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Terror from the Right

The following is a detailed listing of major terrorist plots and racist rampages that have emerged from the American radical right in the years since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. These have included plans to bomb government buildings, banks, refineries, utilities, clinics, synagogues, mosques, memorials and bridges; to assassinate police officers, judges, politicians, civil rights figures and others; to rob banks, armored cars and other criminals; and to amass illegal machine guns, missiles, explosives and biological and chemical weapons. Most contemplated the deaths of large numbers of people — in one case, as many as 30,000, or 10 times the number murdered on Sept. 11, 2001.

Here are the stories of plots, conspiracies and racist rampages since 1995 — plots and violence waged against a democratic America.

 

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August 9, 2019

Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) arrested Richard Dean Clayton, 26, of Winter Park for allegedly threatening to attack a Walmart a day after a mass shooter in El Paso left 22 dead and more than two dozen injured at a Walmart store there. The FDLE, in a press release, said it began its investigation Aug. 6 after Clayton allegedly made a threat on Facebook saying that “3 more days of probation left” and then he would get his AR-15 rifle back. The post read, “Don’t go to Walmart next week,” the FDLE stated. Investigators say that Clayton appears to believe in white supremacist ideology and has a history of posting threats and racist and antisemitic comments on Facebook using fake accounts, including an image of a swastika and references to an ethnostate. The Orlando Sentinel, citing a police report, said Clayton asked one of the officers if he was Hispanic, saying: “They are what is wrong with this country. They come in and are ruining everything.” Clayton is charged with making written threats to kill or do bodily harm. He appeared in court Aug. 10 and his bail was lowered from $25,000 to $15,000 on the condition he stay 1,000 feet away from any Walmart store.

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August 8, 2019

Conor Climo, 23, is charged in federal court in Nevada with one count of possession of an unregistered firearm – the components of a destructive device. Authorities arrested Climo in Las Vegas, Nevada, following a FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation.

The Department of Justice, in a press release, alleges that Climo used encrypted online methods to communicate with white supremacists. NBC News, citing FBI sources, alleged the suspect also communicated with members of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division.

The DOJ alleges Climo used encrypted messages to chat online about attacking a Las Vegas synagogue and making Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices. The DOJ claims Climo tried to recruit a homeless person to conduct surveillance on a synagogue and wanted to target patrons of an LGBTQ bar in downtown Las Vegas. Investigators, according to the New York Times, found sketched images in Climo’s home portraying timed-explosive devices and infantry squads attacking the bar with guns. Climo faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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August 7, 2019

Justin Olsen, 18, of Boardman, Ohio, was arrested and later charged with making threats against law enforcement. An investigation. according to authorities, revealed his online support of mass shootings. Olsen lived in his father’s house in which authorities say they found 25 guns, including AR-15 style rifles and semi-automatic pistols, and 10,000 rounds of ammunition. According to an affidavit, Olsen, who had been under investigation since February, used the handle “ArmyofChrist” on iFunny, a website where users post on a variety of topics. Olsen, according to the affidavit, told fellow users that he supported mass shootings and attacks on Planned Parenthood. The affidavit claims Olsen called for shooting “every federal agent on site” following a June discussion about the 1993 Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas. Olsen, authorities say, admitted that he posted comments about violence on iFunny, but said they were “only a joke.” He remains in the Mahoning County Jail without bond.

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August 3, 2019

A man opens fire with an AK-47 style assault rifle just after 11 a.m. local time in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart, killing 22 and injuring 26. Parents and children were taking advantage of a tax-free shopping day before the beginning of school. El Paso is nearly 80% Hispanic and is located just across the U.S.-Mexico border from Ciudad Juarez. Law enforcement arrested a suspect, Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas. Authorities believe the suspect may also be the author of a racist, anti-immigrant document that was posted to the site 8chan just before the shooting. The document’s author expresses white nationalist talking points about “ethnic displacement,” expresses displeasure at “race-mixing,” and refers to the attack as a response to the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” The author also mentions the suspect in the Christchurch, New Zealand, mass shooting in March at two mosques in which 51 people died. Officials are pursuing capital murder charges against the suspect, and federal authorities are treating the El Paso mass shooting as a case of domestic terrorism. The Justice Department is also considering bringing federal hate crime and federal firearm charges, which carry a possible death penalty.

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April 27, 2019

One person was killed and three were injured when a gunman entered the Chabad synagogue in Poway, California, and opened fire with an AR-15 style weapon. The attack came exactly six months after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that left 11 dead. An federal affidavit claims the suspect in the California shooting, John T. Earnest, 19, said the “Jewish people are destroying the white race.”

The suspect fled the building after his gun apparently jammed. The suspect later called the California Highway Patrol and reported his location on Interstate 15 in Rancho Bernardo and then surrendered to a police officer who was responding to the attack. Around the time of the shooting, officials found an antisemitic document posted to online message board 8chan that was filled with racist slurs and white nationalist conspiracy theories. The author, writing under the name John Earnest, claims in the document to have been inspired by a New Zealand mosque shooting that killed 51 people and claims responsibility for a mosque fire in Escondido, California, in March. Earnest is charged with one count of murder with a hate crime special circumstances and gun allegations and one count of arson of a house of worship. He is later indicted by a federal grand jury and faces 113 federal counts, including hate crimes

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February 14, 2019

The FBI arrested U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson of Silver Spring, Maryland, after labeling him a domestic terrorist who pushed for a “white homeland” and had a hit list of Democratic politicians and media figures.

Hasson had been based at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C. The FBI says Hasson self-identified as a white nationalist and was an admirer of Norwegian domestic terrorist Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in a rampage over Muslim immigration. He also searched online for pro-Russian, neo-fascist and neo-Nazi literature.

Hasson stockpiled weapons and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, the FBI said, at his Maryland home.

Among the targets Hasson listed were U.S. Senators Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Richard Blumenthal, former Vice President Joe Biden and MSNBC hosts Ari Melber, Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough.

Hasson also wrote to a longtime neo-Nazi about the idea of “focused violence.”

“I never saw a reason for mass protest or wearing uniforms marching around provoking people with swastikas etc.,” Hasson wrote. “I was and am a man of action you cannot change minds protesting like that.”

Hasson was charged with drug and weapons offenses in Maryland.