[Learning about Extremists, Part III] Boogaloos suggest alliances with leftists

    [Part I is here; Part II is here of news & analysis]

    Happy to answer more questions or present more examples, but this was Jimmy Dore’s original tweet.

    I think this list of positions is generally consistent with the stated beliefs of “boogaloos,” but that doesn’t mean they have common ground with the left across the board. https://t.co/cxr7jQ9hJP

    — Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) January 26, 2021

    continued after the jump

    It seems like there’s a bit of an Internet kerfuffle right now following an interview @jimmy_dore did with a “boogaloo boy” proposing a left-boogaloo alliance.

    I wanted to showcase some of how attempts to do that worked in the past year. https://t.co/EfjuVrhGC3

    — Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) January 26, 2021

    that's a whole thread with some history

    When my contributor @SCWKorsgaard interviewed “Boogaloo Boy” Mike Dunn in November, he qualified his support for the BLM movement by saying they’re “not just far left.” https://t.co/7vO6Vwr9ve

    — Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) January 26, 2021

    more today:

    Happy to answer more questions or present more examples, but this was Jimmy Dore’s original tweet.

    I think this list of positions is generally consistent with the stated beliefs of “boogaloos,” but that doesn’t mean they have common ground with the left across the board. https://t.co/cxr7jQ9hJP

    — Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) January 26, 2021


    this is well said about the problem with anarchism with a left bent, it's awful dreamy and unrealistic to believe you can furnish left goals with little or no government, that it can all be kumbaya you don't need police firemen doctors or lawyers, everyone just helps their neighbor. First of all the wild west was not like in the movies and second, now we have big corporations

    lmao that "boogaloo boy" dore interviewed called himself a libertarian, said he's against medicare for all bc it's government healthcare and also opposes taxes, public education and other public services. in other words he wants total corporate tyrannypic.twitter.com/B3mWJgIrA2

    — (@zei_squirrel) January 25, 2021


    very interesting, J.J. MacNab sees a link between reinvigorated growth/popularization of sovereign citizen movement and related like QAnon etc., and the fallout from the 2009 real estate crash, also there are "new age" roots:


    Oath Keepers thread.

    — JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) January 23, 2021

    Three Individuals Affiliated With the Oath Keepers Indicted in Federal Court for Conspiracy to Obstruct Congress on Jan. 6, 2021 https://t.co/r8ZhE1GFbA

    — JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) January 27, 2021

    I presume that means she's going to keep continuing it....

    makes me recall a string of interesting tweets by her on the sovereign citizen movement, I think I posted some on the Part II thread.

    note from above

    ....the report says that Macias told officers that he spoke very limited English - a translator had to be called in to read Macias his Miranda rights.

    It’s not clear why he was in Washington – or if he’s affiliated with any groups.

    Macias has been released on the condition he stays away from the White House.

    time for a humor break:

    Important reminder:

    old style still around:

    Reminder: Assange suborned extremist behavior, e.g. hacking of governments and orgs, with massive unfiltered data dumps - "suborning espionage".

    The UK extradition hearing, while ruling US prisons were too rough 'n tough, basically ruled as well that Wikileaks is not a journalistic organization, and what Assange does is not journalism.

    Tie this to stoking other crowds - BLM, Proud Boys/Oath Keepers, and often the GOP rank & file. Maybe the new woke culture crowds, tho at least their behavior isn't illegal.


    speak of the devil, he's got ACLU advocating for him to the Biden DOJ; so it goes:


    Extremist Branding 101

    thanks for this, the marketing of all this as cool, is a major part of the problem.

    And not just with right wing extremists. It's also a problem with rap culture!  Whereas law-abiding family men are ridiculed as boomer dad culture, pitiful emasculateds. (Where is Dick Tracy and Eliot Ness when you need them?)

    cross link to August 2019 article:


    By artappraiser on Fri, 08/09/2019 - 9:37pm |

    Testimony over a brawl at the Metropolitan Republican Club has focused on extremists who also skirmish online.

    By Colin Moynihan @ NYTimes.com, Aug. 8

    Yeah, I had already come to this conclusion judging from seeing a lot of Ngo's stuff over many months at the same time as others, that Ngo is a blatant anti-antifa propagandist, he plays lots of games with videos & photos of protests One does get the impression that it started out with a genuine hatred of radical lefties in Portland but then progressed to something more opportunist because he discovered the market is large, it's like he's more blatant all the time because it sells

    this guy, Dave Troy, looks like a good find as to expertise on the shit-stirring influencers of QAnon, many of them once reasonable men now gone wack; found retweeted by JJ MacNab (bizzarro feeling on seeing Larry Johnson on his list as part of VIPS as he was also a columnist at TPMCafe for a considerable length,  and he used to interact with lots of us commenters there, actually seemed relatively centrist on most stuff like terrorism, tho a tough talker, but then he would just go wack all of a sudden every so often; I believe he quit in a snit over such commenting, not fired)

    THREAD: QAnon was enabled in part by former military and intelligence professionals "gone wild." They lent credibility to the myth and laundered QAnon messaging to the public, sometimes via E-list "influencers." Here are some of the key personnel.

