As you have surely heard by now, on May 24, the worst school shooting since the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School ten years ago took place in Uvalde, Texas. The “official narrative” has yet to emerge in any coherent form, with the Uvalde Police Department having changed their story thirteen times now. From what we do know, the story goes something like this:
Salvador Ronaldo Ramos, an unemployed high school student, supposedly purchased a semiautomatic rifle at a local gun store the day after his 18th birthday, bought 375 rounds of ammunition the next day, then returned to the store once more to purchase yet another semiautomatic rifle. Ramos was active on social media sites such as Instagram, Tik Tok and Yubo, where “at least one user who was contacted by him reported Ramos’ account, banned him from her live chats and directly contacted the company for ‘help with his harassment.’” On Yubo, which has come to be known as “Tinder for teens”, Ramos frequently threatened girls his age or younger with sexual assault and at one point said in a live chatroom that, “Everyone in this world deserves to get raped.” Before killing his grandmother (a common trait to mass shooters, most of whom are male, is hatred of women) and driving to Robb Elementary School to slaughter 19 children and 2 teachers, Ramos posted a photo of his rifles on Instagram. Ramos then crashed “a pickup truck” into a ditch behind the school and proceeded to “confront” an on-campus police officer.
No wait, actually that’s one of the things the cops lied about. In fact, the “brave resource officer” wasn’t even at the school when Ramos entered the building. When a teacher called police at 11:30 AM to report the crashing of the pickup, the officer sped back to the school (it’s unclear where he was or what he was doing) “actually drove right past the gunman — who was hiding behind a vehicle and then started shooting at the school before entering the building through an open door.” (The cops also lied about this; the teacher they originally accused of leaving the door open did close it after seeing Ramos crash his truck. The cops now claim it didn’t lock). Instead, the officer confronted a teacher while Ramos barricaded himself inside of a classroom. According to one of the 11 year old survivors, who smeared herself with her dead classmate’s blood to survive the attack, Ramos put on some “sad music” and started to massacre the children.
Back in 2018, Uvalde cops arrested two teenagers, ages 13 and 14, who had been planning a shooting at the town’s high school in a conscious emulation of 1999’s killings at Columbine. Afterword, Daniel Rodriguez, Uvalde’s Chief of Police, promised that law enforcement would implement “special surveillance” in the school district, which may have been referring to an ostensible “artificial intelligence” social media monitoring technology called Social Sentinel.
“The district revealed Monday it had been using the platform ‘to monitor all social media with a connection to Uvalde as a measure to identify any possible threats that might be made against students and or staff within the school district.’
According to its creators, the service – powered by advanced linguistics technology – scans and analyzes digital content to pick out and flag potential safety and security risks, as well as mental health and social and emotional concerns. The software scans selected digital content – in this case, thousands of students’ social media accounts – and identifies language that fit those criteria. The service also scans threatening images, along with its associated text, before determining whether it is something community leaders should look into.”
Not long after the shooting, footage from the scene was posted to social media. Among the most disheartening clips are two videos showing law enforcement physically restraining parents from entering the school while the parents scream at idle cops to do something. Numerous police officers, including US Marshals who later lied about it, proceeded to handcuff and tackle distraught parents. At least one parent was tasered by the cops, all while a group of officers inside the school waited for an hour or so to finally “engage” Ramos. Among them was a Customs and Border Patrol Unit, who took the credit for supposedly shooting Ramos.
One police officer admitted to a reporter at the scene that the first cops to enter the school did so to save their own children first. In the midst of widespread criticism of the Uvalde police department and American law enforcement in general, Uvalde’s Chief of Police has been sworn in as a City Council member. He’d won an election three weeks before the shooting. “Out of respect for the families who buried their children today, and who are planning to bury their children in the next few days, no ceremony was held,” Mayor Don McLaughlin said in a statement. Truly if any respect was to be paid to the families of the dead children, it would have come in the form of making the slightest effort to save the kids in the first place.
Exactly 10 days before Ramos carried out his mass murder, another 18 year old loner who spent hours in chatrooms and web forums making his plans obvious shot thirteen people to death at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. This one, Payton S. Gendron, had an affinity for the usual talking points of the “Alt Right”, including the idea that white men were to be gradually replaced by “inferior races” as part of some Jewish plot for world domination. Gendron’s website of choice was Discord, where he kept an open diary and log clearly laying out his plans: “He considered targeting a predominantly Black elementary school in Buffalo, but decided it would be too difficult to enter. He mulled traveling to Rochester for an attack, or even to Maryland, but admitted of the second target, ‘I don’t have a plan for that.’” Similar to Ramos, in the days leading up the attack Gendron, “posted pictures of himself and of a gun, on which he’d written in Wite-Out the names of other mass shooters.”
It’s important to note that Gendron drove three hours from his hometown to Buffalo specifically to commit the shooting in a mostly black neighborhood. The rifle Gendron used to kill his victims-eleven black, two white-had the N-word written on its barrel. It and the other two guns found in Gendron’s possession had been obtained legally, with Gendron passing background checks in spite of several bizarre and troubling omens both in real life and online.
For instance, Gendron was investigated by police in 2021 for threatening other students at his high school and for telling a teacher, after he was asked what he wanted to do after graduation, that he wanted to “murder and commit suicide.” Apparently the police bought Gendron’s explanation for this statement, which was the usual “it was just a joke” line employed by young white racist, and chose not to seek an order from state court which would have made it impossible for Gendron to legally purchase a gun. While Gendron did undergo a mental-health evaluation, it was not an involuntary commitment, and thus did not appear as a legal “red flag” to gun store owners.
Two days before the attack, Gendron uploaded a “manifesto” which described, among other things, how “infographics, shitposts, and memes” from neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, 4chan’s /pol/, and other websites of the far-right had come to influence his worldview towards the beginning of 2020. Gendron describes getting his beliefs, “mostly from the Internet” and says “There was little to no influence on my personal beliefs by people I met in person.” He notes among his influences Brent Harrison Tarrant, who, in 2019, committed mass shootings at two different mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, the first of which he live-streamed. In turn, Gendron attempted to live-stream his own rampage on Twitch, but was only partially successful, with the site reportedly shutting the stream down within two minutes. Nonetheless, what footage does exist has already been widely distributed online.
It should be noted that Gendron carried out the Buffalo shooting while wearing a “Sonnerad” or “Black Sun” patch on his body armor, a symbol with a history in Nazi occultism and which has recently become popular among the “Alt Right” in America and Europe. The Black Sun is also proudly worn by members of the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi paramilitary which was formally incorporated into Ukraine’s official armed forces in 2014 and which has received the “liberal” media’s uncritical support ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. After the Christchurch shootings, a group with ties to Azov translated into Ukrainian and published Brent Harrison Tarrant’s own “manifesto.” Recent news media have attempted to portray these connections as “Russian disinformation” but it is simply a fact:
“In the wake of the New Zealand mosque attacks, links have emerged between the shooter and a Ukrainian ultra-nationalist, white supremacist paramilitary organisation called the Azov Battalion. The shooter’s manifesto alleges that he visited the country during his many travels abroad, and the flak jacket he wore during the assault featured a symbol commonly used by the Azov Battalion.
His transnational ties go beyond Ukraine, however, as he claimed he was in touch with Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist, and he took trips throughout Europe, including the Balkans, visiting sites that symbolised historical battles between Christians and Muslims. In the video of his attack, he was heard listening to a song that glorified Bosnian-Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic, and his gun bore racist messages and the names of white supremacists from around the world.
The Azov Battalion is emerging as a critical node in the transnational right-wing violent extremist (RWE) network. This group maintains its own “Western Outreach Office” to help recruit and attract foreign fighters that travel to train and connect with people from like-minded violent organisations from across the globe. Operatives from the outreach office travel around Europe to promote the organisation and proselytise its mission of white supremacy…
It is now evident that RWE networks are also highly active in recruiting fighters from around the world to their cause, with the Azov Battalion and other ultranationalist organisations playing a significant role in the globalisation of RWE violence. Indeed, the Azov Battalion is forging links with RWE groups, hosting visits from ultranationalist organisations such as members of the Rise Above Movement (RAM) from the United States and National Action from Britain, among other white supremacists from around the world.”
It must be noted that a “formal federal agent” was “one of at least six individuals who regularly communicated with accused gunman Payton Gendron in an online chat room where racist hatred was discussed.”
In 2011, Mother Jones, a left-liberal publication that would later defer to the FBI on all matters of “Russian attacks on American democracy”, profiled “a massive network of spies” the Bureau had built up since 9/11 to “prevent another domestic attack.” The paper asks, “are they busting terrorist plots—or leading them?”:
“The bureau’s strategy has changed significantly from the days when officials feared another coordinated, internationally financed attack from an Al Qaeda sleeper cell. Today, counterterrorism experts believe groups like Al Qaeda, battered by the war in Afghanistan and the efforts of the global intelligence community, have shifted to a franchise model, using the internet to encourage sympathizers to carry out attacks in their name. The main domestic threat, as the FBI sees it, is a lone wolf.
The bureau’s answer has been a strategy known variously as “preemption,” “prevention,” and “disruption”—identifying and neutralizing potential lone wolves before they move toward action. To that end, FBI agents and informants target not just active jihadists, but tens of thousands of law-abiding people, seeking to identify those disgruntled few who might participate in a plot given the means and the opportunity. And then, in case after case, the government provides the plot, the means, and the opportunity.”
“The problem with the cases we’re talking about is that defendants would not have done anything if not kicked in the ass by government agents,” Martin Stolar, a lawyer who represented a man caught in a 2004 sting involving New York’s Herald Square subway station, told Mother Jones. “They’re creating crimes to solve crimes so they can claim a victory in the war on terror.” Indeed, “With three exceptions, all of the high-profile domestic terror plots of the last decade were actually FBI stings.”
During this same time, the Pentagon was shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars to a public relations firm named Bell Pottinger to create fake Al-Qaeda propaganda videos. An editor who worked on these videos, Martin Wells, said that Marines gave him and his coworkers very specific instructions on how to create the films: “We need to make this style of video and we’ve got to use Al-Qaeda’s footage. We need it to be 10 minutes long, and it needs to be in this file format, and we need to encode it in this manner.” Marines would then take CDs containing the videos while on patrol and plant them at various raid sites throughout the Iraq War. The CDs were encoded to play in RealPlayer, a video playing software that automatically links to the Internet upon opening. Once open, the US military could pinpoint the location of whoever was on the other end, and used this information to track terrorists. “If one is looked at in the middle of Baghdad … you know there’s a hit there,” Wells told the Independent. “If one, 48 hours or a week later shows up in another part of the world, then that’s the more interesting one, and that’s what they’re looking for more, because that gives you a trail.”
That’s one, seemingly uncontroversial purpose for the program. But considering the FBI’s interest in creating jihadists within the United States, not to mention the CIA’s longstanding collaboration with Wahabist/Salafist terror networks, including those directly funded by our friends in Saudi Arabia, I think it’s safe to say the State is up to something beyond simple tabs-keeping here.
For instance, the FBI was responsible for a 2015 shooting in Garland, Texas at a local “Draw Mohammed” event carried out by two apparent ISIS sympathizers. A text message sent to one of the shooters by an undercover agent a few days before the attack read, “Tear up Texas.” In fact, an FBI agent was at the scene as the shooting played out, though the FBI claim it was because he was in the middle of entrapping another potential jihadist across the street and had nothing to do with the Draw Muhammad attack. Apparently the feds didn’t have the foresight to consider had bad it would look for an agent to be so close to a terrorist attack his coworkers had put so much effort into creating yet apparently not “preventing” despite this being the official purpose of the FBI’s “entrapment” scheme.
The Pulse Nightclub Shooting in Orland, Florida took place a year after the Garland incident. While it isn’t confirmed that Omar Mateen had any contact with the FBI immediately before the shooting, his father certainly did: “Federal prosecutors revealed in court that Seddique Mateen had been a confidential FBI informant ‘at various points’ between January 2005 and June 2016, the month the shooting happened.The revelation raises questions about what Seddique Mateen was doing for the FBI and what the bureau knew about Omar’s plan.” On the other hand, the FBI “investigated” Mateen for 10 months beginning in 2013. Mateen was put, “on a terrorism watch list and interviewed twice before the probe was closed in March 2014 because agents concluded he was not a threat.” While working for G4S, which “provides security services to a slew of U.S. government agencies, including the State Department, Justice Department, U.S. Army and Air Force, and Department of Homeland Security”, Mateen, “underwent two instances of company screening and background checks – once when he was hired in 2007, and again in 2013.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a longtime investor in G4S, was forced to withdraw any interest in the company after it came under fire for “from rights advocates for providing services to Israeli prisons holding Palestinian detainees.” This was merely a public relations move to save face. The Gates Foundation had no problem with the long history of abuses perpetrated by Wackenhut, which G4S merged with in 2004.
