaten the security of our communities and nation are specially designated as the terrorist groups that they are.
I know that everyone has seen lots of footage of the January Sixth attacks on the Capitol, but what you may not know is how much of a threat these extremist groups fully posed that day, and how much of a risk these groups are both here in New Jersey and nationwide.
On January Sixth, hundreds stormed the Capitol and more than two hundred have been arrested thus far.
Those who stormed the Capitol that day included some of the worst of the worst. But the hard, hard core was made up of particularly sinister groups which have been actively recruiting in our state for years, including the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and others.
These included anti-government extremists like the Oath Keepers a group the FBI describes as a large but loosely organized collection of militia who believe that the federal government has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights. Though the Oath Keepers will accept anyone of their members, they prey on current and former military, law enforcement, and first responders. The New Jersey Department of Homeland Security has already designated the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Three Percenters, and other groups as threats to our state.
According to the ADL, the Proud Boys who were also heavily involved in the attack on January Sixth bear many of the hallmarks of a gang, and its members have taken part in multiple acts of brutal violence and intimidation. Last October, Congressman Tom Malinowski and I led our New Jersey House colleagues in urging the FBI to counter the presence of the Proud Boys and other hate groups in our state. As we wrote at the time, We believe we need a much more robust Federal response to the growing threat of violence posed by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, domestic terrorists, and other militias.
In fact, of the twenty-two people charged with conspiracy crimes connected to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, eighteen were known to have ties to either the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys. One of the members of the Oath Keepers who has been charged sent text messages in which he described killing and mutilating people who held opposing views, and referred to his political adversaries as savages, maggots, and cockroaches.
Another Capitol assailant, a member of a militia extremist group called the Texas Freedom Force, even threatened to kill his family if they turned him in. Just this past week, federal authorities alleged a broader conspiracy by Oath Keepers to attack the Capitol on January Sixth, charging six more Oath Keepers for conspiring to obstruct Congress certification of the election that day.
January Sixth was just one single day, but many factors have brought us to this point. Hate, extremism, and violent acts of hate and discrimination have disturbingly risen in recent years.
In my own personal experience, there were supporters of mine who had swastikas painted in front of their house. Ive had swastikas on my own campaign lawn signs. Here in Northern New Jersey, weve seen swastikas drawn repeatedly in our schools, and on one of our great Jersey diners here in Sussex County: Airport Diner, which I hope can reopen again once we recover from the pandemic.
Weve seen the growth of hate here in New Jersey against people of all backgrounds: African American, Jewish, Irish Catholic, Muslim, Asian American such as the anti-Asian American vandalism against a restaurant here in Fifth District.
And we know all too well that social media can be filled with hate, disinformation, conspiracies, and propaganda, and that this danger can spread like wildfire.
Whatever their names may be whether its from the right, like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, or the groups inspired by the radical Antifa ideology on the extreme left theyre all justifying violence against their opponents, and neither Democrats nor Republicans should stand for this.
In New Jersey, weve seen a massive growth in white supremacy and hate acts, not just online, but in signs and protests, as well as gangs and violence. Anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and racially charged incidents in New Jersey are now at the highest levels ever recorded, according to
Our New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness has also made clear the threat that homegrown violent extremists, or lone-wolf terrorists, are to New Jersey. Theyve taken the unprecedented step to raise the white supremacist threat level to high, and, as the Director of New Jerseys Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, Jared Maples, recently said, Jersey was the very first government entity in the United States to label white supremacy as a top level terror threat.
But, I know this is not who this nation is. This is not who we are. And we cannot and we will not let our nation or our politics be held hostage by domestic terror groups seeking to undermine our country.
Thats why Ive been at the forefront of combating these issues: from working closely with state and local officials like the FBI in New Jersey and our own Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness to stay vigilant; to leading the charge to make sure to make sure hate groups, foreign terrorist organizations, and extremists cannot spread propaganda on our social media platforms which has resulted in Twitter banning Hamas and Hezbollah affiliated content; to the House passing my bipartisan legislation last summer to make sure we know when these groups pop up online; and working with my colleagues to stand up to groups from ISIS to Q-Anon.
