2018 saw most killings linked to US far right since 1995: ADL

Watchdog says 2018 saw most far-right-linked killings since 1995, with 42 of 50 murders carried out by firearm.

People protesting against US President Donald Trump wait near the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. [Brendan Smialowski/AFP]

People protesting against US President Donald Trump wait near the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. [Brendan Smialowski/AFP]

From a deadly ambush on a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 to a Parkland, Florida school shooting that left 17 dead, every US “extremism-related murder” in 2018 was linked to the far right,according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Last year marked the most killings by far-right attackers since 1995, with 42 of 50 murders carried out with firearms, an annual report published by the ADL concluded.

The report adds that 2018 was the fourth-deadliest year on record since the ADL started tracking such murders in 1970.

“The white supremacist attack in Pittsburgh should serve as a wake-up call to everyone about the deadly consequences of hateful rhetoric,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO, in a statement.

“It’s time for our nation’s leaders to appropriately recognise the severity of the threat and to devote the necessary resources to address the scourge of right-wing extremism.”

Hate before the vote: Pipe bombs, shootings, incitement

The ADL partly attributes the comparably high number of deaths to a series of mass shootings, including 17 incidents involving “shooting sprees that caused 38 deaths and injured 33 people”.

One of the perpetrators, 17-year-old Corey Johnson of Florida, had switched from white supremacism and “allegedly converted to Islam” prior to stabbing several people during a sleepover, killing a 13-year-old and injuring two others.

A demonstrator waits for the start of a protest in the aftermath of the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh [Matt Rourke/AP Photo]

Unlike previous years, the ADL included a new category of political motivation known as the incel (or “involuntary celibacy”) movement.

The incel movement is a predominantly white online subculture populated by men who blame women for their failure to find sexual or romantic partners.

In November 2018, Scott Paul Beierle opened fire on a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, killing 61-year-old Nancy Van Vessem and 21-year-old Maura Binkley. Four others were injured; Beierle killed himself.

Media reports later found that Beierle had posted several YouTube videos in which “he revealed deep-seated hatred towards women, particularly women in interracial relationships who had ostensibly betrayed their ‘blood'”, the report says.

Hate crimes on the rise

In California’s Orange County on January 2, 2018, Samuel Woodward, a member of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, stabbed to death Blaze Bernstein, a former classmate of Woodward’s who was gay and Jewish. Woodward was charged with first-degree murder with hate crime enhancement.

In February 2018, Nikolas Cruz shot up his former high school in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 and wounding 17 more.

In October 2018, white nationalist Robert Bowers allegedly stormed a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania synagogue and shot dead 11 worshipers. Authorities charged him with 44 counts, including religious hate crimes.

The youngest victim was 53 years old and the oldest was 97.

Barry Werber, a 76-year-old survivor of that attack, later told the Associated Press, “I don’t know why he thinks the Jews are responsible for all the ills in the world, but he’s not the first and he won’t be the last.”

Anti-Muslim campaigning in the US is a ‘losing strategy’: report

Werber added, “Unfortunately, that’s our burden to bear. It breaks my heart.”

In the wake of the massacre, critics accused US President Donald Trump of stoking hatred and inciting against minorities, a charged Trump rejected.

Writing on Twitter after visiting the community in the wake of the incident, Trump dismissed the criticism and claimed his office was “shown great respect on a very sad and solemn day” in Pittsburgh.

The FBI reported a 17-percent rise in hate crimes in 2017, the largest increase in more than a decade.

 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Charlottesville Riot fascist Alex Fields Jr, who drove his car into Heather Heyer, found guilty of her murder

Alex Fields Jr is seen attending the "Unite the Right" rally in Emancipation Park, Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12, 2017Alex Fields Jr (l) was pictured taking part in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville

A man who drove his car into a crowd of protesters in Virginia, killing a woman, has been found guilty of murder.

Alex Fields Jr, a 21-year-old described by prosecutors as a white supremacist, was on trial over the incident in Charlottesville in August 2017.

Heather Heyer, 32, died when the car hit a group of people protesting against a white nationalist rally.

Mr Fields’s lawyers had insisted that he had acted out of fear for his own safety.

He faces 20 years to life in prison and will be sentenced at a later date.

The jury at Charlottesville City Circuit Court, which deliberated for less than a day, found him guilty on all the charges including murder; five counts of aggravated malicious wounding; three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit and run.

Fields, from Ohio, also faces 30 other federal charges relating to hate crimes to which he has pleaded not guilty.

What happened in Charlottesville?

The white supremacist rally was one of the largest such gatherings in America in decades and drew hundreds of neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members.

The “Unite the Right” march was organised to protest against plans to remove a statue of General Robert E Lee who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the US Civil War.

Dozens were injured in the violence that erupted between the marchers and counter-protesters.

Graphic video of the incident involving Mr Fields’s car was widely shared on social media.