As Recluse notes on VISUP: “Wackenhut was one of the trailblazers of the private security racket and has been a lightning rod for controversy decades before it became a part of G4S in 2004. It was originally founded in 1954 in Coral Gables, FL, by George Wackenhut, a former FBI man. While Wackenhut seems to have originally been founded as a private detective agency, it soon added guard services to its wares and soon thereafter its profile began to skyrocket.” Today the company is headquartered on Florida’s Jupiter Island, a longstanding outpost of the American bourgeoisie. Representatives of the Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and Grayson families all maintain homes there. As a 2000 profile reads:
“Hidden behind tall hedges, in seafront villas at the end of long driveways, quietly live some of the wealthiest families in the United States. Some names are found on discreet markers outside the gates. Those of other current and recent residents come straight from the pages of American history: Mellon, DuPont, Ford, Whitney, Field, Bush, Duke, Doubleday.
Sure, there is new money here, too. Singer Celine Dion and pro golfers Greg Norman and Nick Price have estates on this narrow barrier island, located about 50 miles north of Palm Beach. But most who have homes on Jupiter Island made their money the old- fashioned way: They inherited it.”
In 2019, the same year Donald Trump’s good friend Jeffrey Epstein allegedly killed himself in prison, a day spa in Jupiter was exposed as part of a prostitution and human trafficking ring that had “tentacles” in “New York to China, in Florida…to Orange County.” Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots and a “friend and political benefactor of President Donald Trump” was arrested for patronizing the Jupiter spa. The owner of this spa, Li Yang, “a self-made entrepreneur from China who started a chain of Asian day spas in South Florida” took a selfie with Donald Trump cheering on the New England Patriots Superbowl victory 19 days before Kraft was arrested. Yang’s connections to Trump don’t end with their shared affinity for the Patriots:
“Her social-media pages reportedly have numerous photos of her with Trump and his sons Eric and Donald Jr., as well as high-profile Republicans such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Kellyanne Conway, and Sarah Palin. She’s even reported to carry around a rhinestone MAGA purse.
She and her family are reported to have donated more than $42,000 to political action committee Trump Victory as well as a further $16,000 to the president’s campaign. She’s also been invited to the White House for an event hosted by the Asian American and Pacific Islander Initiative—an advisory group that Trump established by executive order.
Li was pictured in the crowd at the inauguration and has attended events at Mar-a-Lago, and even reportedly received a note from Trump and Melania in September 2018 that read: ‘Thank you for your friendship and dedication to our cause. Leaders like you in Florida are the key to fulfilling our bold agenda to Make America Great Again!’”
G4S merging with Wackenhut and choosing such a shady location for its headquarters makes sense when we consider some other aspects of Wackenhut’s history. According to John Connolly, after George Wackenhut bought out “three other former FBI agents” he’d started a Miami-based security company with in 1958, he became “a close ally of Florida governor Claude Kirk” and “was also friends with Senator George Smathers, an intimate of John F. Kennedy’s.” Wackenhut was also:
“…a hard-line right-winger. He was able to profit from his beliefs by building up dossiers on Americans suspected of being Communists or merely left-leaning-’subversives and sympathizers,’ as he put it-and selling the information to interested parties.
According to Frank Donner, the author of “Age of Surveillance”, the Wackenhut Corporation maintained and updated its files even after the McCarthyite hysteria had ebbed, adding the names of antiwar protesters and civil-rights demonstrators to its list of ‘derogatory types.’
By 1965, Wackenhut was boasting to potential investors that the company maintained files on 2.5 million suspected dissidents-one in 46 American adults then living. In 1966, after acquiring the private files of Karl Barslaag; a former staff member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Wackenhut could confidently maintain that with more than 4 million names, it had the largest privately held file on suspected dissidents in America.
In 1975, after Congress investigated companies that had private files, Wackenhut gave its files to the now-defunct anti-Communist Church League of America of Wheaton, Illinois. That organization had worked closely with the red squads of big-city police departments, particularly in New York and L.A., spying on suspected sympathizers; George Wackenhut was personal friends with the League’s leaders, and was a major contributor to the group. To be sure, after giving the League its files, Wackenhut reserved the right to use them for its clients and friends.”
By 1991, “a third of the company’s $600- million in revenues came from the federal government, and another large chunk from companies that themselves work for the government, such as Westinghouse.” It became the “largest single company supplying security to U.S. embassies overseas; several of the 13 embassies it guards have been in important hotbeds of espionage, such as Chile, Greece and El Salvador…It also guards nearly all the most strategic government facilities in the U.S., including the Alaskan oil pipeline, the Hanford nuclear-waste facility, the Savannah River plutonium plant and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.” Wackenhut’s board of directors has included “much of the country’s recent national-security directorate” such as former FBI director Clarence Kelley, former Defense secretary CIA deputy director Frank Carlucci, former Defense Intelligence Agency director General Joseph Carroll, former U.S. Secret Service director James J. Rowley, former Marine commandant P. X. Kelley, acting chairman of George HW Bush’s foreign- intelligence advisory board and former CIA deputy director Admiral Bobby Ray Inman. “Before his appointment as Reagan’s CIA director, the late William Casey was Wackenhut’s outside legal counsel.” Connolly argues that, due to the company’s extensive intelligence community connections, including carrying the “CIA’s water in fighting Communist encroachment in Central America in the 1980s”, Wackenhut essentially constitutes a “shadow CIA.” In addition, “Wackenhut employees seem to have a thing for indigenous paramilitaries”:
“In the late 1970s, TWC sought and obtained special permission from the Belgian government to operate there. By 1982, however, the company had succeeded in hiring several neo-Nazi thugs from Belgium’s notoriously violent and anti-Semitic Westland New Post. One such employee was Marcel Barbier, who Wackenhut assigned to guard a synagogue (!) on the Rue de la Regence in 1982. The synagogue mysteriously blew up on Barbier’s watch.
Ah, you may say, but Barbier was just a low-level employee. Unfortunately, [The Wackenhut Corporation’’s] local director for the city of Brussels turned out to be Jean-Francis Calmette, who both trained and armed members of the Westland New Post. Not surprisingly, some other like-minded TWC employees were caught luring immigrant children into basements and beating them…Wackenhut beat a hasty retreat out of Belgium shortly after these disclosures.”
Before I return to Wackenhut’s other infamous “low level employee”, I must mention the company’s involvement in the private prison industry. In 1984, “George Zoley presented the idea of a separate prison management company to Wackenhut founder George Wackenhut…Since its inception, Wackenhut Corrections has become one of the three largest private prison contractors in the nation, with 49 prisons in 13 states, as well as prisons in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and Canada. But the company cannot attribute its success solely to good business. Powerful lobbyists and political patronage have played a significant role in its ascent.” In the early 21st Century, Wackenhut Corrections became infamous after details of atrocious conditions present in its prisons came to light. This included numerous instances of sexual abuse and torture, including that of minors at juvenile detention facilities:
“In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., five guards at a Wackenhut work-release facility were fired or punished for having sex with prisoners in the summer of 1999. No charges were filed…In June 1999, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the company to turn over records to support allegations of sexual harassment and prisoner abuse in South Bay, but the case was settled confidentially.
On April 5, 2000, Wackenhut agreed to surrender control of its 15-month-old juvenile prison in Jena, Louisiana. That came a week after the U.S. Justice Department named Wackenhut in a lawsuit seeking to protect imprisoned boys from harm at the hands of guards and fellow prisoners. On March 30, 2000, the Justice Department added Wackenhut to its own civil rights lawsuit against Louisiana’s juvenile prisons. The government asked a federal judge in Baton Rouge to enjoin Wackenhut from using harsh behavior-control methods at the Jena Juvenile Justice Center. The government accused Wackenhut of beating boys, throwing tear gas indoors, spraying them in the face with pepper spray, and not providing them with adequate education and counseling.
But the biggest of Wackenhut’s scandals has occurred in Texas where Wackenhut was stripped of a $12 million-a-year contract in September 1999, and fined $625,000 for failing to live up to promises in the running of a state jail. Twelve former guards were indicted for having sex with female prisoners. Civil lawsuits were brought by women who claimed they had been raped in three Wackenhut prisons in Texas. Allegations of poorly staffed prisons and rampant sex behind bars have Wackenhut on the defensive.”
Even after Wackenhut Corrections rebranded as The GEO Group in 2004, its modus operandi remained: “a spreadsheet of lawsuits compiled by Private Corrections Working Group/Private Corrections Institute lists hundreds of lawsuits filed against GEO Group, many of which were settled before trial. The suits range from allegation of inmate death and abuse, excessive force, medical neglect as well as allegations of employment discrimination.” In 2014, well before ICE became notorious under the Trump administration for separating migrant children from their parents in concentration camps, the institution contracted the GEO Group to run “a large detention center holding hundreds of Central American women and children near San Antonio” where guards were alleged to have “took women from their cells at night and early in the morning to engage in sex acts…The women also have been subjected to demands for sexual favors in exchange for promises of money, help with immigration cases and shelter when and if they are released.” During the Trump era, GEO Group and other private prison corporations experienced a boom in profits as ICE handed them contract after contract to run its “detention facilities.”
Considering the FBI’s interest in both Mateen and his father, it’s not so surprising that Mateen grew up and lived in Port St. Lucie, less than thirty miles from Jupiter Island. Mateen’s father moved to Port St. Lucie from New York in 1991, after leaving Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan war. Interestingly, Mateen’s father “is listed as the sole member of the board of directors” of a nonprofit organization called the Provisional Government of Afghanistan.
It should also be noted that the Pulse Shooting itself mirrors the murky and macabre narrative in Uvalde in several respects. In June, 2018, survivors of the Pulse Shooting sued “the Orlando police officer who first exchanged fire with the Pulse nightclub shooter…along with 30 unnamed police officers, and the city of Orlando.” The survivors and their family members claimed that, “some officers stayed outside the club as the massacre took place and others detained uninjured survivors who were running away from gunfire, preventing them from calling their loved ones.” The lawsuit said “about 20 officers engaged with the shooter until it became a hostage situation when Mateen was holed up with patrons in a bathroom. Then the officers exited the building and didn’t return.” After officers finally reengaged Mateen, they fired 180 rounds inside of the building. While the State Attorney insisted none of these shots struck any civilians, it’s a fact worth reexamining how likely it now seems that the Uvalde cops are responsible for shooting some of the victims in Ramos’s rampage.
But what does intelligence community entrapment of Muslims have to do with the recent shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, one of which was committed by a white supremacist and the other by someone who, while obviously harboring violent feelings towards women and nihilistic tendencies in general, seems to have had no overtly political or religious motivation?
Fascism, Nihilism, and Mass Shootings
These days, if you say “Las Vegas shooting” just about everyone will immediately think of the the 2017 attack supposedly carried out solely by Stephen Paddock. But back in 2014 a much smaller-scale shooting took place in Las Vegas after a married couple, Jerad and Amanda Miller, killed two cops then shot up a Wal-Mart. While Paddock’s spree still has no official motive, the Millers were diehard supporters of the “Patriot movement”, at the time represented by Cliven Bundy, who they had The pair reportedly hung a Gadsen flag (IE the “Don’t Tread on Me” Snake) after murdering the two cops.
As Recluse notes here, the bourgeoisie and State apparatus of the USA has had a longstanding interest in enabling and, in some cases, outright creating various groups that compose the “Patriot movement.” For instance, when members of the Minutemen were implicated in arming anti-Castro Cubans in the wake of the Bay of Pigs debacle, they received little more than a slap on the wrist from the FBI. Peter Dale Scott notes in Deep Politics and the Death of JFK:
“Despite their involvement in illegal bomb-making and sabotage plots, Hoover did not see them as dangerous. In 1965 he told the California Senate committee that ‘little real evidence existed that the Minutemen are anything more than essentially a paper organization with just enough followers over the country so that they can occasionally attract a headline.’
Hoover’s remarks are consistent with his career of treating mob financed anti-Communist operators as supportive of, rather than inimical to, his notion of proper law enforcement. In this he was not alone. Mob-backed intelligence operations, such as the New Orleans branch of the Cuban Revolutionary Council, served the purposes of all U.S. interests which hoped to reverse Castro’s expropriation of their Cuban assets.”