My announcement today is only a part of what our country needs to combat these issues. Last Congress, I announced my bipartisan Freezing Assets of Suspected Terrorists and Enemy Recruits or FASTER Act for law enforcement to freeze the assets of domestic terrorists facing federal charges for insurrection and seditious conspiracy like those who stormed the Capitol.
Im pleased that my bipartisan legislation will be part of a package of bills that the Financial Services Committee will have a hearing on this Thursday to address, as part of our Committees continued investigation into how domestic terrorism is financed.
Ive also introduced the Online Terrorism Prevention Act to require regular disclosure of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations on social media, and to impose financial and criminal penalties for social media companies that fail to eliminate terrorist content from their platforms.
And just last month, Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and I led a bipartisan initiative urging the new Administration to restore the DHS Office of Community Partnerships (OCP), so that our country has a designated lead on efforts to counter violent extremism nationwide.
To be clear, there is plenty that both sides can disagree on and will continue to disagree on but we also need to unite against all forms of hate and stand up to these violent extremist organizations.
We must continue to stand vigilant against all threats, both foreign and domestic. With all of these initiatives, Im confident that we will give law enforcement and the U.S. intelligence community the tools necessary to protect us from violent extremists that threaten our freedom, our democracy, and our communities.
At a time when our nation is more polarized than ever, we must all work together at every level; both nationally and here in our own backyards to combat hate and extremism, especially in our political system. We must stay strong against the partisanship, turmoil, and vitriol that has plagued our nation.
Posted: at 10:33 pm
EXCLUSIVE: Mississippi congressman Thompson says his civil suit invoking the KKK Act is a direct response to Republicans political decision to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial
A member of the Proud Boys has been ringing Rep. Bennie Thompsons phone wanting a conversation with him since the Mississippi congressman filed a lawsuit against the white nationalist group. The suit also names former President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and the militia group, the Oath Keepers, as defendants.
The civil suit, backed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), is in direct response to the Jan. 6 deadly insurrection on the U.S. Capitol building. As of last Friday, Congressman Thompson had not answered the calls from the white supremacists.
Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., speaks during a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing on worldwide threats to the homeland, on Capitol Hill Washington. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)
Read More: Democratic congressman Bennie Thompson sues Trump over role in Capitol riot
Congressman Thompson, a plaintiff in the case, says the call came into one of his local offices in Mississippi. He [Proud Boy member] wanted to talk to me before the lawyers started talking. Obviously, I am not going to talk to him because the suit is filed, Thompson exclusively told theGrio.
Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys, a far-right group, is seen at a Stop the Steal rally against the results of the U.S. Presidential election outside the Georgia State Capitol on November 18, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
Thompsons suit is using an anti-Klan law that dates back to the 1800s. The Civil Rights Act of 1871, better known as the Ku Klux Klan Act, was meant to protect congressional leaders from from Klan intimidation in the south after the Civil War.
The lawsuit claims Trump and Giuliani, his personal lawyer, conspired with the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers to create the deadly and historic event in which an angry, mostly white male mob broke into the Capitol, attacked U.S. Capitol police officers, killing one officer and four civilians. More than 100 other officers suffered injuries.
Read More: Proud Boys may have sought revenge against police at Capitol siege: report
Congressman Thompson says the evidence is clear that congressional leaders were intimidated on Jan. 6 as they assembled to certify the Electoral College votes that declared Joe Biden the 46th president of the United States.
Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
As the mob stormed the Capitol, U.S. Senators and House members, fearing for their lives, were videotaped praying for supernatural intervention, running through the halls with police escorts to safety, and having to put on gas masks because the Trump rioters had used bear spray as they rushed the Hill with intent to destroy and kill people.
The domestic terrorists were angry over the results of the 2020 presidential election in which Donald Trump lost the popular vote and the Electoral College. Rather than concede the race, Trump falsely claimed there was fraud in the voting process. However, there is no evidence of fraud in the election as 60 lawsuits filed on behalf of Trump were denied by the courts.
