House Republicans deny far-right ties to Buffalo mass shooter and forward Paul Pelosi despite evidence

The House Judiciary Committee concluded a seven-part hearing series on white supremacist violence and far-right anti-democratic threats in the United States, with hours of testimony on the scope and scale of white nationalism, political violence and threats against LGBT+ people.

A final hearing on Dec. 13 — the committee’s last before Republican lawmakers take majority control of the House of Representatives next year — followed six more hearings on the ‘white supremacy clash’ that began in early 2019, nearly two years before a mob stormed the US Capitol. overturn the results of the 2020 elections.

“It would be heartening to believe that the threat of violent white supremacy has faded here in America as a result of more than 900 criminal cases brought by the US Department of Justice against January 6 insurgents and rioters,” said committee chair Jamie Raskin. in his opening statement. “But the threats have not diminished at all and are still very much present today.”

He pointed to the massacre of 10 black people in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, on May 14, an attack carried out by an 18-year-old who espoused white nationalist, anti-Semitic and fascist views, shared in a manifesto influenced by far- to right the writings of the 4chan message board and the massacres in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

But House Republicans on the committee falsely claimed that the shooter – Payton Gendron, who pleaded guilty to one count of hate-motivated domestic terrorism and 10 counts of first-degree murder, among other charges – was politically left-wing and a “socialist”.

Republican United States Representative Andy Biggs said Gendron was an “obnoxious and evil being, absolutely – there can be no excuse for that.”

“But we hear a lot about right-wing extremists. This guy was a recognized socialist,” he said.

Republican U.S. Representative Byron Donalds claimed Gendron “most certainly” cited “socialist theories” in his manifesto.

“If you combine all the issues with the Buffalo shooter, you had someone who wanted to kill black people, obviously that’s a white supremacist move. … But he also espoused the ideals of leftist politics. Both things can happen at the same time,” he said.

Mr. Donalds claimed that Democratic officials have sought to use the hearings to inextricably link white supremacism to right-wing politics, although the hearings and federal law enforcement have discussed a range of extremist violence across the political spectrum.

“We need to be clear that the people targeted were targeted because they were black… And we need to understand that the killer identified himself as an enthno-nationalist, as an eco-fascist and a national socialist, which is a reference to the Nazi Party,” said expert witness Eric Ward, senior adviser at the Western States Center.

“I think it’s important not to mislead about the driving force behind these killers, which was anti-Semitism,” he added. “They were attacking a black population because they saw African Americans as a puppet of a Jewish cabal, a Jewish conspiracy, and that’s why they acted violently.”

“Any sober look at the Buffalo shooter’s manifesto … and the symbols and names on his guns … would recognize this attack as a clearly white supremacist attack,” said Oren Segal, vice president of the League’s Center on Extremism. anti-defamation.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, 75% of extremist-related killings over the past 10 years were perpetrated by right-wing extremists.

“That doesn’t mean extremist violence is the exclusive domain of one extremist movement or group,” Segal told the panel. “They frankly pale in comparison to the threats and violence of right-wing extremists.”

Mr Biggs also discussed the man accused of attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer, a suspect who has left a digital footprint immersed in far-right conspiracy theories and memes toxic.

David DePape, who was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of assault and attempted kidnapping, trafficking in Holocaust denial, making false statements about the 2020 election and Covid-19, and

He reportedly told police he was on a “suicide mission”.

Mr Biggs, however, called him a ‘radical leftist’.

Their comments reflect an apparent consensus in the right-wing media that denies far-right ideologies motivating high-level white supremacist attacks, and an unsubstantiated claim that fascism and Nazism are forms of liberal authoritarianism and not extreme right ideologies.

Mr Ward said the surge in politically-oriented violence over the past decade reflects a growing trend of “mission-driven” violence, meaning that “there is a political ideology, a goal of undermine democracy” behind the attacks.

“What we see in the country now…is planned acts of violence that are driven by a worldview that believes Jews are somehow part of a racialized conspiracy to destroy the white race,” did he declare.

Mr Segal said a constellation of social media platforms and websites provide a tool to “reach, recruit and radicalize” domestic violent extremists who “have driven real-world activity”.

“Where is this propaganda created? It is created in online spaces, operated by people who share it, and it appears on the ground,” he said. “There is a direct pipeline.”

Alejandro Caraballo, an outspoken LGBT+ clinical instructor at Harvard Law’s Cyberlaw Clinic, told the panel that social media companies have failed to meaningfully intervene, “enabling the active spread of algorithmic amplification and the monetization of this hateful content”.

Ms Caraballo, who is transgender, detailed to the panel the violent online threats and harassment she faced from far-right users, including baseless ‘groomer’ and ‘paedophile’ smears, leaks personal information, threatening emails and anonymous online messages. to “tie it to a” fucking pole and put [her] on the fire”.

“No one should go through this for vocally defending their community,” she said. “But I won’t be intimidated.”

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