September 9, 2020

MSNBC’s Katy Tur dug into the effects of Donald Trump’s repeated and dangerous attacks on the upcoming presidential election with such baseless claims that he can only lose if the election is “rigged” against him, e.g. She spoke with “about a dozen” Trump fans outside a recent Trump rally in Pennsylvania. None thought the vote would be fair. Most, she said, would accept the results.

But not all. One of the Trumpers she spoke with said he would “absolutely” take up arms “if that’s what it comes to.”

Figliuzzi says that supporter is no anomaly. Even more frightening, Figliuzzi sees a lot of similarities between right-wing extremists and violent jihadi radicalization.

FIGLIUZZI: There’s every indication from online activity, the rhetoric, the groups calling for a civil war, calling for a amassing of weapons – there’s every indication that there’s a growing threat of violence.

TUR: That threat, Figliuzzi warns, is readily visible on sites like Twitter and Facebook. But also less well-known spaces like Parler and Telegram, where images calling for bloody insurrection are shared primarily by the right wing.

FIGLIUZZI: What we’re seeing online develop is very disturbingly similar to what we saw in terms of violent jihad radicalization.


FIGLIUZZI: The online watching of videos. Listening to what amounts to violent sermons and preaching. The sense of wanting to belong to something greater, to join a cause that will put you on the map.

Tur said the White House “has repeatedly said the president condemns all violence but his warning, without evidence, that the election will be stolen … and that Democrats are trying to destroy the country are repeated and amplified on these platforms.” I would add that the attacks on the election are also repeated and amplified on Fox News.

Chris Sampson, chief researcher for the Terror Assymetrics Project called it a “chicken and egg” situation as to whether Trump is feeding the right-wing radicalism or being fed by it. “Either way, it becomes what we call a stochastic terrorism threat,” Sampson said. He meant that even if Trump is not directly telling followers to become violent, he’s signaling that it’s OK if they do become violent.

Tur said the FBI issued a statement to MSNBC stating that it’s “working closely with federal, state and local partners to identify and stop any potential threats to public safety.” Tur added, “They say they gather and analyze intelligence to determine whether individuals might be motivated to take violent action for any reason, including due to concerns about the election.”

But how much of that will Bill Barr’s Trump-puppet Justice Department allow?

Meanwhile, in Salem, Oregon, yesterday, members of the far-right Proud Boys “attacked a counterprotester with a baseball bat and pepper spray. After a second similar attack, Salem police officers and Oregon State Police troopers detained two men with the conservative demonstrators,” Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

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