The Thompson civil suit is meant to establish accountability and hit the defendants where it hurts the pocketbook in efforts to prevent violent incidents like this from happening again.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson tells theGrio that he thinks his organization and Thompson are going in the right direction. No trial schedule has been set, however, a D.C. federal judge was just assigned to the case last week.
NAACP President and CEO, Derrick Johnson addresses the 110th NAACP National Convention in Detroit on July 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Anytime you leave domestic terrorists unaccountable you can be assured there will be more domestic terrorism, Johnson tells theGrio.
Thompson, a lifetime member of the NAACP, says he is not looking for anything for himself but feels, we have to stop this expansion of domestic right-wing terrorists that are growing in this country.
Thompson also serves as the head of the House Homeland Security Committee and reminds people that, the FBI has testified before my committee that the single greatest threat to this country is the growth of right wing domestic terrorism.
The lawsuit is a direct result of what Thompson calls the Senates inaction to convict Donald Trump during the second phase of the impeachment process. Thompson says the acquittal was a political decision.
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The post Proud Boys calling Rep. Bennie Thompsons phone over Capitol riot lawsuit appeared first on TheGrio.
Posted: February 18, 2021 at 2:35 pm
On Feb. 3, Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair announced that 13 groups had been added to the List of Terrorist Entities. Nine of the groups were jihadist groups. But for many Canadians, the most recognizable group was the Proud Boys, although other groups particularly Atomwaffen Division and The Base arguably pose a more virulent threat.
The Proud Boys, founded by Canadian writer Gavin McInnes, rose to prominence as the result of its violent engagement with counter-protesters during the so-called Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017. As with right-wing extremism more generally, the group, which operates in both Canada and the United States, has continued to rise in stature.
According to Blair, the escalation toward violence shown by the Proud Boys since 2018 was a central factor in their designation as a terrorist group. No one should expect the listing to function as a silver bullet; government officials admit that the designation is unlikely to produce criminal charges anytime soon. But this designation carries with it potentially important implications for the group and its members and supporters.
For the group, among the most significant potential outcomes is freezing, seizing and restraint of property. However, as many contemporary violent extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, operate less as traditional organizations and more as loose confederations of members and supporters, the effects of the listing are more likely to be experienced by these individuals.
Most notably, individuals are legally prohibited from participating in or contributing to an activity of a terrorist group. Thus, the proscription goes beyond active engagement in extremism to include support activities such as fundraising and recruiting.
Read more: Designating the Proud Boys a terrorist organization won't stop hate-fuelled violence
Carrying punishment as indictable offence (and liability to imprisonment for up to 10 years), the terrorist listing is clearly meant to limit the types of support activities that are essential for the sustenance of these groups.
What is less clear is whether the listing will influence Proud Boys members and supporters. For the hardcore members, the most dedicated acolytes, the effect may be minimal; in fact, it is conceivable that they could wear this status as a badge of honour (or proudly, if you like).
But for the bulk of followers, and potential recruits, especially those with what sociologist Jackson Toby once called stakes in conformity, the impact may be quite different. It is one thing to be involved with a group that is on the margins of acceptability, it is another to be part of one that has been banned. Such a connection could open one up to a further level of social censure, disapproval or ostracism.
One of the challenges in predicting how individuals affiliated with the Proud Boys will respond to the terrorism label is that we are breaking new ground.
The first two groups to be designated as terrorist entities, Blood & Honour and Combat 18, were largely defunct by the time they were listed. In contrast, the groups added on Feb. 3 are very much active.
In response, some have questioned the need for the list. This argument pays insufficient attention to the seriousness of the current situation. Apart from providing law enforcement with important tools to address a rising threat, designating the Proud Boys as a terrorist group plays a critical role in re-establishing an increasingly opaque distinction between right-wing politics and violent right-wing extremism.
Recent events in the U.S. five people associated with Proud Boys were arrested and charged with conspiracy for their role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection represent the culmination of a deliberate process of blurring this line. Former president Trump and many Republican politicians have embraced, or at least failed to dissuade, right-wing extremists, to the point of where it is difficult to clearly demarcate where one ends and the other begins. Although the situation has been less pronounced in Canada, some of the same proclivities are evident here.
