US Department of Justice announces new domestic terrorism unit
The new unit will be responsible for investigating domestic terrorist acts.
The US Department of Justice has announced a new unit responsible for investigating domestic terrorism.
A top national security official announced the new unit during a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday.
Although no specific federal domestic terrorism legislation exists, the US defines domestic terrorism as illegal activities endangering human life that appear to be designed to frighten or compel people or a government's policies.
Lawmakers have urged for the introduction of particular legislation to hold those who commit domestic terror accountable.
Matthew Olsen, the assistant attorney general of the department's National Security Division said the country faces "an elevated threat from domestic violent extremists — that is, individuals in the United States who seek to commit violent criminal acts in furtherance of domestic social or political goals."
The group of attorneys assigned for the new unit will "Focus on the domestic terrorism threat, helping to ensure that these cases are handled properly and effectively coordinated across the Department of Justice and across the country."
Last year, the Biden administration initiated the first US strategy targeted at countering domestic terrorism, which calls for the sharing of information between tech companies and the government, as well as other nations communicating with US law enforcement to prevent terrorism recruitment and violence.
Director of the FBI, Christopher Wray stated in March that the Capitol attack was considered an act of terrorism, although no federal statutes exist
The FBI has accused over 700 Donald Trump supporters of taking part in the siege of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. 81 of them had ties to the military and 5 were on duty at the time.
Neo-Nazi attacks attempted
354 people with military backgrounds have committed criminal acts motivated by political or religious goals, according to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland.
From 1990-2010, the number of cases a year has tripled.
In 2018, after attacking people in the 2017 Charlottesville "Unite the Right" demonstrations, marine lance corporal Vasillios Pistolis was found to be a member of the neo-Nazi group Aomwaffen.
Read more: The rise of the radical right
Of all terrorist activity in the US since 1994, right-wing attacks and plots made up the majority.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, particularly in the last 6 years, the right-wing attacks and plots grew substantially. In 2019 alone, right-wing extremists committed almost two-thirds of all terrorist attacks and plots in the US. Between January and May 2020, right-wing terror was responsible for 90 percent of attacks in the US.
One-third of Americans believe violence against government justified
According to a Washington Post-University of Maryland study, one in every three Americans believes that violence against the government can be justifiable. The findings mark the highest proportion of people who feel this way in polls over two decades.
The majority still believe that violence is never justifiable, but only 62% now hold that belief compared to 90% in the 1990s.
Justifications range from coronavirus restrictions to the marginalization of minority voters.
According to the survey, 44% of Republicans and 41% of independents believe violence against the government is justifiable.
The Guardian: Next US civil war is already here
According to Stephen Marche for The Guardian, the political problems of the US today are both "structural and immediate."
Marche reminds us how at the start of the first civil war, the most brilliant citizens of the US failed to expect it and felt it was not imminent enough until Confederate forces bombarded Fort Sumter, quoting Henry Adams as saying "not one man in America wanted the civil war or expected or intended it."
The writer argues that the US is yet again on the verge of civil war, noting how its political system has become overtaken with rage, the legal system becoming increasingly untrustworthy, and Congress approval rates being at 20%. He notes that militias within the country are training and arming themselves for the demise of the nation.
Capitol attack panel closes in on Trump with three new subpoenas
Former US President Donald Trump's appeal to keep records related to the January 6 capitol storming was denied.
The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack closed in on Donald Trump’s inner circle on Tuesday, issuing subpoenas to three new White House officials involved in planning the former president’s appearance at the rally that preceded the 6 January insurrection.