On February 15, 2013, blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was hacked to death in front of his house in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. Soon after his murder, an Islamist group claimed that Haider was an atheist who had made “blasphemous” comments about Prophet Muhammad and Islam on social media.
Haider was killed at a time when thousands of people had taken to the streets demanding capital punishment for a number of top Islamist leaders accused of war crimes during the country’s War of Independence in 1971. The unprecedented protest was organized by a group of secular bloggers and activists, who mobilized the people through Facebook. It was also the first of its kind demonstration representing the power of social media in the South Asian country.
Atheists are targeted
Since Haider’s assassination in 2013, five more secular bloggers have been slain in Bangladesh. All of these activists were self-proclaimed atheists and critics of religious fundamentalism. Islamist groups claimed responsibility for each of these killings on Twitter, releasing press statements in English and Bengali languages stating the reasons for their deaths. The jihadist organizations have said they killed the activists for their “blasphemous activities.”
Social media is considered a threat
Bangladesh is not a developed country but due to growing Internet connectivity, the number of people using social media and expressing their views publicly has been on the rise.
Bangladesh has now more than 30 million Facebook users, and secular bloggers and activists are making good use of it, criticizing religious fundamentalism and promoting secular values. After the murder of American-Bangladeshi blogger Avijit Roy in Dhaka on February 26, 2015, it became clear that the country’s Islamists felt threatened by the secular writers’ social media activism.
Bloggers are not the sole target
Islamic militants have carried out 34 attacks over the past 14 months in Bangladesh. “Islamic State” (IS) has claimed responsibility for at least 15 of these attacks, whereas Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaeda affiliated Islamist group, has claimed responsibility for eight. The IS attacked mostly foreigners and religious minorities, whereas Ansar al-Islam targeted atheist bloggers, freethinkers and gay activists. The recent killing of two LGBT activists is another proof of the expanding influence of Islamists in the Muslim-majority country.
Government denies IS existence
Recently, IS published a six-page interview with its chief in Bangladesh in its propaganda magazine, Dabiq, detailing why the South Asian country is strategically important for them. The militant group said it intended to carry out attacks in India and Myanmar using Bangladesh as a base. Despite these claims, the Bangladeshi government has always denied the presence of international terror groups on Bangladeshi soil.
Activists accuse the nation’s security agencies of inaction against Islamic groups. The general response from the police, they say, borders on apathy. After the murder of atheist activist Nazimuddin Samad earlier this month, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government shouldn’t be held responsible if someone got killed for criticizing Islam. The premier has generally shied away from condemning the killing of secular activists, with the exception of the assassinations of gay activist Xulhaz Mannan and his friend Tanay Majumder.
Secularism is a strong force
Religious fundamentalism is still not as deep-rooted in Bangladesh as in some other South Asian countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. The secular culture is extremely potent. However, in the past few years, extremist religious groups have successfully created an environment of fear in the country. That is the reason why most Bangladeshis do not publicly protest the killings.
For three long years the world has been treated to the sick joke of Donald Trump’s presidency. Some days were more sick than others. But now the joke is over.
So is the entire facade of the Trump White House: the gold-plated veneer of power and grift will be stripped bare by a global pandemic and recession.
Of all the obituaries we’ll read in the next several weeks, every one will be more meaningful than the political end of a former reality-TV star.
But make no mistake. The humanitarian crisis about to unfold will consume what’s left of this president and the Republican party that surrendered its self-respect and sense of duty to flatter his ego and avoid his angry tweets.
Trump was right about one thing, and only one thing, as the coronavirus started to spread across the world. The sight of thousands of dead Americans will hurt him politically. It will also hurt many thousands of Americans in reality.
Multiple reports have detailed how Trump did not just ignore the growing pandemic; he actively sought to block his own officials’ attempts to track and stop it. Why has there been such a disastrous lack of testing? Because the president didn’t want to know the answer, and because his staff were too busy fighting each other to do the right thing.
“The boss has made it clear he likes to see his people fight, and he wants the news to be good,” Politico reported one Trump health adviser saying. “This is the world he’s made.”
Never mind a world turned upside down by fear and death. Trump’s world is upended by his gobsmackingly childish comments about how the whole thing will blow over. “It’s going to disappear,” he told one reception inside the White House just two weeks ago. “One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
The only miracle of this presidency is that it’s taken so long for this country to wake up to the catastrophe.
How could we have known that Trump would deny the resources to deal with a disaster, deny the truth about the death toll, and denounce anyone daring to tell the truth?
It wasn’t hard to know. After Hurricane Maria devastated the American island of Puerto Rico in September of his first year in office, Trump gave himself a 10 for his response to the devastation. He also said he couldn’t keep the military in Puerto Rico forever, which was news to the national guard.
At the very time he was bragging about his response and trashing his own citizens, more than 3,000 Americans were dying on the island because of Trump’s botched response to the hurricane. Those Americans were our most vulnerable citizens: the sick and elderly, who lost power, lacked medicine or needed a hospital bed when the hospitals were stricken.
Those are the same Americans who face the greatest peril in the coming weeks from the same toxic mix of callousness and incompetence from the same sociopathic president.
This is everyone’s catastrophe and one man’s calamity. For Trump, there is no escaping the stench of failure that seeps through every unmade decision, every fumbled response, and every unhinged tweet.
This is a president who can’t formulate a coherent coronavirus policy, and can’t even read the words written for him on a prompter.
One paragraph from Wednesday’s disastrous Oval Office address managed to only worsen the political pathogen that is his presidency.
“There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings,” he explained about his new travel ban from Europe, ignoring the reality that he limited all testing so there are no appropriate screenings.
“And these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval,” he added, wiping out many billions in transatlantic trade – and various other things – with one flap of his lips.
“Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing,” he explained in case anyone had any doubt about his economic stupidity.
“These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom.” Ah yes, the British immunity to coronavirus is a well-documented medical fact. British people who play golf on a Trump course are especially healthy individuals.
If Trump was trying to reassure the markets, he failed, like he always does. Even the Federal Reserve magicking $1.5tn out of thin air could not stop the stock market from suffering its worst single day since the 1987 crash.
“This was the most expensive speech in history,” one investment strategist told the Financial Times.
There is hope amid the horror: an election in just eight months when Americans can vote for a return to the once-normal life of a competent government. Joe Biden’s response on Thursday was a stark reminder of what presidents and vice-presidents used to sound like.
“We’ll lead with science,” the former vice-president said. “We’ll listen to the experts. We’ll heed their advice.” It all sounded so shockingly novel. “We’ll build American leadership and rebuild it to rally the world to meet global threats that we are likely to face again. And I’ll always tell you the truth.”
The truth: it’s getting harder to remember a time when we expected our leaders to say such things.
In the meantime, before January 2021, the world faces two deadly diseases: a pandemic and a pathetically incompetent president.
On Thursday, as schools shut down and troops took to the streets of a New York suburb, Trump of course bragged about himself in ways that made you wonder about his own medical condition.
“I mean, think of it: the United States, because of what I did and what the administration did with China, we have 32 deaths at this point,” he said in the Oval Office. “Thirty-two is a lot. Thirty-two is too many. But when you look at the kind of numbers that you’re seeing coming out of other countries, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it.”
And you know what? Instead of thinking about preparing thousands of new hospital beds, or millions of virus tests, Trump has probably committed the largest part of his brain to thinking about that number. That very tiny number, so small compared to the rest of the world, that represents the full measure of his compassion.
