United States Capitol Building

The United States appears to be headed to one of the darkest times in modern history

As mainstream media pats themselves on the back while taking credit for the hard work of journalists and activists who for years tracked white nationalists, many are now wondering if the American people will be briefed on the imminent threat of White domestic terrorism. After many Americans were introduced to far-right extremism via the social media app Parler, the present threat of domestic terrorism has been validated as the critical issue we’ve been saying it was.

With Parler temporarily taken down, breached, and user’s personal information exposed, most Americans who found their way to the social media app for hate are feeling deprived of what they thought to be the home for white nationalism. What those Americans didn’t know is Parler is just the latest hangout for racists and bigots. Once discovered, most of White America treated it as a playground to mock far-right extremists. They set up accounts not to try to infiltrate and understand what hate groups were up to, but so they can screenshot posts, share them with their friends, and have a laugh. Cool story, bro. But that shit isn’t funny to those who are targeted.

Parler has been around since 2018. Initially, the site was focused more on exclusivity. For white nationalist influencers, it was supposed to be the place for them to grow (sometimes salvage) their followings. However, Parler is a testament to where we are as a society. It’s one of many similar sites where hate groups and their ever-growing online followings go. It speaks to how subversive street-level white supremacy has become making it more dangerous than any other time in modern history.

An alarming fact that White people think is funny.

In the end, those at the top of the chain at Parler would later use the presence of influencers to draw people away from Facebook and Twitter if even for a minute. In the last year, Parler became the place where your neighborhood bigot found a home. Where “I’m not racist, but” White people could play with other Kleen Kut Klansmen. Members of hate groups lurk on these sites to recruit mildly angry, “not racist” people. They use refined tactics that plant the seeds of more extremist hate in the minds of your friends, neighbors, and family members.

Parler is a place for weak-minded white supremacists to complain about a more diverse society; about the browning of America; about a more queer society; about a society with non-white non-cis-people in higher ranking positions than they. It’s a place where QAnoners found a home because of shared white nationalist anti-democratic interests with other groups. Even Christian extremists who also share white supremacist anti-government views found comfort on Parler as did many anti-government groups. We even found a police department with an account.

In other words, Parler is a for-profit farm for“not racist” White people to graze and be groomed into believing more extreme views. It’s a recruiting platform and everyone who thinks it’s funny (White America) seems to be missing that. It’s a surface-level product of the monetization of hate. If you go deeper than the cheap front-loaded app that is/was Parler, you’ll find American terrorists of every stripe on various message boards and secure messaging apps making their messaging harder to track.

Tracking Hate

American terrorist groups took to secure messaging apps and the Dark Web several years ago in a lesson learned from foreign terrorists. It is here where the more crucial communication likely lives. This doesn’t mean they’ve gone into hiding. In fact, many members of hate groups profit quite handsomely from being in the public eye propagandizing their movements. Much can be determined by an outsider who pays attention to these apps, lesser-known social media sites, and message boards where they thrive. Focusing on spikes in chatter and cross-referencing it with what comes across other channels inevitably reveals targets of interest.

Tracking what they say is a base-level tactic that many anti-racists, journalists, and the federal authorities use. A recent FBI bulletin leaked to the media makes it clear to the American people that the FBI knows what the rest of us know (likely more). According to several media outlets, the leaked bulletin states: “Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” a statement the media hyperfocused on while failing to address the bigger picture.

The bulletin continued: “On 8 January, the FBI received information on an identified group calling for others to join them in ‘storming’ state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event POTUS is removed as President prior to Inauguration Day. This identified group is also planning to ‘storm’ government offices including in the District of Columbia and in every state, regardless of whether the states certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump, on 20 January.”

The memo also suggests there are threats of an “uprising” if Trump is removed via the 25th Amendment before Inauguration Day” and of “various threats to harm President-Elect Biden ahead of the presidential inauguration. Additional reports indicate threats against VP-Elect Harris and Speaker Pelosi.”

Big media hasn’t been much help in the way they’re downplaying the severity of the threat by excluding all of the details provided in the memos. Journalists are being disingenuous by simply saying there will be “armed protests at every State Capitol.” The same people who initially pretended to be at the forefront of hate group activity are suddenly silent about what’s coming. Because they are ignoring the broader threats on the horizon, we have an obligation to report what we know and sound the alarm. That’s what I’m doing.

We all know the threat to life has greatly increased due to hateful conspiracy-theory-driven propaganda perpetrated by government officials. From Congresspeople to Senators to the President of the United States, they are still pushing their constituents to believe violence is necessary. The downplaying of the severity of this threat is a display of white supremacy. It’s about painting bigoted White people in the best light possible so they can keep preaching about unity after making us live in fear for so long.

We all know what the news would like if we were talking about non-White people. What they are doing is the other side of that coin.

The Motivation

Most of us know of the more common conspiracy theories because they’ve been discussed at length for a couple of years and they were recently thrust into the spotlight after the myriad beliefs of the terrorists who attacked the Capitol made major news. Despite the differences, they are believers in one of the more common narratives we’ve been seeing lately. While some of the details vary greatly (depending on which channel), there are several common themes among them. It’s a thread of ideas that are consistent across nearly all channels.

The similarities involve “Trump declassifying all the Washington scandals” and that’s why “they are censoring everyone” on social media. They believe that “military takedowns and arrests” for election fraud began last weekend and will continue forward through inauguration day:

“Everyone will be getting emergency alerts on their phones, tv’s, radios & internet. It will override all other broadcasts and could last for several hours at a time. Do not to be scared of what’s coming as it is for the safety of our nation for this to unfold.”

