What connects attacks in Québec and Charleston? Trump needs to know

Richard Wolffe writes: One of them shot and stabbed to death Jo Cox. Another massacred nine churchgoers in Charleston. Then six Canadians were gunned down at evening prayers in Québec City.

It’s long past time to recognize the mortal threats within our own borders. Donald Trump can ban all the Muslims he wants; Justin Trudeau can welcome all the refugees he likes.

But the truth is that white nationalist terrorists are as much of a threat to civilized society as their radical Islamist counterparts.

Thomas Mair murdered Cox as she was campaigning to stay inside the European Union. “Britain first,” said the Nazi-loving white supremacist, as he brutally attacked the British MP and mother of two.

Dylann Roof hoped to incite a race war when he fired more than 70 bullets into a Bible study group that had welcomed him into the fellowship hall of Emanuel AME Church.

Alexandre Bissonnette, charged with six counts of murder in a Québec City mosque, is said to be well known to refugee groups for his frequent online insults about immigration and his admiration for Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right Front National.

Mair and Roof both found their sick inspiration in online communities of hatred and violence. It may be that Bissonnette did too.

The great Primo Levi would recognize what connects these men and what is happening to our culture. “The plague is over but the infection spreads: it would be foolish to deny it,” he wrote, more than two decades after he left the Nazi concentration camps.

The scientist survivor was clear about the source of the infection he observed in such clinical detail: “Mainly, at the root of it all, a tide of cowardice, an abysmal cowardice, masked as warrior virtue, love of country, and loyalty to an idea.” [Continue reading…]

The Intercept reports: White supremacists and other domestic extremists maintain an active presence in U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies. A striking reference to that conclusion, notable for its confidence and the policy prescriptions that accompany it, appears in a classified FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide from April 2015, obtained by The Intercept. The guide, which details the process by which the FBI enters individuals on a terrorism watchlist, the Known or Suspected Terrorist File, notes that “domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers,” and explains in some detail how bureau policies have been crafted to take this infiltration into account.

Although these right-wing extremists have posed a growing threat for years, federal investigators have been reluctant to publicly address that threat or to point out the movement’s longstanding strategy of infiltrating the law enforcement community.

No centralized recruitment process or set of national standards exists for the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States, many of which have deep historical connections to racist ideologies. As a result, state and local police as well as sheriff’s departments present ample opportunities for white supremacists and other right-wing extremists looking to expand their power base. [Continue reading…]

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