The Discussion of White Supremacist Terror Ignores the Transnational Nature of It

Betsy Woodruff has the scoop that, last year, the National Counterterrorism Center set up a small group focusing on what the article calls “domestic terror.”

In early 2018, the official said, the head of the NCTC directed lawyers from the intelligence community to revisit its understanding of the law that governs it. A Democratic official on the House Intelligence Committee said Congress urged the Center to conduct the analysis—and fast.

By the summer of 2018, the lawyers concluded that NCTC could use its considerable resources to analyze purely domestic threats, as long as it did so to help the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). NCTC officials shared that view with senior officials in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that oversees the NCTC, and they didn’t get any pushback, per the official. Then the battleship started to turn—just a tad.

In the year since then, the official said, analysts in an NCTC entity that focuses on the radicalization and mobilization of potential foreign terrorists have been working on matters related to domestic terrorism.

NCTC officials have also begun setting up “a small element” in the Center’s Directorate of Intelligence focused on the domestic terror threat, the official said. The official noted that these efforts are not large-scale, and that they have had “to beg and borrow from different areas” to corral resources for the new domestic terrorism work.

She goes on to quote former national security officials applauding the move and civil libertarians raising cautions. But she herself admits the bigger issue: what has always been bracketed off (including in early NCTC documents, Woodruff notes) as “domestic” is not.

To be sure, there’s a nomenclature problem when it comes to domestic and international terrorism, as hateful ideology can cross-pollinate between the U.S. and other countries. For instance, the New Zealander who murdered 51 people at two mosques cited American white supremacist Dylann Roof as an inspiration. Then the terrorist who allegedly murdered a worshiper at a synagogue in Poway, California cited the Christchurch shooter. When it comes to hate, Western nations have open borders.

The really awkward thing, which Woodruff implicitly acknowledges, is that the US exports white supremacist ideology and funding — whether through the networking of Steve Bannon or the Twitter feed of Donald Trump — in much the same way Saudi Arabia enabled Islamic terrorism before 9/11.

I agree with Hina Shamsi, quoted in Woodruff’s piece, that we need transparency about this more than anything. But the goal should be to understand what actually occurring in the government’s efforts to combat terrorism, and from that to learn what is necessary to protecting against terrorism.

Since 9/11, the government has used the existence of an international network — at first a network of internationally deployed operatives and money, and then a network existing in the vacuum created in Iraq and Syria in the wake of the Iraq war interacting with people in the US via social media — behind Islamic extremism as justification to treat brown terrorists differently than it treats white terrorists. Through that period — a period when white supremacist terrorism wasn’t being encouraged by the President — the FBI did a pretty good job of finding white supremacist terrorists.

The lesson from that fact should have been that all this infrastructure targeting brown terrorists was likely unnecessary, though it may have been a crutch for a time, because the government was (and may still be) culturally unable to bring the same nuance to investigations of terrorism by non-white non-Christians.

In recent years, some things have changed, even beyond Trump. The FBI has started playing games with its numbers (first inventing a category, Black Identity Extremism, to justify treating brown non-terrorists as terrorists, then eliminating that category and subsuming it under a racially motivated extremism category that hides the growth of white supremacist terrorism). Trump has eliminated some efforts to pursue white supremacist terrorism. Twitter has struggled with applying its standards equally when that would mean eliminating elected officials, including Trump, from the platform.

Given the normalization under Trump of white supremacist terrorism, it’s not clear whether the FBI can stay ahead of the danger anymore, as they were able to before Trump and his allies normalized all this.

But that suggests the problem is not about intelligence gathering, but is instead about the cultural factors that permit some kind of terrorism to thrive.

We’re only going to understand that, however, if we have real data to make the case.

99 replies
  1. Democritus says:

    I will say that most people in minority communities that I know are not surprised this is happened. I know that I and many others have been saying that this was going to continue happening, over and over and over again, as long as Trump was doing what he has been doing. we’ve had the data on the increase in hate crimes after Trump rally’s for a while now.

    We have got to stand up this time, like Castro is, and not let the GOP continue with two different standards of conduct, 1 for the GOP and 1 for not GOP.

    We have GOT to call a spade a motherfucking spade. No more NYT BS Maggie framing.

    This is where we are headed if not, a racist dictatorship:

    “A majority of conservative Republicans (52%) now favor fewer checks and balances on a president.

    That number has doubled since last year.”

    I heard of the grandkids of a Code Talker being afraid of being shot as an immigrant. WTF America. Do better.

    I’d love to see half the candidate field drop out, time to focus if people are finally fucking ready to wake the fuck up. I don’t want to have to be afraid every time my loved ones walk out the door, do any of us really?

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The mayor of El Paso, Dee Margo, a Republican, exhibits a New Zealandish quality of public leadership in a time of crisis. Had Mr. Trump and his party in Washington a fraction of it, some of these self-inflicted horrors would not occur.

