The mix of extremists who collided with the Capitol is not backing down

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – As rioters laid siege to the US Capitol, the seat of American democracy became a melting pot of extremist groups: members of the militia, white supremacists, paramilitary organizations, masked and staunch supporters of President Donald Trump. Shoulder in fury.

Experts say it was the culmination of years of growing bigotry and partisanship, with growing fascination with paramilitary groups and the global epidemic. And he warned that the armed rebellion that left five dead and shook the country may be just the beginning.

“We see it like a conveyor belt of bigotry,” said Devin Barghart, executive director of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. “Once they step on that conveyor belt, they overflow with propaganda that leads them on that path until they are ready to take up arms.”

Pictures and videos of the Capitol siege show people dressed in symbols with symbols associated with the anti-government Three Percenter Movement and Oath Keepers, an organized group of right-wing extremists.

Many of those who stormed the Capitol were dressed or dressed as emblems of the Qion conspiracy theory, which centered on the baseless notion that Trump was “in a deep state” and a sex-trafficking cannibal Conducting covert operations against a secret operation. One of the intruders was wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt, a reference to the Nazi death camp.

Those who monitor the online chatter say the threat of more violence by far-flung fringe groups has not been eliminated, although it has been harder to track since social media platform Parlar, for right-wing extremists A haven was booted from the Internet.

“We are definitely not out of the woods yet. I am afraid we are going to be prepared for some of the worst conditions for some time, ”said Amy Cotter, a senior lecturer in sociology at Vanderbilt University who studies American militia groups.

FBI is warning Wednesday’s presidential election led to the inauguration of Joe Biden in all 50 state capitals and after plans for armed protest in Washington. Cotter believes that smaller gatherings in state capitals are a greater threat than a large, centrally organized event in Washington.

How many extremists are there is not clear. Individual fringe groups are small, with the largest claims to be of hundreds of members, but countless others have been swept away in the fury of late.

To understand the mix of extremists in the Capital Scramble, it helps to look at history.

Much of the modern militia movement was a response to tough gun control laws in the 1990s. An 11-day standoff that killed three people on Idaho’s Ruby Ridge in 1992, as did the disaster the following year in Waco, Texas, when a 51-day standoff at Branch Davidian killed 76 people in a fire. It was done. Cult compound.

A decade later, Clevene Bundy and his sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy engaged in armed deadlock with the federal government, first in 2014 in a fight over grazing rights on federal lands in Nevada, then in a 40-day occupation at a national wildlife refuge. In Oregon 2016. Those deadlock attracted the sympathy of some Western ranchers and farmers, who feared losing their ability to prosper financially.

Meanwhile, America’s white supremacy movement – which was as old as the country and active by the 1960s civil rights movement – used every opportunity to curb racism and increase recruitment. Within the last two decades, nationalists and white supremacists were particularly successful in taking advantage of the anti-immigration sentiment, and returned as the country’s first black president in 2008 after the election of Barack Obama.

Some who have followed such movements say that the coronavirus epidemic provided the right recruitment opportunity.

The militia helped distribute the surplus agricultural produce to the unemployed. The neo-Nazis claimed the conspiracy that the government was trying to limit “herd immunity”. An anti-government group called People’s Rights, launched last spring by Ammon Bundy, held an Easter church service in defiance of the lockout order in Idaho.

“It was the moment that sent a nationwide message that it was okay to take an insurer currency for COVID guidelines – and from that moment you grabbed it nationwide,” said Burgert, whose organization published an October report On the public rights network.

While previously those who were upset about the COVID-19 rules would complain online, suddenly people were avoiding authorities by opening their gyms or wearing masks in very confrontational ways. For these individuals, social media has accelerated a radical process that typically takes just a few months, many times feeling powerless in the midst of the closure of COVID-19.

“You were meant to try to fight against all kinds of common-sense health restrictions of such small interventions,” Burgert said. “And at that moment, you saw together, the militia activists are joining the COVID struggle and the COVID rebels have taken militia currency and want to join militia groups.”

The danger may intensify. Lindsay Shubiner, an expert on extremism with the Center for Western States, said the Capitol Rebellion further spread the idea of ​​violent government and allowed extremist groups to network with a wider population.

As those groups continue to be trained and expanded – many already provide instruction in weapons, first aid, food storage, and ham radio – the risk of “lone wolf” tasks also increases, she said, when members of their Take matters into hands. He feels that his group has not gone very far.

Stewart Rhodes, an army veteran who founded Oath Keepers in 2009, had been saying for weeks around the election that his group was preparing for civil war and was ready to take orders from Trump. The group recruits current and former law enforcement officers and military personnel.

While appearing on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s Infowars show on November 10, Rhodes said he had “already had good men” in the Washington area who were “armed if the president called us to leave.” Ready. ” “

“If they try to remove the president illegally, we will step in and stop it,” he said.

According to a review of social media posts by the Center for Anti-Defamation League on counter-terrorism forums, users on militia forums created ruckus on Trump supporters, who created uproar in the Capitol and welcomed him as a patriot. Many saw the attack as a weapon.

According to a review by the Associated Press, authorities have arrested more than 100 people on charges related to the Capitol siege, but court documents do not publicly identify any of them. Of records.

Less than a week after the riots, several armed soldiers labeled “combat militia” gathered at the Texas State Capitol as legislators returned to work for a new legislative session. Texas GOP President Alan West posed for a photo with the group and shared the photo on the party’s Twitter account.

The same day President Trump met at the Texas Statehouse in Austin, President Trump flew to the southern border in the Alamo, Texas, where he took no responsibility for his part in thwarting the violent uprising in Washington, DC. People thought that what he said was completely. Is appropriate, ”Trump said.

Schubiner said it may be impossible to stop extremist groups, but it is possible to push those groups to political margins.

“Everyone who believes in inclusive democracy and doesn’t believe in political violence needs to come out and say it so strongly, and then go back with action,” she said.


The story has been corrected to show that the “Texas Militia” group gathered at the Statehouse in Auston while Trump was on the Texas border. Flaccus from Portland, Oregon and Kunzelman reported from College Park, Maryland. Associated Press writer Paul Weber in Austin, Texas contributed to this report.


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