Three extremists pleaded guilty to three different plots this week. As reported by Nick Martin of The Informant:
- 22-year-old Holden James Matthews pleaded guilty to arson for setting fires to three black churches in Louisiana in 2019
- 23-year-old Conor Climo pleaded guilty to possession of bomb-making materials. He was targeting a synagogue and an LGBTQ bar in Las Vegas
- 24-year-old Jarrett William Smith pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of bomb-making instructions. Smith had spoken with online contacts identifying possible targets, which included CNN’s headquarters and former senate/presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke
Climo is an affiliate of the neo-Nazi group Feuerkrieg Division and a self-described white supremacist. Matthews and Smith are not known to be affiliated with a larger network, however Smith is a U.S. Army soldier and self-described Satanic neo-Nazi.
What they do have in common is their age and identity markers: 20-something white males who fall within the target age bracket for a violent extremist.
While other generations of men of this age were going to war, entering the workforce and/or getting married, what we are seeing is a generation forgetting what it means to be a man and falling into the cracks of extremist ideologies.
At just the threshold of manhood, these three face a collective sentence of up to 100 years and have, with little defense, accepted that fate with the false certainty an extremist identity brings.
FBI Now Considers White Supremacy a National Threat Priority
FBI Director Christopher Wray recently stated that the FBI now views racially-motivated violent extremism as a “national threat priority.”
Wray said that from this year, the FBI will place the risk of violence from such groups “on the same footing” as foreign terror groups such as ISIS.
Wray said that currently most terrorism in the U.S. is “fueled by some type of white supremacy.”
Surge of targeting of college campuses by white supremacists
White supremacists and neo-Nazi groups in America significantly increased their targeting of college students in 2019, according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League.
The incidents of white supremacist propaganda nearly doubled from 2018, with 630 incidents reported on college and university campuses. The report stated that these campus incidents accounted for one-quarter of the total number of incidents of white supremacist propaganda distribution nationwide.
The increase in campus propaganda distribution was mirrored in the U.S. at large. “The 2019 propaganda touched every state except Hawaii, with the highest levels of activity in the states of California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, Washington and Florida,” the ADL said.
Over the course of 2019, dozens of white supremacist groups distributed propaganda, but three groups — Patriot Front, American Identity Movement and the New Jersey European Heritage Association — were responsible for approximately 90 percent of the activity, according to the report.
However, in 2019, there were 20 percent fewer white supremacist events than in 2018.
The report noted that at one event in May 2019 in Russellville, Arkansas, demonstrators were recorded “chanting ‘6 million more,’ waving swastika flags, stomping on Israeli flags and holding signs that read, ‘The Holocaust didn’t happen, but it should have’ and ‘YHVH [Yehovah] has the oven preheated.’”
White Supremacists Not Tracked in the Military
A Military Times poll found more than one-third of active duty service members and more than half of minority service members say they have witnessed white nationalism or “ideological-driven racism” in the service, yet a Congressional committee heard testimony that the U.S. military does not have a mechanism for tracking online activity by white supremacists in the armed forces.
“People are shockingly open about their extremist views and it’s the kind of material that should be easy for investigators or people talking to potential recruits to verify,” testified Dr. Heidie Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism before the House Armed Services subcommittee.
Military regulation officially prevents active participation in extremist groups. That participation includes fundraising, rallying, recruiting and organization.