    • peter steer says:

      The madmad that attacked the mosques in Christchurch is an Australian citizen and only came to New Zealand to carry out his crazy plans..
      Cheers Emptywheel for keeping all of us informed..

  3. oslojim says:

    I don’t think many saw it coming here in Oslo July 2011. The authorities had been telling us to be wary since 9/11, but in a way that blinded everybody to a homegrown threat. My first response was to assume it was “international” terrorism. That was, after all, what they had told us to be wary of. The man that did it had been planning for some years. We like to think he was under the radar, but he certainly left his mark on right wing forums around the world, and he and his kind were not just vaguely hinting at violence.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    To be sure, there’s a nomenclature problem when it comes to domestic and international terrorism, as hateful ideology can cross-pollinate between the U.S. and other countries.

    And English level of understatement from Woodruff’s article.

  5. dwfreeman says:

    Until this past weekend, the succession of mass gun violence has benumbed even driven and highly-inspired public efforts especially following Parkland to weaken the grip of the NRA and its Second Amendment misrepresentation on gun control policy.

    The Parkland kids made a material political difference in helping shift the historic vote in the 2018 House election, but came up short in forcing greater reform in their never-again gun control advocacy. Their bloody sacrifice apparently wasn’t enough to make the case.

    The NRA whispered talking points choke hold on the GOP with its control of the White House and Senate, where it can count on any legislative and policy freeze over any news cycle, simply through silent assent to thoughts and prayers colloquy, is once again being tested by senseless murder.

    When that assent is challenged by a peaceful border city uprooted by the words of hate spewed by the very man supposedly in charge of renewing cultural unity in times of national tragedy, we got more than a massive gun access problem.

    And this American carnage that he provoked with harsh border crossing enforcement measures and even harsher language directed at those seeking a new life in our country, is not a fix-it issue for him or his weak and baseless crony-filled administration. They are simply not equipped for the job.

    And as divider in chief, Trump and all his people, would rather ignore the problem as a bad day at Black Rock, than seek a solution to what’s ailing us.

    He needs to go. And now. If politicians of any stripe don’t see the clarion call that is the scary reaction to the latest mass murders tearing the fabric of this nation, than they don’t have the capacity or the will to lead, and we should oblige their abject failure. You begin by calling this administration what it is and seeking its ouster. This man desecrates the nation, standing first with Russia, which helped elect him and then disrespects people of color who simply want a better life coming here. He offers nothing to the people who mindlessly support him, seeing him as some object lesson for a privileged life without accountable consequence, apparently as a vision of the new American dream. That dream fueled by fear of others, brown people invading that life path simply by seeking their own place for a better life.

    Trump was raised by immigrants and then prospered on a New York island where millions of immigrants have been greeted and welcomed by a statue of friendship, a gift from France to the United States bearing a message of passionate tolerance and acceptance, known worldwide as a magnificent symbol of freedom and democracy.

    And each day, Trump demeans that meaning with his twitter feed of intolerance and disrespect. It’s time for him to get a dose of his own denial and disrespect. He needs to go. Time for impeachment.

    • Democritus says:

      Very, very well said. I agree with every word, and we must use our voices and protests to hold people accountable.

      This tweet of Trump American flag I just saw rings all too true:

      It is time to impeach. This is it, enough. We must at least bluntly talk about reality, not the comfortable mirage we build up to protect us from our fears. At least if we want to be truly safe. That is what our first amendment is for, THAT is the amendment we use for political change, not the second.

      And fuck the gop for pretending publishing public donation info is “targeting” people. No one is painting a target on them as an invader or an infestation caring disease and being a crime ridden a rapist for the color of their skin.

      It’s fucking public political information, because we have transparency in that. Are they THAT fucking ashamed of supporting this racist who spews hate that endangers my loved ones? That cause a spike of over 200% in hate crimes anywhere he has a rally? Then STOP.

      We must use our first amendment rights freely. The GOP is only happy when they are able to use they fake sanctimony to cause the Democrats to unilaterally disarm, metaphorically speaking, so far as rhetorical and political tactics go.

    • Rayne says:

      The Parkland kids made a material political difference in helping shift the historic vote in the 2018 House election, but came up short in forcing greater reform in their never-again gun control advocacy. Their bloody sacrifice apparently wasn’t enough to make the case.

      This bothers me. The kids, minors who suffered great trauma, didn’t come up short. It’s on us as adults. We have systematically failed our children since Columbine.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Yes, that framing is both inaccurate and cruel. Their sacrifice was unwanted and unintentional. Their program to force politicians to rethink their unquestioning support for guns and more guns was intentional.

        As you say, what “came up short” was the political response. The GOP and ConservaDems voted in favor of lobbyists and their money. Dead kids, notmyproblem. We now have a chance to push back on that inhuman priority.