Designating the Proud Boys, Atomwaffen Division and The Base as terrorist groups provides a concrete affirmation that their activities unquestionably fall outside the bounds of acceptable political expression.
The listing process carries with it potential dangers that should be addressed. Like other western countries, Canada struggled in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 to create law to address terrorism. Many aspects of the War on Terror provide excellent examples of the perils of creating and applying laws and policies during a crisis, and cases where those laws have been arbitrarily or unfairly applied. For example, in the Canadian context, misguided information in the aftermath of 9/11 had led to the torture and mistreatment of certain citizens and permanent residents of Canada.
Perhaps the greatest concern with the listing process is its lack of transparency. While the government ought not be obliged to reveal its case prior to listing, an explanation afterwards of why a particular entity was designated as terrorist would go some way toward alleviating some concerns.
Labelling the Proud Boys as terrorists will not, in and of itself, resolve the growing political chasm that could erode Canadas social stability. However, it is a necessary element in maintaining the boundaries of reasonable political behaviour.
Continue reading here:
Posted: at 2:35 pm
President Joe Biden called out the Proud Boys as one of the greatest threats to America during his town hall in Milwaukee. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor Joel Berkowitz got to ask Biden about white supremacists and other hate groups during that town hall Tuesday night. "While I appreciate efforts being made to bring them to justice, I worry about ongoing threats to our country from Americans who embrace white supremacy and conspiracies that align with it. What can your administration do to address this complex and wide-ranging problem?" Berkowitz asked the president."I got involved in politics to begin with because of civil rights and opposition to white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, and the most dangerous people in America continue to exist. That is the greatest threat to terror in America, domestic terror," Biden said."Are you concerned about white supremacists in Wisconsin?" WISN 12's Terry Sater asked Berkowitz."Sure. We've seen them kill people. We've had things happen in our own backyard," Berkowitz said.In January, Kyle Rittenhouse, charged with killing two people during police brutality protests in Kenosha, could be seen in a Mount Pleasant bar, prosecutors said, flashing "white power" signs while posing for photos and serenaded with the Proud Boys anthem.The same group the president brought up at the town hall."You may remember, in one of my debates with the former president, I asked him to condemn the Proud Boys and he wouldn't do it," Biden said.Berkowitz said he wished the president would have talked more at the Pabst Theater about the underlying causes of hate groups, but he's glad Biden has changed the tone of the conversation from the White House."They are dangerous people," Biden said.The president said he'd like the Justice Department and the civil rights division to focus on hate groups.
President Joe Biden called out the Proud Boys as one of the greatest threats to America during his town hall in Milwaukee.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor Joel Berkowitz got to ask Biden about white supremacists and other hate groups during that town hall Tuesday night.
"While I appreciate efforts being made to bring them to justice, I worry about ongoing threats to our country from Americans who embrace white supremacy and conspiracies that align with it. What can your administration do to address this complex and wide-ranging problem?" Berkowitz asked the president.
"I got involved in politics to begin with because of civil rights and opposition to white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, and the most dangerous people in America continue to exist. That is the greatest threat to terror in America, domestic terror," Biden said.
"Are you concerned about white supremacists in Wisconsin?" WISN 12's Terry Sater asked Berkowitz.
"Sure. We've seen them kill people. We've had things happen in our own backyard," Berkowitz said.
In January, Kyle Rittenhouse, charged with killing two people during police brutality protests in Kenosha, could be seen in a Mount Pleasant bar, prosecutors said, flashing "white power" signs while posing for photos and serenaded with the Proud Boys anthem.
The same group the president brought up at the town hall.
"You may remember, in one of my debates with the former president, I asked him to condemn the Proud Boys and he wouldn't do it," Biden said.
Berkowitz said he wished the president would have talked more at the Pabst Theater about the underlying causes of hate groups, but he's glad Biden has changed the tone of the conversation from the White House.
"They are dangerous people," Biden said.
The president said he'd like the Justice Department and the civil rights division to focus on hate groups.
See more here:
Posted: at 2:35 pm
The Proud Boys are a far-right white nationalist organization based in Canada that was recently designated a terrorist entity by the Canadian government. This designation, however, will not stop violent extremists from attacking Canadian values.