A demonstrator carries a sign remembering Heather Heyer during a protest on August 13, 2017 in Chicago, IllinoisImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionHeather Heyer died after being struck by the car in Charlottesville

AltRight Hero Alex Fields goes on trial over deadly Charlottesville rally, during which he ran into True Patriot Heather Heyer, killing her.

NewJames Alex Fields Jr, left, holds a black shield in Charlottesville where a white supremacist rally took place [Alan Goffinski/AP Photo]

James Alex Fields Jr, left, holds a black shield in Charlottesville where a white supremacist rally took place [Alan Goffinski/AP Photo]

Jury selection in the trial of a man accused of killing Heather Heyer during an August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia is slated to begin on Monday.

James Alex Fields Jr, a 21-year-old Ohiresident, will stand trial for murder and a spate of charges stemming from the deadly car ramming during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017.

During the incident, prosecutors say, Fields slammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heyer and injuring dozens more.

Earlier in the day, Fields was photographed marching with Vanguard America, a neo-Nazi group, during the rally. Throughout the day, rally participants clashed with community members, anti-racists and anti-fascists across the city.ng which

Unite the Right, called to oppose Charlottesville’s decision to remove a Confederate statue, was the largest white nationalist rally in the US in recent decades.

A counterprotester holds a photo of Heather Heyer on Boston Common at a ‘Free Speech’ rally organised by conservative activists on August 19, 2017 [Michael Dwyer/AP Photo]

The rally brought out thousands of supporters of the alt-right, a loosely-knit coalition of white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

In Virginia, prosecutors charged Fields with 10 offences, including first-degree murder, five counts of malicious wounding, failure to stop an accident and three counts of malicious assault. If convicted, he could receive a life sentence.

Federal charges

Those charges came in addition to dozens of federal charges. In June, the US Department of Justice slapped Fields with 30 federal charges, among them hate crimes, which could result in the death penalty.

In the wake of the deadly Charlottesville protest, several articles investigating Fields’s history found a lengthy social media trail of neo-Nazi content and racist posts.

Following the rally, far-right participants from across the country faced legal backlash, with a slew of civil suits targeting organisers.

White nationalist, neo-Nazi and far-right groups that took to the streets in Charlottesville saw permits for a spate of subsequent public eventspulled or denied, while hosting services, social media outlets and tech companies cracked down on far-right individuals and groups.

Heyer was among 18 people killed by white supremacists in the US last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Earlier this month, the Federal Bureau of Investigations released its annual hate crimes report for 2017. According to the report’s findings, hate crimes grew for the third consecutive year, increasing by 17 percent.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

Heather-Heyer

New American Nazis: Inside the White Supremacist Movement That Fueled Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

NOVEMBER 20, 2018

Neo-Nazis are on the rise in America. Nearly a month after a gunman killed eleven Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, we look at the violent hate groups that helped fuel the massacre. On the same day that shooter Robert Bowers opened fire in the synagogue, a neo-Nazi named Edward Clark that Bowers had been communicating with online took his own life in Washington, D.C. The man’s brother, Jeffrey Clark, has since been arrested on weapons charges. The brothers were both linked to the violent white supremacist group Atomwaffen. We speak with A.C. Thompson, correspondent for FRONTLINE PBS and reporter for ProPublica. His investigation “Documenting Hate: New American Nazis” premieres tonight on PBSstations and online.

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Jim Acosta row: Donald Trump threat over reporters’ behaviour

Jim AcostaJim Acosta was in court to hear the judge’s temporary ruling

Donald Trump has threatened to walk out of future press briefings if reporters do not act with “decorum”.

The US president was speaking after a Washington DC court ordered the White House to return CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass after it was revoked by the US Secret Service.

Mr Acosta’s press pass was taken after he clashed with the president during a news conference earlier this month.

Mr Trump played down the ruling, saying it wasn’t “a big deal”.

But, he said, “people have to behave”, adding his staff were “writing up rules and regulations” for the press to abide by, including sticking to the agreed number of questions.

“If they don’t listen to the rules and regulations we’ll end up back in court and will win,” Mr Trump said. “But more importantly, we’ll just leave, and then you won’t be very happy.”

“You can’t take three questions and four questions and just stand up and not sit down,” he added. “Decorum. You have to practice decorum.”

‘A great day’

Speaking outside the court earlier in the day, Mr Acosta praised the decision and told reporters “let’s go back to work”.

The judge said the White House decision likely violated the journalist’s right to due process and freedom of speech.

The ruling forces the White House press office to temporarily return Mr Acosta’s “hard pass”, the credential that allows reporters easy access to the White House and other presidential events.

Mr Acosta’s lawyer called the ruling “a great day for the first amendment and journalism”.

How did the row begin?

Mr Acosta was barred from entering the White House a day after he had a heated exchange with President Trump during a news conference on 8 November.

A White House intern tried to take the microphone from Mr Acosta as he attempted to ask the president a follow-up question.