        • dwfreeman says:

          No one is blaming them for coming up short. I marched for those kids and their message. They raised up a nation. It was their elders who failed to heed their hue and cry for reform. They came up short because of party and Fox allegiance to an NRA script of intransigence. Simple point.

          Sorry I didn’t explicate it more coherently. Nobody is fucking blaming them for the recalcitrant Republican, look-the-other-way agenda of do-no-harm to the fucking NRA.

          • bmaz says:

            I don’t think you blamed them at all. By the same token, I don’t think they came up short either. The Parkland/MDS kids, now adults, like Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Delaney Tarr and a host of others changed the conversation substantially. And they still are doing so. The tide may not have completely turned with the tragedy they suffered, but that was the first real change in direction. They have had a tremendous impact.

      • Democritus says:

        Agreed, and thanks for pointing that out.

        We now have another chance to do better, and hope we do.

        We need the moral courage of those kids, they actually tried which is far more than the general public of “adults”

        I saw NBC news is no longer going to focus on the names of the shooters as a new policy. Pete Williams announced it earlier on MSNBC. I applaud that, it is something I used to write (as a commentator) and argue for.

        • Tom says:

          And I’m glad the term “lone wolf” appears to have been dropped as well. I’ve only heard it used once in the coverage I’ve heard or seen and it was in reference to the “lone wolves” having become a “wolf pack” because of the way their murderous actions incite others to replicate them around the world. I think the “lone wolf” label only lends these killers a darkly glamorous attraction to receptive minds.

    • MissingGeorgeCarlin says:

      DJT’s own Mother, Mary, immigrated here from Scotland:
      1) spoke no English
      2) “domestic servant” aka a maid

      So isn’t the example of our current President, the son of a non-English speaking maid escaping poverty an inspiration to immigrants all over the country?

      The cognitive dissonance required to be a Republican, I cannot begin to fathom.

      • J R in WV says:

        Pretty sure they speak English in Scotland, kind of anyway.

        Scots Gaelic is pretty rarely spoken now, and Irish Gaelic they have to work hard to keep it alive at all. Unless I’m suddenly in another timeline where the Stuarts kept the throne. That would explain everything!!! ;-)

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The US exports garbage and guns in tremendous quantities. American billionaire-backed rightwing extremism would seem to fit nicely in that group.

    It seems consistent with the Trilateral Commission’s view – first articulated in the mid-1970s – on the governance of democracies. It would fit a financialist ideology that emphasizes ruthless resource extraction and needs to suppress popular involvement in democratic governance to enable it.

    • Democritus says:

      I bet DDTC and the DOD review office has expanded their staff who reviews the DSP-5, or whatever other licensing vehicle like a WDA, though I don’t know they could get blanket licenses like friendly’s aus or nz do.

  7. SirRah says:

    As a former Federal Agent, pre 9/11 I was assigned to work on a domestic terrorism task force focused on White Nationalists and looking into fund raising thorough legal and illegal sources. Post 9/11 I worked on the JTTF but the White Nationalist aspect was not under consideration. During the mortgage fraud years a movement known as the Moorish Nation was active in securing loans using false documents but it was looked at on an individual basis and involved primarily African Americans.

  8. Man with Lantern says:

    I’ve not seen anything regarding the legality of our intelligence organizations investigating domestic terrorism. Consider the boundaries, set by law, of who can investigate U.S. citizens, and who cannot.

    Of course, what Congress maketh Congress can taketh away. All they need to do is to change the law, right? Right? (crickets)

      • Man with Lantern says:

        What organization are you referring to, Rayne? Organizations that are not already doing it, of course. Not arguing, just wondering.

        • Democritus says:

          There is a metric bleep ton more that they could already be doing. I remember reading within a week of the preemptive arrest before the domestic terrorist attack on DC by the White Nationalist Coast Guard LT that DHS was cutting the unit that collated all the intelligence on suspects with local law enforcement.

          There is far more that could be done within existing laws. Aside, I heard one theory the other day that the GOP wants to try to push an old crazy restrictive law they have wanted that would make comments sections incredibly hard? If that rings a bell?

          • Man with Lantern says:

            Thanks, Democritus. I’d forgotten about DHS and their domestic terrorism cell. DHS is, after all, a powerhouse in the Intelligence Community (just ask ’em). And, as they state in the Daily Beast link, domestic terrorism is the FBI’s responsibility.

            • Democritus says:

              No shit Sherlock, I’m very familiar with C4I and who does what, though more on mil side. I wasn’t talking about that our I would have talked about how the FBI just started forming new fusion cells in house.

              I’m talking about what they already could be doing as I say in you know my first sentence, and how the administration is as a who.e NOT trying to do much. Guess reading comprehension isn’t your smart spot.