The mid 1960s also saw the rise of Posse Comitatus, a prototype for the Patriot/White Power movement as it emerged in the 1990s. As Daniel Levitas points out in The Terrorist Next Door:
“…the FBI seemed to respect the constitutional rights of Posse members. Among other things, it closed investigations early – sometimes too early – as soon as it judged that the targeted individuals were engaged in constitutionally protected activity and were not planning any crimes…A more serious problems stemmed from the on-again, off-again investigative approach taken by local offices where agents – out of laziness, sympathy with right-wing groups, or concerns for career advancement – did not appear to take the Posse Comitatus very seriously.”
Levitas himself is giving the FBI too much leeway in emphasizing their laziness and concern for career advancement over sympathy with right wing groups. As I’ve written elsewhere, the FBI arose as the ultimate national consolidation of trends in American policing that emerged from hunting down escaped slaves in the South and ruthlessly breaking strikes while regimenting “vagrants” in the industrialized North. Hoover himself was a member of a college fraternity that openly declared sympathy for the Confederacy and is from the same family tree as the Ku Klux Klan. As the longest serving FBI director in history, Hoover predicated nearly all of his decisions on fighting communism and stopping black people from gaining a shred of dignity (much less liberation) in the United States. Contrary to popular histories claiming that the Bureau cracked down on “white nationalist and black nationalist” groups equally,FBI assets made up as much as 1/5th of the Klan’s ranks as it once again surged in popularity during the 60s. Deputy Associate Director James Adams, in testimony before the Church Committee, admitted that federal law enforcement had been “ineffective” against the Klan. Adams also argued that local law enforcement should be the primary tool used against groups like the Klan, “an argument immediately contradicted by his statements that local law enforcement officers had been ‘participating in Klan violence.’”
This trend doesn’t seem to have subsided. Since 2000:
“…law enforcement officials with alleged connections to white supremacist groups or far-right militant activities have been exposed in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and elsewhere. Research organizations have uncovered hundreds of federal, state, and local law enforcement officials participating in racist, nativist, and sexist social media activity, which demonstrates that overt bias is far too common. These officers’ racist activities are often known within their departments, but only result in disciplinary action or termination if they trigger public scandals.”
According to Vida B. Johnson:
“In 2014, three police officers of a 13-member all-white police department were discovered to be members of a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in Fruitland Park, Florida. These men were discovered because they were trying to recruit other officers to join them. In 2015, a lieutenant in the Anniston County Police Department in Alabama was fired for being a member of the League of the South, a southern hate group. (Another lieutenant was also a member but retired once his affiliation became publicized.) The membership was no secret to the department when the fired lieutenant was first hired, and in fact was “the subject of friendly jokes.” It was only once a story about his membership was highlighted by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch that he was eventually fired. A Lake Arthur, Louisiana police officer was fired after a photo of him surfaced on Facebook giving a Nazi salute next to a man in a white hood in 2015. Just last week, a different Louisiana police officer posted a depiction of a mother drowning her daughter in a bathtub with the caption: ‘when your daughter’s first crush is a little negro boy.’
Police with vile racist beliefs are not limited to the Deep South, as the recent incident in D.C. has shown. In 2016, an officer with the Philadelphia Police Department was found to have a white supremacist tattoo on his forearm. Four San Francisco police officers sent racist text messages to one another. A police officer in Metro Detroit called black citizens protesting at a rally “monkeys.” A police officer in the Price Police Department in Utah used the “n” word in a Facebook post. NYPD Detective Gregory Gordon made a Facebook comment in which he called New York Mayor Bill Deblasio’s black wife a “former crack addict.” The same officer also said that black people should stop complaining and “get over” slavery.
Bigoted police officers are not confined to the streets; some high-ranking officers have been responsible for spreading their appalling views throughout their departments. In 2015, the Clatskanie Chief of Police in Oregon resigned after being accused of calling black people “monkeys” in response to a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination. A Pennsylvania police chief used the “n” word in an email that suggested blacks in a particular neighborhood were illiterate. A police chief in New Jersey sent an email calling for racial profiling of blacks in white neighborhood. The Howard County Sheriff in Maryland often referred to black people as “n — — -rs” and called a Jewish county executive a “Jew-boy.” A 2017 report about the Chicago Police Department by the U.S. Department of Justice found that dozens of officers, including supervisors, made racist remarks and disparaging comments about African Americans, Muslims, and other minority groups.”
Throughout recent history, groups not unlike the Black Legions of the Depression era haved abounded in police departments across America. In March of this year, an independent oversight commission was formed to launch a “full scale investigation” into the Los Angeles Sheriff Department’s “deputy gangs.” All the way back in 1999, the LA Times released a report analyzing many of these gangs:
“The groups–with macho monikers like the Pirates, Vikings, Rattlesnakes and Cavemen–have long been a subculture in the country’s largest Sheriff’s Department and, in some cases, an inside track to acceptance in the ranks. Senior officers say they began with the creation of the Little Devils at the East Los Angeles station in 1971. Membership swelled in the 1980s at overwhelmingly white sheriff’s stations that were islands in black and Latino immigrant communities.
A federal judge hearing class-action litigation against the department described the most well-known of the groups, the Lynwood Vikings, as a ‘neo-Nazi, white supremacist gang’ and found that deputies had engaged in racially motivated hostility. The county paid $9 million in fines and training costs to settle the lawsuits in 1996…
…Although their total numbers are not known, the tattooed officers are found throughout department ranks. Many have risen to positions of leadership. Group members are said to be predominantly white and male, though Latino members are reportedly common. There are few black or female initiates, group members say…
…It was 1990 police misconduct litigation that first hurled the deputy clubs–and the Vikings–into the public eye.
The lawsuit, which asked the federal court to take over the Lynwood station, produced numerous accounts of ‘Animal House’-style thuggery. There were the deputies who shot a dog and tied it under their commanders’ car; the deputies who smeared feces on a supervisor’s engine. There was the map of Lynwood in the shape of Africa, the racist cartoons of black men, the mock ‘ticket to Africa’ on the wall.
U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter concluded that many deputies engaged in racially motivated hostility against blacks and Latinos. In 1996, the department was ordered to pay $7.5 million to 80 alleged victims of excessive force in the area policed by the Lynwood station, and spend $1.5 million for mandatory training…
…The 1992 Kolts Commission report on police brutality in Los Angeles said deputy ‘cliques’ like the Vikings were found ‘particularly at stations in areas heavily populated by minorities–the so-called ‘ghetto stations’–and deputies at those stations recruit persons similar in attitude to themselves.’”
An FBI memo from 2006 points that named white supremacist organizations not only exist within local police departments but the armed forces as well. This also briefly came to light in the 1990s, when a soldier named James Burmeister II was sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the 1995 murder of a black couple. Burmeister’s arrest prompted an internal Army investigation that exposed a large neo-Nazi organization within the 82nd Airborne Division. Keep in mind that as far back as the 1930s numerous high-ranking generals and military intelligence officers were working in cahoots with “White Russian” refugees from the Bolshevik Revolution to fund American fascist groups that would later influence the “Patriot movement.” As By the Reagan/Bush years, elements of the National Security establishment were openly working with neofascists. For instance, according to Russ Baker, when Roger Pearson, a Holocaust denier and close associate of the fascist Liberty Lobby founder Willis Carto, moved to Washington DC in 1975:
“Within a year his Council on American Affairs was sponsoring seminars and publishing monograms with persons such as Edwin Fuelner, president of the Heritage Foundation; Ray Cline, former CIA. deputy director; and others who would later become high officials of the Reagan Administration. His Council also became the US chapter of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), an international network including fascist, followers of the authoritarian Korean cult-leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon, and neo-Nazis.
Pearson became the editor of the American Security Council’s Journal of International Relations and served on the board of the ASC’s American Foreign Policy Institute. His journal co-editors were James Jesus Angleton, former CIA deputy director for counterintelligence, and Robert C. Richardson III, the retired Air Force general who worked in the Air Force’s Politico-Military covert operations branch….
Pearson was a member of the editorial board of Policy Review, the monthly Heritage Foundation magazine, during this period. In 1977, Heritage officials reciprocated, joining Pearson’s Journal of Social and Economic Studies. When Pearson decided to host the 1978 World Anti-Communist League (WACL) conference in Washington, DC., he was well established with American and European Nazi networks, as well as the far right of the Republican Party and the New Right. The WACL meeting was not a total success for Pearson, however. The Washington Post warned of ‘The Fascist Specter’ behind the WACL and highlighted the conference participation of an Italian fascist party, American neo-Nazis, and Pearson’s own racialist background. Pearson’s name soon disappeared from the Policy Review masthead. However, ASC president John Fisher, who addressed the WACL meeting, did not drop Pearson from the American Foreign Policy Institute board.”
Similar to its “infiltration” of the KKK in the 1960s and 1970s, the FBI launched an operation in the early 1990s to supposedly “disrupt” Patriot/White Power groups. By that time, groups like the Aryan Nations had developed a “sustained focus on recruiting veterans and active-duty military personnel.” One such group, The Order, was started by a Vietnam veteran named Louis Beam. Beam, who popularized the idea of “leaderless resistance” in the White Power movement, was inspired by the 1978 novel The Turner Diaries, which depicts a “fictional cabal carrying out acts of terrorism and eventually overthrowing the U.S. government in a bloody, nihilistic racial purge.”
Supposedly to “combat” The Order and similar groups, the FBI started its Patriot Conspiracy(PATCON) program by taking control of the Texas Light Infantry (TLI) in 1990. A year later, the Bureau decided to invent a white supremacist group of its own, the Veterans Aryan Movement: “According to their cover story, VAM members robbed armored cars, using the proceeds to buy weapons and support racist extremism. The lead agent was a Vietnam veteran with a background in narcotics, using the alias Dave Rossi.”
This “Dave Rossi” would later meet with Thomas Posey, the leader of an Alabama group known as Civilian Material Assistance (CMA). This group, originally named Civilian Military Assistance, had close ties to the American Security Council and the shadow network managing the Iran-Contra affair. As the New York Times reported in 1986, CMA was “one of the largest aid groups” utilized by the anticommunists in Reagan’s parallel government. That same year, the Sandinista government of Nicauragua arrested a member of CMA on suspicion of being a spy, although Posey insisted that the man had only been a member for a brief time.
According to Kathleen Belew, at the same time CMA was working for the government as a subcontractor on Iran-Contra:
“Nineteen CMA members in camouflage fatigues left Tucson, Arizona, to patrol the Lochiel Valley, three miles north of the border and thirty miles east of Nogales… Armed with semiautomatic weapons and night vision goggles, the patrol members ventured two and a half miles into Mexico before returning to the United States. There, they set booby traps for, fired upon, and stopped two vehicles transporting undocumented immigrants.
They detained sixteen men, women, and children, forcing them to stand at gunpoint for ninety minutes with their legs spread and their hands over their heads. (These are stress positions designed to hurt people, by the way.) The U.S. legal system broadly failed to respond to the CMA incident, which theoretically constituted both kidnapping and a violation of the Neutrality Act. The undocumented immigrants detained by CMA were immediately deported.Then the Cochise County attorney, Alan Polley, decided not to prosecute the CMA mercenaries. Before being elected county attorney, Polley had served as defense attorney for three men accused of torturing, robbing, beating, and shooting at three undocumented immigrants trespassing on their ranch in 1976, in the Hanigan Case.”
Thus, by the time PATCON emerged, an established relationship with the real managers of the State bureaucracy and Civilian Military Assistance. “Posey repurposed CMA as a Patriot militia and began reaching out to like-minded organizations with an eye toward forging a Patriot alliance….” The pretext for exponential growth in PATCON’s budget was an offer from Posey to sell the FBI-created Veterans Aryan Movement a handful of Stinger missiles leftover from his days of helping the Contras. However, once PATCON’s budget had “ballooned” Posey claimed he had already sold the missiles to someone else. Pretty convenient, no?
With help from Posey, “Rossi secured an introduction to John Grady, head of the Tennessee-based American Pistol and Rifle Association (APRA), a militant version of the National Rifle Association that the FBI suspected of training and advising white supremacists. Through multiple informants and Rossi, the FBI again compiled an alarming list of leads, including reports that Grady was part of Posey’s Patriot alliance and that APRA had deployed six-man teams around the country to carry out acts of terrorism and infrastructure sabotage.”
Meanwhile, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, after winning a seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1989, started to reach out to young neofascist skinheads such as Frankie Meeink “a South Philly street tough running his own Nazi-skinhead gang in the early 90s.” Duke and his cronies introduced Meeink to the concept of “ghost skinning” the goal of which is to, “to join normal society and normalize white-supremacist beliefs.” Several members of Meeink’s crew became police officers in the name of “ghost skinning”, inspired by cops who would, according to Meeink, “say things like, ‘I understand where you’re coming from. I listen to Rush Limbaugh.’” Duke’s father, after working as an engineer for Shell Oil and trekking the globe in that capacity for years, later joined the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which has been all but proven to be a front for the CIA. In 1966, just as the US military was turning Southeast Asia into a testing ground for DARPA and the RAND Corporation, Duke’s father was sent to Laos by USAID.