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    2/MICHAEL T. FLYNN is at the very center of the Q operation. As a US Army Lt. General and as former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, he has extensive knowledge of military/intel ops and the mechanics of insurgency. He also deeply resents his treatment by USG – a theme. pic.twitter.com/n2Af1IlaiO

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    3/BILL BINNEY retired in protest from NSA in 2001 after spat with @GenMhayden. He collaborated with Putinphile Oliver Stone (A Good American; Snowden), and has appeared on many Q content channels re: child sex abuse, directed energy weapons; he is part of https://t.co/ZNSp5IREyo

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    4/ROBERT DAVID STEELE, retired CIA, has appeared on countless Q-influencer channels. He drove the Pizzagate story in 2016. Has ties to Iran-connected ops, and also Russia info channels. Part of https://t.co/ZNSp5IREyo. Reform party pres. candidate, 2012. https://t.co/nKKxSEUe5j

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    5/KIRK WIEBE, former NSA, is a colleague of Binney's. He was part of a pro-Russia group with Binney called VIPS. Has endorsed ITNJ activities. Appeared in a video with Binney and Oliver Stone's son Sean Stone, Sep 2020, on channel "Triangle of Paganism." https://t.co/OVMh2L90YP

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    6/ED LOOMIS, another NSA colleague of Binney and Wiebe; also part of VIPS. He appeared in the Oliver Stone-produced film "A Good American" with Binney. https://t.co/JXzjoADJ4v

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    7/LARRY C. JOHNSON is a former CIA + State Dept official, turned conspiracist; also part of VIPS. Signed Dec 2016 VIPS memo saying Russia was not behind the DNC hack; foundational to the Seth Rich lie. Believes Russia did not interfere in 2016. https://t.co/P0qPNnr8Oi

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    8/RAY MCGOVERN is a retired CIA official who has been a longtime guest of Alex Jones on InfoWars; also on left channels like Democracy Now. In Jan 2017, he wrote an op-ed with Binney saying DNC emails weren’t hacked, but leaked. Vehemently pro-Assange. https://t.co/bKU9eNWwy1

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    10/RUSSELL BRUEMMER, former top lawyer at CIA + congressional affairs lead at FBI, formed cryptocurrency company Indeco with alleged QAnon/Shadowbox collaborator Trevor Fitzgibbon. May have used alias Hiro Tokumei. https://t.co/XLRAogWai6https://t.co/vbnZx4f2AF

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    the above was Dave's first 23, here's the rest to date:

    24/And about ITNJ... The International Tribunal of Natural Justice is a bizarre organization led by Rhodesian "rock star" Sacha Stone and pushed Q themes of child trafficking, pandemic disinfo, 5G disinfo very early. Many in this network are affiliated. https://t.co/za00cFCguf

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    For those interested, other related Sacha Stone orgs include https://t.co/daKwh95Rqh and https://t.co/45RfrUpctx — both of which routinely spew various disinformation.

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    25/CASEY GRAY is a former CIA and Special Forces veteran affiliated with organizations called GoldCorp, Beyond SOF (Steve Brignoli), and Strategic Fitness LLC. Gray reportedly visited the Capitol on January 5th. https://t.co/gZtNNHQx5x

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    26/BRADLEY JOHNSON, ret. CIA, of "Americans for Intelligence Reform" promoting "Italygate" — the insane conspiracy theory that says... something something, Italy, voting machines, conspiracy. https://t.co/nUzmlusIXU

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    27/Please note: these people are not the norm, and career Mil/IC/Gov professionals are, overwhelmingly, patriots who abhor this activity.

    The defection of these people to dark causes is, in fact, evidence of their alienation from the mainstream of their profession.

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    28/There are also many other well-known people involved in promoting these messages who are ex-military: Jim Watkins (8kun/Q - Army, helicopter repair) and Steve Bannon (Trump - Navy), most notably.https://t.co/KZ9sIFLQqe

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    29/MICHAEL JACO, who claims to be a former US Navy Seal, has a large YouTube following and has been pushing Q themes and disinfo. Here he can be heard discussing "spiritual defense against the Coronavirus" on the "Gnostic Warrior Podcast."https://t.co/Sg53GnkK72

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    30/TERRY TURCHIE (ret. Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division; former head of CI program at Lawrence Livermore National Lab), is featured on this heavily Flynn-centric podcast talking about "the real insurrection in congress." https://t.co/zS9psbToKT

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021

    31/TERPSICHORE "TORE" MARAS-LINDEMAN served in the Navy less than a year, over 20 years ago; claims to have secret clearance, have worked for gov contractors. She was Sidney Powell's "secret witness" for claims of election fraud; ft. in Q "Shadowgate" doc. https://t.co/riUiZT433Y

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 15, 2021

    32/DAN BONGINO, ubiquitous right-wing media persona and alleged partner in defunct Mercer-backed social media network #Parler, formerly served in the US Secret Service. According to ABC News in 2013, he "turned on Obama."https://t.co/WWGoLXp3wg

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 15, 2021

    33/RICH HIGGINS, US Army, served in multiple positions in the Trump administration, including the NSC. He penned a controversial memo on “Global Marxism” in 2017; background in Special Ops, military intel, strategic security.https://t.co/SDnOBtal1q

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 15, 2021

    Is she still an employee at that facility?

