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Coronavirus meets extremism

[ by Charles Cameron — juggling far too many balls, here’s white supremacist and Islamist extremism, closing with an Aaron Zelin tweet and a happy — I hope — note on the Taliban & Kashmir ]
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Extremism in general:

  • CBS, Extremists are using the coronavirus to radicalize and spread conspiracies online
  • As cities and countries around the world take drastic steps to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus, extremist groups are trying to use the pandemic to radicalize people online.

    According to a report released by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, “Supporters of domestic and international extremist groups have encouraged followers to conduct attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic to incite panic, target minorities and immigrants, and celebrate the deaths of their enemies.”

    Note that: “domestic and international extremist groups” — we need to be on the watch for both domestic and foreign extremist groups.

    Likewise:

  • CTP, Tech & Terrorism: Extremist Groups Leverage Coronavirus Pandemic Online
  • **

    White Supremacism, Militias, and Alt-Right, &c:

  • NYT, The Coronavirus Becomes a Battle Cry for U.S. Extremists
  • April is typically a busy month for white supremacists. There is Hitler’s birthday, which they contort into a celebration. There is the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, the domestic attack 25 years ago that killed 168 people and still serves as a rallying call for new extremist recruits.

    But this April, something else overshadowed those chilling milestones. It was the coronavirus, and the disruption it wreaked on society, that became the extremists’ battle cry.

    Embellishing Covid-19 developments to fit their usual agenda, extremists spread disinformation on the transmission of the virus and disparage stay-at-home orders as “medical martial law” — the long-anticipated advent of a totalitarian state.

  • Politico, DHS warns of increase in violent extremism amid coronavirus lockdowns
  • Those arrested in the last month include an “anti-government extremist” who threatened to kill New Mexico’s governor over the coronavirus restrictions, and another individual who was arrested late last month for allegedly threatening to blow up the Orlando Police Department’s headquarters — hours after a countywide stay-at-home order was put into effect — because people are being “put … out of work” because of the pandemic.

  • Charles Bethea, A Coronavirus Turf War in Klickitat County
  • Betty Barnes, the mayor of Bingen, just to the east of White Salmon, agreed. “I haven’t been lynched yet, but I know some of the guidelines we’re supporting aren’t popular with some people, especially in Goldendale,” she said. “And they’re the ones with the biggest outbreak in our county, so that’s not really understandable to me.”

  • Sara Burnett, Michigan militia puts armed protest in the spotlight
  • The “American Patriot Rally” started on the statehouse steps, where members of the Michigan Liberty Militia stood guard with weapons and tactical gear, their faces partially covered. They later moved inside the Capitol along with several hundred protesters, who demanded to be let onto the House floor, which is prohibited. Some protesters with guns — which are allowed in the statehouse — went to the Senate gallery, where a senator said some armed men shouted at her, and some senators wore bulletproof vests.

  • Craig Mauger, Senator: Threats are ‘about spreading blood’ on Michigan Capitol lawn
  • Heated speeches at the end of the Michigan Senate session Tuesday featured Democratic lawmakers demanding action to limit guns in the Capitol and the Republican leader denouncing threats against the Democratic governor.

    The speeches came less than two weeks after dozens of protesters openly carried firearms inside the Capitol building as they demonstrated against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, which is meant to stem the spread of COVID-19.

  • CEP, Extremist Content Online: White Supremacists Urge Followers On Telegram To Exploit COVID-19
  • This week, white supremacist and neo-Nazi accelerationist Telegram channels continued calling for the exploitation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, British neo-Nazi group Sonnenkrieg Division (SKD) launched a Telegram channel challenging a membership ban that the British government implemented last month. Also, chan imageboard and Telegram chat users praise Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant following his guilty plea.

    **

    Jihadists, AQ and ISIS &c:

    The clearest religious rhetoric is found in this piece:

  • Brad Hunter, ISIS, al-Qaida commandeer COVID-19 as a ‘soldier of Allah’
  • ISIS and al-Qaida claim that the virus and ensuing global pandemic are retribution on the wicked West courtesy of God.

    In typical, flowery al-Qaida style, the death cult released a statement.

    “Allah, the Creator, has revealed the brittleness and vulnerability of your material strength,” reads the maniacal missive. “It is now clear for all to see that it was but a deception that could not stand the test of the smallest soldier of God on the face of the Earth.”

    The next two headlines speak for themselves:

  • HS Today, ISIS: Cities Distracted by Coronavirus Should be Hit with Attacks Like Paris, London, Brussels
  • HS Today, ISIS Magazine Calls for Attacks on ‘Easy Target’ Military, Police During Coronavirus Chaos
  • Then there’s this, from the esteemed Aaron Zelin:

    **

    I’d like to close on what is, or might be, a positive note:

    Taliban & Kashmir:

    Taliban acknowledges Kashmir internal matter of India after fake tweets

    The Taliban reaffirm their interests extending only to the boundaries of the present state of Afghanistan, and their acceptance of India’s claim to Kashmir –with a detail I explore in Religion meets the coronavirus #13.

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