Top U.S. think tank warns white supremacy is the greatest terrorist threat

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The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) releases a report detailing the greatest current terrorist threats to the country. White supremacists top the list.

Based on a CSIS data set of terrorist incidents, the most significant threat likely comes from white supremacists, though anarchists and religious extremists inspired by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda could present a potential threat as well. Over the rest of 2020, the terrorist threat in the United States will likely rise based on several factors, including the November 2020 presidential election.


The report notes that two-thirds of terror attacks and plots in 2019 came from homegrown white supremacists. The same group accounts for 90% of terrorist activities in the first four months of 2020.

Right-wing terrorists leading attacks in the United States is nothing new.

Between 1994 and 2020, there were 893 terrorist attacks and plots in the United States. Overall, right-wing terrorists perpetrated the majority—57 percent—of all attacks and plots during this period, compared to 25 percent committed by left-wing terrorists, 15 percent by religious terrorists, 3 percent by ethnonationalists, and 0.7 percent by terrorists with other motives….

The decrease in right-wing activity in the early-2000s coincided with an increase in left-wing activity from 2000 to 2005. Most of these left-wing attacks targeted property associated with animal research, farming, or construction and were claimed by the Animal Liberation Front or the Earth Liberation Front.

From the CSIS Report:

White Supremacists: White supremacist networks are highly decentralized. Most believe that whites have their own culture that is superior to other cultures, are genetically superior to other peoples, and should exert dominance over others. Many white supremacists also adhere, in varying degrees, to the Great Replacement conspiracy. The conspiracy claims that whites are being eradicated by ethnic and racial minorities—including Jews and immigrants.20 Brenton Tarrant, the Christchurch shooter in New Zealand, and Patrick Crusius, the El Paso Walmart shooter, espoused the most radical view of the Great Replacement conspiracy, known as Accelerationism. As advocated by Tarrant and Crusius, violent accelerationists claim that the demise of Western governments should be accelerated to create radical social change and establish a whites-only ethnostate.21

White supremacists draw inspiration from individuals abroad and at home. Tarrant, for example, drew inspiration from Anders Breivik, who conducted the 2011 terrorist attack in Norway that killed 77 people, and Dylan Roof, who was responsible for the 2015 Charleston Church shooting that killed 9 people in South Carolina.22 Tarrant’s Christchurch attack then inspired terrorist attacks in the United States by John Earnest in California and Patrick Crusius in Texas.23 White supremacist actors have also travelled abroad seeking paramilitary training and networking opportunities. In Spring 2018, for example, members of the Rise Above Movement (RAM) travelled to Ukraine to celebrate Hitler’s birthday and train with the Azov Battalion, a paramilitary unit of the Ukrainian National Guard, which the FBI says is associated with neo-Nazi ideology.24

White supremacist neo-Nazi organizations, such as the Nationalist Socialist Movement, American Nazi Party, Vanguard America, and others often adhere to the Zionist Occupied Government (ZOG) conspiracy theory—that Jews secretly control the U.S. government, the media, banks, and the United Nations. Of particular concern is the emergence of the Atomwaffen Division (AWD), a U.S.-based neo-Nazi hate group with branches in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Baltics.25 In January 2018, Brandon Russell, founder of the AWD was arrested and sentenced for possessing a destructive device and explosive material.26 Despite similar arrests, the AWD continues to plot, conduct attacks, and recruit. In February, four AWD members—including Cameron Shea, a high-level member and recruiter of the AWD—were arrested for conspiring to targets journalists and activists. They used encrypted chat platforms, distributed threatening posters, and wore disguises.27 Other arrests have been made under non-terrorism-related charges.28

The AWD continues to train and arm their members similar to international terrorist organizations. In January 2018, the AWD hosted a “Death Valley Hate Camp” in Las Vegas, Nevada, where members trained in hand-to-hand combat, firearms, and the creation of neo-Nazi propaganda videos and pictures. In August 2019, leadership members of the AWD attended a “Nuclear Congress” in Las Vegas, Nevada.29 Other white supremacist movements include the Base, the Patriot Front, and the Rise Above Movement.30

Read the full report at the link below.


Photo: Philip Storry

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