          • Man with Lantern says:

            I’m aware of the FBI Intelligence Branch, and I know how to use Google. Hence my question regarding an organization that’s not doing what they’re supposed to do.

            Actually, my query was regarding the original post and how NCTC had an effort working domestic terrorism, and to be more specific, if NCTC fell within the legal bounds of NOT being able to investigate U.S. citizens. I would suppose that would depend on who the NCTC folks work for: CIA would be a no, NSA would be a no, FBI would be a yes, and so on.

            I’ll bow out here. Thanks for the post, Rayne.

            • Rayne says:

              The post was written by Marcy, not to be confused with my reply to your comment.

              Would have helped if you’d been more specific in your question. The ODNI has oversight of NCTC and dotted line oversight of intelligence within the FBI; ODNI would be responsible for the sharing and collaboration of intelligence between them as well as the rest of the U.S. intelligence community, according to Executive Orders 12333 and 13470 (subject to Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Protection Act of 2004 (IRTPA)).

              • Democritus says:

                I know I read it as snarkily asking questions he obviously already knew the answer to, if not despair trolling of nothing can be done, and am in no fucking mood today.

                I spent years as a kid living not to far away from that gannet building is, right next to the two big grey towers that have been by the Dulles access road for decades now. Watching people that look like my in-laws killed for what they look like.

              • Man with Lantern says:

                Rayne answered the question I had – that the DNI is the one that’s supposed to shepherd the info from NCTC and the FB-dotted line-I. That might have worked, once upon a time, and we’ll just have to see who POTUS tries to put in that position to see what happens.

                It wasn’t meant to be trolling – or catterwaulin’ – and I apologize if it appeared to be. And no, I didn’t know the answer to my question else I’d not have asked.

  9. Tom says:

    The feral pigs are just doing what comes natural to them. It’s the feral humans we have to watch out for.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This excerpt from the Guardian and Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr supports EW’s main theme:

    The LeaveEU campaign headed by Nigel Farage & funded by Aaron Banks…use exactly the same language of “vermin” & “invasion”. This is not an accident.

    She is responding to this from AOC:

    Using the words “invasion,” “infestation,” w respect to a specific, targeted group of people, implying they are vermin: this is the language of white supremacy &it goes all the way to the top [Trump].


  11. Greg Hunter says:

    Brexit, Russia and the USA are all bathed in white nationalist rhetoric and the people that form the base of support for these groups are the ones that benefited the most economically as they transitioned from the making society to the ownership society. I think Putin understood the intersection of Religion and white nationalism in his own country and recognized he could use that same tool to influence the outcome in more mixed societies like the USA and England as well the shift right in the Euro Countries. He did a masterful job for little money, much like the 911 attacks, he got way more than anticipated.

    George W. Bush and Dick Cheney threw gas on the Middle East driving immigration across Europe, while simultaneously ruining Central and South American communities with our stupid Drug War and ill conceived ideas like Plan Columbia. We are paying the price for this stupidity but no one has the ability to present these ideas in a coherent manner. I am sure Obama could do it if he actually understands it but I have my doubts as he did not hold Wall Street to account, so he may not get the picture.

    As prosperity goes down I thought the adults in the room might get together and solve problems but more and more it looks like division and war instead of cohesion and solutions.

    It has been a wonderful ride and I still fight the fight. My belief is that liberal America needs to call into right wing radio DJs that litter the airwaves as the lead-ins for Rush Limbaugh and push back against their rhetoric. My station of choice is KGAB in Cheyenne Wyoming and the morning host is Glenn Woods. Get the APP and push back against the lies injected everyday into our communities across this great nation on a daily basis. We progressives have no real desire to fight, but if we do not do it now, when the economy is somewhat sound, it may be really bad if the Global Financial Crisis round 2 comes around.

    • Rayne says:

      I think Putin understood the intersection of Religion and white nationalism in his own country and recognized he could use that same tool to influence the outcome in more mixed societies like the USA and England as well the shift right in the Euro Countries.

      Pretty sure Putin had inside help to decode the schisms inside U.S. society before they began fishing through social media data. Why would a life-long southerner like David Duke move to Moscow in 2000 to live for nearly a decade? I doubt it was because he liked snow.

  12. Sufi Muslim says:

    Just a side note as I have seen this in this article as well as in some of Marcy’s tweets, and feel that I should comment on it.

    To a Muslim, the word, Islamic, means, “According to the teachings of Islam”.

    Therefore, the term, Islamic Terrorism, is invalid and incorrect to me and many other Muslims, as we find no justification for terrorism in the teachings of Islam, and it makes us feel that the entire religion is being implicated; though Islam is not monolithic and there are many versions of it.

    A more correct term would be “Terrorism Carried out By [Some] Muslims”.

