Use of force

Boogaloo website urges “justifiable use of force” against members of law enforcement.

‘JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE’… A newly created website claiming to speak for a swath of the anti-government boogaloo movement posted a statement this week urging “justifiable use of force” against members of law enforcement, and calling adherents of the movement to show up armed for a protest on Saturday in Austin, Texas.

The protest in Austin, according to the website, is in reaction to the shooting death of Garrett Foster, a Black Lives Matter supporter who was shot and killed at a protest there last week. “While Mr. Foster was not a part of our group, he was a part of the broader Liberty Movement,” the website stated.

THE WEBSITE… The website, which calls itself Tree of Liberty, was first flagged to The Informant by Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University who tracks extremism online. Squire said the site appears to be an attempt to bring some cohesion to the scattered and still-emerging boogaloo movement. Domain records show the site was first registered on July 24. (The Informant is intentionally not linking to the website.)

GRAIN OF SALT… The boogaloo movement is awash in memes and inside jokes, which makes it hard to know how seriously to take this particular website. For instance, the statement about using force against law enforcement was supposedly put together by the absurdly named “Board of Directors of the United States Boogalier Corps.,” which, according to the site, is also “colloquially called ‘the Jedi Council’.”

It’s also unclear how much pull, if any, the website has within the boogaloo community. A Facebook page associated with the website under the name “The Thin Aloha Flag” has only 38 followers. A Twitter account associated with the site under the name “Thin Aloha Line” has only one follower and one tweet.

ALARMING RHETORIC… Despite the inside jokes and small following, some of the rhetoric on the website is still alarming. Here’s an excerpt from the statement about using force against law enforcement:

Unjustified attacks against law enforcement agents are not welcome in the movement, nor will they be tolerated. However, justifiable use of force in self-defense against law enforcement agents if they are actively violating the rights of our members or otherwise engaging in criminal activity to victimize our members is both welcome and encouraged. No-knock home invasions where law enforcement doesn’t immediately identify themselves, warrantless home invasions, and warrantless searches are justifiable reasons for self-defense, and we encourage our members to take appropriate actions to defend themselves against any illegal actions committed by law enforcement. Detainment of offending agents is best when possible, but if lethal force is the only option, members must take action to prevent further injustice, injury, or death.

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE… Anti-police rhetoric is common in the boogaloo subculture. But that rhetoric has also turned violent at times. In late May, two men associated with the movement allegedly took part in the shooting of two federal security guards in Oakland, California, killing one of the guards. One of the men then allegedly went on to ambush two local sheriff’s deputies, injuring one and killing the other.

CO-OPTING BLM… The protest on Saturday in Austin appears to be yet another attempt by boogaloo adherents to co-opt the Black Lives Matter movement for their own agenda. In some cases, as documented by The Informant, boogaloo adherents have allegedly incited violence and riots at otherwise peaceful Black Lives Matter protests. Some adherents see the BLM movement as an opportunity to push for broader civil unrest or even a second Civil War (aka “Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo.”)

RELATED READING… “Rethinking Domestic Terrorism Law After Boogaloo Movement Attacks” (Lawfare)


Also on my radar…

DUKE GETS THE BOOT… David Duke, perhaps America’s best-known racist, was permanently banned from Twitter on Thursday night. CNN’s Oliver Darcy got a statement from the social media company saying it was due to “repeated violations of the Twitter Rules on hateful conduct.”

ATOMWAFFEN REBRANDS… With most of their leadership behind bars or otherwise facing criminal charges, some remaining members of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division announced this week they were rebranding under the name National Socialist Order. (Not to be confused with the decades-old National Socialist Movement.) Atomwaffen has faced numerous arrests this year, including that of their one-time leader John Cameron Denton.

THE NO. 1 THREAT… “Jihadist plots used to be U.S. and Europe's biggest terrorist threat. Now it's the far right.” (NBC News)

MILITIAS IN THE MAINSTREAM… “Conservative armed groups move into politics as backlash builds against protests, stay-at-home orders” (Washington Post)

CONCERN IN CANADA… “Politicians Say They Are Getting More Violent Threats Than Ever and They're Worried” (VICE)

BOWL PATROL… “Leader Of Dylann Roof-Worshipping Neo-Nazi Group Under Police Investigation” (HuffPost)

CITING THE INFORMANT… “Amazon has a big 'Boogaloo' problem, and seems unconcerned about dealing with it” (Daily Kos)

THE GROYPERS… “Malkin Credits Member of White Nationalist Group for ‘Rescuing’ Her & Colo GOP Leader From ‘Mob’” (Colorado Times Recorder)

OOPS… “Pro-Trump Group Returns Donation From White Nationalist After Media Inquiry” (NPR)

BIG YIKES… “Jewish groups call for ouster of local NAACP head over anti-Semitic Facebook post” (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

POLITICIAN FETES KLANSMAN… “Meet Alabama’s latest Lost Cause: Rep. Will Dismukes” (AL.com)

NAZIS IN THE UK… “Feuerkrieg Division was banned this month but its members are already active in different groups as extremists ‘evolve’” (The Independent)


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