In 1995, the types of white supremacist, “libertarian” and “Patriot” organizations that the FBI was “spying” on, would come to the fore after the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. According to the official narrative, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols plotted and executed this bombing all by themselves, with some tangential help from Michael and Lori Fortier. McVeigh himself soon became the mastermind in mainstream media depictions of the bombing and was turned into a comic book villain in much the same way as Lee Harvey Oswald or Sirhan Sirhan. What’s often left out of this story is that the 1992 standoff at Ruby Ridge, which McVeigh’s defense attorney called “the defining moment in [McVeigh’s] life that impelled him to act against the government” involved a PATCON agent.
By 1993, McVeigh, a Gulf War veteran, had become a nomad, visiting gun shows across the country. At a Fort Lauderdale stop, he met “self-made” millionaire Roger Moore, who had been involved with Posey’s CMA for years by the time he met McVeigh. Moore would invite McVeigh to visit his ranch. After traveling to Waco during the ATF/FBI siege of the Branch Davidian compound, McVeigh made his way to Tulsa, where he met Andreas Strassmeir. Strassmeir, who was an associate of the Texas Light Infantry at the same time it was being incorporated into PATCON, lived in Elohim City, a white supremacist commune of sorts and a major node in the Patriot Movement network of the 1990s. Strassmeir, whose father was the Chief of Staff to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and grandfather was a co-founder of the original National Socialist Workers Party, was responsible for training all Elohim City residents, including children, in the use of weapons. He likely got the job thanks to his experience in West Germany as a military intelligence officer during the Cold War.
According to Pete Simi and Robert Futrell’s American Swastika:
“Founded in 1973, Elohim City is the oldest major racialist community still operating in the United States. Robert Millar moved to the United States from Canada in the 1950s and organized 18 Christian Identity members to build a settlement on 400 acres near Muldrow, Oklahoma, an isolated and mountainous area along the Oklahoma-Arkansas border. Millar and his followers planned an insular Christian Identity community. They named it Elohim City, or ‘City of God’ while waiting for the Rapture.
…Elohim City believes devoutly in racial separatism. Prior to his death in 2001, Millar preached separatism as a strategy to avoid conflict and strengthen bloodlines and kinship ties among ‘true, pure Aryans.’ Millar’s son John now leads the community and continues his father’s emphasis on racial separatism.
The community includes a sawmill, trucking company, K-12 school, church, community medical service, armed patrol unit, and construction firm, which financially supports the community. Elohim City members begin each day with a Pentecostal-type church service that may last several hours. Recreational activities are exclusively community events. The entire community, including children, participates in parties, picnics, canoe trips, and even socializing…
.. extremist groups to which Elohim City members have ties include Aryan Nations, the Aryan People’s Republic, and White Aryan Resistance. Mark Thomas, former Pennsylvania minister for the Aryan Nations, who hosted meetings of neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other white racist groups on his Pennsylvania farm, helped organize the Aryan Republican Army and arrange for several of its members to live at Elohim City. Cheyne and Chevie Kehoe, who founded the small but violent Aryan People’s Republic, reportedly sought refuge at Elohim City. Dennis Mahone, a former imperial dragon in the Oklahoma Ku Klux Klan and an organizer for White Aryan Resistance, kept a trailer at Elohim City.”
Elohim City also has ties to Posse Comitatus, The Order, and the Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord (CSA). In other words, a seemingly strange place for the son of a former Parliamentary Secretary of State, nephew of a member of the German Parliament and whose brother sat on the Berlin City Council to take a job as chief of security after giving up a military career in his homeland and immigrating to the United States. Is it possible he was working something bigger than his own apparent commitment to America’s Far Right?
As Wendy S. Painting writes in Aberrations in the Heartland of the Real:
“Elohim City had only one telephone that was shared by the entire community. Residents there remembered that on April 5, 1995, two weeks before the bombing, McVeigh called looking for Strassmeir. McVeigh, Strassmeir, the FBI and prosecutors maintained that the two met once at a Tulsa gun show, two years earlier, in April 1993, at which point Strassmeir invited McVeigh, who introduced himself as ‘Tim Tuttle,’ to the community. Then, on April 17 and again on April 18, McVeigh called CAUSE, the racist legal organization that represented Strassmeir. Although an FBI memo dated April 20, 1995, the day after the bombing, stated ‘it is suspected that members of Elohim City are involved [in the bombing] either directly or indirectly through conspiracy,’ no real investigation into these links was conducted and Strassmeir was questioned only by telephone and only after he had been allowed to leave the country and return to Germany.”
Painting also notes the claims of Carol Howe:
“…a paid informant for the ATF and the FBI, who from June 1994 until March 1995 had infiltrated [Elohim City], the ARA and other groups in an ATF investigation deemed ‘SIGNIFICANT/SENSITIVE,’ meaning it had potential national security implications. Howe, who became deeply embedded within the community of extremists, filed over 70 reports with her ATF handlers and, on numerous occasions, warned them about an impending attack on April 19, the anniversary of the fire at Waco, and named Andreas Strassmeir and some of the ARA bank robbers (among others) as conspirators. In one report (submitted prior to the OKC bombing) Howe specifically named the Murrah Federal Building as one of three possible targets for a bombing being considered by the conspirators and reported she had, on three occasions, accompanied them to scout out the Murrah. She passed all of the seventeen polygraph tests the ATF had given her to substantiate her information.”
As Painting writes in a footnote:
“Howe had originally been retained as an informant to spy on her ex boyfriend, KKK and White Aryan Resistance (WAR) organizer, Dennis Mahon, who often stayed at EC and happened to be a close friend of Andreas Strassmeir. Howe addressed her reports to her handler, ATF Agent Angela Finley. Finley’s first report summarizing Howe’s information, dated August 30, 1994, states that ‘WAR has approximately 20-25 active, 50 non active and 200 underground members locally. The primary training location is called Elohim City…Mahon and his organization are preparing for a race war and war with the government in the near future and it is believed that they are rapidly stockpiling weapons.’ Howe, as instructed, and despite the fact that the known penalty for informants was death, strengthened her association with, and continued her infiltration of EC, eventually becoming fully integrated into the community. In Finley’s report based on Howe’s information, dated November 29, 1994, Finley stated that Strassmeir and his EC crew were actively discussing plans to take ‘direct actions and [conduct] operations [against the government] such as assassinations, bombings, and mass shootings.’”
According to Jacyln Schildkraut and Jaymi H. Elsass, mass murder has generally “been characterized as occurring in the United States in two waves.” “The first occurred in the 1920s and 1930s, and mainly included acts of familicide,” the pair note in Mass Shootings: Media, Myths, and Realities. “The second wave began in the 1960s, and was on a considerably larger scale than the first….the second wave also was characterized by more public mass shootings, beginning with the 1966 Tower shooting at the University of Texas. In the years following, and growing more apparent after 1980, public mass shootings have captured the attention of news consumers across the nation. These events often are considered to be more newsworthy than general homicide or even mass murder more broadly, despite only accounting for less than 1 percent and 15 percent of each, respectively.”
By the time of the Columbine Massacre in 1999, mass shootings and the cycle of hysterical media coverage succeeding them had become a modern American ritual. In the second half of the 1990s alone, “other shootings in public schools had occurred in cities across the country, including (but not limited to) Moses Lake, Washington (1996); Bethel, Alaska (1997); Pearl, Mississippi (1997); West Paducah, Kentucky (1997); Jonesboro, Arkansas (1998); and Springfield, Oregon (1998). With each passing event, the public became increasingly aware of random episodes of lethal violence in schools, but still acknowledged that these institutions were among the safest places for children to be.” This all changed with Columbine, both in
terms of the shooting itself and media representation of it.
“Prior to the attack,” Ralph W. Larkin writes, “school shootings involved a lone and deranged student or former student bringing a gun to school and shooting at teachers for real or imagined humiliations…In none of these cases did the assailants plan to blow up the school. None engaged in long-term planning, collected explosives and weaponry, employed diversionary tactics, reconnoitered their school, tested their weaponry or thought about killing hundreds of students, devising ways that would maximize the destruction.” As Larkin notes, Eric Harris’s footprint on the early Web seemed to point to his affinity for Neo-Nazi Skinhead culture. Harris made statements on his site such as, “The holocaust never happened, but it would have been cool if it had” “Hitler was an old school goth! He did not die in vain! Neither shall I” and “Littleton, Colorado, isn’t a great place to grow up as a white boy. If I had my druthers, I’d be anywhere else at all, even in some place with lots of malt-liquor drinking, rhyme-busting, ass-capping Negroes and perhaps a few squinty-eyed, dog eating Chinese people!”
Larkin notes that Harris and Kleibold adopted noms de guerre, and formed an “underground collective.” Harris described it as a “gang” saying on a Quake forum that, “We plan and execute missions. Anyone who pisses us off, we do a little deed on their house…We have many enemies in our school, therefore we make many missions. It is sort of a nighttime tradition for us.” Recent histories often emphasize the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office conclusion that while Harris and Kleibold were friendly with a group of students known as the Trenchcoat Mafia, they weren’t a core part of the group. However, this appears to be an oversimplification. Eric Harris wrote the following on his website:
“We of the Trenchoat Mafia still march around, military-style in our trenchcoats, especially in the school hallways, honing and developing our master plan. We will conquer the entire world once we get a few things straight and make our bombs!…Our master plan is to kill at least 500 people at our local high school, besiege the local neighborhood, seize the airport, and then crash a plane full of jocks and cheerleaders into the Pentagon.”
A Guardian report published two days after the Massacre notes that the group was originally called “The Anachronists” and that the name “Trenchcoat Mafia” was originally a derogatory term “given to them by the jocks because of their habit of wearing long black trench coats whatever the weather, indoors and out.” According to The Guardian:
“Although members of the clique are generally the brighter students, they hold bizarre beliefs to signify their rejection of mainstream society. In their yearbook entry, 13 students described themselves as members beside the message: ‘Who says insanity is crazy? Insanity is healthy.’
For many that has not gone beyond a teenage fascination with the occult, but for the more extreme members, it includes an obsession with guns, mutilation, death and Hitler born out of strong neo-Nazi sympathies. Members often wear T-shirts with far-right insignia…Within this clique, Harris and Klebold remained slightly aloof from the rest, and were regarded as holding the most extreme views.”
Larkin portrays the more radical elements of the Trenchcoat Mafia, including Harris and Klebold, as the aftershock of a 1990s phenomena he calls “The Revolt of the Angry White Male” which started with the 1992 standoff at Ruby Ridge, culminated in the 1996 destruction of the Murrah Building, and found something of a bookend in the Columbine Massacre. For Larkin, while there was, “no direct link between Harris and Klebold and the movement of the Angry White Male, there is a cultural affinity between them.”
This next detail must be taken with a grain of salt, as the source is an unnamed “pal” of Harris and Klebold speaking to the tabloid the National Enquirer. However, with Larkin’s research as context and in light of the more explicit connections to neofascism subsequent mass shooters have possessed, I feel that it is worth mentioning. According to the friend, Harris and Klebold started “hanging out in chatrooms such as Rise of the Whites and Whites for Violence.” He claims that, “For the first time in their lives, they felt like they belonged to something. They said, ‘These are our brothers now!’ They became white supremacists. They started talking about how cool Hitler was and how cool the Nazis were. Instead of just agreeing with someone they would say ‘Heil Hitler!’”
According to the Enquirer source he built a site for Harris that Brooks Brown ”who Dylan would warn away from Columbine just minutes before the attack” brought to the attention of his father after Harris and Klebold posted Brown’s address on the site and encouraged readers to “prank him.” This and other incidents between the boys prompted Brown’s father to contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office on March 18, 1998, a year before the massacre. One month later, Judy Brown told police that her son had received even more threats via e-mail, although the sender was never confirmed as Harris. “Despite the fact that Brooks’ parents filed a complaint with the police, nothing was done at the time. The report files were subsequently ‘lost’ during the Columbine investigation…”
Police response to Columbine was almost identical to Uvalde and the Pulse Shooting. For starters an “all call” bulletin was put out by the press asking all EMS personnel near Columbine respond to the scene. “This action was unauthorized and unneeded. As a result, a large influx of volunteers, some from as far as two hours away, began to converge upon the high school. This in turn gave responders an additional and unneeded logistic problem to deal with.” Secondly, a police sniper almost shot and killed a paramedic: “At 12:12 p.m. a police sniper deployed about a quarter mile away observed Training 10 and considered him a suspicious person because he appeared to be wearing a black trench coat with something (a radio) in his hand. The sniper was given the ‘green light’ to fire. Fortunately, two police officers were very close to Training 10 and forced him to the ground at gunpoint until his identity could be established. Had they not been close by, it is likely Training 10 would have been shot.” One particularly strange incident at the scene came when an unidentified “physician” composed a team of the volunteers who had responded to the all call bulletin and entered the school against police orders not to:
“At approximately 4:00 p.m., command began to establish an all-volunteer team of paramedics to enter the school to “pronounce” the dead. This “task force” was to be equipped with ballistic armor and would be accompanied by SWAT and EOD personnel. Unfortunately, prior to deployment, the physician, on his own initiative, assembled a team of on-scene paramedics to search the school with him. At 4:45 p.m., against orders from law enforcement and fire commands, the physician and his ad-hoc team entered the school to pronounce the dead. Their personal safety, as well as that of all emergency responders who were still on the scene, was jeopardized by these actions. As a consequence of the unauthorized entry, one of the medics went on short-term disability leave after the incident due to post-traumatic stress. There should be clearly written policies describing the authority given to ‘outside experts’ under the ICS. These policies should include actions to be taken should the expert ‘overstep’ their bounds.’”