    — Margaret Chesser (@MargaretChesse7) February 14, 2021

    I don't know. I have some impression she may have retired but would need to confirm.

    — Dave Troy (@davetroy) February 14, 2021


    So that's what he's got for now, I find it's pretty damning as far as disaffected exiles from the "Deep State", and I think he's right about it being a major intel failure!

     I put in discussion I saw, but I may have missed some.

    Dave Troy self describes on Twitter as Co-curator, host @TEDxMidAtlantic. Johns Hopkins. Network analyst, disinformation specialist. Speaker.

    Would also like to mention one of my own thoughts, inspired by where he says @ 21 and 27

    So me may wonder why these folks went down this path. From research, the common theme we have found is that they are disaffected from the mainstream of their professional community. Alienation is often a cause of radicalization.


    Please note: these people are not the norm, and career Mil/IC/Gov professionals are, overwhelmingly, patriots who abhor this activity. The defection of these people to dark causes is, in fact, evidence of their alienation from the mainstream of their profession.

    that made me think of this recent initial research reported on at WaPo of which I posted an excerpt in Dag's news section


    By artappraiser on Thu, 02/11/2021 - 1:45am |

    Trail of bankruptcies, tax problems and bad debts raises questions for researchers trying to understand motivations for attack

    By Todd C. Frankel @ WashingtonPost.com, Feb. 10

    It seems like the same zeitgeist of frustrated failed people, many of who reached certain heights and then had a crash, who don't believe in such a thing as bad luck and must go out of their way to find a conspiracy or a scapegoat why things didn't work out for them, they have to create a rigged system and a savior because bad luck doesn't make sense and they are stable geniuses....etc. 

    (Kind of makes me proud that I had equal or much worse crashes/disasters in my recent life and I didn't go off in search of conspiracy to explain them. I do happen to scream, though, whenever I hear someone say "you make your own luck", one of the evilest nostrums in the self-improvement shtick for sale, mho. I admit I DID sometimes find some solace when stressed near breaking, in looking at the better astrology and tarot sites online, as if they are the ancient "fates", BUT here's the diff: doing it a pretend way, a sort of "what if" way. In a way doing that helps you let go that you can't change everything, no savoirs, no reason, just go with the flow....)

    This is great news as Frontline is very good at disseminating nuanced understanding! yes, only public-tv fans watch but the facts learned eventually get spread to friends, family & acquaintances. Part of the magic they do is due to the fact they are not pay tv but on the free "airwaves" so they reach those who do not have the money or know-how for sophisticated information access. Plus they are very good at making drama and excitement about information that most would offer in a  boring "white paper" format.

    like Frontline because it fights this syndrome, as it did post 9/11:


    believe-it-or-not !!! (check out whole thread-these are excerpts from the middle)

    Parler & sock puppets (thread)

    What did happen to those Macedonian troll farms?

    both re-tweeted by JJ MacNab

    this part of the opposing fringe is not anarchist but xenophobic:


    The five men were believed by authorities to have ties to a regional militia group, the New England Minutemen, based on a tactical manual recovered when they were taken intocust ody by Troy police on June 7.

    further descriptions in article sounds like Boogaloo types: ex-military, anti-cop & pro BLM

    Just a reminder that Don Jr. "gets" them and feeds them more than his dad does:

    Not for MAGA and not for Trump but The Boogaloo Bois Have Guns, Criminal Records and Military Training. Now They Want to Overthrow the Government.

    ProPublica and FRONTLINE have identified more than twenty members with ties to the armed forces.

    by A.C. Thompson, ProPublica, and Lila Hassan and Karim Hajj, FRONTLINE,  Feb. 1, 11 a.m. EST

    [....] In the weeks since Jan. 6, an array of extremist groups have been named as participants in the Capitol invasion. The Proud Boys. QAnon believers. White nationalists. The Oath Keepers. But the Boogaloo Bois are notable for the depth of their commitment to the overthrow of the U.S. government and the jaw-dropping criminal histories of many members.

    Mike Dunn, a 20-year-old from a small town on Virginia’s rural southern edge, is the commander of the Last Sons. “I really feel we’re looking at the possibility — stronger than any time since, say, the 1860s — of armed insurrection,” Dunn said in an interview with ProPublica and FRONTLINE a few days after the assault on the Capitol. Although Dunn didn’t directly participate, he said members of his Boogaloo faction helped fire up the crowd and “may” have penetrated the building.

    “It was a chance to mess with the federal government again,” he said. “They weren’t there for MAGA. They weren’t there for Trump.”

    Dunn added that he’s “willing to die in the streets” while battling law enforcement or security forces.