    It is possible that those who are born in the Christian tradition use the word “Islamic”, when they want to use the word “Muslim”, since in Christianity, the word “Christian” means both “A person who adheres to Christianity” and “According to the teachings of Christianity”.

    Whereas in Islam, the word “Muslim” is used to refer to “A person who adheres to Islam”, and the word “Islamic” means “According to Islam”.

    • P J Evans says:

      “Islamist terrorism” might work – they’re “Islamists” like the fundie Christians are “Christianists” – they worship their religion.

  13. harpie says:

    Not o/t, in a way, new from Southern Poverty Law Center:
    U.S. State Department Official Involved in White Nationalist Movement, Hatewatch Determines August 07, 2019

    A U.S. State Department official oversaw the Washington, D.C.-area chapter of a white nationalist organization, hosted white nationalists at his home and published white nationalist propaganda online, Hatewatch has determined.
    The official, Matthew Q. Gebert, works as a foreign affairs officer assigned to the Bureau of Energy Resources, a State Department spokesperson told Hatewatch. […]

      • harpie says:

        In the linked article, Unicorn Riot mentions [and shows] a photo of a swastika shaped cookie.

        According to the SPLC article, the couple has at least two children. They want[ed] to have a third in order to do their part to increase the white population.

        • Democritus says:

          I just fucking… thank you for raising the flag.

          We need marches for unity, a community response and outpouring of solidarity. I’ve been saying it for almost a year now I think? Far too long.

          • e..a.f says:

            yes, marches and demonstrations might be in order. Americans could take some lessons from the protestors in Hong Kong. their first protests had approx. 2 million people out of a population of 7 1/2 million. The conditions they protested in, are not pleasant, yet on they go.

            Where are Americans when it comes to protesting? People used to do it. these days, not so much. It might be nice to see a couple of hundred thousand come out to protest the lack of change to the gun laws, or to the killings you’ve just gone through. Protesting against white nationalism might be good…

            White nationalists have always been around, but once Trump was elected he gave voice to their thoughts and the message was its o.k. to be racist. when trump started his rant about Mexicans during his campaign, my sister and I just looked at each other and knew what was coming and now its here.

            I fear for the U.S.A. I fear for Latino/a persons because I honestly believe the murders in El Paso are just the start of things. Every wack job in the U.S.A. knows the President is “sending them a message”. His farce of a press reading conference, my god he was having troubles breathing he was so stressed reading the words. How he must have hated it.

            In my opinion, the murders in Texas are exactly what Trump wanted and he thinks it will work for him. Trump’s speeches are always about hate, ridicule, etc. There is nothing inspiring about them.

            while people debate whether or not trump ought to be impeached for any number of reasons, I think he ought to be impeached for being a white nationalist. I’m sure that isn’t possible, but its something which really so clear about him. We’ve all heard his pre and post election speeches and they are full of hate. You wonder why some one didn’t file a complaint with a Human Rights Tribunnal against the man. He preaches hate. He has shown no respect for other politicians with in the country.

    • Diviz says:

      So, this is … I don’t know what adjective describes this situation. I woke up this morning and saw that linked in Molly Jost-Fast’s twitter. Five words in I realize that he’s my fraternity brother from college. I was very close friends with him in school. About a year or two out of college he just had started going so far right I couldn’t even be near him, and I had completely cut him out of my life by 2005.

      So I read the article, and I noticed they pointed out that those two have a very locked down social media presence so they couldn’t find a picture. I immediately set up a chat with everyone who I’m still in contact with and we crowdsourced our computers and social media to get the most recent picture we could. We got one from 2015, so I cropped it and sent it over to SPLC.

      Interesting details that I can add is that Matt was just a seemingly normal honors student at American University’s School of International Service* until about his junior year. He went on a semester abroad to Moscow probably around 2002. He met Anna studying abroad. It was after he came back from Moscow that he started lurching right.

      The thing that bothered me about Anna in all this was that I couldn’t put my finger on it, but she was clearly leading the charge right. And she is from a family that immigrated to the US from Serbia, so as the frequency of things they said that were just… off… increased, I drove myself crazy trying not to connect geopolitical dots in my head re: the Yugoslavian wars. It probably wasn’t fair, but it nagged at me.

      In the end, no one who knew him is surprised at all by this. I myself don’t know anyone who is still in touch with him. Except, ironically, one friend who was born in El Salvador.

      * Yes, the same as Maria Butina. But I really cannot fathom any connection here though because they were 15 years apart. Although she was far from the first spy scandal we had. Gao Zhan in 2001 comes to mind.

      • Democritus says:

        Thank you and your friends for doing your part. AU is a pretty reputable school with a law program I looked at, but I don’t know about that school program. There are a ton of universities in DC to choose from. I’m almost surprised they didn’t do George Mason too.