One police report contradicts this account somewhat, claiming that coroners were, for reasons that remain unexplained, not allowed to enter the building until the next morning.
There are other strange discrepancies in the police response. At least one victim, teacher Dave Sanders, died because police ignored him until it was too late. But Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were already dead before SWAT breached the building. As a Washington Post article from the time points out:
“Following instructions, police moved methodically through the building, evacuating students instead of racing through the corridors in search of the gunmen. But that meant that hours would pass before SWAT teams reached a critically wounded teacher on the second floor…dozens of interviews with officers and others on the scene make it clear that police faced a range of critical problems, from the lack of a common radio channel to the quandary of how to handle hundreds of terrified students…
…Others have asked why SWAT teams inside the building were not told about Sanders’s plight, despite telephone calls from a student in the science room and the window sign warning that someone was perilously wounded. Lakewood police said when they saw the sign they asked to go in to rescue the victim, but were told by the commander in charge that two other police departments were already in that part of the building.
Finally, why didn’t police simply storm through the building until they found Harris and Klebold? While police were hampered by numerous problems, a slow initial response was not among them.”
For instance, a deputy assigned to the school was patrolling nearby when a custodian alerted him to report explosions and shooting. “Three minutes later, Gardner was exchanging gunfire with Harris and Klebold near a building entrance beside the library…Gardner radioed for help at 11:29 a.m. and within minutes, seven county deputies had arrived and were rescuing injured students from the parking lot.” However, after a “command post” had been established by SWAT, the Jefferson County police decided to send in police from numerous jurisdictions which, “introduced one of the day’s most critical challenges – the lack of a common radio channel police could use to talk to one another.” Furthermore, “information that reached the early SWAT officers was conflicting. They were told at one point that they should be looking for more than two shooters and perhaps as many as six. The suspects, they were told, might have changed clothes to blend in with fleeing students.” (For more on the potential help Harris and Klebold had in carrying out the attack, see here)
There is also the eerie story of a group supposedly related to the Trench Coat Mafia known as “The Splatterpunks.” Three members of this group were detained after the shooting on April 20th. Resident Cork Chicota told the police that this group, consisting of three teenage boys dressed similarly to Harris and Klebold, approached him as he was observing the crisis through binoculars outside his workplace. Chicocta alleges that the boys claimed to have known something bad was going to happen at the school and that when he remarked upon how awful the shooting was one of the Splatterpunks stated, “Yeah, but they’re getting even.”
A reddit user detailed many of the strange goings-on, some of which involve the Splatterpunks, before the shooting, here. The user made sure to cite their information by putting where in the 11,000 pages of Columbine Government Documents it came from by placing the page number in parentheses:
“…the Splatter Punks were Matt Nalty, Matt Akard, and Jim Brunetti. They were apparently associates of Eric but didn’t go to Columbine, and they later denied knowing either Eric or Dylan. After their arrests, they claimed that they had been driving around and heard a report about the shooting on the radio, which prompted them to drive to Columbine. According to Sheriff Stone, there had not yet been any information about the shooting broadcast by radio at the time they claimed to have heard it. They were quickly released by police (although their alibis revolve around them being in the company of each other or close family) after they were cleared of having any involvement in the shooting.
Matt Nalty used to live in the area (c. 1991), and possibly even attended Columbine before going to Pomona High School (pg 7,465). He was driving that day and didn’t seem to have any trouble finding Columbine, so it’s possible that he was well acquainted with the school and knew the area well.
All three Splatter Punks attended Pomona High School, which was evacuated for a bomb threat on 4/28 (however, no bombs were found) (pg 14,389). Investigator Duane Eaton of Arvada PD received numerous tips that the Splatter Punks were planning a similar attack to Columbine at Pomona High School (pg 7,549). On 4/17, two Pomona High School students were arrested with explosives (pg 17,824), but their names are redacted so it is unknown whether or not they were the Splatter Punks. Matt Akard in particular allegedly made remarks about wanting to blow up jocks in September or October of 1998. Apparently Brian Anderson was interviewed on KOA Radio and said that the Splatter Punks were involved in the delivery of pipe bombs, but I was not able to find a source for this so I’m not sure if it’s true.”
There are many, many other bizarre parts of the Columbine story that usually get left out of mainstream accounts. But the last one I would like to bring up here is the possible connection between Harris, Klebold, and a man named Bill White.
White’s ideological beliefs are, on their surface, contradictory but essentially boil down to an anarchistic strain of white supremacy. In the 1990s White spent a lot of time online promoting his views online, including on his now-defunct “overthrow.com.” According to an article by Sarah Tippet that is now lost (I had to rely on the Wikipedia entry’s reference) an FBI report on White’s website stated, “[t]here are so many parallels between the Web site’s message and the April 20 massacre in Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, that some police hate-crime experts say privately it is not inconceivable that the two teen-age gunmen in that case visited the site.”
White said of Harris and Klebold: “the reason [Columbine victims] got killed is that they are part of an authoritarian social movement and were seen by the killers as symbolic of that movement … What the shooters were shooting at was not people but the movements they symbolized.”
Tippet claims that White would not confirm or deny whether a Colorado chapter of his Utopian Anarchist Party existed. There remains no substantial evidence that there did, nor that Harris or Klebold ever visited White’s website. However, it is worth noting that Dylan Klebold reportedly wrote a class paper arguing that “extolled” Charles Manson. When put in context of Harris and Klebold’s interests in the white power underground of the 1990s and also their love of industrial music, it isn’t so far-fetched to think this particular opinion may have evolved from the work of Nikolas Schreck and his wife Zeena, the daughter of Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey, who blended the occult elements of LaVeyean Satanism with an “ironic” neofascism in much the same way as their friend and frequent collaborator Boyd Rice. The three formed an art collective known as Radio Werewolf which put on a pro-Manson rally in 1988:
“Throughout, ominous organ drones and militant drumbeats devolve into discord, a cacophony of noise with a ‘dominant frequency’ running through it. The music, Radio Werewolf raconteur Nicholas Schreck said later that evening, ‘is designed to awaken primordial instincts’ and take control of the masses through the ‘dominant frequency.’
‘For us, the ’60s were a decade of corruption, a final culmination of Judeo-Christian rottenness,’ says Rice, who at the time was based out of San Francisco. ‘The ’60s were murdered, but its vestiges remained. We must annihilate its traces, branch and root, we must purge them from our life, and purge them from life itself. This is our sacred duty’…
…’We understand that you and all of your wretched kind must be placed and corralled like cattle in order to protect the undefiled from your … evangelism,’ Nicholas Schreck, the sort of leader of the group, tells the audience.
This rally was repetitive, ritualized, the culmination of years of ‘youth rallies’ staged throughout California by Schreck and Radio Werewolf, the collective named after the propaganda outlet made by Joseph Goebbels toward the end of World War II…
…When asked by an interviewer about the rally’s evocations of Nazi Germany, Rice replied, ‘What appeals to us about the SS or the Nazis and what we feel we have in common with it is order, bringing things back to order.’ He went so far as to liken Hitler to an ‘occultist trying to bring about a pagan revival.’
‘We need to bring power back to the powerful,’ he adds during the interview. ‘We need the slaves to be enslaved again, and not be slaving over us, not be ruling over us.’
(A year later, Rice was photographed in a uniform for the white supremacist group American Front with San Francisco-based founder Bob Heick for the now-defunct teen magazine Sassy. He was also interviewed on a TV show by former Ku Klux Klan leader Tom Metzger, himself a guest on Rivera’s talk show.)
During their interview, Schreck makes it a point to ‘recognize National Socialism as one of the few times in the 20th century that humanity’s full potential has been unleashed.’”
Six years after Columbine, a school shooting would rock Red Lake High School. As Roxanne Dunbar-Oritz writes in Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment: “At the height of the US military and mercenary killing in Iraq, in March 2005, conjuring memories of nineteenth-century wars against Native peoples, a sixteen-year old Anishinaabe citizen created his own war in the Red Lake Nation, located in the far north of what is today the state of Minnesota.” This sixteen year old, Jeffrey Weise, displayed an online footprint similar to that of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, with a not insignificant interest in neofascism. As Jodi A. Byrd noted, “in Minnesota, one finds the headquarters for the National Socialist Movement (America’s second-largest neo-Nazi organization)...in the months before the Red Lake shooting, communities in and around the Twin Cities saw a rise in Nazi flyers after a Hmong man was accused of killing six white hunters in Wisconsin.” On an online forum frequented by neo-Nazis, Weise, who used the pen names “Angel of Death” and “NativeNazi”, wrote of starting a neo-Nazi movement on the reservation composed of other students who shared his ideals: “The only ones who oppose my views are the teachers at the high school, and a large portion of the student body who think a Nazi is a Klansman, or a White Supremacist thug. Most of the Natives I know have been poisoned by what they were taught in school.”
By the late 2010s, mass shootings for either political or nihilistic reasons became a media sensation. However, while the media often portrayed these individuals as merely deranged, several of these shooters can be linked to a larger wave of Far Right violence that took place throughout the decade. As Recluse notes:
- Jared Lee Loughner, the Tuscon shooter who murdered six people while trying to assassinate Democrat Gabrielle Giffords, was a major conspiracy buff and an Alex Jones fan
- Serial killer Israel Keyes, who had been active since the late 1990s, was a Christian Identity follower with ties to Elohim City, the white supremacist compound long linked to the Oklahoma City bombing
- As noted here before, Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza’s mother was an uber gun enthusiastic and actively engaged in survivalist culture
- The Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting, which left six dead (seven counting the shooter), was committed by white supremacist Wade Michael Page
- Tom Clements, the head of the Colorado Department of Corrections, was assassinated by a member of the white supremacist 211 Crew gang; the event was surrounded by bizarre circumstances…
- former White Patriot Party head and Klansman Frazier Glenn Miller was…arrested for murdering three people during the Overland Park Jewish Community Center shooting; Miller was a “former” government informant who was instrumental in derailing the Federal government’s Fort Smith Sedition Trail that would have put many of the heads of Patriot movement behind bars; he’s also suspected of committing several murders in the 1980s
- In March of 2014 a sovereign citizen was killed during a shootout with police in Ohio
- the son of a sovereign citizen murdered two Alaska State Troopers in May of this year when they tried to arrest his father
- Nearly 100 hate crime murders have been linked to Stormfront, the Internet’s premier white supremacist website
In Recluse’s opinion, “the modern day Patriot movement is displaying striking similarities to the Freecorps movement that emerged in Germany in the wake of the First World War and was instrumental in the rise of Nazism.” Indeed, the Freikorps movement at its peak was composed largely of World War One veterans, nearly 40% of America’s mass shooters are veterans of the United State’s own recent imperialist aggressions.
Furthermore, as we’ve seen, various neofascist paramilitary groups recruit heavily from the Armed Forces and the police, sometimes even existing within said institutions. A leaked membership list of the Oath Keepers, one of the main participants in the January 6th, 2020 “insurrection” on Capitol Hill, showed over 160 U.S. military, government email addresses including those of the US Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps on the groups e-mail rolls. “Federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Aviation Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration are represented in the data as well. One domain even originates from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, a Department of Energy lab that helped design nuclear weapons during World War 2.” A leader of the Oath Keepers has also claimed that, “We have active-duty law enforcement in our organization that are helping to train us. We can blend in with our law enforcement.”
