The coronavirus pandemic has spread throughout the world in recent months.
White Supremacists Want to Use COVID-19 as Bioweapon
“Violent extremists continue to make terrorism a popular topic among themselves. White Racially Motivated Violent Extremists have recently commented on the coronavirus stating that it is an ‘OBLIGATION’ to spread it should any of them contract the virus,” reads an intelligence brief distributed by a federal law enforcement division on Feb. 17.
The brief came from The Federal Protective Service, which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security.
Yahoo News recently reported that investigators from the federal government have monitored White supremacists on the messaging app, Telegram.
The messaging app Telegram is apparently widely used by White supremacists and White nationalists.
Federal investigators have intercepted messages on the app.
They have found conversations amongst neo-Nazi members trying to weaponize the coronavirus via saliva, spray bottles or laced items.
Yahoo News reported, “The intelligence brief, marked for official use only, noted the White supremacists ‘suggested targeting…law enforcement and minority communities, with some mention of public places in general.’
“According to the document, the extremists discussed a number of methods for coronavirus attacks, such (as) spending time in public with perceived enemies, leaving ‘saliva on door handles’ at local FBI offices, spitting on elevator buttons and spreading coronavirus germs in ‘nonwhite neighborhoods.’”
The Federal Protective Service intelligence brief stated that neo-Nazis have a channel on the Telegram app dedicated to “siege culture,” made popular by neo-Nazi author James Mason and “accelerationism.”
Mason authored newsletters in the 1980s that promoted acts of racial terrorism as an attempt to bring about a war that would lead to the breakdown of society.
His teachings have found fans in White supremacist groups like Atomwaffen, which has offshoot groups in several countries.
Those groups have become so dangerous that the State Department is seeking to classify them as a foreign terrorist organization.
Other neo-Nazi groups have championed Mason’s message of accelerationism, which aims to speed up a possible race war or some other large conflict within society.
“There’s a whole bunch of neo-Nazism that follows James Mason’s writings and uses his work as kind of their bible. Attomwaffen is part of that, but there are multiple groups that would fall under the same category,” said Nick Martin who serves as the editor of the Informant, a publication dedicated to reporting on extremist hate groups.
The FBI has sought to list White nationalists as a major terrorist threat.
Some have even ranked White supremacists as a bigger threat than Islamic terrorist groups.
Leaders of White nationalist groups have encouraged their members to target the Jewish community as well if infected with the coronavirus.
To infect the Jewish community, White nationalists have encouraged members and supporters to go “any place they may be congregated, to include markets, political offices, businesses and places of worship.”
Michael Masters, head of Secure Communities Network, which provides security for Jewish groups and synagogues said, “While the world faces a deadly pandemic, it’s a stark reminder that certain groups, notably the Jewish community and law enforcement, must also continue the battle against those who wish to hurt or kill them.”
Masters added, “As the economic situation remains fragile and civil society disrupted, the potential for the followers of hate to act becomes more likely…and more deadly.”
The FBI did not comment to the media.
However, the FBI released a statement about the threat from White nationalists in regards to COVID-19.
The statement reads, “FBI field offices routinely share information with their local law enforcement partners to assist in protecting the communities they serve. These products are intended to be informative in nature, and as such, they contain appropriate caveats to describe the confidence in the sourcing of information and the likelihood of the assessment. Additionally, when written at a local level, these products will note that the perspective offered may be limited to the field office’s area of responsibility.”
Don Mihalek, executive vice president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Foundation said, “Anti-government folks in America love to target law enforcement as a symbol of America’s authority. It’s just sad that that’s their focus at a time of crisis in the nation.”
The threat posed by White nationalist groups does not represent the only instance or racism that has come about because of the coronavirus.
Many Asian-Americans, especially those of Chinese decent, believe that they might face racism because of the origin of COVID-19 and the fact that President Donald Trump has referred to coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.”
Others have referred to coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus.”
“In just one example, a 59-year-old Asian man was kicked in the back and told to go back to his country,” wrote former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt in USA Today. “There’s also been a rise in racist, anti-Chinese incidents overseas, and a troubling protest outside Sacramento International Airport. And we know that hate crimes historically are underreported, so this likely represents just the tip of the iceberg for incidents of harassment and violence.
“While we deal with this national emergency, civic leaders and people in positions of authority should refer to this virus by its clinical and factual name. It is likewise important too for all Americans to come together and stand against anti-Asian and anti-Jewish blame game that’s playing out in some corners of society.
“Scapegoating is something we never should tolerate, especially not now. We can and will come through this crisis but only if we work together.”