Spike in hate crimes for the third straight year.
December 3, 2018 9:02 AM   Subscribe

“To this day, it is unclear if the FBI talked with Arthurs or what steps it took to shut down Atomwaffen. The FBI declined repeated requests to discuss the case. But this much is clear: Within months of Arthurs’ warnings, Atomwaffen members or associates had killed three more people.” An Atomwaffen Member Sketched a Map to Take the Neo-Nazis Down. What Path Officials Took Is a Mystery. (ProPublica) “Within the confines of a secure chat room viewed by VICE, Spear and his burgeoning global web of terror cells are networking, creating propaganda, organizing in-person meet-ups, and discussing potential violence or “direct action” against minority groups, especially Jewish and black Americans. An extensive online library contains a trove of manuals with instructions on lone wolf terror-tactics, gunsmithing, data mining, interrogation tactics, counter-surveillance techniques, bomb making, chemical weapons creation, and guerilla warfare.” Neo-Nazis Are Organizing Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America. (VICE) “True enough: the fascists (or proto-fascists, or neo-fascists, or whatever you want to call them) are ridiculous—but so too were many of their predecessors.” Scary Clowns. (Baffler)
posted by The Whelk (31 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

Not all the news is bad though.
- Milo Yiannopolous is de-platformed and $2 million in debt.
- Matthew Heimbach of the (former) Traditionalist Workers Party, (an explicitly neo-Nazi group) saw that party collapse after he was arrested for domestic violence while cheating on his wife and father-in-law simultaneously. Now he has been kicked out of the (even more explicitly neo-Nazi) National Socialist Movement for "being a communist."
posted by msalt at 9:45 AM on December 3, 2018 [11 favorites]

The FBI won't do shit about far-right groups because if they started arresting people associated with groups responsible or capable of actual acts of violence, I suspect there would be a lot of vacancies in law enforcement the next day, including the FBI itself (insert spidermannoyou.jpg).
Meanwhile, they keep their terrorism-fighting cred by going after vulnerable, disenfranchised young muslim kids and ask if they want to buy a pipe bomb. Very normal "law enforcement" agency.
posted by lmfsilva at 9:51 AM on December 3, 2018 [29 favorites]

Finnish news has just short of gleefully announced that the majority of the far right members of local such parties have criminal records.
posted by infini at 9:55 AM on December 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

To be fair, there may be some FBI infiltration or developing sting operations against the Nazis ... but I sure haven’t heard about it.
posted by sudogeek at 10:00 AM on December 3, 2018

Investigating Hate, Kathy Dobie, Harper's Magazine - a look inside a NYPD hate crime investigation
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:28 AM on December 3, 2018

Does anyone have a good count of how many Nazis there are in the US now?

The article notes that Atomwaffen has "60 to 70 people."

Charlottesville saw several hundred people drawn from across the US.

The National Socialist Movement had "about 400 members in 32 states" in 2011, according to the New York Times. The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks the group, but doesn't list a membership estimate. The ADL describes the NSM as a would-be "umbrella organization" trying to unite other Nazi groups. They don't list total numbers; in the ADL catalog of incidents, the number of participants is usually cited as "dozens."

The Southern Poverty Law Center doesn't list estimated membership or number of adherents for Nazis as a whole group, only a list of organizations. From February: "It's unclear how many people belong to each group, since many of them are secretive about their operations and don't want outsiders to know how large they are, said Heidi Beirich, the head of the SPLC's intelligence project."
posted by doctornemo at 10:38 AM on December 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

I think doctornemo is asking exactly the right question. These guys are deranged clowns and the reason the "don't want outsides to know how large they are" is because the number is miniscule, which undermines their narrative that they represent some "true" America in waiting.

The bad news is that it only takes one of these assholes to do serious damage, and they are indeed growing.
posted by LiteOpera at 10:53 AM on December 3, 2018 [15 favorites]

Their number is growing and they get daily stochastic prods to do more by the idiot-in-chief. But there are very fine people on both sides, of course.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:02 AM on December 3, 2018 [8 favorites]

The defunding and deplatforming of Milo is really telling and indicative when considering how often the alt-right accuses the progressive left of being artificially funded by neolibs like Soros.

