Rep. Elissa Slotkin last week sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken asking him to take the unprecedented step of designating 13 extremist movements as foreign terrorist organizations, arguing that such a move “would help cause it is more stressful to curb these violent organizations “and their leaders’ ability to run the group. “
But out of the 13 groups listed in her letter, which her office provided to BuzzFeed News, at least four groups no longer existed, one being an American club formed in California. was separated and rebranded, and another group changed the name used in Slotkin’s letter six years ago. when it becomes part of an allied nation’s defense force.
“It’s a great list – in 2018,” Matthew Feldman, director of the London-based Center for Progressive Rights Analysis, told BuzzFeed News. “Every one of them [the listed groups] already works. Everyone is dangerous. “
Feldman praised Slotkin’s efforts and the motivation behind the list, saying they were a step in the right direction. But he also said this is an example of how the US government has been slow to recognize the threat posed by far-right violent extremists at home and abroad.
Biden has signaled his intentions to fight violent domestic extremists – especially white extremists like those in the crowd that attacked the Capitol of the United States on Jan. 6, and the man the FBI considers the primary threat. Homeland Security head Alejandro Mayorkas told lawmakers last month that violent domestic extremism “poses the most persistent and deadly terror-related threat to the homeland. The current”.
However, experts say it is important to pursue foreign extremist groups that often communicate, coordinate and inspire their US counterparts.
If the Biden administration lists groups as proposed by Slotkin, a Democrat from Michigan, as the Official Foreign Terrorism Organization (FTO), or less designated Global Terrorists. special designation (SDGT), which would help curb dangerous white radical organizations, members of Congress argued in her letter, which was previously reported by Reuters.
“It will also give the US Government more tools to engage and flag Americans for contact, assistance, training, and engagement. [white supremacist extremist] Slotkin writes.
But Elizabeth Neumann, former assistant secretary of counterterrorism and threat prevention at the Department of Homeland Security under the Donald Trump administration, told BuzzFeed News that the process was lengthy and difficult.
“The FTO process is a pretty high standard,” she said. “I am very disappointed that we can only have the Russian Imperial Movement. That’s not the only group we looked at. “
In April 2020, the United States designated the RIM and three of its leaders as the SDGT – the first time such a classification has been used.
When asked about Slotkin’s letter, a State Department spokesperson told BuzzFeed News, “on a general issue, we do not comment on parliamentary correspondence and we do not comment on appointments or scales. prompt regarding potential indications. ” But Blinken said From MSNBC Meet the press on Sunday, the designation of overseas white extremist groups as foreign terrorist organizations is “something we are looking at.”
A former CIA analyst focusing on foreign terrorist organizations in the Middle East, Slotkin wrote that she was “affected by the threat posed by these white extremist groups, the number of contacts. that they have with the extremists in America, the minimum diplomatic reporting and intelligence we have of these groups and the US Government lacks relative consideration. “
Among those whom Slotkin considers worthy of designation for terrorism is the National Action Group, a neo-Nazi organization formed in the UK and banned in 2016. targeting British youth. A 2018 US counterterrorism report describes it as a group of terrorists promoting violence against politicians and minorities. A Metropolitan Police officer named Ben Hannam has sentenced of the member on April 1.
Another movement is the Nazi neo-Nazi German Resistance Movement, the same year 2018 as the United States report is described as an anti-Western transnational organization behind violent attacks, including against Muslims and leftist groups.
But not all of the groups she requires government to focus on are currently active.
Kacper Rekawek, a Slovak-based researcher at the Nonprofit Anti-extremism Project, says Slotkin’s listing is the kind of list that someone looking for right-wing extremists on Google might Put out.
“Senator Slotkin’s efforts are commendable. Rekawek told BuzzFeed News that the designations, used sparingly in the European context, would help counter the violent threat from far-right organizations, ”Rekawek told BuzzFeed News. “However, this has to be announced by carefully analyzing the local outmost shots, in which a lot of actors often talk, but not walk because of the violence involved.”
The neo-Nazi groups Feuerkrieg Division, Sonnenkrieg Division, Atomwaffen Division Deutschland and Northern Order – all on Slotkin’s list – were all gone, Rekawek and Feldman said. Members of groups – all inspired by the US Atomwaffen Squad and “The siege culture, ”- to be bound by violence or conspiracy to be violent in England, America, Germany, Canadaand elsewhere.
The Rise Above Movement (RAM), a white supremacy fighting club founded in Southern California with ties to neo-fascist groups in Ukraine and the Balkans, more or less disbanded after three members of the organization were jailed for their participation in the Rightist Solidarity rally in Charlottesville in August 2017. RAM founder Robert Rundo, of New descent York, charged in a separate federal case for violence at several protests across California. The allegations were dismissed in June 2019 but rehibilitate last month.
Another troubled group on Slotkin’s list was Ukraine’s Azov Battalion. The paramilitary force was created in 2014 by far-right militants who volunteered to take up arms against Russian-backed forces when the war in eastern Ukraine broke out. In January 2016, it became part of the country’s National Guard and has since been known as the Azov Regiment.
Its political wing, the National Army Corps, has been labeled by the State Department as a “nationalist hatred group”. But designating the regiment as a foreign terrorist organization is likely to pose challenges, especially given its attachment to the state and the fact that Ukraine is an ally of the United States.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Slotkin for comment on the list. An aide said they were aware of Azov’s condition and that the groups disbanded after the representative’s letter was reported by Reuters. However, the aides said they plan to continue with at least the groups on the list still active.
“We are confident that we can get to some designated level,” said the aide.
Read Slotkin’s full letter.