In a statement Mrs Sanders claimed that he had put “his hands on a young woman” during the exchange, during which Mr Trump called the reporter “a rude, terrible person”.

CNN sued to have Mr Acosta’s pass restored, and their lawsuit was joined by other media groups, including conservative-leaning Fox News.

President Donald Trump, journalist Jim Acosta and a White House internJim Acosta lost his White House access after a fiery exchange with President Trump
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In Texas, Trump speech takes far-right turn: ‘I’m a nationalist.’

In Texas, Trump speech takes far-right turn: 'I'm a nationalist.'

Washington, DC – From the outset of Monday’s campaign rally for US Senator Ted Cruz, US President Donald Trump received a warm welcome from thousands of mostly red-clad Republicans gathered in Houston’s Toyota Center.

The audience had applauded throughout the speech delivered by Cruz, who is facing off against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in a closely-watched race in the November 6 midterm elections.

But when Trump took the podium and his speech took an even sharper rightward turn, the crowd erupted in boisterous applause and chants of “USA!”

On Monday, after addressing unemployment and taxes, among other topics, Trump declared himself “nationalist” who is fending off “corrupt, power-hungry globalists”.

“We’re putting America first… it hasn’t happened in a lot of decades,” he declared, adding: “We’re taking care of ourselves for a change, folks.”

He continued by accusing Democrats of being “globalists” who want “the globe to do well [by] frankly not caring about our country so much”.

“You know, they have a word. It sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist,” he continued. “And I say really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I am a nationalist. Use that word.”

Trump used the term, nationalist, again on Tuesday, defending the recently agreed-upon trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

With midterm elections less than two weeks away, Monday’s rally was the latest in a pattern of Trump and Republican candidates nationwide employing increasingly aggressive campaign rhetoric.

In races from California to New Jersey, Republican candidates, campaign ads and mailers have accused Democratic opponents of advocating “open borders” and supporting “terrorism”.

Conspiracy theory

In North America and Europe, far-right and ultra-nationalist groups have routinely disparaged their political opponents as “globalists”, a term that researchers and experts describe as a dog-whistle with thinly-veiled anti-Semitic undertones.

While some right-wing politicians and commentators use globalism interchangeably with globalisation, the term now refers more commonly to a far-right conspiracy theory that alleges that the world is controlled by a shadowy group of economic elites.

Monday was not the first time Trump employed the phrase. In March, the president prompted a tide of criticism when he referred to his outgoing top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, as a “globalist”.

“He may be a globalist, but I still like him,” Trump said at Cohn’s final cabinet meeting, continuing, “He’s seriously a globalist. There’s no question.”

“Never underestimate the power of anti-Semitism in this,” Shane Burley, author of Fascism Today, told Al Jazeera. “I don’t think Trump is making an open reference to Jews, but the logic of anti-Semitism is informing rhetoric.”

The alt-right, a loosely knit coalition of neo-Nazis and white nationalists, surged during Trump’s presidential campaign and following his victory in November 2016.

But alt-right groups found themselves marginalised after differing with many of the president’s policies and facing public backlash after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in August 2017.

Burley said the movement’s lasting influence can be seen in the Republican Party’s open embrace of far-right talking points, including globalism and conspiracy theories blaming Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros for everything from migration to anti-Trump protests.

“If we think about parts of the Trump base, that rhetoric works very well with them,” Burley said.

Escalation

In recent weeks, Trump has intensified accusations that Democrats are “radical” leftists who incite “mobs”, claimed protesters are “paid” and repeatedly attacked a US-bound caravan of migrants.

Some Republican incumbents and hopefuls across the country have followed suit, and right-wing Super PACS have aired a slew of televised campaign ads attempting to link their Democratic opponents to “terrorism”.

Others have ostensibly targeted non-white candidates for their heritage, such as Republican congressman Duncan Hunter’s attack ad claiming that his Palestinian-Mexican-American opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, is a “national security threat”.

Although the 29-year-old Campa-Najjar is a Christian, Hunter’s ad alleged that the progressive House hopeful was trying to “infiltrate” Congress and is supported by the Muslim Brotherhood.

And in New York, another attack ad targeted African American Democratic House candidate Antonio Delgado for his former career as a rapper. Paid for by the Congressional Leadership Fund, the ad accused Delgado of “lacing his raps with extremist attacks on American values”.

On Monday, the civil rights group Muslim Advocates published a pre-election reportdocumenting a sharp uptick in anti-Muslim sentiment among political candidates in 2017 and 2018.

Heidi Beirich, the head of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, explained that Trump has been “escalating pretty egregiously” the tenor of midterm election rhetoric.

“You’d have to be a fool not to know that Trump is trying to use race as a way to gin up his supporters,” she told Al Jazeera.

“There are large sections of this election marked by racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant efforts. In some ways, Trump’s win in 2016 unleashed this kind of extremism into our system.”

 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS