The Terror Gap: U.S. Laws Let White Supremacists Operate Like ISIS

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10/22/2019

The recent arrests of Jarrett William Smith, a former U.S. Army soldier who discussed plans to “bomb a major U.S. news network,” and Conor Climo, a Las Vegas man who plotted attacks on a synagogue and LGBT bar, give an inkling of the growing threat posed by far-right terrorists in the United States. But U.S. laws have a special problem, what might be called a “terror gap” between “foreign” and “domestic” terror organizations. This double standard is exemplified by groups like Atomwaffen, a neo-Nazi paramilitary group with major influence in the far-right online community. A video this past May shows people with Atomwaffen patches on their arms carrying out paramilitary drills with assault rifles. They then burn the flags of Israel, the United Nations, the Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” snake, the gay pride rainbow, Black Lives Matter, the police-supporting Thin Blue Line—designating any and all as enemies. If it weren’t for the Atomwaffen branding, you’d think you were watching footage of an ISIS training camp on American soil.

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