Extremists using secret online channels to hatch a plot against Biden's inauguration

BL Media | English Desk

As the app has been taken down from all of its major vendors, right-wing extremists  who were on Parler have now started using channels on end-to-end encrypted communication app Telegram to incite violence against government officials on January 20, the day President-elect Joe Biden is going to be inaugurated, with some extremists sharing knowledge on how to manufacture, conceal and use homemade guns and bombs.

The messages were posted in Telegram chatrooms where white supremacist content was being freely shared for months, but the activity of such channels have greatly increased after extremists have been forced off other platforms following the siege of the U.S. Capitol last week by pro-Trump rioters.

Telegram is a Dubai-based messaging service that does little moderation of content it and has a sizable international user base, particularly from eastern Europe and the Middle East.

In the days since the Capitol attack, for example, an Army field manual and persuasive materials to "shoot politicians" and "encourage armed struggle" have been posted in a Telegram channel that has "fascist" in its name.

Chris Sampson, chief of research at the Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics and Radical Ideologies, a defense research institute, said his group is focused on and distressed about users of the channel and has already alerted the FBI about it.

“When they start calling for assassinations when they start calling for action versus sharing information, we flag them a little higher," Sampson said. "Some channels merely swap information, but then they accelerated into conversations of where to be.”

Documents shared via the channel's file manager include "US Army explosives and demolitions manual" and "US Army Engineer course," as well as plenty of white supremacist content.

A post explaining how to diversify Trump supporters to neo-Nazism was also widely circulating on the channel, as well as other far-right extremist channels.

Extremists are well aware by now that they are under scrutiny, however, in the fallout of the riot, they have been using online platforms to recalibrate their movements.

On Monday, the FBI sent out a memo to law enforcement agencies all over the country warning about possible armed protests at all 50 state capitols starting Saturday.

Some Trump supporters with extremist views have been using encrypted platforms to post warnings about avoiding local rallies in the coming days but wait for a big turnout instead in Washington at Biden's inauguration program on January 20.

"Do not attend armed protests at state capitols before inauguration! A possible sinister plot hatched by the radical left to take away gun rights!" someone posted in a Telegram chatroom with thousands of members favoring Trump's side.

After January 6, far-right extremists started posting calls to arm for "round 2" on Inauguration Day in Washington.

A "Million Militia March" is also being staged, as well as a "Million Martyr March," the latter one in honor of Ashli Babbitt, a veteran and a pro-Trump supporter who was fatally shot during the siege of the Capitol. Many have hailed Babbitt as a "martyr" in their posts.

Publish : 2021-01-14 10:24:00

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