And here we have him writing to Roger Stone for lavish amounts of money by any standards short of the truly wealthy and elite.

Follow the money. The money wants us all divided and attacking each other, all the time. Peace and health aren't good for profits.
posted by loquacious at 11:03 AM on December 3, 2018 [10 favorites]

Milo Yiannopolous is de-platformed and $2 million in debt.

This is why Alex Jones and Laura Loomer went supercritical when Twitter deplatted them: every alt-righter you know by name is a grifter, taking money from the true believers. And that's why de-platforming works; because without the slick grifters, it's just sad little hatemongers like Heimbach flailing around until they get kicked out of their trailers.
posted by Etrigan at 11:11 AM on December 3, 2018 [23 favorites]

In the oddest twist, and kind of a hopeful twist, Ammon and Cliven Bundy condemned Trump for his meanness about immigration, and family separations. Both morally offended enough, to bite the hand that freed them.
posted by Oyéah at 11:14 AM on December 3, 2018 [7 favorites]

Maybe this is something I should take to AskMeFi.
posted by doctornemo at 11:42 AM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think the problem with your question, doctornemo, is that it will only count those that self-identify with or are identified by others with the term "Nazi".
Right now in the States, we have a huge variety of new groups popping into and out of existence and ever-morphing, all falling within a range of right-wing political thought. Very few of them would claim to be Nazis, though they might be anti-Semitic, white-supremacist, anti-homosexual, anti-trans, and hyper-nationalist. Some of those groups act and entry points into other, more radical, organizations and maintain that they are not racist or not ant-gay or anti-trans and allow for violent members to polish their image and deny being fascist or Nazi while espousing all of the same ideals.
In short, I would bet its a bit hazy to get exact numbers, but the SPLC is probably the best place to get estimates all in one place.
posted by Seamus at 2:43 PM on December 3, 2018 [7 favorites]

The Scary Clowns link from The Baffler mentions something worth watching:
... look to the crumbling social and economic order: the downwardly mobile “alt-right,” the militias filled with veterans of foreign wars, the suburban Blue Lives Matter adherents.
The Nazi party was initially a veterans' militia; all the rival parties were effectively veterans' militias because this was just after WW1 and they were competing in the streets as much as in the press. Not all racists are effete publicity whores like Spencer or Milo; we're lucky none of them seem to have the strength and credibility to successfully organise a fascist movement among US veterans.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:35 PM on December 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

I understand that, Seamus. Still, it would be helpful to get some numbers, especially since so many people say "Nazi" instead of "people belonging to various niches with the American extreme right."
posted by doctornemo at 5:52 PM on December 3, 2018

Having studied these groups pretty closely for a couple of years, I would estimate that there are fewer than 1,000 hard-core members, by which I means the known groups (Identity Evropa, the former TPM, Atomwaffen, NSM, Daily Stormer "book clubs" and yes including Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer.)

I say that because if you closely observe the various demonstrations these groups organize, the same people keep showing up. They may switch from group to group, or avoid direct membership in any one group, but it looks bigger than it is because they travel across the country to all the meetings. Charlottesville was their Woodstock, and the heat scared away a lot of the fellow travelers. Obviously someone or some people are funding this travel and organization -- Matthew Heimbach shows no sign of ever having held a job.

I am specifically NOT including the militia, III percenters, old Posse Comitatus types, the Bundies, etc. because that seems to be a separate universe. I think the real danger is the Alex Jones' and Tucker Carlson's and Glenn Becks of the world, because they are the recruiters. If you have time and energy to help, I'd support the SPLC, ADL and Idavox (Daryl Lamont Jenkins' group) and do whatever you can to deplatform and expose neo-Nazis from social media.
posted by msalt at 7:01 PM on December 3, 2018 [11 favorites]

doctornemo: "Maybe this is something I should take to AskMeFi."

