When a mob stormed the US Capitol last week, right-wing extremists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis around the world spread hatred and cheered the violence. Now experts are warning that attacks like last week on the US Congress or the attempted assault on the German parliament in August could be carried out in the coming days.
On Wednesday, when the House decided to indict him an unprecedented second time, Trump released a statement urging calm. “In view of the reports of further demonstrations, I urge that there be NO violence, NO violations of the law and NO vandalism of any kind. … I urge ALL Americans to release tension and calm their minds, ”he wrote.
But for extremists watching the chaos in the United States, that message may be too late. Samantha Kutner, a staff member at the Khalifa Ihler Institute, told BuzzFeed News that far-right groups around the world are viewing the uprising as a “mass recruitment measure” and a “struggle to protect white supremacy.”
Since the uprising, BuzzFeed News has been monitoring the social media accounts of nearly three dozen far-right groups and leaders outside of the United States. Members of extremist groups including the Scandinavian Nordic Resistance Movement, CasaPound Italy, the Ukrainian Azov Movement and the Australian and British Proud Boys, as well as members of lesser-known but no less dangerous beings, have called for more blood to be shed.
A neo-Nazi channel on the Telegram messenger app urged hundreds of subscribers to take up arms and “enjoy the deadly carnival to come”.
Another such channel on the platform shared a post calling on thousands of followers to believe in their “accelerating fantasies” because “you are in one”.
Other extremists from Telegram and Gab, another social network popular with the far right, sponsored a “millionaire militia march” on January 20, urging supporters to join armed marches in state capitals starting Saturday.
Although established social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have begun removing accounts associated with Trump supporters and far-right extremists, and Apple and Google have completely phased out the far-right Parler platform, countless violent and threatening messages remain.
“I assume that right-wing extremist groups from abroad will feel encouraged by January 6,” said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, extremism researcher and author of Hatred at homesaid BuzzFeed News. “After the failed right-wing extremist attack on the German parliament four months ago, this is an example of“ success ”for the global right-wing extremist party and is celebrated as a victory by many groups.”
During a demonstration in Berlin against the federal government’s coronavirus restrictions in August, hundreds of right-wing demonstrators broke a barrier in August and tried to storm the country’s legislature. During the shock, the police managed to fend off the crowd within minutes.
As of January 6, most extremist channels have grown by dozens, if not hundreds, of members, many of whom have first started sharing their messages with one another.
Jason Blazakis, a senior research fellow at the Soufan Center, told BuzzFeed News that there has long been some coordination between right-wing extremists from overseas and extremists from the US. But after last week’s uprising, “those ties may tighten because of what is seen as a success for the far-right party,” he said.
Sergei Korotkikh, a Belarus-born neo-Nazi and leader of the Ukrainian Azov movement, which the Foreign Ministry has labeled a nationalist hate group, racially cheered the attack on his telegram channel. “The whites have finally decided to act and take over the Capitol,” he wrote to his almost 23,000 followers. “That’s good, although this time it might not work out. But I think that will give us one.” Coincidence. The whites are still here and we know what to do. “
In another post, Korotkikh shared a picture in red, white, and blue text that read, “Make America Hate Again.”
Azov has worked hard for the past five years to develop relations with 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 participated in the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville in August 2017. At least one of Rundo’s RAM cohorts, Vincent James Foxx, was reportedly seen in the Capitol riot.
Rundo wasn’t there, however. He currently lives in Serbia to avoid criminal prosecution in the US for alleged crimes in Charlottesville and California. He cheered the violence of his telegram channel and said the riots might encourage white supremacy.
“Many of us have talked endlessly about possibilities as we see them today. For those who ever wanted to take a stand … today could be that day, ”he wrote to his 4,000+ subscribers.
This was a feeling confirmed by one of his close comrades, the Ukraine-based Russian mixed martial arts fighter and neo-Nazi Denis Nikitin. Nikitin, whose White Rex clothing company is popular with white US nationalists, compared the uprising to a 1925 Ku Klux Klan march on Pennsylvania Avenue.
While it looks like international extremists are only providing moral support to those in the United States for now, Blazakis said they could soon do more than that.
“I can see foreign actors providing material support to US-based far-right actors in the future – if they are not already doing so,” he said. “Since there are no right-wing extremist terrorist groups that have been sanctioned by the US government, there is nothing that can prevent this flow of funds. This is a major security issue. “
Kutner found extremist groups in the United States raising money to help those involved in the uprising. In BuzzFeed News, at least four far-right foreign accounts on Telegram shared links to these crowdfunding campaigns.
Miller-Idriss said more bloodshed would be possible if US authorities held the Capitol rioters and those who incited them, including Trump, accountable – in the US and abroad.
“It is imperative to send a strong message that this type of violence is treasonable and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she said.