    In its short existence, the Boogaloo movement has proven to be a magnet for current or former military service members who have used their combat skills and firearms expertise to advance the Boogaloo cause. Before becoming one of the faces of the movement, Dunn did a brief stint in the U.S. Marines, a career he says was cut short by a heart condition, and worked as a Virginia state prison guard.

    Through interviews, extensive study of social media and a review of court records, some previously unreported, ProPublica and FRONTLINE identified more than 20 Boogaloo Bois or sympathizers who’ve served in the armed forces. Over the past 18 months, 13 of them have been arrested on charges ranging from the possession of illegal automatic weapons to the manufacture of explosives to murder.

    Most of the individuals identified by the news organizations became involved with the movement after leaving the military. At least four are accused of committing Boogaloo-related crimes while employed by one of the military branches.

    Examples of the nexus between the group and the military abound.

    Last year, an FBI task force in San Francisco opened a domestic terror investigation into Aaron Horrocks, a 39-year-old former Marine Corps reservist. Horrocks spent eight years in the Reserve before leaving the Corps in 2017.

    The bureau became alarmed in September 2020, when agents received a tip that Horrocks, who lives in Pleasanton, California, was “planning an imminent violent attack on government or law enforcement,” according to a petition to seize the man’s firearms, which was filed in state court in October. The investigation, which has not previously been reported, links Horrocks to the Boogaloo movement. He has not been charged [....]

    Wikipedia on The Anarchist Cookbook,

    first published in 1971,[1] is a book that contains instructions for the manufacture of explosives, rudimentary telecommunications phreaking devices, and related weapons, as well as instructions for home manufacturing of illicit drugs, including LSD. It was written by William Powell at the apex of the counterculture era to protest against United States involvement in the Vietnam War.[2] Powell converted to Anglicanism in 1976, and later attempted to have the book removed from circulation, but the copyright belonged to the publisher who continued circulation until the company was acquired in 1991. Its legality has been questioned in several jurisdictions [....] 


    Twitter moderator M.I.A.?

    (haven't watched yet)

    More than five years ago at our Program, then Assistant Attorney General John Carlin announced the creation of a Domestic Terrorism Coordinator at @TheJusticeDept https://t.co/hDtHYBbEya

    — Program On Extremism (@gwupoe) February 27, 2021

    ‘Acting Deputy Attorney General John Carlin Delivers Remarks on Domestic Terrorism’ https://t.co/VYfSQcY1Fs

    — Program On Extremism (@gwupoe) February 27, 2021

    New from @START_UMD re QAnon offenders in the U.S. https://t.co/mHqEGXpW7L pic.twitter.com/83SE7QLhHY

    — Matthew Levitt (@Levitt_Matt) February 25, 2021

    I'm looking forward to this one. https://t.co/4gNSYyNNv6

    — JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) February 26, 2021

    ...and in another comedy film, the gang from RENO 911! will return to take us on an elusive search for QAnon. #ParamountPlus pic.twitter.com/3nV6fvbdV7

    — Paramount+ (@paramountplus) February 24, 2021

    Colorado white supremacist who planned to blow up Pueblo synagogue sentenced to federal prison https://t.co/YyZCdUloBz

    — JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) February 27, 2021


    After viewing all of the examples in the thread, I am not sure the "Left" even exists.

    I prefer self identified groups over overlapping groups saying what other groups are.

    "antifa" for "anti-fascist is a good broad word, how about using that? cheeky

    More seriously, first, I am flattered that you spent time looking at it.

    Second, I am just going with "extremist". Works for me. Like Joe splained, they are at the "fringes". Not left, not right, way way out of the field.

    What's in common? They virtually all meet with not liking gummint of any size! It's all some form of anarchy one way or another.

     Some are violent, some just like the idea of self-defense with weapons in small groups (after all, there's so many idyllic scenes in season after season in "Walking Dead" that must have inspired them!), and some, like Ms. Patrisse of BLM, just have kumbaya  visions of a world singing in perfect harmony where no one has any power over anyone else and insane people don't kill their relatives and eat them with potatoes.

    a deja vus allover again anecdote: about 15 years ago, I finally started doing a little bit of genealogical research to verify (or not) family stories. Including looking at the Ellis Island records from the early 20th century (they are in big scans available on line) You can read all the questions the immigrants were asked and their answers. Believe it or not one of the questions from like 1905 to 1912 at least:


    What was amusing to me is the dumb question thing .From reading history and period magazines like The Masses, I know what anarchists were up to in this country at that time. And as expected, I did not run across anyone who said "yes" in looking at at many pages (and I do know of people refused entry for health reasons, you will still see them on the book, just crossed out.). 

    The thing is: lots of people like my granny were illiterate peasants and didn't keep up with the news. But they all knew the answer to that question should be "no", hah.

    It was like a bizarre historical word that had no meaning anymore. And here we are.

    Do ppl have to self-identity to exist? I can call myself a southern cracker one moment, Eurotrash the next, some kind of Democratic centrist with abandonment issues the next... Where's the ornithologist to observe and label?

    Well, I expressed a preference rather than disavowing the naming of creatures altogether.

