Capitol riots unleashed long-term danger, experts warn

But experts fear that the real threat is that the attack will be provoked in the long run.

Tomorrow’s attacks are literally imminent now, Oren Segal, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, told CNN.

Experts expressed growing concern about conversations about a unifying message from people who feel betrayed – by those in power, by the political system and by Big Tech.

They are also concerned that the number of potentially violent extremists is increasing. Social media giants have banned President Donald Trump and others for fear that their posts would continue to incite violence, which experts say has led to a sympathetic and growing audience at risk of radicalization.

Some of those who communicated through Facebook, Twitter or even Parler are now on other platforms. This includes Telegram, where extremists and white supremacist channels have existed for years, spreading hate on channels that were largely unmoderated just a few days ago.

Many of these channels often praise mass murderers, give tactical instructions, and quickly broadcast vile and disturbing content that radicalizes.

Our moderators are reviewing a growing number of reports of public posts involving calls for violence specifically banned by our terms of service, Telegram spokesman Remy Vaughn told CNN on Wednesday. Vaughn added: We welcome peaceful discussions and protests, but we systematically remove publicly available material that directly incites violence.

Fresh blood test

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Segal calls the attack on Capitol Hill a founding moment and says it will have a significant impact, even greater than the biggest historical catalysts for anti-government activity in the country.

It’s not Waco, it’s not Ruby Ridge, it’s more than that, says Segal, comparing the 6th Seed to the 6th Seed. January with past events that led to calls to action and created a deep distrust and sometimes hatred of government. This thing affects more people.

According to Angelo Carusone, president and chief executive officer of Media Matters for America, public and private chat rooms are spreading information about a conspiracy to take back America or unite against alleged censorship. Carusone and his team tracked down the extremist language and published it in various media outlets.

We’ve seen these massive migrations from traditional platforms like Twitter and Facebook to a wave of activity on Talk, and then a second wave of activity on platforms like Telegram, as these intermediary groups begin to accumulate redundancies in their communications, he says.

And that meant fresh blood, Carusone said.

Outside the confines of internet space, we now see far-right figures, white supremacists and racists who sought civil war, mixed with QAnon conspirators and ardent supporters of President Trump who have been listening to him for years and who think the election was stolen from them. And a lot of people are wondering what to do next…. and how to make their posts.

In a neo-Nazi chat room, one member called for restraint in language so as not to alienate newcomers, Carusone said.

Alarming content alone is not enough

In a statement to CNN, the FBI said that while some documents may be disturbing, authorities cannot act alone.

The FBI cannot investigate without a threat of violence or suspicion of criminal activity. However, if that language turns into a call to violence or criminal activity, the FBI has the ability to investigate, the agency said.

Researchers may be faced with the more difficult task of finding some people removed from the major platforms.

It’s more important to know where they’re going, especially as they move further and further behind the veil, Carusone said. If you lose the wire completely, you lose the ability to recognize these indicators, which means it’s harder to prevent damage.

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Prevention efforts must go beyond barricades and police officers, Carusone says.

In fact, it’s the mechanisms that radicalize these people, Carusona says. These are algorithms that connect people. That’s misinformation.

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There will be no meeting of the Atout over the weekend or at the inauguration. Experts say this is a good sign, as is an increased law enforcement presence in Washington.

On many logins and discussion forums, some are calling for a boycott of this weekend’s events and inauguration. Michael Edison Hayden, a journalist and spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, says big names and podcasters Mike Pinovich and Nick Fuentes told their supporters not to go to the rallies. According to the ADL, the white supremacist Peinovich, known as Mike Enoch, and the far-right Fuentes have united the voices of discontent for years.

While there are still a few reports on the matter, Hayden says he believes the likelihood of violence in Washington is not as high as it was on the 6th. January saw a lot of online chatter, a major political event in the confirmation elections and a European Union meeting.

Federal authorities are also prosecuting dozens of individuals who may pose a potential threat of violence and who traveled to Washington to attend events surrounding the inauguration, according to a source informed by information shared by federal and local law enforcement agencies.

Experts fear that some people will turn to their state capitals to express their anger. Hayden says there are reports on the Internet of coordinates and maps of the statues’ homes. The FBI has received reports that armed demonstrations are planned in all 50 state capitals in the days leading up to the inauguration, according to an internal bulletin obtained by CNN earlier this week.

What can happen?

Are the experts who track online hate and extremism more concerned? What might happen after this weekend and the inauguration.

Segal said extremists may act cautiously in the coming days, both out of paranoia and because they know they are being watched.

It’s not before the inauguration that you have to worry about them trying to start another civil war – it’s after, Segal told CNN.

According to Segal, it’s helpful to look at the situation in Michigan last spring when considering how things might play out after the Capitol Hill attack.

The repeated protests ended with an attempted kidnapping of the governor, Segal explained.

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Trump was one of them, too. He repeatedly criticized Governor Gretchen Whitmer before and after the alleged conspiracy against Covid-19 before and after her.

Experts note that in the demonstrations against their actions there was also a mixture of people – self-appointed police, anarchists, people with anti-government views and people fighting smallpox.

Now, take these existing grievances and add the lies about the stolen election and the attack on Capitol Hill. This kinetic energy is hard to stop, experts fear.

Direction of sum

Extremist experts agree on some obvious points about how we got here and where we should go from here. America is in the midst of mass radicalization. The catalyst for the fire, they say, was not Trump, he just threw gas on the flames.

Seeing Biden at the inauguration, a black and South Asian woman as vice president, and then realizing Trump is no longer around will fan the flames for those who falsely claim the Biden administration is illegal, Segal warns.

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According to Carusone, this is just the beginning of a country plagued by division, extremist actions and political rhetoric.

Trump presents the story of the next four years, Segal says.

Experts are concerned about the false sense of security that will be created if the country passes the inauguration without violence. But what happens when the barricades fall? When does the National Guard leave? When will technology platforms, the general public and the media turn their attention to other things?

Experts say the threat will continue.

All these new people coming into these communities create new opportunities to broaden the ranks, Carusone said. There will be many new people… …organized and subject to a series of recipes that will eventually lead us back to the same place… that led to the attack on Capitol Hill.

Only then will there be more of them.

Josh Campbell, Christina Carrega, Evan Perez, Geneva Sands and Whitney Wilde contributed to this report.


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