It helps when Christian supremacists come right out and admit when their critics always say about them.
Bryan Fischer just did that by declaring, “I am a Christian nationalist.” And he justifies it with a series of lies. Because lying is what Christian Nationalists do.
The Founders established a nation grounded and rooted in Christianity, Christian principles, and a Christian worldview. They enshrined their view of what a Christian nation looks like in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
I use the term “constitutionalist” synonymously with “Christian nationalist,” because our constitution is the constitution of a Christian nation, and could only be the constitution of a Christian nation. Our Constitution is shot through, warp and woof, with the thinking of Christian statesmen who shared a deep-dyed view of the world, soaked deeply in the Bible.
The Founders included plenty of Deists and Christians who bear no resemblance to the conservatives of today. The Constitution they wrote explicitly rejected any sort of national religion — even subtly. (As the saying goes, the word “religion” appears twice in the Constitution, both times preceded by the word “no.”) You get the idea. Fischer lives in a fantasy world where his religion has always made everything better. That’s never been true. It’s certainly not true today.
Which means the Christian Nationalism that Fischer professes is nothing more than the racist, bigoted, hate-fueled movement that currently thrives in the White House and Republican politics. Trying to shine that shit by pretending it’s patriotic doesn’t make things any better.
Mo Norai has worked in Silicon Valley for a decade. He’s done stints at Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Apple, but only as a contract worker, meaning he has missed out on the tech giants’ storied perks, benefits and job security. So when he was approached last April by a recruiter from a company called Tech Jobs Box about a full-time job, he was intrigued.
A woman named Kelly Dale contacted him via LinkedIn promising that “salary and benefits would be competitive.”
“It really hooked me,” Norai told me last month.
After a brief phone conversation, Dale said he seemed like a great candidate and set up in-person interviews with her colleague and an investor in the company. Those went well and for four months last year, Norai thought he had a new job. He was in regular communication with his new colleagues, meeting up with them for dinner, drinks, and a baseball game, but they kept pushing his start date back, saying they were securing office space and finalising funding.
But in fact, there was no job. Tech Jobs Box wasn’t a real company. Kelly Dale and the rest of his new “colleagues” were actually operatives for Project Veritas, a conservative investigative group founded by James O’Keefe that specialises in secretly recording people. It’s perhaps best known for catalyzing the downfall of ACORN, a low-income advocacy group that lost its federal funding after Project Veritas released undercover videos of the group’s employees counseling a sex worker and her “pimp” (a disguised O’Keefe).
Project Veritas traditionally targets politicians, government agencies, and media organisations, but decided to go after Silicon Valley last year because of its perceived biases against conservatives. “Big tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter have become media monopolies and they are censoring people,” said O’Keefe by phone.
In January, Project Veritas released three videos about Twitter’s content-moderation practices that feature hidden camera footage of nine current and former Twitter employees – one woman and eight men, including Norai. They even secretly filmed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey by having an operative pose as a homeless person and confront him at a Blue Bottle coffee shop.
The videos don’t contain blockbuster information. The employees reveal that there aren’t a lot of conservatives at Twitter; that Twitter tries to make spammy content less visible on the platform; that many of the sock puppet Twitter accounts banned in the last year posed as Trump supporters; and that Twitter would cooperate, as required by law, in any investigation of President Trump by handing over his private Twitter messages. The most surprising part was a former engineer’s claim that Twitter historically “shadow banned” users. (A “shadow ban” means that a user’s content on a platform can’t be seen and the user doesn’t realise it.)
Project Veritas points out that Senator Ted Cruz cited their videos while questioning tech companies during a hearing about content moderation, terrorism, and Russia in January.
“The individuals depicted in these videos were speaking in a personal capacity and do not represent or speak for Twitter,” said a Twitter spokesperson by email, pointing me to a page that explains how and why Twitter accounts are censored or made less visible. “Twitter does not shadowban accounts. We do take actions to downrank accounts that are abusive, and mark them accordingly so people can still click through and see this information if they so choose.”
While Project Veritas’s findings weren’t particularly shocking, how they were obtained was. Project Veritas didn’t just fake-recruit its targets, it fake-seduced them. Many of the male employees were secretly recorded while on dates at dimly-lit restaurants, sipping wine. Based on the number of times he appears in the videos in different locations and dress, one security engineer, Clay Haynes, appears to have been enamoured enough with the operative pumping him for information to go out with her at least three times. All of the Veritas operatives’ faces are blurred, but you can see his date’s jangly bracelets and long blond hair. It’s unclear just how far the seduction of Haynes went, but they became serious enough to go on a double date to Morton’s Steakhouse with her friend, a disguised James O’Keefe.
“NO ONE should have to experience this,” said Haynes via Facebook message. Haynes, who is still employed by Twitter, ultimately opted not to talk to me at the company’s request.
Beyond the questionable journalistic ethics of exploiting people’s desires for work and love, Project Veritas’s tactics broke the law, says John Nockleby, a professor who specialises in privacy at Loyola Law School-Los Angeles. While consent laws for recording conversations vary from state to state, California is a two-party consent state, meaning you have to tell someone if you’re recording them, or face up to a year of jail time and a $US2,500 ($3,240) fine. “You’re allowed to do video in a public place without getting consent, but not take audio, unless it’s someone like a politician giving a speech to a crowd,” Nockleby told me by phone. “In California, even in a public place, if you’re audio recording without consent, that’s not legal.” In California, even in a public place, if you’re audio recording without consent, that’s not legal.
O’Keefe, who paid a $US100,000 ($129,600) settlement in 2012 to an ACORN employee who sued him over California’s law against surreptitious recording, expressed the belief that his operatives are allowed to record people in public places, like bars, restaurants or a conference room where a door is open.
“We have a number of lawyers who handle compliance for us. California is a two-party state but we can operate in areas where there are no expectations of privacy,” said O’Keefe by phone. “With the Twitter story, we did not break the law. Period.”
In a follow-up email, a Project Veritas spokesperson pointed to an exception in the law for circumstances in “which the parties to the communication may reasonably expect that the communication may be overheard or recorded.”(Norai says the door to the conference room where his interviews took place was closed.)
The story Silicon Valley likes to tell about itself is that it conquered the world by making it more open and connected, and by getting strangers to trust each other. Project Veritas exploited that ecosystem of connection and trust to wage its year-long investigation, turning the tools that Silicon Valley created against it. In a phone interview, O’Keefe declined to reveal how many undercover journalists were involved or how much it spent on the operation, saying only that it “was very expensive” because travel and lodging in San Francisco “was outrageous.” (Project Veritas doesn’t seem to be having money problems; its budget has nearly doubled every year, according to financial filings. O’Keefe says it raised more than $US7 ($9) million in 2017.) He said he couldn’t talk about his group’s methods because the investigation of tech companies is ongoing. Google and Facebook employees should beware. The investigation of tech companies is ongoing. “We still have active investigators out in the field,” said O’Keefe.
“We still have active investigators out in the field, which is why I can’t reveal the techniques used to gather information,” he told me. “I wish these companies would be honest about what they are doing. Unfortunately, we live in a society where there is so much dishonesty that it requires undercover work.”
In other words, deceit requires more deceit. I was able to unearth some of the group’s methods of deception: It sent targets messages on LinkedIn and dating apps, built false identities on social networks, and operated a fake start-up out of a WeWork blocks from Twitter’s headquarters.