This is a moment in time where extremism now pervades social media. This change has been so gradual that we have not noticed our tacit involvement each time we post or pass on softly violent memes and slogans wrapped in humour.
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The criminal justice system will be unable to weather this storm unless it adjusts its approach to understanding the true nature of social movements and determining whether terrorist designations are the most appropriate means of dealing with social movements that express soft violence.
Soft violence describes harmful activities that stop short of actual physical violence. It takes the form of culturally nuanced, inexplicit cues that reinforce perceived power disparities. Specific clothing, memes and symbols are all types of recorded social violence activity associated with right-wing extremists.
While groups like the Proud Boys are undoubtedly violent in intention, they are softly violent in their expression. This soft violence demonstrates the creeping normalization of extremist sentiment in our communities.
To receive a terrorist designation, an organization must meet three criteria: it must intend or have committed physical harm; it must intend to impact decision-making by policy-makers and or intimidate citizens; and it must be driven by ideological beliefs. The danger of physical harm to citizens must be clearly demonstrated with reasonable grounds that it has carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated terrorist activity.
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Groups that plan, conduct and execute physical harm driven by ideological beliefs are just the tip of the iceberg. Neo-Nazi groups like the Atomwaffen Division and The Base also designated terrorist organizations by the Canadian government fit this designation: they sell guns and train militias for race wars, and utter and disseminate hate speech.
These organized right-wing extremist groups are the violent visible minority, and a small part of the much larger movement of sympathizers and supporters.
Extremists thrive in environments where they can easily cultivate an identity that is fixated on maintaining the dominance, authority, legitimacy and superiority of the white race. Misogyny and ultra-nationalism are extensions of these constructs of what white well-being and white welfare should look like.
Groups like the Proud Boys recruit and spread their messages through non-offensive affiliations where grievances align. These destructive, inward-looking, nationalistic, race-dominant, regressive beliefs can lead to oppression, community strife and dehumanization.
This is especially true in an uncertain pandemic, where lockdowns lead to an increase in time spent online and conspiracy theories and anger at restrictions prevail.
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My research studies a dataset of more than 94 million extremist transactions to examine how online activity may be a confident predictor of the escalation to violence, based on the degree of usage of softly violent mass identity manipulators, like memes and visual cues.
In particular, I look at how these mass identity manipulators strengthen the bonds of violent transnational social movements. My research lab is currently tracking 16 Canadian Facebook groups with over a quarter-million followers who engage with extremist rhetoric.
When other platforms are considered, Canadian support for these groups might number in the millions. These followers make up a range of segments within extremism violent transnational social movements are often elements within broader social movements.
Many of the groups we are examining are actually derivatives, splinters or rebrands of known extremist groups. Elements of the Proud Boys have already refashioned into a new incarnation called Canada First, effectively sidestepping their terrorist designation.
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The Three Percenters, a far-right militia movement, have created a group called Canadian Sheepdogs, which has more than 400 followers. The Aryan Guard became Blood and Honour, but three of its members who were charged in racially motivated assaults in Vancouver allegedly joined the Asatruu Folk Assembly. The Qubec Soldiers of Odin splintered into the Northern Guard. The Wolves of Odin, Canadian Infidels and The Clann all emerged from the Edmonton Soldiers of Odin.
Alleged neo-Nazis like Gabriel Sohier Chaput have shown that Canadians are highly influential on message boards and forums. The activity of right-wing extremist groups in Canada is a real and present danger.
It is a positive sign that the Canadian government has asserted that violent extremists will be held accountable for their activities, but the punitive measures are incidental at best. The Proud Boys as an organization will not be able to hold property or be named as a charitable foundation.
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The members of the group, however, are free to join other groups because they have not been named individually, and expressing nuanced hate is not a crime or a terrorist offence. These groups, like other extremist violent transnational social movements, raise money through crowdfunding being designated a terrorist organization will limit their ability to do so.
This is possibly the single positive tangible benefit of this action.
Candyce Kelshall, adjunct professor, Buckingham Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, University of Buckingham.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.
