As a Crowds stormed the U.S. Capitol Last week, far-right extremists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis around the world spread hatred and applaud the violence. Now experts are warning that attacks like last week’s on the US Congress or the attempted storming of the German parliament in August could be carried out in the coming days.
On Wednesday, as the House voted to impeach him a unprecedented second time, Trump issued a statement calling for calm. “In light of reports of other protests, I urge that there be NO violence, NO breach of the law and NO vandalism of any kind. … I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm people down, ”he wrote.
But for extremists watching the chaos unfold in the United States, that message may be too late. Samantha Kutner, a member of the Khalifa Ihler Institute, told BuzzFeed News that far-right groups around the world see the insurgency as “a mass recruiting effort” and “a fight to protect white supremacy.”
Since the insurgency, BuzzFeed News has monitored the social media accounts of nearly three dozen far-right groups and leaders outside the United States. Members of extremist groups such as the Nordic Scandinavian Resistance Movement, CasaPound Italy, the Ukrainian Azov movement and the Australian and British Proud Boys, as well as those belonging to lesser-known but no less dangerous entities, have called for more bloodshed .
A neo-Nazi channel on the Telegram messaging app called on its hundreds of subscribers to take up arms and “enjoy the deadly carnival ahead”.
Another such channel on the platform shared a message telling its thousands of subscribers to start believing in their “accelerator fantasies” because “you are in one.”
Other extremists on Telegram and Gab, another social network popular with the far right, promoted a “March of the Million Militias” on January 20 and urged supporters to join armed marches in state capitals. from Saturday.
Although big social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have started removing accounts associated with Trump supporters and far-right extremists, and Apple and Google has abandoned the pro-far-right Talking platform entirely, countless violent and disturbing messages remain.
“I expect foreign far-right groups to feel emboldened by January 6,” Cynthia Miller-Idriss, extremism researcher and author of Hatred in the homeland, told BuzzFeed News. “After the failure of the far-right attack on the German parliament four months ago, it is, for the global far right, an example of ‘success’ and will be celebrated as a victory by many groups . “
In August, during a demonstration in Berlin against the German government coronavirusrelated restrictions, hundreds of protesters broke through a barrier and tried to storm the country’s legislature. While shocking, the police managed to repel the crowd within minutes.
Since January 6, most extremist channels have grown to tens or even hundreds of members, many of whom have started sharing messages for the first time.
Jason Blazakis, senior researcher at the Soufan Center, told BuzzFeed News that some coordination between far-right extremists abroad and US-based extremists has been around for a long time. But after last week’s insurgency, “those ties are likely to harden because of what is seen as a success for the far right,” he said.
Sergei Korotkikh, a neo-Nazi of Belarusian descent and leader of the Ukrainian Azov movement, whom the State Department called a nationalist hate group, applauded the attack in racist terms on his Telegram channel. “The Whites, finally, have decided to act and take control of the Capitol,” he wrote to his nearly 23,000 followers. “It’s good, although this time around it won’t work out. But I think it gives us a chance. The Whites are still there and we know what to do.
In another post, Korotkikh shared an image in red, white, and blue text that read, “Make America Hate Again.”
Azov has worked hard over the past five years to develop ties to European and American white supremacists. One of them is the American white supremacist Robert Rundo of the violent Rise Above movement. Rundo and other RAM members attended the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August 2017. At least one of Rundo’s RAM cohorts, Vincent James Foxx, was would have seen at the Capitol Riot.
Rundo, however, was not there. Currently living in Serbia to avoid prosecution in the United States for alleged crimes in Charlottesville and California, he applauded the violence of his Telegram channel, saying the unrest could advance white supremacy.
“Many of us have continually discussed opportunities like what we see today. For those who have always wanted to take a stand… today could be that day, ”he wrote to his more than 4,000 subscribers.
It was a sentiment shared by one of his close comrades, Russian and neo-Nazi mixed martial arts fighter Denis Nikitin, who lives in Ukraine. Nikitin, whose clothing company White Rex is popular among white American nationalists, compared the riot to a 1925 Ku Klux Klan march on Pennsylvania Avenue.
While it appears that international extremists are only providing moral support to those in the United States for now, the Blazakis have said they may soon be providing more than that.
“I can see foreign actors providing material support to US-based far-right actors in the future – if that’s not happening already,” he said. “Because there are no far-right terrorist groups sanctioned by the US government, nothing can stop this flow of funding from happening. It is a great vulnerability. “
Kutner found US-based extremist groups raising funds to help participants involved in the insurgency. BuzzFeed News has seen at least four foreign far-right accounts on Telegram sharing links to these crowdfunding campaigns.
Miller-Idriss said that unless US authorities hold the rioters on Capitol Hill and those who held them, including Trump, to account, more bloodshed would be possible – in the United States and in abroad.
“It is absolutely essential to send a strong message that this type of violence is treason and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she said.