    If the Cracker mainly stays on his porch and shoots squirrels when they get too close, that is one thing. If the Cracker joins the KKK and starts going to meetings wearing sheets, that is another.

    I expect more self-representation from the latter.

    But if a Cracker falls in the woods and nobody notices...

    That would be a good time for the Euro trash to hit the disco in order to address some of those abandonment issues.

    Thanks, Doc - how much I owe ya?

    motley crew, all extreme, often inspired by each other

    groups with agendas inspired by lack of ability to maintain law and order over mobs of angry people:

    How the founding of the Three Percenters  and The Oathkeepers goes back to the debacle in NOLA after Hurricane Katrina, when guns were taken away while government was proving itself unable to take care of law and order and civilization:


    "These 'Dirtbag Left' Stars Are Flirting With the Far Right"

    The Neuroscience of ‘Devoted Actors’ Within Extremist Groups

    People join violent groups for a variety of reasons, and they differ in their levels of commitment. Brain scans offer new insights into a particular type of members, the backbone of these groups we call “devoted actors”

    Nafees Hamid @ Newslines Magazine, March 1 Nafees Hamid is a cognitive scientist of political violence

    [....] As a cognitive scientist, I have been studying the drivers of political violence by interviewing and surveying current and former members of jihadist, white nationalist, and conspiracist groups like QAnon. My colleagues and I at the research organization Artis International have also taken the novel approach of using neuroscience to understand what motivates people to kill or be killed for an idea. What we’ve found is that the “success” of these groups is largely driven by a certain kind of member within them.

    People join politically violent movements for a variety of reasons and differ in their levels of commitment to the cause. Some people are ideologues and strategists who take on leadership positions. Others join for pragmatic reasons like money and security. Some people even have severe mental health issues, and these groups can exploit them. My colleagues and I have been studying a particular group of people that exist within these movements. We believe that these people make up the backbone of these groups and, more than any other member, give these groups their power. We call them “devoted actors.”

    Devoted actors are those people who are willing to make costly sacrifices for a group or cause. Now, we’re not just talking about any ordinary sacrifice, like lending a helping hand to a friend to move apartments. These actions have to be truly sacrificial, like willingness to go to jail, to be beaten bloody, to lose one’s life, or even to take another’s.

    These people aren’t all bad, though. Followers of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela could all be classified as devoted actors: They were willing to lay down their lives for their people and their cause. Successful movements, good or bad, contain devoted actors who put their own well-being, and sometimes that of others, on the line to advance their cause.

    Devoted actors are the cornerstone of a movement — without them the whole project falls apart. Any country that is battling a violent movement at home or abroad needs to be asking itself how it should deal with these figures. And in order to do that, you first have to understand the anatomy of a devoted actor: how they are created, how they think, and how to divert their actions.

    In our research, we have found two elements that are particularly important in the psychology of those who are willing to fight and die for a cause. The first is a particular kind of identity called “identity fusion.” This occurs when a person feels a visceral sense of oneness with a group. Many of us already know this exact feeling as it’s how we feel about the loved ones in our lives, such as our family. While we maintain our individual identity, we have an emotional connection to our loved ones that could cause us to move mountains to help them. Think of a mother running into traffic to save her wandering toddler. She’s willing to risk her own life to save her child. Her springing into action is a visceral response. When it comes to political violence, identity fusion is what happens when this feeling gets extended beyond our family or loved ones to something like a combat group.

    Researchers at the University of Oxford conducted a study demonstrating this phenomenon with individuals who took part in the Arab Spring in Libya. The researchers embedded themselves in Libyan revolutionary battalions that were fighting against the Gadhafi regime in 2011 in order to conduct psychological studies on them. What they found was that non-frontline revolutionaries, those in logistical units, were more fused with their families than with their battalions. So, while they cared about their comrades, they did not put them on equal footing with their blood relatives. However, frontline fighters were as fused with their battalions as they were with their families, meaning the people who went out to kill and be killed psychologically came to see their battalions in the same way as they saw their families.

    These findings won’t necessarily come as a surprise to anyone who’s served in the military in a war zone. There is a reason why soldiers refer to their fellow service members as brothers and sisters in arms. The threat of violence and risking one’s life for a common goal can bind people together in inextricable terms. But the making of a devoted actor has another crucial component we call “sacred values.”

    These are moral values of the highest caliber. You can’t persuade someone to give up a value that is sacred to them by offering them money or other material enticements. Despite the name “sacred,” these values do not have to be religious. For some, freedom of speech or national sovereignty could be sacred. For jihadists, sacred values could include the resurrection of a caliphate or strict shariah as the rule of all lands. When someone violates your sacred values, you are unlikely to sit back and take it, especially if you have a whole group of people who also hold those values as sacred and are ready to defend them at your side.

    My colleagues and I have been studying the role of sacred values in conflicts ranging from Israel and Palestine, to India and Pakistan, to Iran and the U.S., and even in the Catalan independence movement.