We can also see the similarities in the philosophy of the Freikorps and the modern “Alt-Right” militias and 4chan nihilist school shooters. As Robert GL Waite wrote:
“‘When we probe into the make-up of the [Free Corps fighter] we can find all the elements which ever played a role in German history except one: the burgerlich. And that is only natural because the peculiar experience of these men… had forged them into one single force of consuming destructiveness. Their purpose could only be accomplished by the emphatic renunciation of what they felt most strongly to be the falsification of true German substance. The spirit of the past centuries [i.e., of bourgeois-liberalism] had not been able to meet the uniquely severe test – that of the hardness of war. This is why the warrior, of necessity, despised the whole system which the spirit had created. The task required of him was not only to build up a new spirit… More than that. The task required… that all ballast, all sentimentalism, all other values must be ruthlessly cast aside so that this whole strength could be set free… Ecstasy and death, tumult and adventure, heroism and excess, cold deliberation and burning idealism, robbery and plundering, arson and murder – a mixture of every passion and demoniacal fury formed… the fighters who dominated the postwar period.’
The memoirs left by the fighters of the Free Corps movement are a veritable hymn of hate directed against the Weimar Republic, which was the symbol and hence the target of the revolt against bourgeois society…”
On August 8, 2018, CNN reported on a New Mexico compound prosecutors claimed was being used as a training ground for school shooters. The defendants in this particular incident were Muslim, so you would think that we’d have never heard the end of how some evil Arabs were using America’s own beautiful deserts to destroy “our freedom” or “our democracy.” Yet the story, which came at a peak of the mass shooting phenomenon of the 2010s, simply vanished, as did another from the year prior wherein a family accused the FBI of slowly but surely turning their disturbed son into a far right sycophant through the same mechanisms described by the Buffalo shooter. Just recently an article in Rolling Stone examined the tactics of Joshua Caleb Sutter, a member of the notorious Neo-Nazi cult The Order of the Nine Angels and a paid FBI informant since 2004:
“Once confined to the most obscure occultism, ‘O9A’ ideology has spread like wildfire via the internet and the global fascist resurgence of the 2010s. Its cells, known as ‘nexions,’ have cross-pollinated with the millenarian neo-Nazi worldview popularized by the wannabe 21st-century Tim McVeighs of the Atomwaffen Division, a group of American extremists who celebrated the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, venerated terrorists like Anders Breivik and psychopaths like Charles Manson, and have been connected to five murders and numerous bomb plots…
…Independent journalist Nate Thayer surfaced communications between Sutter and another satanist wherein Sutter labeled himself “Master of the Tempel,” and Hoy the “Blood-Mistress,” and outlined his intention to radicalize followers through repeated exposure to lurid material and texts to the point of desensitization. It’s the equivalent of creating human IEDS: people who are wired for violence and disconnected enough from morality that they have no compunction about abuse, torture, pedophilia, or any of the other practices outlined in the Tempel ov Blood texts.
‘This Tempel is in many ways a social programming experiment,’ Sutter has written. ‘While we do create fanatics, we must make the ‘fake’ adherents entries look as if it is obviously their will and good for them to serve the ToB. It has to be subtle. In the later stages it becomes more overt and at that point is too late for them to change. They become so alienated from humanity that, well, haha, if they tried to go back they will still cause so much disruption.’”
One of the most newsworthy shootings of the late 2010s was the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre carried out by Nikolas Cruz. This shooting surpassed Columbine as the deadliest high school shooting in US history and prompted the creation of the March for Our Lives “movement.” Like so many of these shooters, Cruz was deeply invested in white supremacist ideology:
“In a private Instagram group chat, confessed school shooter Nikolas Cruz repeatedly espoused racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic views and displayed an obsession with violence and guns…
Racism was a constant theme in the chat group, which was called “Murica (American flag emoji) (eagle emoji) great” – a name it was given by Cruz. The hatred he and others in the group espoused met little resistance from its active members. In one part of the group chat, Cruz wrote that he hated, ‘jews, ni**ers, immigrants.’
He talked about killing Mexicans, keeping black people in chains and cutting their necks. There are hundreds of racist messages, racist memes and racist Instagram videos posted in the group. One member even joked about Cruz’s particular venomousness, saying that although he hated black people, too, he didn’t ‘to a point I wanna kill the (sic) like nick.’
Cruz said he hated black people simply because they were black; Cruz hated Jews because he believed they wanted to destroy the world. After one member expressed hatred for gay people, Cruz agreed, saying, ‘Shoot them in the back of head.’ White women drew Cruz’s hatred as well, specifically those in interracial relationships, whom he referred to repeatedly as traitors.”
After the shooting, the Anti-Defamation League claimed they had credible information linking Cruz to the Republic of Florida (ROF), a white nationalist group. This part of the story becomes confusing however, with no real evidence for or against being presented by either side and with ROF leader Jordan Jereb changing his story.
At first, Jereb allegedly told the ADL that Cruz was “associated” with the group but claimed that they had “not ordered or wanted Cruz to do anything like the school shooting.” Then, after the cops and “researchers” such as Joan Donovan who tracks “disinformation campaigns” for the New York based think tank Data and Society, said otherwise Jereb claimed his initial statements were a “misunderstanding” and that he had fallen victim to a “prank.” One Politico article claims the entire thing was a hoax devised by 4chan trolls, but yet again, there is nothing to go on except the words of the trolls themselves, with the initial thrust of the “disinformation campaign” stemming from posters who claimed to have known Cruz then saying they were just joking. There’s also the fact that Jereb, in the weeks before Cruz’s shooting, praised Swedish Neo-Nazi terrorist Anders Breivik and posted a diagrammed strategy for using the Republic of Florida militia to create “lone wolf activists” on Gab.
Police response to the Stoneman Douglas shooting was criticized in much the same way as in Uvalde. The officer assigned to the campus, despite making $75,000 a year for his trouble, apparently felt no incentive to even once fire his weapon. Sgt. Brian Miller, paid nearly $200,000 by the precinct in 2017, heard three or four gunshots upon his early arrival at the school, yet hid behind his car and waited at least ten minutes to go on radio. Miller claimed he was hindered by the sheriff office’s “overwhelmed” radio system, but this couldn’t possibly be true, as Miller arrived before heavy police presence could cause radio problems.
Several sheriff’s deputies claimed they remembered little if anything of their active shooter training while “Capt. Jan Jordan, the Sheriff’s Office Parkland district chief, was described by colleagues as disengaged and ineffective during her time as the senior officer at the scene. She spent her first seven minutes at the scene in an office and then took cover behind a parked car.” The failure of the police was so blatant that, in response to public outcry, Ron DeSantis, a recent fascist favorite, had to pretend he was disappointed in Parkland law enforcement and suspended Sheriff Scott Israel and received exaltation for this even in liberal media.
In the aftermath of Parkland, it became apparent the police had ignored numerous “red flags” displayed by Cruz for nearly two years before the shooting. On February 5, 2016 a neighbor of Cruz told the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) that Cruz, pictured with guns on Instagram, “planned to shoot up the school.” A deputy responded, found that Cruz supposedly only owned a BB gun and some knives, and turned the information over to the aforementioned campus officer Scot Peterson. Later that same year:
“Another student informs Peterson that Cruz may have ingested gasoline a week earlier and is cutting himself. That student, who is a ‘peer counselor,’ says Cruz indicated he wished to purchase a gun for hunting. The school says it will conduct a ‘threat assessment’ on Cruz. The incident is reported to the Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF), which sends investigators to his home. ‘Mr. Cruz stated he plans to go out and buy a gun. It is unknown what he is buying the gun for,’ investigators wrote, noting that he also ‘had a Nazi symbol drawn on his book bag.’ DCF determines he is receiving adequate support from his school and outpatient care from Henderson Behavioral Health in Broward County. A team from Henderson found Cruz ‘stable enough not to be hospitalized.’”
On Nov.1, 2017, after Nikolas Cruz’s mother passed away, her sister, Katherine Blaine, let BSO know that he had rifles and asked the police to recover them. A “close family friend” ultimately took possession of the weapons (Strangely, when interviewed by the BSO after the shooting, Blaine claimed she only knew of BB guns and denied requesting guns be taken from the residence). A month later, a Mississippi blogger warned police that someone using the display name “nikolas cruz” wrote on his YouTube page: “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.” Four weeks after the death of Cruz’s mother, a “caller from Massachusetts tells BSO that Cruz is collecting guns and knives and ‘could be a school shooter in the making.’ The caller says Cruz is now living in Lake Worth. A BSO deputy tells the caller to contact the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.” One month before the shooting, a woman contacted the FBI, voicing concern that Cruz would “get into a school and just shoot the place up.” The caller, whose identity was redacted from transcripts, said “I just want someone to know about this so they can look into it” and warned that Cruz could, “Explode.”
Mass Shootings are State Terrorism
Since Columbine, and certainly since 9/11, the security state and its corollary in the so-called “private sector” has expanded exponentially. Since 1999, nearly $2 billion has been allocated to “School Resource Officers”, whose presence is now felt in roughly 58% of schools in the United States. While it is apparently impossible for these officers to effectively combat neo-Nazis and nihilists hellbent on reigning carnage upon their classmates, there is clear evidence that their presence increases arrest rates for children of color and/or kids with disabilities. This has helped fuel the booming business of the school-to-prison pipeline, in which the above-mentioned GEO Group, along with other private prison corporations, has a significant stake. As Tracie R. Porter writes, “For private prison corporations, students are the commodities that support their investments, and these commodities are often African American or Latino.”
Judah Schept, Tyler Wall and Avi Brisman point out:
“…in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, a state legislative delegation in Florida approved a proposal to increase property taxes to pay for more school police, ‘at an annual cost of up to $130,000 per officer.’ A bill in Mississippi ‘set up a $7.5 million school-security fund.’ Alabama legislators proposed ‘a lottery to pay for a $2o million plan to put police officers in every school.’ And Indiana lawmakers weighed a measure to ‘set aside $10 million to offer grants to schools to hire local police to post in schools.’ The White River Valley School Board in rural southern Indiana recently voted to hire an SRO for the White River Valley High School from grants provided by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. The school superintendent has said: ‘It’s all about providing our kids and our staff a safe and secure learning environment.’”
What such a “safe and secure environment” may look like can be seen in the transformation of a public school in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans into a prison camp:
“After the storm, John Mac was taken over by the RSD as one of the 107 New Orleans schools performing at or below the state average. The school is located in downtown New Orleans and currently houses approximately 775 students. The principal of John Mac estimates that of this number, approximately 120-150 students have been identified as having special learning needs. The school is generally regarded as a “dumping ground” for students who are unable to attend any of the local charter schools or those operated by the Orleans Parish School Board due to their selective admissions requirements. Some of the students are living alone or with siblings or other family members Orleans without a parent…
…When students enter John Mac, after standing in long lines to enter the building, they pass through metal detectors staffed by seven security guards and one officer from the New Orleans Police Department. Students are scanned with a hand-held metal detector while the contents of their book sacks are searched. Cell phones, oversized jewelry and belts with certain buckles are confiscated. Students who set off the metal detectors three times with no item found are sometimes sent away at the door. On various days, students who are not in their classrooms by 9:00 a.m. are locked out of their classrooms while the 31-40 security guards on staff perform a “sweep.” Students rounded up in the sweep are brought to the auditorium and suspended. According to the principal, 52 students were suspended in one day for tardiness. John Mac alone has made at least 20 recommendations for the expulsion of students as of late October 2006.”
The fact of the matter is that if the current capitalist State bureaucracy wanted to, it could comb the Web for every last group or individual planning something like Uvalde, Buffalo or any of the numerous media-spectacled mass shootings that have mindfucked the American public for the last two decades. Instead, the State uses its massive resources against those organizing against police brutality or attempting to organize even the smallest acts of worker solidarity.
On the other hand, data collection, surveillance, algorithmic suggestion and representatives of the State bureaucracy manufacture reactionary terrorists.
Note that I am not saying these shooters wouldn’t be racist without the State’s intervention or its technological apparatus. I’m not even saying that they would never kill anybody or that every shooting that takes place which gets labeled a “mass shooting” is the fault of the FBI or any other intelligence organization. What is clear to me is that a long State tradition of transmuting the reactionary consciousness that has always existed in the American public into activist violence has entered a new era.
In 2018, a German Far-Right group created a Discord server where they organized operations to “exploit algorithms against opponents of the alt-right” on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. That same year, Reveal News found that Steam hosted a “thriving community” consisting of 173 groups that “blatantly venerate past school shooters.” Some of the groups” link to external sites, such as YouTube, or personal sites where members have posted videos and imagery of school mass shooters such as Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, who killed 13 students and themselves in a shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.” Neofascist publisher and founder of The Daily Stormer Andrew Anglin claims that his website, “is mainly designed to target children.” At the 2018 American Renaissance meeting “longtime attendees welcomed a new generation of ‘pro-white’ political activists and right-wing extremist YouTube stars” and hosted alt-right influencer Nick Fuentes, only 19 at the time. It also hosted Marcus Follin, aka “The Golden One” a YouTube fitness guru turned white power talking head. “On Twitter, ISIS’s preferred social platform, American white nationalist movements have seen their followers grow by more than 600 percent since 2012. Today, they outperform ISIS in nearly every social metric, from follower counts to tweets per day.”