      • Eureka says:

        Thanks, Diviz, for rustling up your social network to help out SPLC and for sharing this story with us. Even though none of you is surprised, as you said, it still must have been pretty mind-fucking to see that post this am.

      • KH says:

        Did he attend Moscow International University? Anna was there the time (also as a foreign exchange student; she graduated Northwestern in 2003).

        Photos of Anna’s (maternal) grandmother’s funeral (Nov 2015) are at: https :// svetagora. com/ dusanka-molnar-1919-2015/ . Recognize anyone? Photos of the couple are scarce.

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. I am ‘breaking’ this URL with blank spaces to prevent accidental click through by community members. The domain shows it was last associated with a server in the U.S. – use at your own risk. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • harpie says:

      UPDATE on Gebert: SUSPENDED

      Laura Rozen Retweeted
      8:59 AM – 8 Aug 2019

      State Department suspends energy staffer linked to white supremacist group [Politico]

      The State Department has put on leave an employee of its energy bureau after reports that he has been an active member of a white supremacist group for more than five years. / Matthew Gebert, a foreign affairs officer for the department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, was linked to the Washington D.C.-area chapter of a white supremacist organization and published racist propaganda online […]

      • harpie says:

        From the Politico article:
        State Department suspends energy staffer linked to white supremacist group 08/08/2019 11:36 AM EDT

        […] Attempts to contact Gebert were unsuccessful. Twitter accounts that SPLC described in its report as belonging to Gebert and that have posted anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi messages were deleted as of Wednesday afternoon.
        Former State Department officials expressed surprise that security screenings had not flagged Gebert’s involvement with the hate groups. […]

        Gebert would have undergone a routine screening before starting his position and another at his five-year work anniversary, said Amos Hochstein, who served as special envoy and coordinator for the State Department’s international energy affairs from 2014 to 2017 and was Gebert’s boss.
        “It is inconceivable he got security clearance twice,” Hochstein told POLITICO. “If Gebert was Muslim or a person of color, it would have been caught. Neo-Nazis are not all shaved heads and tattoos, they are hiding in plain sight. I’m horrified Gebert worked for me at the State Department.“

        A State Department spokesman did not respond to questions about the department’s security clearance practices.

        I think the question is, WHO was in charge of Gebert’s security clearance process.

  14. Democritus says:

    This evergreen Sartre quote applies just as much to Trump and racism:

    “Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.”

    ― Jean Paul-Sartre

  15. Democritus says:

    Like Sherrod Brown refusing the both sides bs here. More Democrats need to refuse the gop talking points, or defeatist, framework. If the defeat is there on gun reform , it is solely at this point on the GOP’s head. I only know a couple cops personally, but the ones I do know, don’t want to be going up against these armaments.

    Also look at this BS from Trumps Press sec:

    “From pool report. Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham “again said press was not included because the visit was not “a photo opp” but was “about the victims and their families and thanking medical staff” — but said the White House was likely to distribute its own photos.”

    Finally Biden’s words are good, but he has lost a couple steps though I won’t say it in front of a Republican. He is still much better able to read speeches and talk than Trump of course, but Biden’s audiences aren’t cult members like Trumps are at this point.(shudders at that cray Q lady video in her car)

    • Democritus says:

      Wonderfully passionate video exchange with Ali Velshi a relative of the El Paso parents who died protecting their babies, the youngest of which had its bones broken. Brave and smart young man.

      “Andrew James Torres, an El Paso photographer who lost someone close to him in Saturday’s mass shooting, taps into the heart of the matter. I hope his voice continues to be heard 🔥”

  16. Rayne says:

    Timely, this post about the transnational nature of white supremacist terror. The RCMP just found two bodies in Manitoba they believe to be the teens suspected of at least three murders in Canada, including an American and her Australian boyfriend.

    At least one of the two suspects had been troubled. Both may have been radicalized online. They may not have killed in a fashion we’d immediately associate with white supremacy but their love of Nazi paraphernalia, Putin, and Trump link them with U.S. white supremacists.

    It’s not as if we don’t already know there’s deliberate outreach and radicalization efforts like that of AWD (Der Spiegel has a solid backgrounder). They’re killing and they’re not limiting their body count to brown people alone; they’re brazen enough to organize and threaten immigrants in Germany.

    There’s a pointed effort to move back and forth across the U.S.-Canada border as well. The Base is both recruiting white supremacists in Canada and training in the U.S.

    We’ve had hate groups all across the U.S. since before the KKK. But only since Trump’s campaign have white nationalists and supremacists felt they could act out their toxic racism overtly.

    • Democritus says:

      Relatedly, I have only started worrying again like I did after 9-11 after the Trump campaign. Trump is right now tweeting slurs against Sherrod Brown. Hw will continue to incite hate, and endanger lives because he doesn’t care. He is also the son or grandson of a klansman I believe?