    Devoted actors really start to take shape when we look at the interplay of identity fusion and sacred values. One of our studies in Morocco found that the combination of holding strict shariah as a sacred value and being fused with like-minded friends boosted willingness to use violence for a cause. In other words, it’s comrades and cause together that make the potent mix for self-sacrifice.

    On the frontlines, fighters would choose their sacred values over their fused groups (e.g., their tribe, immediate family, etc.) and even over their families. This suggests that fusion may act as an incubator to increase devotion for a cause, but once you are really ready to give your life for your sacred values, then you would be willing to forsake your own family and even your fellow combatants. Meaning, in some cases, a devoted actor would be willing to sacrifice their comrades for the cause.

    We wanted to dig deeper into this notion of sacred values and how they relate to someone willing to fight and die. Observations, interviews, surveys, and behavioral experiments can tell us a lot, but we wanted to go beyond the standard qualitative and quantitative methods. So, we scanned the brains of jihadist supporters in the first-ever neuroscience studies on a radicalized population.

    In the first study, we scanned the brains of 38 young Moroccan men living in Barcelona who endorsed violence for causes championed by jihadist groups. Before being scanned, the men played a virtual ball game with three ostensibly Spanish players. Half the participants were randomly placed in the control condition; they passed the virtual ball to the three Spanish players who would then pass the ball back to them. The remaining half of the participants played the same game, except in this group the Spanish players started by passing the ball to the player of Moroccan origin, but after a few passes they stopped passing it to our participant and only played among themselves, thus excluding our jihadist sympathizer.

    All participants then got into the functional MRI (fMRI) to have their brains scanned while evaluating their willingness to fight and die for their sacred and non-sacred values (which we ascertained beforehand using psychometric measures). We found that social exclusion caused parts of the brain associated with sacred values to activate even for non-sacred values. And they increased their explicit willingness to fight and die for these non-sacred values. In other words, social exclusion caused non-sacred values to become more like sacred values, both neurally and behaviorally.

    This is a worrying finding as non-sacred values are the negotiable part of someone’s value system. The less of these there are, the more difficult it is to persuade them and, in the case of violent ideologies, the closer they move to violence. These results corroborate what we have seen in our case studies of people who joined terrorist networks. Once a person self-identified as a member or supporter of an extremist movement, it would only take a minor incident of exclusion to move them to action.

    What’s likely happening here is that people, including supporters of extremist organizations, straddle many group allegiances. When they feel a rejection from one of those groups, it can cause them to double down on one of the other groups, especially if that group is antagonistic to the one that just rejected them. And this is what extremist groups want: to constrict the identity of a potential recruit so the recruit has allegiance only to them.

    So what do we do with people who have fully internalized the violent ideology of a group to the point that they explicitly support terrorist groups?

    To look at this, we found 30 supporters of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani jihadist group associated with al Qaeda, who said they would be willing to carry out a violent act of jihad. When they were considering their willingness to fight and die for their sacred values, we found areas of their brains associated with deliberation and self-reflection to be deactivated. This could mean that these so-called executive functions are not being used when deciding how violently to act on their sacred values. But when we told them that their community (the broader non-radical Pakistani community) disagreed with their level of willingness to engage in violence, this caused our participants to lower their own level of violent intentions. And that decrease coincided with a reactivation of the brain areas, previously offline, associated with deliberation and self-reflection.

    This suggests that a better way of engaging with devoted actors is not to attack or persuade them on the content of their sacred beliefs but rather to change their perception of what they assume their peers think are acceptable actions (aka social norms) one can take in defense of those values. These findings bring into question the effectiveness of standard public service announcements and counter-messaging that seek to change beliefs. At least as a first step, it could be better to leverage their peers’ social influence on their behavior and divert them from violent actions.

    In research conducted on post-conflict Rwanda, Elizabeth Paluck has demonstrated that social norms conveyed in the media can alter behavior. Communities randomly assigned to listen to a reconciliation-themed radio soap opera over the course of a year did not change their personal beliefs about reconciliation or cooperation. Meaning, Hutus and Tutsis who did not support reconciliation a year earlier still did not endorse it. What did change was their perception of what other ingroup members valued; they now believed that other Hutus and Tutsis believed in reconciliation and cooperation.

    These changes in perceptions of social norms had positive behavioral consequences on active negotiation, discussion of sensitive topics, and cooperation. For instance, the soap opera listeners had a 100% increase in comments about cooperation in follow-up focus groups, compared to control groups who were randomly assigned to listen to radio programs on health.

    When Paluck ran a follow-up study in Congo and added a condition of listening to a weekly radio talk show where listeners could call in and discuss their respective grievances and viewpoints with other social groups, she found that it increased intolerance and lowered the likelihood of helping disliked community members. This suggests that, in some cases, well-meaning media programs that provide a platform for discussions on political issues could make matters worse due to the contentious nature of the conversation. These findings should also make us reflect if contentious debate programs — regularly found on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and the like — are detrimental to the functioning of a deliberative democracy.