The larger revelation of the project is not that Twitter is biased against conservatives; it’s that Silicon Valley has given strangers who bear you ill will all the tools they need to infiltrate your life. Our identities are scattered across the web on multiple platforms, giving people countless ways to make contact with us as well as dossiers of what we do, whom we like, and where we go.
“You’re on the national news talking about Twitter,” a friend told Mo Norai via Facebook message after the first video was published. Norai had no idea what she was talking about at first. “You know I don’t work at Twitter anymore, right?” he sent back.
Then he went to Project Veritas’s site and watched the video. “Oh fuck, this is bad,” he thought.
In the videos, Norai is dressed formally, wearing a tie and a black suit vest, his long hair pulled back in a ponytail. Norai’s experience at tech companies is in content moderation — deciding, essentially, what speech needs to be taken down. He’s removed spam from iTunes and reviewed posts as a contractor for Facebook. He was hired as a contract worker at Twitter after the Paris attacks in November 2015 because terrorism results in increased offensive postings on social networks. “We were warned it was going to be grisly,” Norai told me.
He was there for just three months, and was gone by March 2016, months before Trump became the Republican presidential nominee. Having “Content Review Agent” for Twitter on his LinkedIn résumé, though, made him a target of Project Veritas. Vaporware,a successful strategy for many a start-up in Silicon Valley, also works well for deceptive investigative operations.
Norai had two interviews with the fake start-up, which was allegedly going to make content recommendations to people based on their location and buying patterns. He says he typed the company’s name into a search engine and didn’t find anything. (Vaporware, a successful strategy for many a start-up in Silicon Valley, also works well for deceptive investigative operations.) “It seemed weird but I met the people,” Norai told me. “They said they wanted to start a start-up. It made sense it wasn’t in existence yet.”
Both his interviews were in May. Kelly Dale, the supposed recruiter, said the office was in downtown San Francisco and gave Norai an address on Mission Street. When Norai got there, it turned out to be a WeWork co-working space, which, again, is not that strange. Lots of early-stage start-ups are based out of WeWorks around the country, because they offer easy plug-and-play office space. The WeWork-Civic Center that Project Veritas used rents office space for as little as $US780 ($1,011) per month.
I went to the WeWork last month – it’s a seven-minute walk from Twitter’s headquarters, in a stylish building on an otherwise seedy street in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district – and asked for Tech Jobs Box. The receptionist recognised the name, but said they weren’t there anymore. She wouldn’t say how long they were there or how many people came in to meet with them. WeWork declined to answer any questions about the fake company that rented space from it.
Norai’s interviews were with a doughy-faced guy who introduced himself as Eric Williams. A grey-haired “investor” named Dan, who Norai later discovered was Dan Sandini, a known operative of Veritas, came to the second interview, the one posted online. Dan and Eric said they lived on the East Coast but wanted to recruit talent in the Bay Area.
Norai thought the interview questions were odd. They asked him theoretical questions about how he might have dealt with tweets from aggressive Trump supporters.
“The political questions were strange but I just thought it was because they weren’t from here,” said Norai, a life-long Californian who grew up in the East Bay.
Norai hadn’t worked at Twitter during the bulk of the 2016 campaign, nor had he dealt with Trump-related content moderation. But his theoretical comments were presented as if from experience. Project Veritas’s habit of presenting comments out of context is part of why people question the credibility of their videos. James O’Keefe says Project Veritas recently formulated a code of ethics that includes “not breaking the law” and not deceptively editing videos or “putting words in people’s mouths.”
After Norai’s interview ended, Eric and Dan took him out for celebratory cocktails at two swanky San Francisco bars, Local Edition and the View. They said Norai was hired. At the View, Norai took out his phone to Snapchat the moment. Dan protested and asked Norai not to put it online. “I just thought he didn’t want to look silly because I gave him cat ears,” said Norai. ”Current or prior Facebook or Twitter experience preferred.”
When Eric came back to town in June, he invited Norai to a Giants game with two other men, who said they were Department of Justice lawyers. The four men sat behind home plate, and Eric asked for Norai’s help in recruiting other people for the start-up. Afterwards he sent him job descriptions for two positions: “software engineer, machine learning” and “spam operations.” “Current or prior Facebook or Twitter experience preferred,” the listings read, suggesting Facebook may get the Veritas treatment next. Norai put Eric in touch with two friends who had experience at Twitter and Facebook, respectively.
The night ended at bars again. After drinks at the Starlight Room, Norai got on the train home to the East Bay. “It felt like we’d established a friendship,” said Norai.
He never saw any of them again. At some point, Norai tried to email Kelly Dale and it bounced. Eric told him she’d gotten married and had a new email address, which made little sense given that her email was “email@example.com.” A few months later, Eric’s number stopped working. Dan told him Eric had been let go. Still jobless months later, Norai began to wonder if it had been some kind of scam. He decided to take a contract work position at Facebook last September.
When the Project Veritas video came out in January, he found out exactly what kind of scam it was. The videos didn’t include the two friends he put Eric in touch with.
In January, an investigator from Twitter reached out to him to ask if he had known he’d been filmed and asked whether he’d been contacted on Tinder or other dating apps, as others had been. While Norai says he mostly worries about potential professional damage, he also bears psychological scars from the episode. He says he’s paranoid now about meeting new people, and worries when a phone is out during an interview because it could be secretly recording him. He didn’t feel comfortable with me until I showed him my driver’s licence.
He asked me if I’d ever done anything like this before, which was an uncomfortable question, because I have. A couple years ago, I created a nonexistent business — the Freakin’ Awesome Karaoke Express, or F.A.K.E. — and made it a website as well as accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Yelp, in order to explore the fake reputation economy. I do believe that some stories can only be told well by going “undercover,” and while I hate to admit it, part of me is impressed by all the work that Project Veritas put into its Twitter exposé. Many a journalist knows it can be hard to get people who work at tech companies to talk. But their specific tactics were deplorable and cruel. They didn’t go undercover to find out how an industry actually works; they went undercover to exploit people’s vulnerabilities in the pursuit of information that could have been unearthed with a more traditional journalistic approach.
O’Keefe disagrees with that sentiment. “It’s hard to get [tech companies] to be honest on the record. You call them as a journalist and they say they don’t do it. We got tipped off to shadow banning and set out to confirm it. And we basically confirmed it,” he told me by phone from an Uber. “Sometimes that’s when you’re most honest, when you’re being recorded in private.”
Twitter disputes the honesty of the investigation. “We deplore the deceptive and underhanded tactics by which this footage was obtained and selectively edited to fit a pre-determined narrative,” said a spokesperson by email. “Twitter is committed to enforcing our rules without bias and empowering every voice on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules.”
Since the Twitter investigation was published, Project Veritas hasn’t done much to cover its tracks. Kelly Dale’s LinkedIn profile is still up, with over 200 followers and claims that Dale worked at CUNY and went to Pace. Neither have records of her for obvious reasons: She doesn’t exist. According to Nexis’s people search engine, there are no Kelly Dales who live in Massachusetts. The profile photo looks to me like it belongs to Allison Maass, who did not respond to a media inquiry sent via LinkedIn. Maass left Project Veritas last year to work for Circa, an online media group owned by the media behemoth Sinclair Broadcasting, which famously requires its television stations to air conservative news daily, and is currently trying to expand its footprint by acquiring Tribune Media. Project Veritas and Sinclair Broadcasting have collaborated in the past.