      Either way many of us have been jumping up and down about the common links of misogyny axis (a la Elliot Rodgers-Parkland) and the Christianity/ Racist axis from AME to Poway to Tree of Life.

      Also can I recommend people here who haven’t seen it to watch Black Kkkklanman? I am 100% serious, and I mean it. Wait through the credits, the end is the most important part and Spike Lee was brave and right as hell to include it.

      Why We Need Mass Shooters to be Crazy

    • harpie says:

      There is also discussion of recruitment in the SPLC article I linked to above [1:22 pm] . The State Department employee seems to be a recruiter in the DC area:
      In the article, there’s a screenshot of a recruitment tweet.
      WENDY’S = White Empowerment Needs Devoted Young Soldiers

      Matthew Q. Gebert acted as a recruiter for a Virginia and Washington, D.C.-based chapter of a white nationalist organization, according to sources. This image is an example of the type of propaganda the group “D.C. Helicopter Pilots” posted to Twitter. The group’s Twitter account was launched in July 2016, according to archives.

      Recruits would be invited to “pool parties” at Gebert’s house.

      …can’t help but notice the middle initial “Q”.

      • Rayne says:

        Yep. That asshole needs to be escorted off the premises and stripped of his badge and clearance. Doubt it will happen unless there’s a focused public shitstorm about it and there’s just too much going on.

        WRT Q: I haven’t gotten my head wrapped around the Q phenomenon, but it’s now become an easily applied A/B test to determine who is likely to follow orders of the most absurd types without questioning the rationale behind them — and I’ll bet Q-believers are 95% white. Creepy that this dude’s middle initial is Q but it’s not unlikely he’s a Quincy, probably a coincidence.

        • harpie says:

          “an easily applied A/B test to determine who is likely to follow orders of the most absurd types without questioning”

          YES! The Top Q wants to know who s/he can cause to believe absurdities, because it’s those people who s/he can make commit atrocities. [Voltaire]

          Oh, yeah about the Q…very unlikely, but…unusual. Also, there is [or was?] Tyler Q Houlton at DHS.

        • Diviz says:

          It is indeed for Quinn. I’m on a giant group chat with alums of our fraternity, and everyone is sharing their “The last time I talked to Gebert” stories.

  17. CD54 says:

    And I’m sure the Congressional briefing re: White Nationalist terrorism will immediately follow the CI briefings on Intelligence.

      • Greg Hunter says:

        Revolution occurs when the upper middle class divide. The tipping point is near when exposure of public data combined with economic boycotts as a result is equated as going to far in America.

        We have every right to publicize contributions and not patronize those businesses or entities. John Elway went to the Trump inauguration and I have lost any love for the Broncos. Home Depot, not a chance….you reap what you sow when you think greed is better than the Constitution and fair play.

  18. Eureka says:

    Frame this: “culturally unable”–

    …culturally unable to bring the same nuance to investigations of terrorism by non-white non-Christians.

    But that suggests the problem is not about intelligence gathering, but is instead about the cultural factors that permit some kind of terrorism to thrive.

    We’re only going to understand that, however, if we have real data to make the case.

    Of course the culture blocks the perception of what *are even* data.

    And from above that: yes, “awkward”–

    The really awkward thing, which Woodruff implicitly acknowledges, is that the US exports white supremacist ideology and funding — whether through the networking of Steve Bannon or the Twitter feed of Donald Trump — in much the same way Saudi Arabia enabled Islamic terrorism before 9/11.

    Also in much the same way– if not by the same mechanics– as the US exported white supremacist ideology writ eugenics post-turn of the last century.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The scale of the ICE raids in Mississippi would seem to be a form of presidential counterattack and an opening of the feed trough to the violent members of his base.

    They are directly contrary to the inclusive, anti-violence script that Trump’s staff forced him to deliver. He understands little of it, believes none of it, and rages at being told to behave.

    How many times does Toto have to tear away the curtain to reveal the frail wizard at his controls before the people of Oz replace him?

        • harpie says:


          The company has no relation to prominent conservative political donors and activists Charles and David Koch.
          Immigration agents also hit a Peco Foods Inc. plant in Canton, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Jackson. The company, based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, says it is the eighth-largest poultry producer in the U.S.

          • Rayne says:

            God damn it all. Call me Cassandra. Do you see what I see?

            Wanna’ bet the two Peco’s board members we can see are Palestinian? Who else is on the board?

            • Rayne says:

              And this — Joseph Grendys is the CEO and owner of privately-held Koch Foods. He’s donated a buttload of money to a Democratic candidate in Chicago as you can see here.

              Betting money both of these businesses were politically targeted, not just because they hired undocumented workers LIKE THAT FAT-ASSED SLACKER IN THE WHITE HOUSE DID.

              That troll rubbed off on me today.