Paris Martineau used the mental health community on YouTube as a case study of how this type of algorithmic recruitment works:
“Type ‘depression’ or ‘depressed’ into YouTube and it won’t be long until you stumble upon a suit-clad white supremacist giving a lecture on self-empowerment. They’re everywhere. For years, members of the alt-right have taken advantage of the internet’s most vulnerable, turning their fear and self-loathing into vitriolic extremism, and thanks to the movement’s recent galvanization, they’re only growing stronger.
‘I still wonder, how could I have been so stupid?’ writes Reddit user u/pdesperaux, in a post detailing how he was accidentally seduced by the alt-right. “I was part of a cult. I know cults and I know brainwashing, I have researched them extensively, you’d think I would have noticed, right? Wrong. These are the same tactics that Scientology and ISIS use and I fell for them like a chump’…
…’The common railroad stages of ‘helpful’ linking to ‘motivational speakers’ goes ‘Jordan Peterson —> Stefan Molyneux —> Millennial Woes,” writes @MrHappyDieHappy. ‘The first is charismatic and not as harmful, but his persuasiveness leaves people open for the next two, who are frankly evil and dumb.’ Molyneux, an anarcho-capitalist who promotes scientific racism and eugenics, has grown wildly popular amongst the alt-right as of late. His videos — which argue, among other things, that rape is a “moral right” — are often used to help transition vulnerable young men into the vitriolic and racist core of the alt-right’…
…Though it may seem like a huge ideological leap, it makes sense, in a way. For some disillusioned and hopelessly confused young men, the alt-right offers two things they feel a serious lack of in the throes of depression: acceptance and community. These primer videos and their associated ‘support’ groups do a shockingly good job of acknowledging the validity of the depressed man’s existence — something men don’t often feel they experience — and capitalize on that good will by galvanizing their members into a plan of action (which generally involves fighting against some group or class of people designated as ‘the enemy’). These sort of movements allot the depressed person a form of agency which they may never have experienced before. And whether it’s grounded in reality or not, that’s an addicting feeling.”
“…the CIA maintains a social-media tracking center operated out of a nondescript building in a Virginia industrial park… tasked with sifting through millions of tweets, Facebook messages, online chat logs, and other public data on the World Wide Web to glean insights into the collective moods of regions or groups abroad…The CIA facility wasn’t built specifically to track the ebb and flow of social media: The program was established in response to a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission with the initial mandate to focus on counterterrorism and counterproliferation…the center shifted gears and started focusing on social media after watching thousands of Iranian protesters turn to Twitter during the Iranian election protests of 2009, challenging the results of the elections that put Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad back in power.
In the past few years, sentiment and mood analysis have become mainstays in the defense and intelligence communities. Last October, an Electronic Frontier Foundation lawsuit revealed how the Department of Homeland Security has carefully monitored a variety of public online sources, from social networks to highly popular blogs like Daily Kos for years, alleging that “leading up to President Obama’s January 2009 inauguration, DHS established a Social Networking Monitoring Center (SNMC) to monitor social-networking sites for ‘items of interest.’…In August, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), invited analysts to submit proposals on the research applications of social media to strategic communication. DARPA planned on shelling out $42 million in funding for “memetrackers” to develop ‘innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in science, devices, or systems.’”
Another article from 2011 declared that, “DARPA Wants to Master the Science of Propaganda” and details the development of a project called Narrative Networks. “By understanding how stories have shaped your mind, the Pentagon hopes to sniff out who has fallen prey to dangerous ideas…With this knowledge, the military can also target groups vulnerable to terrorists’ recruiting tactics with its own counter-messaging.” (This cover story about “fighting terrorism” falls flat for reasons I have already detailed.) This passage is particularly interesting:
“Once scientists have perfected the science of how stories affect our neurochemistry, they will develop tools to ‘detect narrative influence.’ These tools will enable ‘prevention of negative behavioral outcomes … and generation of positive behavioral outcomes, such as building trust.’ In other words, the tools will be used to detect who’s been controlled by subversive ideologies, better allowing the military to drown out that message and win people onto their side.”
In 2015, Reddit mods revealed that the site’s biggest group of concentrated posters exists on Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. As mkULTRAWOKE notes:
“Eglin Air Force Base is not just any air force base. For one thing, many of the projects there are funded and managed by D.A.R.P.A, who we will remember were instrumental in the creation of the internet itself, and have a long history of disturbing activities. In recent years Eglin Air Force base has been used to develop hyper-sonic weapons, and more damningly, several research papers are accredited to the airforce base. Many of these papers appear under the name of Eduardo L Pasilio JR. One such paper, entitled ‘Containment Control for a Social network with State-dependent Connectivity’, talks explicitly about the manipulation of social media users. Another one of his papers produced at Eglin Airforce base is entitled, ‘Model Based Learning of Information Diffusion On Social Media Networks’. Many of his other papers relate to systems and network theories. Clearly then, intelligence agencies, in this case US intelligence agencies, are keenly interested in influencing these online spaces. Judging by their post history are very active in doing so.”
As I wrote in my analysis of the rise of “populism” in the 2010s and its influence on the current far-right:
“In 2004, a website by the name of Encyclopedia Dramatica was founded by Sherrod DeGrippo and Andrew Escher Auernheimer who was better known under his screenname weev…DeGrippo’s LinkedIn reveals her attendance of the Black Hat Briefings in 2003, a year before she started Encyclopedia Dramatica, as well as her return in ’04, ’05, and ’06, all years leading up to Anonymous’s “Project Chanology” protests of the Church of Scientology. The Black Hat Briefings are an annual cybersecurity conference which draws participants and speakers alike from the world of National Security and the intelligence community. DeGrippo’s LinkedIn profile also lists positions at the NSA and DOE (as an expert on “counter-intelligence threats”) and notes that she once held a Top Secret clearance for the federal government.”
Encyclopedia Dramatica had an outsized influence on early 2000s-2010s Internet culture, and weev became one of the earliest “ironic Neo-Nazis” to gain e-celeb status (here is weev pictured partying with “left populist” hero Glenn Greenwald, who now shills Peter Thiel’s congressional toadies in a callback to his earlier career of defending neo-Nazi murderers in a court of law). After being released from prison in 2014, weev moved to Ukraine, where he lived until 2017. Funnily enough, this is precisely the timeline for the reemergence of Ukrainian neofascism during and in the aftermath of Euromaidan. The Sonnerad or Black Sun that Ukrainian fascists so often adorn themselves with, and which the mainstream media has insisted has nothing to do with fascism since the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine in January, made a peculiar appearance at the high-profile Jubilee celebration in England this year.
The Platinum Jubilee Pageant Company insisted this was a “genuine mistake” that had “no malicious intent.” But considering the tone the Western world has taken towards Russia and China ever since Trump’s election, combined with the clear collaboration of the State with so-called “extremist” groups, I seriously doubt that.
Gun Culture, Gun Control, and Copaganda
Walt Whitman’s 1966 rampage at the University of Texas at Austin catalyzed the rise of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams in American law enforcement. A year earlier, the concept of SWAT had been introduced by the LAPD in response to the Watts uprising against police brutality. During the period from 1980-2015, the use of SWAT teams by police departments exploded from 3,000 to 80,000 operations a year, thanks largely to the War on Drugs. On the 50th anniversary of the UT Tower massacre, Texas included public university campuses in new laws allowing handgun permit owners to openly display their firearms. ““An eccentric feature of Texas’s new gun laws is that people entering the state capitol can skip the long lines of tourists waiting to pass through metal detectors if they show guards a license-to-carry permit,” author Lawrence Wright noted. “In other words, the people most likely to bring weapons into the building aren’t scanned at all.”
The term “going postal” emerged during the same period of time as the rapid rise of SWAT. Most trace its origins to Patrick Sherill’s 1986 slaughter of his 14 coworkers at a post office in Edmonton, Oklahoma. “In the decade before, there had been five other post office shootings by former or current workers, with one or two fatalities. More followed almost annually,” Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz writes. “Dozens of other workplace shootings have taken place—in office buildings, strip malls, factories, night clubs, restaurants, military bases, and universities…during the time period of mass shootings from the late 1980s on.” However, the two restaurant shootings with the highest body count of this era did not conform to this paradigm. “Neither shooter had been employed or knew anyone in the restaurants. Both were likely hate crimes, targeting Mexicans in one case and women in the other.”
A shooting at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, California in 1984 , left 22 dead, with nearly all of the victims being of Mexican descent. The shooter, James Oliver Huberty, was shot by a SWAT team who did not arrive at the scene until nearly an hour and a half after the killing started. As Dunbar-Ortiz writes, Huberty was, “a serial failure at starting a business” who “moved to Tijuana, then San Ysidro a year before the massacre. Back in Ohio, he had been a dedicated survivalist, apparently not with an organized group; he accumulated an arsenal and also hoarded food and other survival necessities, taking it all along in the move west. He believed government regulations caused his business failures and that international bankers controlled the Federal Reserve, with communist dominance everywhere, economic collapse and nuclear war imminent.”
Seven years later, the next largest restaurant shooting would take place at a Luby’s in Killeen, Texas, home to the massive Fort Hood Army base (named after Confederate general John Bell Hood):
“Thirty-five year-old civilian George Jo Hennard drove his pickup truck into the plate glass
window of Luby’s while some 150 patrons were having dinner. Armed with a Glock 17 and a Ruger P89, he then jumped out of his vehicle and into the restaurant yelling, ‘All women of Killeen and Belton are vipers!’
Then he began shooting, killing twenty-three, fourteen of them women, whom he appeared to be targeting, yelling “Bitch!” as he shot. The violence ended when he shot himself. In the days after, those who had worked or lived with him told reporters that he hated women, as well as gay people, African Americans, and Mexicans. Some days before his rampage, Hennard is reported to have expressed rage in a restaurant while watching television coverage of Anita Hill’s testimony accusing Clarence Thomas, candidate for the Supreme Court, of sexual harassment. The restaurant manager said: “When an interview with Anita Hill came on, he just went off. He started screaming at the television, ‘You dumb bitch! You bastards opened the door for all the women!’”
“Rather than the interpretation that mass shootings, gun hoarding, and popularity of military-style firearms among civilians are a product of the gun lobby or the gun industry, it may be more clearly framed as a domestic expression of ‘the new American militarism’...Since 1990, there has been no serious political effort to reduce the Defense Department budget; yet, in response to mass shootings, no money can be found to finance mental health facilities, mental health problems being the one attribute that nearly all the mass shooters share. Nor is it suggested by advocates of gun control or even mental health specialists that mass shootings, invariably carried out by mentally troubled individuals, may be related to the actual killing, bombing, and warfare the country has engaged in since 1965.”
There are two facets of the “New American Militarism” as it developed since the mid 1960s that I must point out. The first is the rise of the video game industry and its revolving door with the US military during the Cold War. As I noted elsewhere:
“Spacewar!, which is arguably the first video game as we now use the term, was developed by a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962, when the university was receiving millions of dollars from the military to develop tech to help fight the Cold War. Five years later, the Television Gaming Apparatus, an early attempt at a home console, was developed by a military electronics firm called Sanders Associates. In 1972, Nolan Bushnell founded Atari, using an adaptation of Spacewar! he called Pong to cement video games as a revolutionary innovation in American entertainment.
Battlezone, a military themed game for the Atari 2600, was appropriated by the U.S. Army Training Support Centre for use in training. ‘Instances like these,’Chapman writes, ‘have led to a standing relationship between the video game industry and the military, leading to a mutually beneficial relationship between both parties.’ In the 1990s, the military organized a committee to analyze the benefits of using games developed for civilian consumers to train new recruits. It concluded that, ‘The use of technological innovations, such as personal computer (PC) based war games, provide great potential for Marines to develop decision making skills, particularly when live training time and opportunities are limited.’
As a result of this study, the Marines developed a version of the famous first person shooter Doom. Known simply as Marine Doom, this mod was ‘used as a training tool equipped with bunkers, real weapons, friendly fire and fighting holes, & eventually tailored to represent a mission in the Balkans prior to deployment.’ In a videotape recorded before the Columbine massacre, Eric Harris compared his and Klebold’s planned rampage to Doom. He also pointed out that the shotgun was ‘Straight out of Doom.’ According to Columbine student David Proctor, who occasionally played Doom with Harris and Klebold via modem, the pair had developed several mods of the game that resembled the high school. ‘Doom is so burned into my head,’ Harris wrote in a personal journal, ‘my thoughts usually have something to do with the game.’”