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Federal prosecutors investigated Proud Boys ties to Roger Stone in 2019 case: CNN | TheHill – The Hill
Posted: at 2:35 pm
Members of the violent far-right group the Proud Boys, as well as their connection with Trump associate and political consultant Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneFederal prosecutors investigated Proud Boys ties to Roger Stone in 2019 case: CNN Six people who guarded Roger Stone entered Capitol during attack: NYT House Democrats renew push for checks on presidential pardons MORE, were the subject of a 2019 criminal investigation that ultimately did not lead to charges, CNN reported Wednesday.
The previously-undisclosed investigation centered on whether the group had deliberately threatened the federal judge in Stones own case, according to CNN.
Stone, who was convicted of witness intimidation and lying to Congress but pardoned by former President TrumpDonald TrumpFederal prosecutors investigated Proud Boys ties to Roger Stone in 2019 case: CNN Overnight Defense: One-third of service members decline coronavirus vaccine | Biden to take executive action in response to Solar Winds hack | US, Japan reach cost sharing agreement Trump 'won't say yet' if he's running in 2024 MORE, posted an image of Judge Amy Berman Jackson with crosshairs behind her head to his Instagram account in February 2019, shortly after his indictment.
In court, he said the image was selected by an unnamed person who helped him with social media. Stone said he had not realized the image contained crosshairs. Jackson tightened Stones gag order as a result and he was later banned outright from Instagram and Facebook.
In a subsequent hearing, Stone said Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, reportedly a federal informant, had assisted him with social media. Stone also named several other members and associates of the group, including Tyler Ziolkowski, Jacob Engels and Rey Perez, according to CNN.
The men Stone named later flew to Washington, D.C., to testify in the matter.
"They asked me about if I had anything to do about posting that. They were asking me if Stone has ever paid me, what he's ever paid me for," Ziolkowski told CNN this week.
Ziolkowski was reportedly not present in D.C. on Jan. 6, the day of the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, while Tarrio had been arrested days before. Engels told Ziolkowski he was with Stone, who was in D.C. on Jan. 6 but has said he was not involved in the Capitol breach. Although none of the men have been charged in connection with Jan. 6, several other figures associated with the group have been charged.
Earlier this week, the NAACP and House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonFederal prosecutors investigated Proud Boys ties to Roger Stone in 2019 case: CNN The Hill's Morning Report - Biden on COVID-19: Next year Americans will be 'better off' Riot probe to likely focus on McCarthy-Trump call MORE (D-Miss.)sued the group along with Trump, his attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiFederal prosecutors investigated Proud Boys ties to Roger Stone in 2019 case: CNN The Hill's Morning Report - Biden on COVID-19: Next year Americans will be 'better off' Giuliani not representing Trump in legal matters, spokesman says MORE and another far-right group, the Oath Keepers, under a Reconstruction-era law for alleged incitement.
A woman who was charged in connection with the Capitol riot bragged about being recruited by the Proud Boys – Business Insider
Posted: at 2:35 pm
An Arizona woman arrested in connection with the Capitol riot on January 6 claimed to have been recruited by the Proud Boys, a misogynistic far-right group, a criminal complaint said.
Felicia Konold was arrested in Arizona last week on charges of conspiracy, civil disorder, obstruction, trespassing, and disorderly conduct, according to the Department of Justice.
Thecomplaint said Konold recorded multiple Snapchat videos describing the riot. In one, it said, she claimed to have been recruited by the Kansas City chapter of the Proud Boys and displayed what she said was a membership coin.
"In the post, the woman claimed that she had been told that even though she was not from Kansas City, she was 'with them now,'" the complaint said.
The claim of acceptance into a Proud Boys chapter has puzzled experts on extremist groups, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
The Proud Boys is by definition a men-only group, describing itself as a "pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world," the complaint said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has designated the Proud Boys as a hate group, said the group is known for misogynistic rhetoric and believes that "women are happier when they stay home and have children."
Alex DiBranco, the executive director of the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism, told the AP that no one in her group was aware of a woman ever having been recruited by a Proud Boys chapter.