              • Democritus says:

                Oh that’s fucked, and wouldn’t surprise me at all honestly. Good work! :)

                I mean you, not the good work for the admin using justice as a political weapon.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The state is so poor but so reliably Republican that the WH might have thought it was a win-win.

        Businesses probably have no need to worry until the prosecutors come for them. Unlike their employers, working stiffs do pay taxes, abide by speed limits and otherwise follow the law.

          • Eureka says:

            Well the first thing I thought of when I saw ‘poultry producer’ was ‘Perdue competitor?’. Besides the USDA being a fiefdom, cross-oligarchagency “projects” would not be unheard of.

            Adding: and for the same reasons, I would expect that at the very least, any such raids would _avoid_ certain oligarchs’ domains, to the extent such is possible

            And: word-choice alert: I prob should have stricken ‘agency’ and left ‘oligarch.’

          • Democritus says:

            I’d say you have since shown you had good cause to be suspicious. Those are some kickass spidey senses, respect.

  20. Democritus says:

    It is time for us adults to do the work. I saw this Marlon Craft video a few weeks ago and it’s stuck with me. It is perfectly apt for our times. He has another one Gang Shit that is the same. It’s some good shit that you wouldn’t expect before the kid starts up given appearances. Hence that whole book cover thing.

    Posting a twitter link so it doesn’t blow up into a huge video. Would brackets around a YouTube link prevent that in general?

  21. Savage Librarian says:

    This is just one reason I implore the House of Reps to begin an inquiry. Subsequent to trying to resolve this through my chain of command, I sent the following email (retyped with some redactions) to the mayor. I thought of it as whistleblowing. But shortly after I sent it, I was given a 10 day suspension. Then later, I was demoted.

    At my urging, the US Dept. of Ed., Office of Civil Rights, forced the city to rescind their policy and provide training to administrators and staff. I was restored to my position only after a 3 year, hard fought battle. Now, 22 years later, one of the administrators involved in this severe punishment has been hard at work on the national scale. And, as you know, things have now escalated dramatically globally as well.

    From: Me
    To: Mayor
    Date: 4/22/97
    Subject: Safety in our libraries

    Dear Mayor _______,
    As a former stakeholder in Mayor ______’s Insight Vision, I contributed many personal hours to participate with other citizens in articulating concerns about the city’s quality of life. Among these were the desire for a responsive, responsible government and for safe neighborhoods.

    As both a taxpayer and city employee, I am deeply concerned about the safety of staff and citizens in our public libraries. Throughout the city, the National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP) meets at several branch libraries. At the _________Branch this group has been allowed to violate city ordinances, as well as state and federal laws. They have repeatedly acted in a threatening manner towards staff and customers.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks their behavior through Klanwatch, listing them as an active hate and patriot group. In fact, their parent organization in _______________is listed as a militia.

    Every time this group comes to use the library meeting room they carry a rifle bag. They have carried a Confederate flag in it but we have no assurance that will always be the case. We have been informed by library and city administrators that we can no longer check this rifle bag when they come in. We have also been told that we cannot go into meetings of any group when we have cause for concern.

    If any violent incident ever does occur here, we would be compelled to inform investigators that we did not feel that city administrators took proper risk management precautions. This is not good management and makes us particularly vulnerable to intentional torts.

    We want to feel safe in our libraries, unthreatened by others and free from harassment. We want our government officials to protect us from unnecessary abuse and enforce existing ordinances and statutes. We have been told that you do not want the NAAWP to sue the city for having their First Amendment rights violated. I can assure you that their rights have not been violated at the __________ Branch Library.

    To the contrary, the NAAWP has, in fact, violated the rights of staff and customers. I would greatly appreciate it if you would thoroughly investigate the concerns I have and take measures to ensure the safe working conditions of staff I supervise and the safe learning environment of customers I serve. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    (A year before I retired, a colleague said, “You can never retire.” When I asked why, my colleague said, “Because when you do, they’ll have to find a new scapegoat and I don’t want to be it.” So, my answer to that now is, we need to work a lot harder to restore good values. It matters. A lot. Open an inquiry.)

    • Democritus says:

      That was incredibly brave, and we need that spirit alive and well again today.

      Thank you for fighting the good fight, the right way, and making your part of the world a bit better.

    • Eureka says:

      I’m doing some translation and inference-synthesis here from prior comments, but yes, those of us who have stood up and done the morally right thing in the face of these growing, systemically-enabled violations of American liberties– however small or large the acts, and without regard for repercussions to our selves (with altruism, in other words)– are both frequently reliving those historical events and super chaffed that those empowered to act (read: House of Reps, other institutions) against the current menace are giving the appearance of dilly-dally cowardice.

      As individuals, we were strong– even, perhaps, when we were weak in power; they are strong in power– particularly when united– but acting weakly in the face of that which seeks to destroy us.

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