Michael Macedonia, of the US Army Simulation Training and Instrumentation Command, once wrote that computer simulations in the military were a “smooth transition for younger generations of soldiers, who, after all, were spoon fed on Nintendo and computer games.” Citizens are not only being conditioned to ““rapidly react to fast-moving visual and auditory stimuli, and to switch back and forth between different subtasks”, as one study put it, but are being coded with certain values which reinforce American militarism. Macedonia notes that:, “Today, the Microsoft Xbox andSony Playstation 2 game consoles are being adapted for distributed and networked military gaming. Meanwhile, an Army-sponsored group of artists, Hollywood special-effects experts, and researchers at the University of Southern California are working on the next generation of military trainers: immersive virtual-reality environments akin to the ‘Star Trek’ holodeck, in which real soldiers interact with synthetic yet life-like actors.”
This revolving door was exemplified by the hiring of Dave Anthony, superstar videogame developer whose Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is one of the most successful games of all time, by the Atlantic Council, a thoroughly Pentagon-adjacent think-tank. This came after Anthony, “consulted with soldiers and military experts ranging from a member of the elite SEAL Team 6 to Oliver North…to Peter W. Singer, a leading expert on 21st century warfare now at the New America Foundation” while creating Black Ops 2. Anthony’s game, set in 2025, imagines a ‘new Cold War’ between the United States and China, “characterized by cyberwarfare, the widespread use of drones, and conflict over rare earth materials, which are essential for modern defense technologies and other electronics.” Oliver North became interested in Call of Duty after observing “that soldiers he’d visited at bases in Afghanistan & Iraq ‘play the game sort of religiously’..The father of a soldier who died in combat put a copy of the game on his son’s grave.” The Atlantic Council, which published this bit of apologia for the aforementioned neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, wished to “harness Dave’s proven world-class talents for imagining new types of threats to strengthen our work on emerging defense challenges, disruptive technologies, and security and defense strategy.”
The second ideological display of the “New American Militarism” is the rise of police propaganda in the mass media (“Copaganda”) which emerged towards the turn of the 20th Century but began to steadily accelerate not long after the popularization of the television in the 1950s:
“…in the late 1940s, an actor named Jack Webb would find an even more effective way for the LAPD and the entertainment industry to pursue their mutual self-interest…Jack Webb got the idea for “Dragnet” when he met Marty Wynn, an LAPD detective who was working as technical adviser for a movie in which Webb played a forensics investigator. In pursuit of the access that would let him market ‘Dragnet’ as an authentic look at police work, Webb forged an extraordinary partnership with LAPD chief William Parker and department publicity wizard Stanley Sheldon — accepting stringent censorship from the police department in exchange for story ideas, logistical help and a patina of truth. That bargain would help create America’s first enduring cop drama and a model for police storytelling for decades to come…
…Webb agreed that scripts would be formally approved by the LAPD’s Public Information Division before filming began. The comments weren’t advisory: If the department objected to something, such as the depiction of a woman dying from an illegal abortion, the entire episode might be scrapped. In exchange, Webb obtained not only story ideas, but also invaluable financial help from the department…
…The show quickly became a model: ‘Highway Patrol,’ which debuted in 1955, was the response to the California Highway Patrol’s commissioner, Bernard Caldwell, who demanded that his own public relations division ‘get us a show like ‘Dragnet.’
Hollywood pursued law enforcement agencies, too. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover turned down several potential TV shows before signing on with ABC to create ‘The F.B.I.’ Hoover maintained full script approval and vetted actors’ politics before they were cast. As with ‘Dragnet,’ ‘The F.B.I.’ served Hoover’s interests as much for what it didn’t show as what it did. The series ran from 1965 to 1974, a period when Hoover was, among other things, surveilling and harassing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Agents on ‘The F.B.I.’ never engaged in such skullduggery. Shows such as ‘Dragnet’ and ‘The F.B.I.’ were, by design, misleading about the harshest realities of the law enforcement agencies they portrayed.”
Much like the SWAT team itself, this relationship received a significant shot in the arm from the War on Drugs:
“Just as Jack Webb’s partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department on ‘Dragnet’ and ‘Adam-12’ benefited both Hollywood and the police, the drug war united pop culture and real law enforcement agencies in a new common purpose. The prospect of foreign drug traffickers invading American shores gave pop-culture cops a new and more dangerous enemy to fight, one that justified fast driving, explosive shootouts and all sorts of audience-thrilling rule-breaking. In return, Hollywood promoted the idea that drugs posed a grave threat that justified new, frightening police tactics and the erosion of basic rights…
…The publicity given to SWAT teams in large cities encouraged smaller ones to start their own units, even if it had been years since these municipalities had experienced the kinds of violent crimes that would justify ‘special weapons and tactics.’ And in the 1990s, the Law Enforcement Support Program was created to…‘grease the pipeline through which hard-core military gear flows to civilian police agencies.’
Sometimes Hollywood didn’t just imitate this militarized style of policing; it made active contributions to it. The squads that were a precursor to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics units trained on Universal Studios sets.
Aaron Spelling claimed in his memoir, ‘A Prime-Time Life,’ that the department changed the way its SWAT units operated after Spelling’s show “S.W.A.T.” premiered. Spelling had his SWAT cops travel around together in a van. The LAPD apparently liked the idea so much that the department set up its own dedicated SWAT vehicles…
…One video from the Denison, Tex., police department primes potential recruits with the idea of an apocalyptic confrontation and makes the case for police work with throbbing music, blaring sirens and tense chases. The closing quote, misattributed to George Orwell, leaves no ambiguity: ‘People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.’
The National Rifle Association represents a third pillar of this New American Militarism. In 1977, as Dunbar-Ortiz notes, “the Second Amendment Foundation and its lobbying arm, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, founded in Washington State in 1974 seized leadership of the NRA.” Harlon Carter, the leader of this ‘coup’, “had been a U.S. Border Patrol chief with a checkered past. As a youth he killed a fellow teenager, who was Mexican, and was sentenced to three years in prison, which was overturned soon after. As a U.S. Border Patrol chief, Carter was head of the mid-1950s ‘Operation Wetback’ program, a violent, corrupt, and massive roundup and deportation of people who were allegedly undocumented Mexicans.”
Before the 1977 “coup”, the NRA, founded by Union soldiers after the Civil War, was primarily focused on gunplay for sport and even lobbied on behalf of “gun control.” This, however, does not mean the organization was some paragon of left-liberal values. Indeed, in 1967 one of the first pieces of major, modern gun control legislation was passed in California by Governor Ronald Reagan to combat the Black Panther’s advocacy of armed self-defense among black people. This bill was rooted in a long history disrupting people of color’s ability to defend themselves from organized, white supremacist settler-colonial violence. As Dunbar-Ortiz notes, “Reagan indulged the John Birch Society, which helped him win the California governorship in 1966: then in 1980, as a presidential candidate, he promised to implement Harlon Carter’s NRA pro-gun agenda as soon as he took office.” (As I noted here, Reagan’s governorship and his relationship with the John Birch Society have their origins in a larger, dialectical development of America’s bourgeoisie and State apparatus into something resembling a shadow fascist party.)
As with much of State policy in the neoliberal era of American imperialism, the contrived debate between “gun control” liberals and explicitly fascistic 2nd Amendment hardliners seems to be the outward appearance of an actually existing State effort to prevent people of color from legally obtaining guns while encouraging and enabling the white middle class not only to horde high powered assault rifles and organize Freikorps style militias, but also to provide a pretext for both the further overlap between official State organs and these militias, and the increasing militarization of even the most banal police precincts. The material reality of mass shootings-that many of are created by the State in one way or another, that all of them are the result of underlying American morality and the material needs of its bourgeosie-is practically never examined in the aftermath of these spectacular rituals of nihilistic violence. Instead, anger and anxiety over the police state that is made clearer than ever in the aftermath of a mass shooting is redirected into endless contrived debates over two contrived sides of a phony political debate.
After the Parkland shooting, Nikolas Cruz’s affinity for neofascism was completely drowned out by the “March for Our Lives”, supposedly led by a tiny fraction of the actual survivors of the shooting who were transformed into the “Parkland Teens” including David Hogg, whose father is a former FBI agent. This latter fact doesn’t necessarily mean Hogg was in on it and I certainly do not believe the Rightist view that it proves the shooting itself was a wholesale fraud. But at the very least, it displays a certain hypocrisy in the Parkland Teen media construction; when a white supremacist kills dozens of his classmates, the son of a man whose employer systematically destroyed the civil rights movement and to this day creates an unceasing onslaught of the “Islamist terrorism” we were so conditioned to be afraid of after 9/11 becomes the official face of the left-liberal “activist” response. Naturally, rather than catalyzing any deeper critique of the police in American society, the March for Our Lives signed off on American fascists such as DeSantis presenting themselves as part of the solution while laundering everyone’s disgruntlement into a fresh round of toothless gun control kumbuya.
On June 11, 2022, the March for Our Lives will hold a new, nationwide rally, this time in response to the shootings in Uvalde and, presumably, Buffalo. It’s safe to say not one word will be said about the war in Russia, except perhaps to uncritically endorse quasi-president Zelensky and the thoroughly fascist Ukrainian military. A smattering of criticism of the police will probably be presented, but it will quickly dissolve into support for the Democratic Party, which, in spite of supposedly “progressive” developments such as the emergence of the Squad, has overseen an increase in police budgets across America since the 2020 uprising in response to police brutality. And when we factor in the imminent economic implosion, the rebooting of institutional queerphobia, the almost certain overturning of Roe V Wade by the overwhelmingly reactionary Supreme Court and the now more or less open apologia for fascism in Ukraine, we can see where all of this is going. The “New American Militarism” of the 1980s and 1990s seems to have morphed, to borrow a phrase from Ajamu Baraka, into a “new White Supremacist consensus”:
“From the settlers who shot and killed their way across the lands that were incorporated into the colonial United States, to the brutality, rape and terror of plantation slavery to the lynching and burning of Black communities, the denial of the value of Black life and indeed all non-European life, has been an enduring feature of the Pan-European colonial and settler-colonial project. So, should Dylan Roof who murdered nine Black people in Charleston, North Carolina or the murders by Payton Gendron in Buffalo be seen as aberrant behavior?
That is not to say that all Europeans would condone the wanton violence of spraying bullets at non-Europeans out on a Saturday afternoon just trying to shop. Most would condemn those actions. But this is where the contradiction at the heart of European liberalism comes in.
Morally, what is the difference between the attack on Libya by NATO, an instrument of white supremacist state power that resulted in up to 50,000 African people dying and was largely supported by the public in the West, and the mass shootings of Roof and Payton Gendron?
The Buffalo shooter was clear about where his sentiments were when he prominently and self-consciously displayed the same symbol of white supremacy that the Azov regiments and other white supremacists’ organizations wear in Ukraine. Yet, Biden who traveled to Buffalo and most of the political class along with the neoliberal media have gone out of their way to erase and/or rehabilitate the existence of those elements in Ukrainian society and in the state that are avowed white supremacists like the shooter…
…Zelensky talks about the need to “defend the West,” “Europeanness,” “Western values,” and the liberal/left does not recognize the inherent assumptions of white supremacy in those terms. But Payton Gendron did and that is why he enlisted in Zelensky’s fight not in Ukraine but in the middle of an African American community.
An exaggeration? History will determine that. But what some of us see is a racialized discourse operating just below the surface in which Europe and Europeaness that Ukrainians strive for is also connected to a racialized trope of Europe being ontologically civilized while the less-white Slavs are barbarians, prone to irrational violence, like the Russians who decided “out of nowhere” to just attack Ukraine!
We also understand that downplaying the threat of a resurgent white supremacist fascism in its most sophisticated form represented by Zelensky who has become that slick, right-wing politician with politics as racist as Trump but without the crudeness who many feared could emerge in the U.S. No one could have anticipated that person would emerge in Europe as the lovable face of fascism.
Buffalo closes the loop that connects crude white supremacy with its more polished and dangerous expression. Both of these versions represent a consensus that is committed to using force and violence to ensure that white power will not to be “replaced.” This new consensus has created the ideological foundation for the legitimation of a cross-class white supremacist defense of something called European values and the interests of Europe. The lack of concern for the consequences of the war and sanctions on the rest of the world confirms that this consensus and the interests it defends are in contradiction to the interests of the non-Western global majority.
But perhaps Bernie’s potential third campaign for president will save us. Then again, now that the Nordic Model has exposed its own antisocial superstructure, maybe not.