Leaving behind the traces of abandoned identities is pretty common for Project Veritas, said Lauren Windsor, an executive producer at the web show Undercurrent who was working at Democracy Partners when the group of political consultants was infiltrated by Project Veritas in 2016. After Democracy Partners realised it had been duped and secretly filmed by an intern named “Angela Brandt,” who was in fact Allison Maass, Windsor began preserving evidence for a million-dollar lawsuit against the group. She realised it would be useful to publish that evidence – photos and details of faked identities — to help others avoid the same fate. In January, she published an online dossier with the photos and known aliases of over 150 Project Veritas operatives.
When shown a photo of “Eric Williams,” Windsor recognised him from another Project Veritas operation and sent me photos of him filming activist group Voces de la Frontera in Milwaukee in 2016.
“They have gotten a lot of funding. They have been on a recruitment surge to try to staff up before 2018,” she said by phone. “I think they’re a real threat to media and political organisations, and, most importantly, to candidates.”
O’Keefe echoes that. “We have an untold amount of people inside organisations and they don’t know that,” he told me. “We are going from the smash-and-grab to the long con.” We are going from the smash-and-grab to the long con.
Windsor says the group’s techniques are “inhumane.” “They see themselves as being at war with the Left but the [people they secretly film] are real people despite how much Project Veritas dislikes them politically,” she said. “A lot of people [who are infiltrated and secretly filmed] have described the experience to me like psychological rape. It felt like that to me. They’re destroying lives and it’s really important to expose their political espionage as much as possible.”
Windsor has been training liberal groups how to spot a Veritas operative, mainly by thoroughly researching the online identity of anyone who offers free help or dangles the offer of donor money. If their online footprint is thin, it can be a clue. But there are, of course, legitimate reasons why someone might have a thin online footprint, so it’s not a sureproof solution.
I don’t actually have any sureproof solutions for you. We could ask social media companies to try to protect us from deceivers by authenticating people’s identities – Tinder could require users’ driver licenses; LinkedIn could ask for business records in order to list a new workplace — but that would simply invite a different sort of dystopia. We’re never going to be able to completely eradicate fake bots on Twitter or faked videos or con men on dating sites. Trolls will always find a way.
Maybe just keep in mind that, despite Silicon Valley marketing to the contrary, being in a more open and connected world has downsides. Project Veritas may not be particularly great at spycraft, but with enough manpower and enough online information at its disposal and enough hidden cameras in enough places, it will compromise people and organisations in damaging ways, fairly or unfairly. It’s the real-life manifestation of the faceless algorithms and unknown data brokers that scrape our profiles for information and constantly sit in the backgrounds of our browsers tracking everything that we do. Instead of using it to serve you Instagram ads for shoes, they’re trying to take down your organisation. You will just be a casualty along the way.
An anti-government movement that advocates for a violent uprising targeting liberal political opponents and law enforcement has moved from the fringes of the internet into the mainstream in recent months and surged on social media, according to a group of researchers that tracks hate groups.
The movement, which says it wants a second Civil War organized around the term “boogaloo,” now includes groups on mainstream internet platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit as well as fringe websites including 4chan, according to a report released Tuesday night by the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI), an independent non-profit of scientists and engineers that tracks and reports on misinformation and hate speech across social media.
While calls for organized and targeted violence in the form of a new Civil War have previously circulated among some hate groups, the emergence of the term “boogaloo” appeared to be a new and discrete movement. NCRI researchers analyzed more than 100 million social media posts and comments and found that through the use of memes — inside jokes commonly in the form of images — extremists have pushed anti-government and anti-law enforcement messages across social media platforms. They have also organized online communities with tens of thousands of members, some of whom have assembled at real-world events.
The report “represents a breakthrough case study in the capacity to identify cyber swarms and viral insurgencies in nearly real time as they are developing in plain sight,” wrote John Farmer, a former New Jersey attorney general and current director of the Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience at Rutgers University, in the report’s forward.
The report comes as U.S. law enforcement officials and researchers at various levels have issuedwarnings about the growing threat posed by domestic extremists motivated by fringe ideologies and conspiracy theories. Joel Finkelstein, NCRI’s director and a research scholar at the James Madison Program at Princeton University, said the report had been sent to members of Congress and the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice, among others.
“When you have people talking about and planning sedition, and violence against minorities, police, and public officials, we need to take their words seriously,” said Goldenberg, who is also CEO of the security consulting company Cardinal Point Strategies.
Goldenberg said the report had “gone viral” within law enforcement and intelligence communities since its limited release last week. People are reading it and distributing it “far and wide,” he said.
The current boogaloo movement was first noticed by extremism researchers in 2019, when fringe groups from gun rights and militia movements to white supremacists began referring to an impending civil war using the term boogaloo, a joking reference to “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” a 1984 sequel movie about breakdancing.
The term is used to describe an uprising against a seemingly tyrannical or left-wing government, often in response to a perceived threat of wide-spread gun confiscation. For many, the term boogaloo — silly on its face — is used jokingly, or ironically, but for others, the boogaloo memes are shared alongside violent text and images, seemingly to flame an eventual confrontation.
In the last three months, boogaloo-related conversation has grown rapidly, according to the researchers, who found that use of the term has increased nearly 50 percent on platforms like Reddit and Twitter over the last few months. Increased exposure, the researchers warn, carries the danger of indoctrination.
Boogaloo extremists have used social media to “strategize, share instructions for explosives and 3-D printed firearms, distribute illegal firearm modifications, and siphon users into encrypted messaging boards en mass,” according to the NCRI report. The report also notes how the boogaloo concept has been monetized, through merchandise advertised through Facebook and Instagram ads, and marketed to current and former members of the military.
On Facebook and Instagram, the researchers pointed to several boogaloo-themed public groups and accounts with tens of thousands of members and followers.
A Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement that the company monitored groups that called for violence.
“We’ve been studying trends around this and related terms on Facebook and Instagram,” the spokesperson said. “We don’t allow speech used to incite hate or violence, and will remove any content that violates our policies. We’ll continue to monitor this across our platform.”
Since NCRI generated the report last week, membership in several boogaloo groups on Facebook has nearly doubled, according to an NBC News analysis. During the same period, two of Facebook’s most popular boogaloo groups that boasted nearly 20,000 followers are no longer available this week. Facebook did not return request for comment.
Much like the OK hand symbol coopted by white nationalists who later denied the association, the ambiguity of the term boogaloo works to cloak extremist organizing in the open.
“Like a virus hiding from the immune system, the use of comical-meme language permits the network to organize violence secretly behind a mirage of inside jokes and plausible deniability,” the report states.
The term “boogaloo” has also been seen in real-world activism. At the Virginia Citizens Defense League’s annual Lobby Day in Richmond in January, one group of protestors who go by Patriot Wave, wore Pepe the Frog patches emblazoned with “Boogaloo Boys.” One man carried a sign that read, “I have a dream of a Boogaloo.” The rally was held on Martin Luther King Day.
NCRI was able to trace the origin of the use of the term boogaloo to 4chan’s politics-focused message board, where racist and hateful memes often get their start. Boogaloo was often associated with apocalyptic and racist terms like “racewar” and “dotr,” a white power fantasy that imagines a time when “race traitors” will be murdered.
