In his 17-month campaign for the presidency, Donald J. Trump was frequently lambasted for his associations with extremists. He met with right-wing radicals, spoke at their events, hired some of them, and even retweeted their propaganda. He seemed to go out of his way to avoid condemning racist activists and their ilk.
Ever since the Al Qaeda massacre of Sept. 11, 2001, American Muslims have been under attack. They have been vilified as murderers, accused of conspiring to take over the United States and impose Shariah religious law, described as enemies of women, and subjected to hundreds of violent hate crime attacks. A major party presidential nominee has even suggested that America ban Muslim immigrants.
The woman whose Remembrance Project benefited from a Houston fundraiser addressed by Donald Trump on Saturday is an extremist who wildly exaggerates the number of people killed by undocumented immigrants in America.
In the minutes before he was killed as he apparently tried to draw a 9mm pistol on law enforcement officials attempting to arrest him at an Oregon roadblock early this year, antigovernment militant Robert “LaVoy” Finicum repeatedly shouted out to officers that he was on his way to meet with “the sheriff.”
In late May of that year, Mair was one of between 15 and 20 racist activists who convened in a private room at a pub near the Strand, a major thoroughfare in central London, according to Todd Blodgett, an American who was then a paid informant for the FBI and also met with MI5. Blodgett had helped arrange the meeting at the request of William Pierce, then head of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, and paid close to 800 pounds for the space and the food and alcohol that was served.
“There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little.” FRANCIS BACON, Of Suspicion, 1625
America, as the historian Richard Hofstadter famously noted in 1964, is a place peculiarly given to “the paranoid style” of politics — the idea that history is no accident, but rather the outcome of a series of conspiracies. The surface of events is never what it appears, but instead hides deep, dark and destructive forces.
When two apparent Muslim radicals attacked a Muhammad cartoon contest in a Dallas suburb this May, a national spotlight was focused on the group that hosted the provocative eventâ€Š—â€Šthe American Freedom Defense Initiative, whose leader is Pamela Geller, the country’s most flamboyant and visible Muslim-basher.
Barely into her teens, Lynette Sonya Avrin was drawn into the skinhead movement in the early 1980s in Denver, which at the time was a real hotbed of racist activism. An angry young woman who felt that her parents essentially abandoned her, Avrin witnessed an enormous amount of violence and experienced a good deal of it herself. She also knew some of the most infamous activists of the era. But after she had two children and a long series of bad experiences with her supposed friends, she began to have doubts about her ideology and lifestyle. The turning point, she says, came in 2009, when a confrontation with a neo-Nazi boyfriend landed her in the hospital and terrified her then-10-year-old son. Today, she is raising that son in Colorado. Avrin, now 45, contacted the Intelligence Report after spotting an article about women on the radical right, “Secrets of the Sisterhood,” that mentioned her in the Report’s Spring 2013 issue. She wanted to tell her story and to explain how completely she now rejects the racist movement. In the following interview, Avrin discusses how she came to join the movement, what it was like, and why she finally left.
Capping four years of explosive growth sparked by the election of America’s first black president and anger over the economy, the number of conspiracy-minded antigovernment “Patriot” groups reached an all-time high of 1,360 in 2012, while the number of hard-core hate groups remained above 1,000. As President Obama enters his second term with an agenda of gun control and immigration reform, the rage on the right is likely to intensify.