The answer is "punching."
posted by chavenet at 9:38 AM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Nazi party was initially a veterans' militia; all the rival parties were effectively veterans' militias because this was just after WW1 and they were competing in the streets as much as in the press.

The US military has been getting less and less white over time, though. (40% non-white, according to the most recent numbers I saw.) Since it's been shrinking at the same time, that would seem to indicate that there aren't as many white folks going into the military. So, personally, I'm not that worried about the military specifically.

Police forces, on the other hand, are a huge problem to look out for. As a whole, the police in the US are ~73% white, and the culture of policing is of course extremely friendly to white supremacist beliefs. A Blue Lives Matter flag is as good an indicator of a white supremacist as a swastika or Klan hood at this point.

I think there's a lot of danger in assuming that the modern US is just Weimar Part Two.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:57 AM on December 4, 2018 [6 favorites]

Police forces, on the other hand, are a huge problem to look out for. As a whole, the police in the US are ~73% white, and the culture of policing is of course extremely friendly to white supremacist beliefs. A Blue Lives Matter flag is as good an indicator of a white supremacist as a swastika or Klan hood at this point.

The US is 73% white according to Wikipedia, so that's not so surprising. If that's 73% non-Hispanic white though that's different as the US pop is 62% non-Hispanic White and 11% Hispanic white.
posted by atrazine at 10:05 AM on December 4, 2018

Sorry, yes, that's non-Hispanic white. And there are a lot of specific jurisdictions where things are even more skewed. On the whole, police forces have ~25% less minority representation than their districts.

I'm getting my numbers from a 2013 DOJ report. There may be a newer report somewhere, but I doubt there have been any significant changes in the overall conclusions.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:58 AM on December 4, 2018

I have linked to this ADL piece about the anti-Semitism of Soros conspiracy theories hundreds of times over the past two months. Occasionally, someone says "Oh shit, I didn't know". More often, they tell me that Soros is the real Nazi and I should die with the other commies.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:05 PM on December 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

A new paramilitary network calling itself "The Base" is quietly organizing, but has already been infiltrated by anti-fascist activists who are working to expose them. Fun fact: "Al Qaeda" translates as "The Base". Less fun: they are actively recruiting ex-military members.

Vice overview on The Base
Focus on Jerod Matthew Elder (aka Doomsayeth)
Focus on Joshua Brandon Bates (aka Brandon Hitt)
posted by msalt at 10:39 PM on December 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Aren't the Bundys Mormon or Mormon adjacent? Mormons seem to be less xenophobic than other conservative religious types, presumably due to the mission thing.
posted by tavella at 10:41 AM on December 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Mormons know what it is to be an oppressed religious minority, and many are able to extrapolate to the feelings of other minority groups. It hasn't happened in awhile, but they are prepared for it to happen again, and in my experience, they are much more sympathetic to laws protecting religious minorities than your average conservative evangelical.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:13 PM on December 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Legal blogger David Schraub:
Antisemitic Hate Crimes are Like Any Other Hate Crimes
[...] there is considerable concern in the Jewish community that many of the more severe attacks against us don't get recorded as hate crimes (even if they are acknowledged as crimes). To take a striking example: the 2014 FBI hate crimes dataset records no instances of homicides stemming from antisemitic motivations. Why is that striking? Because 2014 was the year where a White Supremacist killed three people at a Kansas City-area JCC. While it was reported at the time that the suspect would face hate crimes charges, the offense apparently never made it into the FBI database.

Again, the point here is that it isn't the case -- as some imply -- that the high levels of reported antisemitic violence is an artifact of the police being ready to jump on each and every incident which has even a whiff of antisemitic motivation. For Jews, like for anyone else, it can be a hard, uphill slog to even have severe violence against us acknowledged to be, and reported as, an incidence of hate.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:23 PM on December 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Tracking the Right - Nostalgia Trap Podcast
posted by The Whelk at 12:21 PM on December 12, 2018

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