The report tracked events when online chatter about an impending boogaloo spiked. The analysis found a peak during a November standoff in upstate New York between an army veteran and police over a domestic dispute. The veteran, Alex Booth, chronicled the standoff on his pro-gun Instagram account “Whiskey Warrior 556,” claiming to followers that his guns were being confiscated. The incident made the boogaloo meme go viral, and gained Booth over 100,000 followers.
The second boogaloo meme peak appeared around the House’s impeachment of Donald Trump, the report found.
employee who works on machine learning believes that a proactive,
algorithmic solution to white supremacy would also catch Republican
With every sort of content filter, there is a tradeoff, he explained.
When a platform aggressively enforces against ISIS content, for
instance, it can also flag innocent accounts as well, such as Arabic
language broadcasters. Society, in general, accepts the benefit of
banning ISIS for inconveniencing some others, he said.
separate discussions verified by Motherboard, that employee said Twitter
hasn’t taken the same aggressive approach to white supremacist content
because the collateral accounts that are impacted can, in some
instances, be Republican politicians.
The employee argued that,
on a technical level, content from Republican politicians could get
swept up by algorithms aggressively removing white supremacist material.
Banning politicians wouldn’t be accepted by society as a trade-off for
flagging all of the white supremacist propaganda, he argued.
Congresswoman received death threats following video Trump posted – but he didn’t technically violate the rules
The rules just aren’t the same for Donald Trump as they are for the rest of us. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apparently admitted as much this week on a phone call with Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar.
As reported by the Washington Post,
Dorsey, often criticized for his inaction when it comes removing
hateful and threatening content from the platform, was asked by Omar why
he hadn’t taken down a video posted by Trump earlier in the month. The
video, which spliced together misleading and out of context comments
from Omar about the issue of Islamophobia with footage of the 9/11
attacks, was clearly targeted harassment to anyone who saw it.
Indeed Omar said she saw a sharp uptick in death threats after it was posted.
But since it came from Trump, and not an average Twitter user, there
was nothing Dorsey could do, he said. The tweet didn’t technically
violate the rules in any case, he added.
Dorsey has said in the past that the public interest
value of Trump’s tweets outweigh the harm of his occasional calls for
violence or threats against foreign governments or members of the media
“Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate,” the company explained in statement last year. “It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”
More recently Dorsey declined to say whether a hypothetical direct call from Trump to murder a journalist would be grounds for his banishment.
“Most people can agree a beheading video or some kind of ISIS content
should be proactively removed, but when we try to talk about the
alt-right or white nationalism, we get into dangerous territory, where
we’re talking about [Iowa Rep.] Steve King or maybe even some of Trump’s
tweets, so it becomes hard for social media companies to say all of
this ‘this content should be removed,’” Amarasingam said.
In March, King promoted an open white nationalist on Twitter for the third time. King quote tweeted Faith Goldy, a Canadian white nationalist. Earlier this month, Facebook banned Goldy
under the site’s new policy banning white nationalism; Goldy has
122,000 followers on Twitter and has not been banned at the time of
writing. Last year, Twitter banned Republican politician
and white nationalist Paul Nehlen for a racist tweet he sent about
actress and princess Meghan Markle, but prior to the ban, Nehlen gained a
wide following on the platform while tweeting openly white nationalist
content about, for example, the “Jewish media.”
JM Berger, author of Extremism and a number of reports on ISIS and far-right extremists on Twitter, told Motherboard that in his own research, he has found that “a very large number of white nationalists identify themselves as avid Trump supporters.”
down on white nationalists will therefore involve removing a lot of
people who identify to a greater or lesser extent as Trump supporters,
and some people in Trump circles and pro-Trump media will certainly
seize on this to complain they are being persecuted,” Berger said.
“There’s going to be controversy here that we didn’t see with ISIS,
because there are more white nationalists than there are ISIS
supporters, and white nationalists are closer to the levers of political
power in the US and Europe than ISIS ever was.”
Twitter hasn’t done a particularly good job of removing white
supremacist content and has shown a reluctance to take any action of any
kind against “world leaders”
even when their tweets violate Twitter’s rules. But Berger agrees with
Twitter in that the problem the company is facing with white supremacy
is fundamentally different than the one it faced with ISIS on a
ISIS, the group’s obsessive branding, tight social networks and small
numbers made it easier to avoid collateral damage when the companies
cracked down (although there was some),” he said. “White nationalists,
in contrast, have inconsistent branding, diffuse social networks and a
large body of sympathetic people in the population, so the risk of
collateral damage might be perceived as being higher, but it really
depends on where the company draws its lines around content.”
just because eradicating white supremacy on Twitter is a hard problem
doesn’t mean the company should get a pass. After Facebook explicitly
banned white supremacy and white nationalism, Motherboard asked YouTube
and Twitter whether they would make similar changes. Neither company would commit to making that explicit change, and referred us to their existing rules.
has a responsibility to stomp out all voices of hate on its platform,”
Brandi Collins-Dexter, senior campaign director at activist group Color
Of Change told Motherboard in a statement. “Instead, the company is
giving a free ride to conservative politicians whose dangerous rhetoric
enables the growth of the white supremacist movement into the mainstream
and the rise of hate, online and off.”
NOW LETS SEE THE RESULTS OF TWITTERS CEO JACK DORSEY AND THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND THE EMPLOYEES REFUSAL TO STAND UP TO TRUMP AND THE WHITE SUPREMACISTS HAS CAUSED SHALL WE?
‘No Blame?’ ABC News finds 36 cases invoking ‘Trump’ in connection with violence, threats, alleged assaults.
A nationwide review conducted by ABC News has identified at least 36 criminal cases where Trump was invoked in direct connection with violent acts, threats of violence or allegations of assault.
In nine cases, perpetrators hailed Trump in the midst or immediate
aftermath of physically attacking innocent victims. In another 10 cases,
perpetrators cheered or defended Trump while taunting or threatening
others. And in another 10 cases, Trump and his rhetoric were cited in
court to explain a defendant’s violent or threatening behavior.
ABC News could not find a single criminal case filed in federal or state
court where an act of violence or threat was made in the name of
President Barack Obama or President George W. Bush.
The 36 cases identified by ABC News are remarkable in that a link to the
president is captured in court documents and police statements, under
the penalty of perjury or contempt.
In many cases of assault or threat, charges are never filed,
perpetrators are never identified or the incident is never even reported
to authorities. And most criminal acts committed by Trump supporters or
his detractors have nothing to do with the president. But in 36 cases,
court records and police reports indicated some sort of link.
The perpetrators and suspects identified in the 36 cases are mostly
white men — as young as teenagers and as old as 75 — while the victims
largely represent an array of minority groups — African-Americans,
Latinos, Muslims and gay men.
Federal law enforcement authorities have privately told ABC News they
worry that — even with Trump’s public denunciations of violence — Trump’s style
could inspire violence-prone individuals to take action against
minorities or others they perceive to be against the president’s agenda.
Aug. 19, 2015:In Boston, after he and his brother beat a sleeping homeless man of Mexican descent with a metal pole, Steven Leader, 30, told police “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.” The victim, however, was not in the United States illegally. The brothers, who are white, ultimately pleaded guilty to several assault-related charges and were each sentenced to at least two years in prison.