    We tend to pathologize people we disagree with politically and morally. We call them crazy and think there is something fundamentally wrong with their psychology. But our research shows the underlying impetus to become a devoted actor can be harnessed for good or bad. Many of us are the beneficiaries of devoted actors from the past who fought for racial and gender equality, minority rights, and individual liberties. Today devoted actors of the environmentalist movement are trying to apply pressure to divert the trajectory of a global climate crisis.

    Donald Trump has created his own devoted actors by applying the same principles we find in other movements. The day after the storming of the Capitol building, he tweeted: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.” In one tweet, he summed up the key ingredients of what motivates his activist followers: a concocted threat to the sacred value of democracy and a valorization of “patriotic” devoted actors made up of people who perceive themselves to be excluded by a system that they can now violently revolt against.

    In addition to security services detecting and deterring further riots, those who support Trump but not an insurrection must make their voices heard to create a strong perception of social norms that condemn violence. In the fall of 2019, the normally peaceful Catalan independence movement turned violent as some protestors turned to rioting in the wake of a court ruling that imprisoned some of their leaders involved in sedition. My colleagues Clara Pretus, Hammad Sheikh, and I ran a survey study with activists before and after the ruling. We found that those who increased their violent intentions after the court ruling were those who believed that fellow Catalans would approve of their violence. This finding further demonstrates that peaceful pro-Trump protesters have the power, and thus an obligation, to stop riots by condemning them in no uncertain terms.

    In the longer term, we will have to address ways to engage with, rather than exclude, those we disagree with, especially on social media. Deplatforming extremists and conspiracists may serve a short-term security goal, but they will migrate to other forums where there will be less exposure to alternate perspectives. If their main social community becomes only those who share their view of the world, it will become very difficult to deter their actions. Maintaining social links online and offline is a first step. Engaging one-on-one, privately, in good-faith conversations, as opposed to publicly in comments sections, is another step. Understanding and addressing the specific reasons why extremists and conspiracists embraced this movement is crucial. Exposing them to information that contradicts their beliefs can be effective if it comes from sources they deem to be trustworthy, but this is becoming increasingly difficult.

    Extremist and conspiracist groups dismantle trust in social institutions. Those making allegations of a stolen election, a fake news media, deep-state control of government, as well as climate-change deniers, anti-maskers, and anti-vaxxers are all increasing distrust in government, mainstream media, and scientific institutions. The more this distrust grows, the greater the number of people in society who are susceptible to the narratives of fringe groups.

    Research has shown that for an organization to be deemed trustworthy, it must be perceived as possessing three qualities: competence, benevolence, and integrity. This is what malign groups seek to undermine in social institutions. A plan is needed to study and counteract this dwindling trust in order to mitigate further social fragmentation, which extremists seek to create and exploit.

    sounds suspiciously like another of the Tim McVeigh/boogaloos types:

    (found via C.J. Chivers retweet)

    A suspect has been arrested in Indianapolis, Indiana, related to multiple firebomb attacks on police officers in 2020.

    April 5, 2021

    The Portland Police Bureau Arson Unit, Portland Fire and Rescue Fire Investigators, the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives , and Federal Bureau of Investigation have been investigating uses of firebombs, also known as Molotov Cocktails, used against police during riots in the summer and fall of 2020.

    On Friday, April 2, 2021, 24-year-old Malik Muhammed was arrested in Indianapolis on multiple warrants, including Attempted Aggravated Murder, Attempted Murder in the first degree, Attempted Murder in the second degree, Unlawful Manufacture of a Destructive Device, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, and Unlawful Possession of a Loaded Firearm in Public.

    Investigators were assisted in serving the arrest and search warrants by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and FBI.

    The investigation implicated Muhammed in significant incidents of violence and destruction. Muhammed threw the firebomb that scorched the uniform of a police officer on September 23, 2020 near the intersection of Southwest 2nd Avenue and Southwest Main Street, in Portland https://youtu.be/7vJT2_eceRE. Muhammed was responsible for throwing an incendiary device (photo), which did not ignite, at police officers at the Penumbra Kelly Building, 4735 East Burnside Street, on September 21, 2020. Muhammed was responsible for tens of thousands of dollars of damage to windows in downtown Portland, including at the Oregon Historical Society, on October 11, 2021.

    "I am grateful to the investigators who spent many hours over the last few months following up these violent attacks against police officers and the community," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "I am also grateful to the brave officers who put themselves in harm's way serving this community. More investigations are underway. Anyone who thinks they can get away with trying to murder police officers and destroy this city should think again."

    Muhammed will be the subject of an extradition hearing, to be scheduled.


    Media Relations:
    [email protected]
    Phone: 503-823-0830
    1111 SW 2nd Ave
    Portland, OR 97204

    Protest organizer charged with attempted murder after violent protests last year

    Malik Muhammad came to Portland after making headlines for de-escalating a tense stand-off by hugging a police lieutenant in Indianapolis.