Cassie Miller, a senior research analyst for the SPLC, told the AP that, for a time, women formed auxiliary Proud Boys groups like the "Proud Boys' Girls," made up of the wives and girlfriends of members.
But these women were never considered full members of the Proud Boys, Miller said, adding that she wasn't aware of any of these auxiliary groups being active.
"The group has been very clear from the beginning it is an organization for men only and they hold misogynistic [beliefs] and believe that women are best suited for domestic labor and should act as mothers and homemakers," Miller said.
Eric Ward, a senior fellow at the SPLC, told the AP that Konold's receiving a coin would suggest dissension in the Proud Boys' ranks.
"There is something happening around gender in the Proud Boys and it is something worth paying attention to," Ward said.
Recent news reports have indicated that the group is in disarray in the wake of the Capitol riot, particularly after its leader, Enrique Tarrio, was unmasked as a longtime FBI informant.
Konold's criminal complaint said that she and her brother, Cory, were seen on video marching toward the Capitol with a group of Proud Boys on January 6, pushing past several police barricades before eventually breaking into the building with the group. Footage inside the Capitol showed Konold and others working to stop police officers from being able to lower the security gates in the building, the complaint said.
One of the four others charged alongside Konold is William Chrestman, who is described in another court document as the leader of the Kansas City Proud Boys, according to the AP.
Felicia and Cory Konold's father, Robert Konold, told the Arizona Daily Star after their arrests last week that he didn't know they were members of a group.
"Neither of them, as far as I knew, had any affiliation with any group or anything," he said.
Robert Konold said that while he and his daughter had become estranged in the past year, he remained "tight" with his son he said he would have known if his son had joined the Proud Boys.
Robert Konold said that it was his daughter who had really wanted to go to the Trump event and that her brother had tagged along.
"He was just going to drive with his sister because she was going to go regardless," Robert Konold said. "He figured, 'Hey, road trip, and we can both share driving.'"
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Posted: February 10, 2021 at 1:11 pm
SEATTLE -- The self-described sergeant-at-arms of the Seattle chapter of the far-right group Proud Boys will remain in custody for now pending charges filed in connection with the riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida in Seattle initially said Monday that 30-year-old Ethan Nordean should be released pending trial, rejecting the government's arguments that he posed a danger to the community and was a flight risk. But Tsuchida then halted his own decision and gave the Justice Department time to appeal.
Within hours, an appeal had been filed and U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., further blocked Nordeans release pending a review. She also directed U.S. marshals to transport Nordean to the District of Columbia to face the charges against him.
The Proud Boys are an extremist and male-chauvinist organization known for brawling with antifa demonstrators. At least eight defendants linked to the group have been charged in the Capitol riot.
Nordean of Auburn, Washington, also goes by the name Rufio Panman and has described himself as the sergeant-at-arms and as the president of the Proud Boys' Seattle chapter.
He was arrested last week after being charged in federal court in Washington, D.C., with obstructing an official proceeding, aiding and abetting others who damaged federal property, and knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building. Obstructing an official proceeding, the most serious of the charges, carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Nordean has not entered pleas to any of the charges.
The Justice Department said Nordean helped plan the Proud Boys' actions at the Capitol, marched at the front of a group of Proud Boys shortly before the Jan. 6 riot and broke into the Capitol building with other members of the group. He was near the front of the mob that confronted vastly outnumbered Capitol Police officers, prosecutors said.
In asking for him to remain in custody, assistant U.S. attorney Jehiel Baer noted that in the days before the riot, Nordean posted on social media saying, Let them remember the day they decided to make war with us, as well as a photo of himself with the words, And fight we will.
There is no reason to believe that Defendant, or any of his Proud Boy associates, are any more interested in complacency, or any less interested in fomenting rebellion, than they were on January 5, prosecutors wrote in a memo arguing for his detention. If nothing else, the events of January 6, 2021, have exposed the size and determination of right-wing fringe groups in the United States, and their willingness to place themselves and others in danger to further their political ideology.
Baer noted that Nordean gained notoriety for knocking out a counter-protester in 2018 in Portland, Oregon, an event that was captured on video and which garnered him a guest appearance on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' InfoWars program.