Dec. 5, 2015: After Penn State University student Nicholas Tavella, 19, was charged with “ethnic intimidation” and other crimes for threatening to “put a bullet” in a young Indian man on campus, his attorney argued in court that Tavella was just motivated by “a love of country,” not “hate.” “Donald Trump is running for President of the United States saying that, ‘We’ve got to check people out more closely,'” Tavella’s attorney argued in his defense. Tavella, who is white, ultimately pleaded guilty to ethnic intimidation and was sentenced to up to two years in prison.
April 28, 2016:When FBI agents arrested 61-year-old John Martin Roos in White City, Oregon, for threatening federal officials, including then-President Barack Obama, they found several pipe bombs and guns in his home. In the three months before his arrest, Roos posted at least 34 messages to Twitter about Trump, repeatedly threatening African Americans, Muslims, Mexican immigrants and the “liberal media,” and in court documents, prosecutors noted that the avowed Trump supporter posted this threatening message to Facebook a month earlier: “The establishment is trying to steal the election from Trump. … Obama is already on a kill list … Your [name] can be there too.” Roos, who is white, has since pleaded guilty to possessing an unregistered explosive device and posting internet threats against federal officials. He was sentenced to more than five years in prison.
June 3, 2016:After 54-year-old Henry Slapnik attacked his African-American neighbors with a knife in Cleveland, he told police “Donald Trump will fix them because they are scared of Donald Trump,” according to police reports. Slapnik, who is white, ultimately pleaded guilty to “ethnic intimidation” and other charges. It’s unclear what sentence he received.
Aug. 16, 2016:In Olympia, Washington, 32-year-old Daniel Rowe attacked a white woman and a black man with a knife after seeing them kiss on a popular street. When police arrived on the scene, Rowe professed to being “a white supremacist” and said “he planned on heading down to the next Donald Trump rally and stomping out more of the Black Lives Matter group,” according to court documents filed in the case. Rowe, who is white, ultimately pleaded guilty to charges of assault and malicious harassment, and he was sentenced to more than four years in prison.
Sept. 1, 2016:The then-chief of the Bordentown, New Jersey, police department, Frank Nucera, allegedly assaulted an African American teenager who was handcuffed. Federal prosecutors said the attack was part of Nucera’s “intense racial animus,” noting in federal court that “within hours” of the assault, Nucera was secretly recorded saying “Donald Trump is the last hope for white people.” The 60-year-old Nucera has been indicted by a federal grand jury on three charges, including committing a federal hate crime. Nucera, who is white, has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. He retired two years ago.
September 2016: After 40-year-old Mark Feigin of Los Angeles was arrested for posting anti-Muslim and allegedly threatening statements to a mosque’s Facebook page, his attorney argued in court that the comments were protected by the First Amendment because Feigin was “using similar language and expressing similar views” to “campaign statements from then-candidate Donald Trump.” Noting that his client “supported Donald Trump,” attorney Caleb Mason added that “Mr. Feigin’s comments were directed toward a pressing issue of public concern that was a central theme of the Trump campaign and the 2016 election generally: the Islamic roots of many international and U.S. terrorist acts.” Feigin, who is white, ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of sending harassing communications electronically. He was sentenced to probation.
Oct. 13, 2016:After the FBI arrested three white Kansas men for plotting to bomb an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas, where many Somali immigrants lived, one of the men’s attorneys insisted to a federal judge that the plot was “self-defensive” because the three men believed “that if Donald Trump won the election, President Obama would not recognize the validity of those results, that he would declare martial law, and that at that point militias all over the country would have to step in.” Then, after a federal grand jury convicted 47-year-old Patrick Stein and the two other men of conspiracy-related charges, Stein’s attorney argued for a lighter sentence based on “the backdrop” of Stein’s actions: Trump had become “the voice of a lost and ignored white, working-class set of voters” like Stein, and the “climate” at the time could propel someone like Stein to “go to 11,” attorney Jim Pratt said in court. Stein and his two accomplices were each sentenced to at least 25 years in prison.
Nov. 3, 2016:In Tampa, Florida, David Howard threatened to burn down the house next to his “simply because” it was being purchased by a Muslim family, according to the Justice Department. He later said under oath that while he harbored a years-long dislike for Muslims, the circumstances around the home sale were “the match that lit the wick.” He cited Trump’s warnings about immigrants from majority-Muslim countries. “[With] the fact that the president wants these six countries vetted, everybody vetted before they come over, there’s a concern about Muslims,” Howard said. Howard, who is white, ultimately pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights violation, and the 59-year-old was sentenced to eight months in prison.
Nov. 10, 2016:A 23-year-old man from High Springs, Florida, allegedly assaulted an unsuspecting Hispanic man who was cleaning a parking lot outside of a local food store. “[H]e was suddenly struck in the back of the head,” a police report said of the victim. “[The victim] asked the suspect why he hit him, to which the suspect replied, ‘This is for Donald Trump.’ The suspect then grabbed [the victim] by the jacket and proceeded to strike him several more times,” according to the report. Surveillance video of the incident “completely corroborated [the victim’s] account of events,” police said. The suspect was arrested on battery charges, but the case was dropped after the victim decided not to pursue the matter, police said. Efforts by ABC News to reach the victim for further explanation were not successful.
Nov. 12, 2016:In Grand Rapids, Michigan, while attacking a cab driver from East Africa, 23-year-old Jacob Holtzlander shouted racial epithets and repeatedly yelled the word, “Trump,” according to law enforcement records. Holtzlander, who is white, ultimately pleaded guilty to a charge of ethnic intimidation, and he was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Jan. 25, 2017:At JFK International Airport in New York, a female Delta employee, wearing a hijab in accordance with her Muslim faith, was “physically and verbally” attacked by 57-year-old Robin Rhodes of Worcester, Mass., “for no apparent reason,” prosecutors said at the time. When the victim asked Brown what she did to him, he replied: “You did nothing, but … [Expletive] Islam. [Expletive] ISIS. Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you.” Rhodes ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of “menacing,” and he was sentenced to probation.
Feb. 19, 2017:After 35-year-old Gerald Wallace called a mosque in Miami Gardens, Florida, and threatened to “shoot all y’all,” he told the FBI and police that he made the call because he “got angry” from a local TV news report about a terrorist act. At a rally in Florida the day before, Trump falsely claimed that Muslim refugees had just launched a terrorist attack in Sweden.
Wallace’s attorney, Katie Carmon, later tried to convince a federal judge that the threat to kill worshippers could be “protected speech” due to the “very distinctly political climate” at the time. “There are courts considering President Trump’s travel ban … and the president himself has made some very pointed statements about what he thinks about people of this descent,” Carmon argued in court.
Wallace, who is African American, ultimately pleaded guilty to obstructing the free exercise of his victims’ religious beliefs, and he was sentenced to one year in prison.
Feb. 23, 2017: Kevin Seymour and his partner Kevin price were riding their bicycles in Key West, Florida, when a man on a moped, 30-year-old Brandon Davis of North Carolina, hurled anti-gay slurs at them and “intentionally” ran into Seymour’s bike, shouting, “You live in Trump country now,” according to police reports and Davis’ attorney. Davis ultimately pleaded guilty to a charge of battery evidencing prejudice, but in court, he expressed remorse and was sentenced to four years of probation.
May 3, 2017:In South Padre Island, Texas, 35-year-old Alexander Jennes Downing of Waterford, Connecticut, was captured on cellphone video taunting and aggressively approaching a Muslim family, repeatedly shouting, “Donald Trump will stop you!” and other Trump-related remarks. Police arrested Downing, of Waterford, Connecticut, for public intoxication. It’s unclear what came of the charge.