    @ KGW8 Portland, April 5

    the video news report is very extensive and interesting (embed copied below) the reporter did a lot of work on it; there is also text at the link; major major charges after months long investigation (there were FBI plainclothes at the actual demonstrations). They are trying to extradite him. Interesting backstory details like how he was taped meeting the Indiana governor--


    #ICYMI: In April 1996, the #FBI arrested Theodore "Ted" Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber, after his writing helped investigators identify him as a serial bomber who had delivered and mailed bombs to victims throughout the country. Learn more at https://t.co/AQuc6FRtkT.

    — FBI (@FBI) April 8, 2021

    This kind of funny-strange, the FBI doing an "ICYMI" tweet about a major major case 25 yrs. ago, no? What are they trying to do here?


    DOJ, Minnesota district, April 7: a self-proclaimed member of the “Boogaloo Bois,” a loosely connected group of individuals who espouse violent anti-government sentiments. The term “Boogaloo” itself references an impending second civil war in the United States and is associated with violent uprisings against the government. In November 2020, the FBI learned through a confidential human source (“CHS”) that DAHLAGER was discussing his willingness to kill members of law enforcement. The FBI also learned that DAHLAGER was in possession of a 3D-printed “drop in auto sear” and a homemade firearm suppressor. An “auto sear” is a part designed and intended for use in converting a semi-automatic weapon to shoot automatically by a single pull of the trigger and is a machine gun under federal law.

    According to the allegations in the criminal complaint, on November 21, 2020, while meeting with the CHS and others at his residence, DAHLAGER showed the CHS several tactical items including body armor, an AR-15 style assault rifle with a folding stock, and an item DAHLAGER claimed was a suppressor. The CHS observed loaded magazines for an assault rifle in DAHLAGER’s residence. DAHLAGER also showed the CHS two auto sears, which DAHLAGER said a friend had created using a 3D printer. DAHLAGER told the CHS that his residence has port-holes to make a stand if law enforcement confronts him.

    According to the allegations in the criminal complaint, on December 12, 2020, DAHLAGER traveled from St. Cloud to conduct surveillance at the Minnesota State Capitol building in St. Paul, Minnesota, while attending a “Stop the Steal” rally. DAHLAGER scouted law enforcement numbers, over-watch positions for the Boogaloo Bois, quick reaction forces, and which streets were blocked by law enforcement. DAHLAGER made a video recording of his observations at the Minnesota State Capitol rally, which he later reviewed with the CHS....

    interesting, right here is hate crime statutes the DOJ uses for threatening speech, was not in public, was an encrypted online group, plotting-conspiracy, the only real action was mailing posters to victims

    Leader of Neo-Nazi group ‘Atomwaffen’ pleads guilty to hate crime and conspiracy charges for threatening journalists and advocates

    Seattle – Cameron Shea, 25, a leader of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, pled guilty earlier today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington to federal conspiracy and hate crime charges for threatening journalists and advocates who worked to expose anti-Semitism, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. 

    Shea pled guilty to one count of conspiring to commit three offenses against the United States:  interference with federally-protected activities because of religion, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 245; mailing threatening communications, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 876; and cyberstalking, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2261A.  He also pled guilty to one count of interfering with a federally protected activity because of religion, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 245.

    Shea and three co-defendants were charged with conspiring via an encrypted online chat group to identify journalists and advocates they wanted to threaten in retaliation for the victims’ work exposing anti-Semitism.  The group focused primarily on those who are Jewish or journalists of color.  The group created posters, which featured Nazi symbols, masked figures with guns and Molotov cocktails, and threatening messages, to deliver or mail to the journalists or advocates the group targeted.  Shea messaged the group that he wanted Atomwaffen members in different locations to place posters on their victims’ homes on the same night to catch journalists off guard and accomplish a “show of force.”  The posters were delivered to victims in Tampa, Seattle, and Phoenix.  Shea mailed posters to several victims, including a poster sent to an official at the Anti-Defamation League that depicted a Grim Reaper-like figure wearing a skeleton mask holding a Molotov cocktail outside a residence, with the text “Our Patience Has Its Limits . . . You have been visited by your local Nazis.”  Two of Shea’s co-defendants, Ashley Parker-Dipeppe and Johnny Roman Garza, previously pled guilty to the conspiracy charge and were sentenced.  The fourth co-defendant, Kaleb Cole, pled not guilty and is awaiting trial in September 2021.

    Shea will be sentenced on June 28, 2021.  He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the hate crime charge and 5 years for the conspiracy charge.

    The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Tampa, Seattle, Houston, and Phoenix with assistance from the Seattle Police Department.

    The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Woods and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Michael J. Songer, with assistance from U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the Middle District of Florida, Southern District of Texas, District of Arizona, and Central District of California.



    the variety that's not really pro-Palestinian but just hates Jews:

    Yesterday, a group of neo-Nazis covered a van in window paint and hurled anti-Semitic hate at a pro-Israel rally in Boca Raton, Florida. The group streamed their stunt to a white supremacist video site. Inside was a hate group that includes ex-Proud Boy "Jovi Val" (Jovanni Valle) https://t.co/BQRv4DQwGo pic.twitter.com/AEuHmg9o0i

    — Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) May 13, 2021


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