“DO NOT travel to any large cities (especially Philadelphia) for the rest of the month. Military operations will be taking place in many of the major corrupt cities. People will start rioting once this intel breaks thinking Trump is a military dictator.”

Many believe Trump has already implemented the Insurrection Act. They claim he did so during his broadcast telling people to “disband and go home” from the Capitol. They argue that he addressed the nation that day and the broadcast was blocked “for the most part” by the media. They suggest Marines and National Guard are being “moved as needed” for the riots that will start after the “national release of the intel”.

Some even believe Trump has already been secretly inaugurated.

Look, all of this may sound stupid to us, but a lot of people believe this despite the glaring lack of evidence. The common thread mentioned here has made its way to Facebook. It’s being passed around through direct messages and it’s spreading fast. While all of this may give you a general idea of their motivations, we have to remember that the ideologies these groups share have limits. They don’t answer to any singular authority. They are all rogue and very dangerous.

An Ominus Warning

The FBI’s inconsistency in warning the public is problematic and dangerous for the American public. I understand they don’t want to give away what they know and we don’t want them to. But when the terror threat was supposedly coming from Brown people after 9/11, we not only got near-daily briefings, we also got a terror threat level indicator to remind us of just how precarious life was every day. Keeping us in a state of fear to justify war.

After the Nashville bombing, the FBI declared that there were no further threats to the nation. A statement that came shortly after they issued many alerts about white nationalist terror leading up to the inauguration of Joe Biden. Now, the most recent FBI bulletin shares chilling details partly based on information obtained during enforcement actions that came as a result of the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2020.

The bulletin which was sent across law enforcement channels indicates that several terrorists who took part in the attack on the Capitol intend to return to D.C. on January 20, to attack the inauguration and commit acts of violence. They discuss specific unnamed individuals who are members of known groups loading ammunition boxes and gear for the upcoming attack on the Capitol. The bulletin also notes that they also mention killing Senators and Congress members.

They warned that domestic extremists “citing partisan political grievances will very likely pose the greatest domestic terrorism threats in 2021.” They also warn that the attack on the Capitol is being viewed as a success fueling the growing threat:

“The 6 January 2021 violent breach by suspected DVEs (domestic violent extremists) into the US Capitol Building very likely will serve as a significant driver of violence for a diverse set of DVEs. Attendance at the lawful protest by ideologically diverse DVEs and others, the subsequent engagement of a sizeable group from that protest in the breach, and the death of an individual directly engaged in the breach very likely will serve to galvanize DVEs and increase collaboration primarily between (militia violent extremists) and (racially motivated violent extremists), as well as DVEs who adhere to QAnon conspiracy theories. These DVEs and others may also perceive the event as a step toward achieving their initiatives, and consider the death of a perceived like-minded individual as an act of martyrdom. Some DVEs view the 6 January event as a success, in conjunction with the potential to exploit follow-on lawful gatherings and ideological drivers — including conspiracy theories, such as QAnon — likely will also inspire some DVEs and others to engage in more sporadic, lone actor or small cell violence against common DVE targets, including racial, ethnic, or religious minorities and institutions, law enforcement, and government officials and buildings.”

The breach of the Capitol combined with conspiracy theories “will likely lead to an increased DVE threat towards representatives of federal, state and local governments across the United States, particularly in the lead-in to the 20 January Presidential Inauguration…and with the perception among some DVEs that the breach of the US Capitol Building was a significant advance toward achieving their ideological goals, DVEs may be inspired to carry out more violence, including violence against racial, ethnic, and religious minorities and associated institutions, journalists, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and other targets common among some DVEs.”

Yeah, pretty ominous.

When Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy declared he is investigating the backgrounds of soldiers tasked with protecting the inauguration to ensure none have ties to far-right groups, he also signaled that a much bigger threat exists. After police, firefighters, and members of the military participated during the attack on the Capitol, it’s no wonder why. It’s a major problem that rarely rears its ugly head as publicly as it did on January 6, 2020.

If the threat to the nation motivates leaders to take such drastic steps as Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, it’s best we take heed and be prepared.

Should we be alarmed? Absolutely.

Conclusion

Look, I want to be wrong about these things more than my detractors do. But knowing that these terrorists brought bombs, incendiary devices, and high powered rifles to the Capitol attack with the help of law enforcement is of great concern. Seeing entire police departments and officers with accounts on Parler, gleefully boasting about their occupations, is beyond alarming.

Yes, we should be sounding the alarm and urging caution. However, we must do so carefully. We must warn people to avoid certain areas, to stay away from where extremist groups gather, and to just let angry White people fight it out with National Guard if they choose to do so. Yes, let’s warn our people as a community but we don’t need an alert from the president. Many extremist groups are eagerly waiting for the ‘emergency alerts on our phones.’

And stay home. It will serve no purpose to get the middle of all that.

Stock up on food and groceries if you can. Especially if you live near a state capitol. Also, be aware that extremists are now looking at targets such as infrastructure now that there is so much security around government buildings all but eliminating them as potential targets. We may be at the cusp of some very violent days ahead, but we will get through this.

Stay vigilant.

Arturo Dominguez

Arturo Dominguez

Arturo is an anti-racist political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. He is a top writer on Medium and a regular contributor to several news media outlets. He writes educational and informative material about systemic racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice.
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