Another boogaloo case?
Kurt Cofano was arrested near Pittsburgh with what authorities say were dozens of homemade bombs. On Twitter, he called himself 'PghBoogey.'
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Another boogaloo case?
— ‘BOOGEY’ IN PITTSBURGH… A federal grand jury this week indicted Kurt Cofano, a Pennsylvania man who was allegedly found with dozens of homemade bombs in his car after talking online about wanting to blow up government buildings.
Cofano was charged in Pittsburgh federal court with two counts of possessing a destructive device, one count of making a destructive device, and two counts of possessing firearms while using illegal drugs.
THE INDICTMENT… Read it here.
THE ALLEGED TARGETS… Cofano was arrested a week ago in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, after authorities were made aware of his social media posts. The news site TribLIVE.com described a police report on the incident this way:
Cofano had posted videos to social media that showed him making and detonating improvised explosives, according to Whitehall police. He also posted threats to “blow up” the Treasury Department in Harrisburg and “go to the CIA headquarters in (Washington) D.C. and take out as many (expletives) as I can before I get gunned down.”
WAS IT BOOGALOO? … Cofano has a small social media footprint, one that includes a barely used Twitter account under the handle @PghBoogey, which is where the photo above came from. The handle and his penchant for guns could signal a connection to the boogaloo movement, but I haven’t been able to find other explicit evidence tying him to it. I will be keeping an eye on the federal case as it moves forward to see if anything more comes out.
Cofano’s Twitter account, which was started in May, features a number of racist, anti-Black rants, particularly regarding the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. Here’s one example:
Cofano also ran a YouTube channel, where he posted flat-earth and other conspiracy theory videos in addition to anti-Black Lives Matter videos. The channel, which was first reported on by Wonkette, was titled “Pull Back The Curtain.”
WAS IT BANKRUPTCY? … Cofano previously owned a business called Cofano Energy Services, which specialized in constructing oil and gas pipelines. But federal court records show the business fell into financial ruin last year and faced a number of lawsuits from companies it worked with. Cofano himself ended up filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in March.
This week, I spoke to a former employee of Cofano’s who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation by him. “When he went into bankruptcy, he really went off the deep end,” the ex-employee said. “He was just lost. Didn’t know what to do with his life. If you lost everything and it was completely out of your hands, how would you react?”
The former employee said he was interviewed this week by the FBI but that he couldn’t provide much insight into the investigation.
Also on my radar…
— NAZIS TO MARCH IN PENNSYLVANIA… The National Socialist Movement, a longtime neo-Nazi group, plans to hold its annual rally on Saturday in Pennsylvania. Where? That’s still up in the air. The group originally planned to rally in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, but their permit for the event was denied by the city. So instead, the group has said it will wait to the last minute to reveal the location. The night before the rally, the group is set to hold a private gathering in Ulysses, Pennsylvania, which will include burning a giant wooden swastika.
The NSM usually holds its annual rally in April to celebrate the birth of Adolf Hitler, but this year’s event was postponed. The group officially said it was due to COVID-19 concerns. But the postponement was announced just hours after revelations that one of its members, Timothy Wilson, had killed himself in a shootout with FBI agents in Belton, Missouri.
— LEADER OF ATOMWAFFEN… The one-time leader of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division pleaded guilty on Tuesday to federal charges that he was involved in a conspiracy to carry out “swatting” attacks on journalists, a primarily Black church, and even a member of President Trump’s cabinet. John Cameron Denton, who went by the nickname “Rape,” pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, to one count of conspiring to commit interstate threats. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
DOCUMENTS… Here are the plea agreement and the statement of facts in Denton’s case.
— A MUST-READ PIECE (REALLY)… Former racist skinhead Danny Lewis Lee became the first prisoner to be executed by the federal government in 17 years on Tuesday. The execution hit close to home for veteran journalist Bill Morlin, who was confronted by Lee in 1996 at the Aryan Nations compound in Northern Idaho. Morlin, who opposes the death penalty, wrote a vivid and nuanced essay about the encounter for the Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper. You should take a few moments today to read it.
— ‘NO. 1 THREAT’… “Federal, local authorities watching extremist group ‘Boogaloo Boys’” (KLAS-TV)
— FIRST OF ITS KIND… “District attorney files lawsuit against NM Civil Guard” (KOB-TV)
— ‘CRYING NAZI’ NEWS… “Keene white nationalist indicted on new federal charges” (The Keene Sentinel)
— WOMEN WHO HATE… “How Do Women Become White Supremacists?” (Rolling Stone)
— ELECTION QUESTIONS… “The QAnon Candidates Are Here. Trump Has Paved Their Way.” (The New York Times)
— HERE COMES TROUBLE… “QAnon Devotees Plan Rally At Republican National Convention” (Right Wing Watch)
— VEHICLE ATTACK… “White Man Accused of Driving His Car Into a Crowd of Black People Was Just Charged With Hate Crime” (VICE)
— SWASTIKAS IN FLORIDA… “Vandal defaces two Sarasota Jewish temples” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
— BACKLASH… “DA's office gets multiple threats after charging pair with defacing Black Lives Matter mural in Martinez” (KTVU-TV)
— ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD… “White Supremacist Who Admitted Christchurch Killings Plans to Represent Himself” (The New York Times)
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