May 11, 2017:Authorities arrested Steven Martan of Tucson, Arizona, after he left three threatening messages at the office Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. In one message, he told McSally he was going to “blow your brains out,” and in another he told her that her “days are numbered.” He later told FBI agents “that he was venting frustrations with Congresswoman McSally’s congressional votes in support of the President of the United States,” according to charging documents. Martan’s attorney, Walter Goncalves Jr., later told a judge that Martan had “an alcohol problem” and left the messages “after becoming intoxicated” and “greatly upset” by news that McSally “agreed with decisions by President Donald Trump.” Martan, 58, has since pleaded guilty to three counts of retaliating against a federal official and was sentenced to more than one year in prison.
Oct. 22, 2017: A 44-year-old California man threatened to kill Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., for her frequent criticism of Trump and her promise to “take out” the president. Anthony Scott Lloyd left a voicemail at the congresswoman’s Washington office, declaring: “If you continue to make threats towards the president, you’re going to wind up dead, Maxine. Cause we’ll kill you.” After pleading guilty to one count of threatening a U.S. official, Lloyd asked the judge for leniency, saying he suffered from addiction-inducing mental illness and became “far too immersed in listening to polarizing political commentators and engaging in heated political debates online.” His lawyer put it this way to the judge: “Mr. Lloyd was a voracious consumer of political news online, on television and on radio … [that are] commonly viewed as ‘right wing,’ unconditionally supportive of President Trump, and fiercely critical of anyone who opposed President Trump’s policies.” The judge sentenced Lloyd to six months of house arrest and three years of probation.
August 2018:After the Boston Globe called on news outlets around the country to resist what it called “Trump’s assault on journalism,” the Boston Globe received more than a dozen threatening phone calls. “You are the enemy of the people,” the alleged caller, 68-year-old Robert Chain of Encino, California, told a Boston Globe employee on Aug. 22. “As long as you keep attacking the President, the duly elected President of the United States … I will continue to threat[en], harass, and annoy the Boston Globe.” A week later, authorities arrested Chain on threat-related charges. After a hearing in his case, he told reporters, “America was saved when Donald J. Trump was elected president.” Chain has pleaded guilty to seven threat-related charges, and he is awaiting sentencing.
Oct. 4, 2018:The Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida arrested 53-year-old James Patrick of Winter Haven, Florida, for allegedly threatening “to kill Democratic office holders, members of their families and members of both local and federal law enforcement agencies,” according to a police report. In messages posted online, Patrick detailed a “plan” for his attacks, which he said he would launch if then-nominee Brett Kavanaugh was not confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, the police report said. Seeking Patrick’s release from jail after his arrest, Patrick’s attorney, Terri Stewart, told a judge that her client’s “rantings” were akin to comments from “a certain high-ranking official” — Trump. The president had “threatened the North Korean people — to blow them all up. It was on Twitter,” Stewart said, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Patrick has been charged with making a written threat to kill or injure, and he has pleaded not guilty. His trial is pending.
Late October 2018:Over the course of a week, Florida man Cesar Sayoc allegedly mailed at least 15 potential bombs to prominent critics of Trump and members of the media. Sayoc had been living in a van plastered with pro-Trump stickers, and he had posted several pro-Trump messages on social media. Federal prosecutors have accused him of “domestic terrorism,” and Sayoc has since pleaded guilty to 65 counts, including use of a weapon of mass destruction. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. “We believe the president’s rhetoric contributed to Mr. Sayoc’s behavior,” Sayoc’s attorney told the judge at sentencing.
Dec. 4, 2018:Michael Brogan, 51, of Brooklyn, New York, left a voicemail at an unidentified U.S. Senator’s office in Washington insisting, “I’m going to put a bullet in ya. … You and your constant lambasting of President Trump. Oh, reproductive rights, reproductive rights.” He later told an FBI agent that before leaving the voicemail he became “very angry” by “an internet video of the Senator, including the Senator’s criticism of the President of the United States as well as the Senator’s views on reproductive rights.” “The threats were made to discourage the Senator from criticizing the President,” the Justice Department said in a later press release. Brogan has since pleaded guilty to one count of threatening a U.S. official, and he is awaiting sentencing.
Jan. 17, 2019:Stephen Taubert of Syracuse, New York, was arrested by the U.S. Capitol Police for threatening to kill Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and for threatening to “hang” former President Barack Obama. Taubert used “overtly bigoted, hateful language” in his threats, according to federal prosecutors. On July 20, 2018, Taubert called the congresswoman’s Los Angeles office to say he would find her at public events and kill her and her entire staff. In a letter to the judge just days before Taubert’s trial began, his defense attorney, Courtenay McKeon, noted: “During that time period, Congresswoman Waters was embroiled in a public feud with the Trump administration. … On June 25, 2018, in response to Congresswoman Waters’ public statements, President Trump tweeted: ‘Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has … just called for harm to supporters … of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!'” As McKeon insisted to the judge: “This context is relevant to the case.” A federal jury ultimately convicted Taubert on three federal charges, including retaliating against a federal official and making a threat over state lines. He was sentenced to nearly four years in prison.
Jan. 22, 2019:David Boileau of Holiday, Florida, was arrested by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office for allegedly burglarizing an Iraqi family’s home and “going through” their mailbox, according to a police report. After officers arrived at the home, Boileau “made several statements of his dislike for people of Middle Eastern descent,” the report said. “He also stated if he doesn’t get rid of them, Trump will handle it.” The police report noted that a day before, Boileau threw screws at a vehicle outside the family’s house. On that day, Boileau allegedly told police, “We’ll get rid of them one way or another.” Boileau, 58, has since pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of trespassing, and he was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Feb. 15, 2019:The FBI in Maryland arrested a Marine veteran and U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant, Christopher Paul Hasson, who they said was stockpiling weapons and “espoused” racist and anti-immigrant views for years as he sought to “murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.” In court documents, prosecutors said the 49-year-old “domestic terrorist” compiled a “hit list” of prominent Democrats. Two months later, while seeking Hasson’s release from jail before trial, his public defender, Elizabeth Oyer, told a federal judge: “This looks like the sort of list that our commander-in-chief might have compiled while watching Fox News in the morning. … Is it legitimately frustrating that offensive language and ideology has now become part of our national vocabulary? Yes, it is very frustrating. But … it is hard to differentiate it from the random musings of someone like Donald Trump who uses similar epithets in his everyday language and tweets.” Hasson faces weapons-related charges and was being detained as he awaits trial. He has pleaded not guilty.
March 16, 2019:Anthony Comello, 24, of Staten Island, New York, was taken into custody for allegedly killing Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, the reputed head of the infamous Gambino crime family. It marked the first mob boss murder in New York in 30 years, law enforcement officials told ABC News the murder may have stemmed from Comello’s romantic relationship with a Cali family member. Court documents since filed in state court by Comello’s defense attorney, Robert Gottlieb, said Comello suffers from mental defect and was a believer in the “conspiratorial fringe right-wing political group” QAnon. In addition, Gottlieb wrote: “Beginning with the election of President Trump in November 2016, Anthony Comello’s family began to notice changes to his personality. … Mr. Comello became certain that he was enjoying the protection of President Trump himself, and that he had the president’s full support. Mr. Comello grew to believe that several well-known politicians and celebrities were actually members of the Deep State, and were actively trying to bring about the destruction of America.” Comello has been charged with one count of murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. His trial is pending, and he has pleaded not guilty.
