Thursday, 8 August 2019

FBI believes conspiracy theory-driven extremists are likely to be active during the 2020 presidential election cycle

FBI Intelligence Bulletin, excerpt, 30 May 2019

Yahoo! News, 2 August 2019:

The FBI for the first time has identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorist threat, according to a previously unpublicized document obtained by Yahoo News. (Read the document below.)

The FBI intelligence bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office, dated May 30, 2019, describes “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists,” as a growing threat, and notes that it is the first such report to do so. It lists a number of arrests, including some that haven’t been publicized, related to violent incidents motivated by fringe beliefs.

The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring including Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant (which didn’t actually have a basement).

“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the document states. It also goes on to say the FBI believes conspiracy theory-driven extremists are likely to increase during the 2020 presidential election cycle.

The FBI said another factor driving the intensity of this threat is “the uncovering of real conspiracies or cover-ups involving illegal, harmful, or unconstitutional activities by government officials or leading political figures.” The FBI does not specify which political leaders or which cover-ups it was referring to.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 August 2019:

At a few minutes before 11 am on Saturday in El Paso, Texas, a gunman in his early 20s opened fire on a crowd of shoppers in a mall killing at least 20 and wounding dozens of others, placing the suspect’s rampage among the top ten deadliest mass shootings in US history.....

As hospitals in the local area deal with what can only be described as the bloody battlefield carnage, federal and state authorities are moving closer towards establishing the suspect’s motive for carrying out the mass casualty attack.

Federal law enforcement investigators have told CNN that they are reviewing writings they believe to have been posted online by the suspect, Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old white man from Dallas, but are yet to publicly confirm.
Essentially, the gunman’s alleged manifesto reads as a carbon copy of that espoused by those who carried out the recent and respective attacks on the mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

"This is a response to the Hispanic invasion," it reads, according to the FBI. It then goes on to accuse the Democratic Party of "pandering to the Hispanic voting bloc”, while also expressing his contempt for “race mixing” and support for “sending them back.”

These right-wing extremists are not only channelling neo-Nazi borne “Great Replacement” conspiracy theories, which frame demographic change as a threat to white Europeans, but also taking a cue from the words and policies of President Donald Trump.
It was only two weeks ago when Trump inspired an auditorium full of his supporters to chant “send her back” in reference to the country’s first elected black Muslim congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, who was born in Somalia and migrated to the US as the young daughter of refugee parents.
Earlier in the year, Trump smeared all immigrants approaching the US-Mexico border as invaders when he said, “People hate the word ‘invasion', but that’s what it is.”
Trump has also referred to Latin American refugees and asylum seekers as “rapists”, “criminals”, drug dealers” and “terrorists”.
It’s worth remembering that when a Rwandan politician described Rwanda’s Tutsi minority as “cockroaches” it started a genocide that resulted in the deaths of upwards of one million people in that country.....

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