Federal agents who searched his house after the Capitol riot found a valid passport on a bedside table issued to another man; Nordean had recently commented on social media suggesting he wanted to start a new life somewhere else, Baer said.
And further, Baer argued, one of the allegations that Nordean aided and abetted the destruction or attempted destruction of federal property, with the intent to coerce the government is a federal crime of terrorism punishable by more than 10 years in prison. Such crimes carry a presumption that the defendant will be detained pending trial, Baer said.
Nordean's public defender, Corey Endo, argued that the presumption only applies if the property damaged is valued at more than $1,000, and the government's complaint didn't say anything about the value of the damaged property.
Further, she said, Nordean has no criminal history; the counter-protester Nordean decked in Portland had first attacked him with some sort of rod; and on Alex Jones' show he said he did not believe in using violence against those with other political views.
As for the passport by the bed, Endo said, it merely belonged to the ex-boyfriend of Nordean's wife, who left it at the home with other possessions after they split up. The person pictured in the passport didn't resemble Nordean except that they're both white men, she said.
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Posted: at 1:11 pm
TORONTO (AP) The Canadian government designated the Proud Boys group as a terrorist entity on Wednesday, noting they played a pivotal role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
The Proud Boys have faced increased scrutiny after seizing on the former Trump administrations policies and was a major agitator during earlier protests and the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. The Proud Boys is a far-right, male chauvinist extremist group known for engaging in violent clashes at political rallies. Canada is the first country to designate them as a terrorist entity.
During a September presidential debate, Donald Trump had urged them to stand back and stand by when asked to condemn them by a moderator.
Senior officials speaking on a technical briefing said authorities had been monitoring and collecting evidence about the Proud Boys before the Capitol Hill insurrection, but confirmed that the event provided information that helped with the decision to list the organization.
READ MORE: Proud Boys leader arrested, accused of burning churchs Black Lives Matter banner
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said they revealed themselves.
Their intent and their escalation toward violence became quite clear, Blair said.
The terrorist designation means the group may have assets seized and face harsher terrorism-related criminal penalties. A government official said just because they are a member doesnt mean they will be charged with a crime, but if they do engage in violent acts they could be charged with terrorist crimes.
Sending money to the organization or buying Proud Boys paraphernalia would also be a crime.
The group and its members have openly encouraged, planned, and conducted violent activities against those they perceive to be opposed to their ideology and political beliefs, the Canadian government said in briefing materials.
The group regularly attends Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests as counter-protesters, often engaging in violence targeting BLM supporters. On January 6, 2021, the Proud Boys played a pivotal role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
The government calls the Proud Boys a neo-fascist organization with semiautonomous chapters located in the United States, Canada, and internationally. It said it engages in political violence and that members espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and white supremacist ideologies.
Since 2018 we have seen an escalation towards violence for this group, Blair said.
In the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election, we have seen signals of escalation towards violence from a number of different groups including the Proud Boys.
Blair said four right-wing groups are among 13 additions to the list, which include three groups linked to al-Qaida, four associated with the Islamic State group and one Kashmiri organization.
Canada will not tolerate ideological, religious or politically motivated acts of violence, Blair said.
The Proud Boys were formed in 2016 by Canadian Gavin McInnes, who co-founded Vice Media.
READ MORE: U.S. terrorism alert warns of politically motivated violence
In 2018, police arrested several Proud Boys members and associates who brawled with antifascists after McInnes, delivered a speech at New Yorks Metropolitan Republican Club.
McInnes has described the group as a politically incorrect mens club for Western chauvinists and denies affiliations with far-right extremist groups that overtly espouse racist and anti-Semitic views. McInnes sued the Southern Poverty Law Center, claiming it defamed him when it designated the Proud Boys as a hate group.
In response to the federal suit, which is still pending in Alabama, the law center said McInnes has acknowledged an overlap between the Proud Boys and white nationalist groups.
Indeed, Proud Boys members have posted social media pictures of themselves with prominent Holocaust deniers, white nationalists, and known neo-Nazis, law center lawyers wrote in a court filing.