April 5, 2019:The FBI arrested a 55-year-old man from upstate New York for allegedly threatening to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., one of the first two Muslim women elected to the U.S. Congress. She is an outspoken critic of Trump, and Trump has frequently launched public attacks against her and three other female lawmakers of color. Two weeks before his arrest, Patrick Carlineo Jr. allegedly called Omar’s office in Washington labeling the congresswoman a “terrorist” and declaring: “I’ll put a bullet in her f—-ing skull.” When an FBI agent then traced the call to Carlineo and interviewed him, Carlineo “stated that he was a patriot, that he loves the President, and that he hates radical Muslims in our government,” according to the FBI agent’s summary of the interview. Federal prosecutors charged Carlineo with threatening to assault and murder a United States official. Carlineo is awaiting trial, although his defense attorney and federal prosecutors are working on what his attorney called another “possible resolution” of the case.
April 18, 2019:The FBI arrested John Joseph Kless of Tamarac, Florida, for calling the Washington offices of three prominent Democrats and threatening to kill each of them. At his home, authorities found a loaded handgun in a backpack, an AR-15 rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. In later pleading guilty to one charge of transmitting threats over state lines, Kless admitted that in a threatening voicemail targeting Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., he stated: “You won’t f—ing tell Americans what to say, and you definitely don’t tell our president, Donald Trump, what to say.” Tlaib, a vocal critic of Trump, was scheduled to speak in Florida four days later. Kless was awaiting sentencing. In a letter to the federal judge, he said he “made a very big mistake,” never meant to hurt anyone, and “was way out of line with my language and attitude.”
April 24, 2019:The FBI arrested 30-year-old Matthew Haviland of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, for allegedly sending a series of violent and threatening emails to a college professor in Massachusetts who publicly expressed support for abortion rights and strongly criticized Trump. In one of 28 emails sent to the professor on March 10, 2019, Haviland allegedly called the professor “pure evil” and said “all Democrats must be eradicated,” insisting the country now has “a president who’s taking our country in a place of more freedom rather than less.” In another email the same day, Haviland allegedly wrote the professor: “I will rip every limb from your body and … I will kill every member of your family.” According to court documents, Haviland’s longtime friend later told the FBI that “within the last year, Haviland’s views regarding abortion and politics have become more extreme … at least in part because of the way the news media portrays President Trump.” Haviland has been charged with cyberstalking and transmitting a threat in interstate commerce. His trial is pending.
June 5, 2019:The FBI arrested a Utah man for allegedly calling the U.S. Capitol more than 2,000 times over several months and threatening to kill Democratic lawmakers, whom he said were “trying to destroy Trump’s presidency.” “I am going to take up my second amendment right, and shoot you liberals in the head,” 54-year-old Scott Brian Haven allegedly stated in one of the calls on Oct. 18, 2018, according to charging documents. When an FBI agent later interviewed Haven, he “explained the phone calls were made during periods of frustration with the way Democrats were treating President Trump,” the charging documents said. The FBI visit, however, didn’t stop Haven from making more threats, including: On March 21, 2019, he called an unidentified U.S. senator’s office to say that if Democrats refer to Trump as Hitler again he will shoot them, and two days later he called an unidentified congressman’s office to say he “was going to take [the congressman] out … because he is trying to remove a duly elected President.” A federal grand jury has since charged Haven with one count of transmitting a threat over state lines. Haven pleaded not guilty and was awaiting trial.
Aug. 3, 2019:A gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people and injuring 24 others. The FBI labeled the massacre an act of “domestic terrorism,” and police determined that the alleged shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, posted a lengthy anti-immigrant diatribe online before the attack. “We attribute that manifesto directly to him,” according to El Paso police chief Greg Allen. Describing the coming assault as “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” the screed’s writer said “the media” would “blame Trump’s rhetoric” for the attack but insisted his anti-immigrant views “predate Trump” — an apparent acknowledgement that at least some of his views align with some of Trump’s public statements. The writer began his online essay by stating that he generally “support[s]” the previous writings of the man who killed 51 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand earlier this year. In that case, the shooter in New Zealand said he absolutely did not support Trump as “a policy maker and leader” — but “[a]s a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure.” Crusius has been charged with capital murder by the state of Texas.
Dorsey has said in the past that the public interest value of Trump’s tweets outweigh the harm of his occasional calls for violence or threats against foreign governments or members of the media
Well Jack Dorsey, your promotion of Trump has in fact? Caused people to be murdered. Has caused people to be massacred. Has caused people to be beaten. Has caused terroristic acts against Democrats, Liberals, Muslims LGBTS, blacks, and many others.
BUT YOU DO NOT GIVE ONE FLYING FUCK ABOUT THAT NOW DO YOU JACK DORSEY?
THEIR BLOOD AND DEATHS ARE ON YOUR HANDS JACK DORSEY. THEIR BLOOD AND DEATHS ARE ON THE HANDS OF ALL YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS: OMID KORDESTANI: EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF TWITTER, PATRICK PICHETTE: LEAD INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR; FORMER SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, GOOGLE, MARTHA LANE FOX: FOUNDER AND CHAIRPERSON, LUCKY VOICE GROUP; CHAIR PERSON, MAKIEWORLD; CROSS BENCH PEER, HOUSE OF LORDS, , NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA: SENIOUR ADVISOR, LAZARD LTD , DAVID ROSENBLATT: CEO, 1STDIBS.COM INC , BRET TAYLOR: PRESIDENT AND CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER SALESFORCE, ROBERT ZOELLICK: FORMER PRESIDENT OF WORLD BANK GROUP.
AND ALL OF THESE WORKERS OF TWITTER: NICK PICKLES TWITTERS DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC POLICY, PARAG AGRAWAL; TECHNOLOGY LEAD, LESLIE BERLAND: PEOPLE AND MARKETING LEAD, KAYVON BEYKPOUR: PRODUCT LEAD, DANTLEY DAVIS: HEAD OF DESIGN AND RESEARCH, MATT DERELLA: CUSTOMERS LEAD, BRUCE FALCK: REVENUE PRODUCT LEAD, VIJAYA GADDE: LEAD COUNCIL, MICHAEL MONTANO: ENGINEERING LEAD, NED SEGAL: CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, AND ALL THE EMPLOYEES OF TWITTER.
Each and every one of these employees of Twitter from their CEO Jack Dorsey, to all their Board of Directors, to their Main Employees? Should all be arrested and charged with promotion of terrorist actions by Trump and his Trumpsters and be charged with being accessories to first degree murder and terrorist acts because they just do not give a flying fuck that people are being murdered, threatened, terrorized, attacked, beaten and shit upon because these fucking scumbags of Twitter believe that it is perfectly alright for Trump and his Trumpsters and White Supremacists and Nazis and KKK scumbag shitstains on the underwear of humanity have a right to promote their hatred, their bigotry, their misogyny and their Fascism on Twitter and so the fuck what if it causes violence, murder and mass shootings.
These scumbags of Twitter are putting money over the safety of other human beings all to promote this agenda of white supremacy and hate and bigotry of Donald J Trump his Trumpanzees and others.
And upon conviction? Each and every one of these motherfucking promoters and purveyors of white supremacy, bigotry and racism, should be given the death penalty, because they have far fucking proven that they put money and hate over the lives of other human beings and by their actions? Have in fact? committed murder of others.