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Monday, 21 August 2017 08:49

Trump's Wink and Nod Ensure There Will Be More Blood

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BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Fine 0821wrp opt(Photo: Flickr / Adobe Creative Cloud)On May 10th of this year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a Joint Intelligence Bulletin titled "White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence." The report aimed "to provide new insight into the targeting preferences of white supremacist extremists and the state of white supremacist extremism violence in the United States." Based on an assessment of white extremist violence between the years 2000 to 2016, the report declared that "lone actors and small cells within the white supremacist extremist (WSE) movement likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year."

What the report did not anticipate were "United the Right" rallies like the one in Charlottesville, Virginia, where many tentacles of the white nationalist movement held a well-organized, violent and coordinated display of strength.  

Rallies of white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, militia members, alt-right supporters, and neo-Nazis, similar to the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, and the injuring of nearly two dozen other counter-protesters, will almost assuredly be coming to your town or a town near you.

On Monday, after two days of equivocating about the perpetrators of the violence and hate, President Donald Trump finally condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists. Barely twenty-four hours later, at a Trump Tower press conference, the previous day's carefully constructed remarks -- tread off a teleprompter -- were swept away by a return to his essence; a bigoted, narcissistic, combative, uninformed leader giving succor to white nationalists.

Trump, who uses the term "radical Islamic terrorism" every chance he gets, refused to call it "domestic terrorism." He also failed to include the alt-right in his blustery, bracing and fact-free performance.  

"What's happening now is that since the change of the administration in Washington, these folks think they have a right to come out and assert themselves," George Holland, an Oakland lawyer and president of the local branch of the NAACP, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

And assert themselves they will!

White nationalists are apparently planning rallies for San Francisco, where a permit has been issued for a Patriot Prayer group rally, at Crissy Field on August 26. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, under the cover of religion, Patriot Prayer's real purpose is "an attempt to provoke black-clad ideologues of the left into acts of violence."

Another group, No Marxism in America, is planning an event on August 27 at Martin Luther Link Jr, Civic Center in Berkeley. "If this was really about freedom of speech – the city of Berkeley welcomes freedom of speech," Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin told the Chronicle. "This isn't about that. This is about people coming to commit violence and spout hate speech and promote bigotry and promote white supremacy."

Joint Intelligence Bulletin Warns of White Supremacist Extremism

According to the May Joint Intelligence Bulletin, White Supremacist extremists "were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016, more than any other domestic extremist movement." While there were no "mass-casualty attacks in 2016," plots intended to inflict mass casualties were foiled.

As investigative journalist and author David Neiwert pointed in June – two months before Charlottesville -- while President Donald Trump has taken every opportunity to call our radical Islamic terrorism, he has been blind to terrorism by white extremists. "A database of nine years of domestic terrorism incidents compiled by The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has produced a very different picture of the threat than that advanced by the current White House."

Over a nine-year period, from 2008-2016, "Far-right plots and attacks outnumber Islamist incidents by almost 2 to 1."

The database has documented "201 incidents" which are "sorted broadly as Islamist, right wing (including white supremacists, militias and members of the so-called Patriot and sovereign citizens movements), and left wing (including animal right militants, environmentalists, anarchists and Black Lives Matter sympathizers). Most of the Islamist incidents are thwarted plots, indicating a significant investment of law enforcement resources. Most of the others are successful acts in which attackers damaged property or inflicted human casualties."

In 2010, after intense criticism from conservatives, the Obama administration quietly dismantled a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office responsible for tracking non-Islamist domestic terror. Team Trump has also de-emphasized investigating domestic extremism. According to The Hill, "The White House recently cut funding for groups fighting right-wing violence under a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant program that is aimed at supporting community efforts to stop violent extremism and recruitment efforts."

The "Outlook" section of the May 10 report, concluded: "We assess most WSE lethal violence over the next year very likely will derive from the capabilities of lone offenders or small cells, rather than the resources of larger groups, due to the decentralized and often disorganized status of the WSE movement. Although plot-derived mass-casualty violence remains possible, we judge it more likely that violence will continue to be spontaneous and involve targets of opportunity. Despite a lack of shooting attacks in 2016, firearms likely will continue to pose the greatest threat of lethal violence by WSEs due to their availability and ease of use."

Christian Schneider, a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently pointed out, these hate groups "clearly see an opening when the president more quickly criticizes his own allies than white supremacists."

During their Friday night Tiki Torch rally at Charlottesville's University of Virginia, the white nationalist crowd shouted hateful slogans, including "blood and soil," ('Blut und Boden') "a very important philosophy for Nazi Germany," Patheos' Ed Brayton recently noted. With Trump blaming "both sides" for the violence, he has opened the doors to more blood running in America's streets.